Party Games for adults: Make your own DIY or buy them at the store (tips!) ?

adults playing a party game

Fun Party Games for Groups of Adults

make 'em yourself, or buy them in the store?

adults playing a party game

Games are booming. It was true last year and before, probably still be true the next. Naturally, party games are booming too and I couldn’t help but notice games I used to make myself getting a professional makeover.

Question is, which is the better party game for adults? DIY or store-bought?

You can download a lot of Print and Play PDF’s online. Those are PDF files with printed cards that you have to print, cut up into cards and if you have some time on your hands: sleeve (putting the piece of paper in a plastic cover).

Let’s look at some of our favourites. We put our own creations all the way at the end, completely free to try.

1. Werewolves

This is the one that inspired me to write the article, so why not go ahead and talk about this game first. We spent countless nights playing Werewolves at camp.

Not 1 but 2 official versions (check the rules using the links):


Time: 10 – 30 minutes (depending on # players) Age: 10 and up


Using some good ol’ playing cards and bottlecaps. Each card corresponds to a certain character you’re assigned (e.g. we used clubs for the werewolves, hearts for villagers, etc) you might require a little shared cheat sheet to keep track of all the roles, but once you memorize them you’re good to go!


pro: free! endless variations possible cons: no expansions no artwork so: if you want the basic game, you might as well use playing cards

2. Black Stories

If you haven’t played this one yet, it’s pretty simple: a narrator describes a vague situation, more often than not a gruesome one. The other players take turns guessing the details. The one who solves it, draws and narrates the next card. Repeat ad nauseum.


# players: 2 – 15

Time: 20 minutes (depending on # players)

Age: 12 and up


Again, a camp classic: tell a riddle, the others can only ask yes-or-no questions, add some gore and/or insane details to spruce it up


pro: you don’t need anything on you, it might inspire you to be a little more creative

cons: you need a REALLY good memory if you want to remember all those crazy scenarios

so: Buy a copy only if you want to play an entire night or want to play it competitively (store bought means the difficulty of cards is much more balanced) otherwise, stick to your own child-like imagination, it’s a precious gift

3. Cards Against Humanity

The tagline says it all: a party game for horrible people. Cards in black and white show either sentences with fill-in-the-blank statements that players can complete with other cards with (often non-PC) words on them. 


# players: 6 – 8

Time: 30 minutes

Age: 16 and up


Use pen & paper (lots of it). Each player writes down (on different pieces of paper) 5 fill-in-the-gap sentences, and 10 words that might fit in those gaps. Create standard fill-in-the-gap sentences but use offensive words to contrast them.


The sheer amount of cards makes it next to impossible to create your own version that will be as good as the original. Luckily, a free print & play is available.

4. Time's Up!

Each player gets 5 scraps of paper to  write down whatever comes to mind (don’t show these to the other players). The scraps are folded and placed in a reciptical. Players put themselves in teams and draw every piece of paper each round until there aren’t any left. Then points are counted (1 for each paper) and all pieces are placed in the reciptical for the next round. Repeat for every round.


# players: 4 – 12

Time: 60 minutes (depending on # players)

Age: 12 and up


Scraps of paper, pen and some kind of bag/box (best: velvet pouch with golden tassles, but an empty chips bag works just as well). Play 4 rounds in this order:

  1. Explain the word normally (no rhyming or translations)
  2. Sherades
  3. describe using only 1 word
  4. Use only sounds (this is the best round)


pro: you get to choose what’s on the cards! That means inside jokes, personal references, risqué stuff, random absurdity > whatever you (and your friends) think is funniest.

cons: that awkward moment when you’ve finished writing yours while the others are still pondering ‘what the perfect card would be’ while you’re shouting at them ‘Write anything! Let’s start the game already’.

so much better if you make it yourself. I recommend the store-bought version only if you’re playing with kids or total strangers you might have nothing in common with.


Duel other players while simultaneously ‘doing things’ obvious enough that other players see it, but don’t be too obvious or they might catch you in the act by yelling: DEER LORD!


# players: 4 – 8

Time: 30 minutes (depending on # players)

Age: 12 and up


Download the P&P, cut the cards and voila! The download comes with 6 different expansions, tailored to player personality types.


pro:  best game of the bunch. Available in a lot of different languages

cons: Takes time to cut up all of those cards

Game of our own making. Ideal to break the ice at a party or as a pre-game before a board game night. Make sure you have the right expansions though.

5. Sound of Sirens

Let sirens sing in 4 music genres to attract ships and send ’em crashing on the cliffs!

