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board silly great games for game nights | 1 2 3 4 
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Pictionary | If there’s one thing about Pictionary, it definitely brings people out of their shells. Players divide into teams, and guess words and phrases based on sketches made by a member of their team. The result is a lot of yelling on the part of the guessers, and frantic nonsensical hand gestures punctuated by frustrated "garrgggggggh!"s from the artist. Always good for laughs, Pictionary can get very, very competitive as the shouting escalates. It’s best for smaller groups of under 10 people or so, to keep the chaos at a minimum.

Cranium | In concept, Cranium is the perfect board game. With categories like Data Head, Creative Cat, Word Worm and Star Performer, there’s a little something for everyone. It’s a little bit Trivial Pursuit, a little bit charades, a little bit Pictionary, plus some terrifically unique activities, like blind drawing, sculpting with clay and impersonate a celebrity, that are pretty exclusive to Cranium. The problem with Cranium is that the questions that come with the box set – notably for the Data Head and Word Worm categories – are just too easy, and you’ll find yourselves done with the game before the fun has even begun. Rumor has it the booster box set remedies this flaw.

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Trivial pursuit | For those who like to show off their vast wealth of useless knowledge, there’s no better game than that 80s classic, Trivial Pursuit, where players answer truly trivial questions in a wide array of categories. And actually, if you can get your hands on that old Genus I, II or III edition that’s no doubt collecting dust somewhere in your parents basement, definitely do so, as the current Genus IV isn’t nearly as much of a challenge. And what fun is Trivial Pursuit if it doesn’t give you a chance to feel like a smarty-pants? To keep the competition friendly – or to incorporate a larger number of players – divide into teams.

Boggle | I am a Boggle fiend, so keep that in mind when I declare that Boggle is the very best game ever created! The rules are simple: shake up a gridded container that has sixteen cubes, each marked with a different letter on each of its six sides. Once the cubes have settled into a slot, start the timer and jot down as many three or more letter words as you can find by connecting letters from adjacent cubes. Even more challenging is Big Boggle, a 5x5 version that was released in 1979, and made available in a limited edition a few years back. Boggle’s as much fun with two players as with twelve, but it’s best played amongst people of equal verbal abilities.

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