The Best Board Games and Card Games for Thanksgiving Gatherings

As Thanksgiving nears, everyone starts asking the same question: once the food is done, how are you going to tolerate your family? Sure, you could dust off your old copy of Cards Against Humanity, but you already explained what bukkake means to your aunt last year. Luckily, there are a lot of other games that are fun and easy to play -- even for casual gamers.

Telestrations (4 to 8 players, 12+)

In Telestrations, players take turns drawing, guessing what the drawing is, and then drawing that guess -- like a game of telephone. Telestrations isn't really a game that you can "win," but it's excessively fun... and probably even more fun after a few drinks. It comes with everything you need, including notepads, dry erase markers, and cards that have phrases written on them that you can choose from. We've had our best runs just making up phrases as we go along, including high level, abstract concepts that are impossible to visualize. Even better, Telestrations is fun for kids and adults, and can be tilted either way.

Two Rooms and a Boom (6 to 30 players, 8+)

Perfect for large groups, Two Rooms and a Boom can support dozens of players. In Two Rooms and a Boom, you separate the party into two groups. Blue team wants to protect the president; Red team wants to make sure the bomber is in the same room as the president. Perhaps it's not ideal for avoiding those fun family political arguments, but it is a great game. Each player gets their own role (and there are dozens of roles to choose from), including the Shy Guy, Medic, or Bodyguard. Because roles can be varied, there's a high level of replayability -- and everyone gets to interact with each other and chat in order to figure things out.

One Night Ultimate Werewolf (3 to 10 players, 8+)

I'm not a fan of One Night Ultimate Werewolf -- but I'm big enough to know that I'm not in the majority. One Night Ultimate Werewolf streamlines the traditional werewolf experience into a single night. It's still a hidden role game, with villagers and werewolves that are (essentially) both trying to survive. But all the information you get occurs in "one night"; players interact with identity tokens to look at them and move them in secret. At the end of the night, villagers need to be able to identify werewolves, werewolves need to remain hidden, and other roles have more specific win requirements. Though it can feel overwhelming to have so many roles, it ends up not really mattering, because the One Night Ultimate Werewolf app tells you exactly what to do and when. From there it's purely a reasoning and deduction game.

Joking Hazard (3+ players, 17+)

Want something a little more "adult"? Joking Hazard isn't for the kid's table, but it's also not explicitly horrible. In Joking Hazard, players complete comic strips trying to form the funniest punch line from the cards that they have. A "judge" decides which is funniest every turn, much like Cards Against Humanity. But Joking Hazard also has the advantage of being purely visual -- and it isn't just dirty, but also surreal and violent at times. Made by the creators of Cyanide and Happiness, the game has pretty broad appeal -- even for those who don't traditionally like card games or board games. The deck is also fairly large, which adds to replayability.

Dixit (3 to 6 players, 8+)

When the night is winding down and you want something lighthearted and fun, Dixit is a good choice. In Dixit, players give a single clue regarding the card that they've chosen. Then everyone places down a card. The goal is to guess the card that was actually the player's -- while the player hopes to fool most, but not all, of the others. The great thing about Dixit are the cards themselves, which are surrealist fairy tales, myths, and landscapes. Though a clue may seem very obvious, there can be multiple cards that match it complete... and some clues that seem obvious may end up being too subtle. 

And, of course, if you have the right family and friends gathered, you can open the door to some longer or more complicated games. But the games above are generally a hit with any large group of people and can be explained very quickly -- perfect for the after-turkey daze.