Sabotage the others, loot treasure and conjure sea monsters. Wreck a ship and win the game!


# players: 2 – 4

Time: 10 minutes / player

Age: 10 and up


Download the P&P, cut the cards and maybe sleeve ’em. Possibility to go all out 4 this one since you can download files to create your own components with a lasercutter.


pro:  Great for all ages, beautiful artwork. Free PDF to download the Sound of Sirens (check the bottom of the page)

cons: Prepare to refill the colour cartridge on your printer after printing the PDF.

Homemade game. A lot of effort went into this one…

Have your own Print & Plays to share? Don’t hesitate to let us know! We’d love to try them!


{●○} in Morse code ::

– …. . / …. .- .-. …- . … – / .– .- … / .–. .-.. . -. – .. ..-. ..- .-.. -.-.– / -. — .– / .– . / — ..- … – / -.-. .. .-. -.-. .-.. . / – — –. . – …. . .-. / – — / -.. .. …- .. -.. . / – …. . / -… — ..- -. – -.– .-.-.- / .– …. .- – . …- . .-. / -.– — ..- / -.-. .- -. / ..-. .. – / .. -. / .- / – ..- -… . / .. … / -.– — ..- .-. … / – — / -.- . . .–. .-.-.- / .-. . .–. . .- – / ..- -. – .. .-.. / – …. . .-. . / .. … / -. — – …. .. -. –. / .-.. . ..-. – -.-.–
Continue reading “SPESSIMEN – MORSE”

Tell us, how can we make The Sound Of Sirens even better?

KICKSTARTER UPDATES where YOU get to decide

Popped some bottles last night, hope you celebrated too (even if only a little) because getting funded was a collective effort 🙂

We’re getting a lot ideas, so we wanted to take time to address some suggestions/questions in the comments, offer some insight based on past experience, but most importantly, invite you to give your input in a nice and orderly fashion, namely, a Google Form!

Making a pocket version of the game?

Personally, we actually really like compact games that you can take anywhere. That’s why the Kickstarter Edition of our first game, Deer Lord, was pocket version:

It was only after we had completed fulfilment that we were confronted with some drawbacks of the format (which is also why we scaled up the size for the Second Edition). For one, the game box couldn’t fit any of the expansions and extra goodies (real bummer). Also, the size didn’t allow the art to shine, especially not from a distance. And it didn’t fit on retails shelves… so pro’s and cons.

How about this though: what if we include a tuck box in The Sound Of Sirens that can hold all the cards, so you could decide to travel with just the playing cards (using the sails and foregoing the ships) but make the size of the actual box big enough to hold extra’s like superior ships and whatnot? (use this form to tell us)

… so will the wooden ships come as an add-on?

Here’s the cop-out answer: it all depends.

We designed and lasercut wooden ships in our local makerspace (we wrote a slightly nerdy blogpost on the topic). They look great, but the process is quite labor and cost-intensive, and doesn’t scale at all. So availability would have to be limited.

With our previous game, Bilder, shipped to backers only 2 weeks ago, there’s another aspect fresh in mind and that’s fulfilment. Whether or not we’ll be assembling and prepping all the boxes for transport ourselves, will depend on the total number of backers. Should the campaign blow up, we can hire a 3rd party to help us out with that, but that’s a lot of ifs and buts… so, maybe we should first hear from you!

How about a playmat as add-on?

Would be really sweet, wouldn’t it? Also really really expensive to make though, so we can only start considering if and when we have enough people interested. Tell us in the form if it’s something you’d really like.

We really appreciate everyone taking the time to voice their opinions and expertise, that’s why we want to make this a conversation. We hope this update cleared up a couple of things from our perspective. We’ll be expanding the FAQ too.

PART 2: the form-idable results

and an extra special ‘how do you do?’ to everyone who filled out the Google Form, we very much appreciate it (also, apologies if our last update confused anyone, it was a bit technical maybe…)

We asked all of you how you felt about some add-ons, and want to share the results. Like the best things in life, they come in the shape of a pie:

75% positive reaction!
75% positive reaction!
78.2% wants!
78.2% wants!
truly split: 50% positive - 50% not so much
truly split: 50% positive – 50% not so much

The results are very much in line of our expectations, but now we have some cold, hard data to back it up.

So, consequences?

  • We’re going to talk to our manufacturer about including a separate tuck box that can be used as a pocket version
  • We’re going to make it possible to order the wooden ships as add-on, but first need to figure the logistics and crunch some numbers, stay tuned
  • We won’t be offering additional playmats, at least not for now

As for the campaign, let’s keep stretching!



