Games for your friends who don't like games
The first thing you need to accept is that some people do not like games, no matter how much you want them to. Pushing a game on someone who knows what they want in life (and it isn’t gathering resources on hexagons) is annoying. But, if there were to be a game that they might enjoy, it’s probably on this list.
How it's played: Jackbox is a digital game pack you can download on most any device, but commonly played on Apple TV or Amazon Fire Stick. The pack will have five games to choose from. There are drawing games, writing games, trivia games, hidden identity games. You'll see the game play out on the TV while each player uses their smartphones, tablets, or computers to input choices or create drawings. Games last between 10-20 minutes.
Why they'll actually like this: People who don't like games always love Jackbox. It's almost like they are watching a show, but everyone's involved. It's theatrical and funny and ridiculous. There are eight packs with five games in each, so I'd recommend these packs and play these games to maximize your chances of success.
Party Pack 1 - Play Fibbage, Drawful, or You Don't Know Jack
Party Pack 3 - Play Guesspionage, Quiplash 2, or Trivia Murder Party
Party Pack 8 - Play Poll Mine, Wheel of Enormous Proportions, Job Job, or Drawful Animate
Players: 2-8, but the more players the better, always.
2. Wits and Wagers
How it's played: A question is asked that has an answer that's a number. Like "In minutes, how long is an average NBA basketball game?" or "How many dots are on the first Pac Man level?" Everyone writes their answers on a little white board and they are sorted lowest to highest. Now players place their bets on which one is the closest without going over. After 7 rounds the game is finished and the person with the most chips wins.
Why they'll actually like this: The first time I played this game the question was "How many floors is the Leaning Tower of Pisa?" I wrote down 53. Everyone else said 40-something. But one friend put 5 and we dragged him so hard for it. After we bet on everyones answers we learned that the correct answer was 8. We felt so dumb, but in the moments before we somehow convinced our friend he was so far off that he didn't even bet on his own answer... even though it was the closest. That's the joy of this game. It's a trivia game disguised as something else, and you get to see how dumb (or smart) you and your friends really are. And then laugh about it.
If end up getting obsessed with this game and play through all the questions, they also have a second edition.
Players: 3-7, but the more the better.
Amazon Price: $34.99
3. One Night Ultimate Werewolf
How it's played: It's the concept of Werewolf/Mafia with some interesting modifiers. First you'll download their app. Then deal one role card out to each player. After you select which role cards are in play, the app will read out instructions to each player while everyone else closes their eyes. Then all players have two minutes to figure out who the werewolves are by using their abilities.
Why they'll actually like this: It has a lot going for it like the quick playtime, simple instructions, hardly any game pieces, storytelling, the use of your phone, and good social elements. It does require people to care enough about the game to commit to trying to kill the werewolf, so if your friends are in a fully apathetic mood this one might not work.
Players: 3-10. I've had a good time playing this with as little as four but it gets WILD with 7-10 players.
Amazon Price: $18.81
How it's played: The game of telephone but sketched out with dry erase markers. Draw what you see then guess what you saw for hilarious and unpredictable outcomes.
Why they'll actually like this: For some odd reason, non-game folks are slightly more interested in games with dry erase markers. I'm not sure if it makes them feel like they are about to take notes or whatever boring things they enjoy instead of playing games, but we'll take it. They'll like this one for the drawing aspect, the storytelling, and the entertaining miscommunications.
Players: 4-8 but you should really have at least 6. They also make a 12-person party pack.
Amazon Price: $28.99
How it's played: The active player secretly selects one of their cards and gives a very brief description. The other players secretly select their own cards which match the description. The chosen cards are shuffled and revealed, then players vote on which was chosen by the active player. The active player gets the most points if at least one person guesses correctly, but zero points if everyone or no one does.
Why they'll actually like this: If someone doesn't like games, they probably like storytelling. The guesswork here is really fun as you read into clues your friends give. And as the active player - can you give away just enough information to get one person to guess correctly, but not so much that everyone does? I've played a lot of games with a lot of different types of people, and everyone enjoys this one.
Amazon Price: $31.97
How it's played: It's the same game as 'Celebrity' but with point values assigned. Get your team to guess as many names as they can in 1 minute. Then a second round is played with the same names but you can only use one word as your clue. In the final round they'll have to guess the same cards but it's charades and no words are used.
Why they'll actually like this: This game always feels like a party because you're building inside jokes that are contained within a game.
Players: 4+. There's no max to this one and big groups are really fun
Amazon Price: $24.99