Games for a Small Dinner Party

Elegant dining table image by Paul Hill from

Small dinner parties are intimate gatherings that allow everyone to bond during the evening. By playing a variety of games throughout the dinner party, you can encourage conversation and inside jokes among your guests. Don't leave the games until after dinner; you can play while cooking and eating, too.

Stir Crazy

If the people at your small dinner party don't really know each other, invite them over early and have them play Stir Crazy. Players divide into random teams of two and then spin a homemade spinner to "win" certain ingredients that will be used to make the evening's meal. Each team also gets a stash of staple foods to help them create their dish. Each team's dish is served during the meal and judged by the other teams.

Forehead Cards

Give each guest an index card with the name of a famous person written on it, but don't let them see the name. Instead, tape the card on their forehead. Everyone needs to ask the other guests "yes" or "no" questions, trying to figure out what name is written on their own card. This game will liven conversation and keep the laughter flowing as people struggle to figure out who is on their card, trying to glean clues from people's reactions and answers.

The "No" Game

At the beginning of the dinner party, give everyone a lei or a necklace of some kind. The objective of the game is to collect as many necklaces as possible by the end of the dinner party. The only way to collect the necklaces is by asking another guest a question that causes that person to answer "no." This game will create a lively environment as guests agree to some ridiculous things to avoid answering "no" while trying to trick others into saying "no."

The Phrase Game

Play the Phrase Game with a pen, some small strips of paper and a bit of imagination. Write or print a phrase on each of the small strips of paper and place them under each person's plate. Make the phrases useable but strange, such as "I wish I was a dog" or "Have you ever hugged a Panda?" Before dinner tell everyone to read the phrase under their plate without showing anyone else and then try to use it casually in conversation. Guests win if they are able to slip their phrase into conversation without anyone noticing. Those who are caught--or if they are last to slip the phrase into conversation--lose and often must do the dishes.