Meet Zwoltopia

jeroen van zwol zwoltopia header

Deer Lord was all black and white, very minimal. For Bilder, we stuck to our geometric design, but splashing in all kinds of color.

For The Sound of Sirens, though, we wanted to try something entirely new.  We’re introducing a lot of characters this time around, and we felt the artwork should revolve around them. Our in-house designer Steven is a brilliant graphic artist, but illustrations are not quite his strong suit (plus it takes an enormous amount of time), so we went searching for an artist with the skills to pull it off.

Luckily, we didn’t have to look far, because our hometown of Ghent boasts plenty of local talent!

Among them, Jeroen Van Zwol aka Zwoltopia, a plucky, pop-culture-savvy illustrator, with a clearly identifiable style that at times reminds us of Disney animation, but with a lot more humor, and incredible attention to detail.

But why describe when we could just show what we mean? Below are some of his past works that we found especially awesome, in no particular order.

jeroen van zwol zwoltopia corgi

The stead’s name is Oswald and we can confirm that he is, in fact, a very good boy.

jeroen van zwol zwoltopia

Relatable. Very relatable.

jeroen van zwol zwoltopia roald dahl

Huge Roald Dahl myself, this gets me all kinds of excited. It even features ‘The Giraffe The pelly and Me’, and that’s hard core.

jeroen van zwol zwoltopia mary poppins

Mary Poppins Returns for Vertigo magazine, practically perfect in every way.

jeroen van zwol zwoltopia mario nintendo

In case it wasn’t blatantly obvious yet we’re dealing with a geek in the truest sense of the word 🙂

jeroen van zwol zwoltopia stephen king

The King himself, surrounded by all his gruesome creations.

(sidebar: I thought ‘Monkey Shines‘ was inspired by a Stephen King story, see the drummer monkey on the bottom right… but turns out it’s ‘The Monkey‘. And is that Annie “Misery” Wilkes next to it?)

jeroen van zwol zwoltopia fairytale forest

Fairy tales for a library brochure, very enchanting (for some reason that gnome looks mighty familiar…)

Collaboration with Film Fest Gent produced some fantastic results

(… very likely it’s just the nostalgia speaking, but that Jan Zonder Vrees really takes the cake imo)

Perfect collaboration with Facts (Geek Con in Ghent) is perfect.

Last, but certainly not least: the titular sirens of our upcoming game!

This was the design for a ginormous banner wall we made to flaunt at trade shows. We think it turned out great and, judging from all the positive reactions we got, we’re not the only ones!

Can you resist the Sound of Sirens?

Choose your game(s)

Do you know Kickstarter?

What can I expect if I subscribe?

  • All PDF files so you can see every card in the game (and even print & cut them out)
  • An email when the Kickstarter Campaign is about to go live and when it goes live
  • stuff


Note: We have a system that we automatically removes you from our mailing list if you don’t open any emails. 

5 Nautical Board GamesYou Should Give a Go

nautical board games top 5 header

Ahoy, matey! The ocean is vast, and lots of things are going on both above and below the surface of the big blue. Our new game The Sound of Sirens was inspired by the sirens of the salty sea, and by some of the games we love in the nautical category. Here are 5 titles we think you should play! All games are ideal for families or groups of friends at a party. Check ’em out!

Deep Sea Adventure

Let’s start off with a straight-up party game! Small box, minimal components, just the way we like it here at Monkeyshine. Deep Sea Adventure is what we call a ‘push your luck’ type of game.

You dive in with you submarine, which only has a single tank of air, trying to get to treasures at the bottom of the ocean. The deeper you go, the more valuable the treasures you’ll find, but the more you risk running out of air. And if you don’t make it back up top, that’s all she wrote!

nautical board game deep sea adventure

The game fits snugly in your man purse (don’t worry, we won’t judge you… too much) and only takes a minute to set up. Ideal to bring along on the plane or possibly on a wild river kayak ride. Obviously, we deny all responsibility for lost components.

Captain Sonar

While we’re on the subject of submarines, let’s keep going. Captain Sonar was a smash hit in the party game category a few years ago! Think of it as a meatier version of Battleship that supports up to 8 players.

You play in two teams, and the goal is to find and sink the other team’s submarine. Each player on your team has a role. The captain is our favorite, as you get to tell the navigator where to go, and you get to yell orders at the others. The Engineer has to make sure that your rusty bucket of bolts doesn’t fall apart while you’re blindly firing torpedoes at each other, and the Radio Operator tries to keep their calm while listening to what the other team is doing.

nautical board game captain sonar

If you love a bit of tension in your games, and you’ve got a large crowd to entertain on a Saturday evening, this is your game!

