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Top 5 Board Games That Get The Youth Group Party Started Immediately

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I know this post may seem elementary and that youth group is NOT about games.   But I need to share why I had so much success using these 5 board games.  By using these 5 board games you can build instant community and fun in youth group in a matter of minutes.

In years past I have had to really work hard at blending different type of student clusters in order to make youth group manageable.  Some student clusters would not talk with other student clusters, so it was very difficult to have a productive time– talking about God’s love in youth group when some youth group students didn’t necessary love the other students.

So how did I “break the awkward ice” and get skater Andrew’s peer group to mingle with homeschooler Tom’s peer group?

BOARD GAMES!!!!!!!  That is right.  No one is to cool for board games.

These top 5 board games have been tried and tested in the most awkward youth group environments especially when the youth pastor is dealing with a diverse group of students who hate each other.  I have found that these board games can be greatly utilized in smaller youth ministries and in small group ministries.  Basically board games are great when trying to cultivate more relational, communal environments.

Trust me… I would wandered the board games aisles in Walmart and Target trying to find the perfect game that was fun, engaging and inclusive.  Here are my findings:

(5)  Spoons:  Spoons is a game that requires alertness and fast muscle reflexes.  The goal of Spoons is to 1) collect  4 cards of one a kind, 2)  get rid of all your cards by collecting all the one of a kinds  (4 queens, 4- 5, 4- kings) and placing them down before anyone else, 3)  not be the last one without a spoon once someone in the circle has no more cards.  You will need 3-5 deck of cards and plastic spoons.   To read a full description of how to play spoons click here 

(4)  Twister:  There are so many variations of twister it is ridiculous.  My favorite twister variation is taping the twister board on the wall and making the students play by the same rules.  Getting students that don’t like each other to get really close to each other is pretty funny to watch.  You can buy the game here

(3)  Scene It?:  This game is a blast.  It keeps the students engaged and challenges their pop culture IQ.  All you need to do is get a TV, DVD player and anyone of the Scene It? versions.  My favorite versions are:  Scene It?  The DVD Movie Trivia Game  Scene It?  TV DVD edition  Trivial Pursuit:  DVD Pop Culture

(2)  Family Feud:  This DVD board game is based off of the game show FAMILY FEUD.  This game really challenges your group of students to rally together as two families.  The answers the students come up with are always hilarious and the students get sooooo into it.  All you need is a TV and DVD player.  Make sure to check out this game here

(1)  Catch Phrase:  Okay I will admit that I had two catch phrase devices in my office at all times.  This game gets the kids talking very fast as one student is given a word or a phrase and then rattles off clues to help get their teammates to guess the word/phrase.  Catch Phrase was my go to game.  Catch Phrase never flops unless you don’t edit the inappropriate words/phrases on the word cards.  Yes I have had some pretty inappropriate words slip through my radar Needless to say: Go buy this game  here now.


Do you agree or disagree that board games are helpful in building community?  Why or why not.

If so, what board games have you had success with?  Please share.

About Jeremy Zach

Orange XP3 Specialist | Youth Worker | MDIV | Hot Sauce Addict | Dr. Dre Beats Lover

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  1. Twister can end up in some very “interesting” situations. We stopped playing that one a couple of years ago.

    We can’t get enough of Stupiduel at our youth events. It’s a little crazy, but it allows the kids to open up their imaginations.

  2. Great game suggestions. Catch phrase is an aweome game to get converstation started.

  3. Ha! We used Scene It for a round in a late night game show event on a retreat. The very first movie clip that came up (on the big screen, in the sanctuary) included the word ‘horny’. We lost the junior high boys in that moment and never got them back. :)

  4. One game I like to play with my group is “Loaded Questions.” It is the ultimate “get to know you game,” but the questions it asks are really ridiculous. Sometimes the youth just like to get out the questions and ask them to the entire group.

  5. Okay these are great games, and I absolutely agree games are a great way to get youth playing, interacting and socializing. I love games. You missed three that i HIGHLY recommend:
    Apples to apples of course!! and Qwelf (rhymes with elf) this game is unheard of, outrageous and combines aspects of many games . Please please please read the description here:
    And taboo, that buzzer gets really annoying but kids love it!
    Great post!

  6. Apples to Apples seems to be a game that anyone and everyone will play. I’ve had recent luck with Ticket to Ride and even Settlers of Catan at retreats. Some kids eat these strategy games up!

  7. Do you feel like the youth has benefitted from this? Could you share more experiences and examples of how they have responded to these games.

  8. These game are great to get them started. Thanks for your advice.

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