Survive: Escape From Atlantis

Few games get to say that they have stood the test of time, but Survive is definitely one of them. This game dates all the way back to 1982! That’s definitely older than most of the Monkeyshine crew members, we can tell you that much.

Players are trying desperately to get their meeples, which are stuck on an island in the middle of the board, safely to one of the smaller islands on the corner of the board. All the while, the central island is slowly sinking into the ocean, and sea creatures like squids, whales, sharks and sea monsters are trying to devour you whole. Perhaps it could have used a few mermaids, but that’s just our opinion.

nautical board game escape from atlantis

Anyway, hop your tooshy into one of the lifeboats and say your prayers as one of your opponents steers the vessel towards the outer islands. If all else fails, you can always jump out of the dinghy and make a swim for it. Our advice: don’t look back.

Port Royal

Port Royal is what you’re after if you don’t like a whole bunch of tiny components and are looking for a simple card game with a size that’s portable enough to take with you anywhere.

A light filler game supporting up to 5 players, Port Royal is a push your luck game. You’re trying to flip over cards from a face-down deck without running into pirate ships and busting. The more cards you’re able to draw, the more cards you can take from the center of the table when you decide to end your turn. Some cards give you money, while other cards cost money but give your special abilities and victory points. First to 12 points is the winner.

nautical board game port royal

The game is easy to explain, plays fast, and introduces the popular game mechanic of set collection to children or non-gamers with 20 or 30 minutes to spare.

Black Fleet

Last but not least, let’s tackle one of the most popular themes in nautical board games: pirates! It’s hard to pick just one game in this category, as there are so many excellent titles to choose from. But Black Fleet is a lightweight family style game with stellar components, so we didn’t want to keep it from you.

The goal of the game is to collect cubes with your ships on one end of the board and deliver those cubes to the other side of the board. The longer your route, the more cash you’ll earn for your cubes once your reach your destination. Collecting gold helps you to unlock special abilities for your ships, and once you’ve unlocked all of your abilities, you win the game.

But there are many perils to face along the way! Your ships might be attacked by one of your opponents’ ships. That’s right, they can steal cubes from you! What’s more, there are also two Navy ships that for some strange reason aren’t really into pirates and are out to sink your vessel!

nautical board game black fleet

Black Fleet plays in about an hour, and represents the chaos and interactivity of life on the open seas beautifully. There’s a fair bit of luck involved, but who cares when you get to loot your opponents and send them to Davy Jones’s locker, right?


It’s understandable that the nautical theme is very popular in board gaming (just look at all these ‘Nautical Board Games’ on BoardGameGeek). Few things speak more to the imagination than the mysteries buried at sea. With The Sound of Sirens, we wanted to experiment with a theme that for some reason has been underused in board games up to this point.

Want to learn more about our party game The Sound of Sirens and how our mermaids will bring your friends and family lots of fun? Check out how it plays right here! (PDF with all the rules)

Can you resist the Sound of Sirens?

Choose your game(s)

Do you know Kickstarter?

What can I expect if I subscribe?

  • All PDF files so you can see every card in the game (and even print & cut them out)
  • An email when the Kickstarter Campaign is about to go live and when it goes live
  • stuff


Note: We have a system that we automatically removes you from our mailing list if you don’t open any emails. 

sound of sirens banner

Poll to choose names for the Sound of Sirens

poll best name for musical siren mermaid for a party game pop

Boatjour everyone! It’s high tide for a vote for the best, fishiest, puniest Merman and Mermaid stagename.  Which name you choose will have no impact whatsoever. It’s just for fun and because we prepared hundreds of puns for the Sound of Sirens party game but eventually decided not to use them in the game. Deal with it 😎

We do not endorsal fin this message. 

poll best name for musical siren mermaid for a party game rock

Don’t be a stranger! Find out all about the Sound of Sirens

  • how the game works: a 5 minute read
  • download a PDF with all cards (printable) and rules
  • for lasercut enthusiasts: files to create special boats that hold the cards
  • Or just subscribe below to get all of this and more 👇👇👇
silenced mermaid from sound of sirens party game

You’ll receive

  1. PDF files with cards to print -cut- play
  2. Rules included
  3. Updates about when the Kickstarter goes live
  4. stuff (mostly entertaining)

Choose your game(s)

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