The Best 21st birthday games ideas: Parlor games and a little bit of friendly competition are a great way to get guests out of their comfort zone, into the conversation zone, and get the 21st birthday game warmed up!
Please take a look through our growing list of 21st birthday game. If you happen to notice a great game for the 21-year-old birthday party that you have played missing and think it would be a fun addition, please let us know! Otherwise, we hope you enjoy the list of Best 21st birthday game ideas!
8 Best 21st Birthday Games Ideas
Do a little homework before you go, and you can impress everyone by asking for the wine list and ordering a nice bottle for the table. Or if you’re just not into vino, order a colorful that you’ve never had before.
In either case, when the server asks for your ID, calmly remove it from your pocket and present it with confidence and a smile. The server will almost always wish you a happy birthday.
If dinner is not your thing, maybe you can consider a wine-tasting tour? Wineries have popped up everywhere, and there is probably one nearby. Most wineries will offer packages that include a limo picking you and your guests up and providing transportation to and from so that no one has to drink and drive.
As common as wineries, microbreweries can be found all around as well. Most breweries will have at least one day each week where they open up to the public for tastings.
Think of this as an orientation to beer. You’ll be able to sample several different flavors in small amounts to find out what style of beer you prefer. After all, you’re 21 now, and you never want to be that person that says, “I’ll take what she’s drinking,” only to find out it’s a fruity tasting wheat beer. Knowledge is king, and a brewery tour is a classroom full of beer.
Also, please take a moment and rate each 21st birthday game. The games with the highest ratings will be moved to the top of the list, so people can quickly see which 21st birthday games are the most fun to play and then move on to finding more birthday ideas.
1. “21” Tickets
- The Goal: The player with the most tickets at the end of the night wins.
- Equipment Needed: Roll of Tickets
- Number of Players: 5+
- Time: All evening
- Setup: Disperse 21 tickets to each player
This game should be the first 21st birthday games played and last a couple of hours. It also mixes well with all the other games.
Throughout the evening, players are to acquire as many tickets as they can, any way they can. Since this isn’t cash, the currency should flow a bit more freely.
Whoever has the most tickets when the time is up wins, but on second thought, maybe the real winner is the person who got the most for their tickets.
Variation: Speed! Set the time limit to 10 minutes.
2. Snake Oil Game
- The Goal: Sell the most Snake Oil!
- Equipment Needed: Snake Oil
- Number of Players: 3-10
- Time: 20-30 minutes
This 21st birthday games is based on the old western snake oil salesman, who sold various shady elixirs to unsuspecting townsfolk.
The first player chooses a character card from the deck and must portray that character to the other players, who will become the snake oil salesmen and women.
The salesmen, each having six-word cards in their hand, choose two and slap them together to create a product. Each salesman then proceeds to pitch and sell their product to the customer.
The customer “buys” one product, the product they think is best, by handing their character card to the winning salesman. Play continues. The player with the most character cards wins!
3. Mafia, by Dimitry Davidoff
- The Goal: The Mafia must eliminate the Civilians, or the Civilians must lynch all the Mafia.
- Equipment Needed: Index Cards & Pen, or the stylish cards by A’Postrophe Games, Mafia, The Party Game Card Set
- Number of Players: 7+
- Time: 30 – 60 minutes
Mafia, by Dimitry Davidoff, is a social and psychological game of deception and fun. Strategically outwit and perform your way to the win. Are you believable? Are you observant? This is an incredibly good choice for a 21st birthday games because the basic rules and characters are extremely simple, but the game is deep, with a high replay value.
Variation: The Werewolves of Miller’s Hollow game, inspired by Andrew Plotkin’s Werewolf, which is a variation of the game Mafia, by Dimitry Davidoff.
This game would suit the 1920’s Party Theme.
4. Throw the Smile
- The Goal: Don’t smile out of turn
- Equipment Needed: A smile
- Number of Players: 4+
- Time: 5-30 minutes
Setup: Gather all the players in a circle or your favorite shape
The Birthday Boss shares his happiness overturning 21 and gives the biggest, happiest smile that they can, then dramatically “wipes” the smile from their mouth into their hand. Please don’t drop your smile, though, because you are going to need it for the next step.
Proceed to “throw” your smile to someone else in the circle (or your shape of choice), and when they catch it, they must wear it for a moment.
Repeat this process until everyone has worn your happy face. Only caveat? Don’t smile out of turn, or you are out!
Variation: Try other faces on smirks, excited, frown, bored
5. Love Letter – Kanai Factory Edition
- The Goal: To win the heart of the princess, who is locked in a castle!
- Equipment Needed: AEG Love Letter
- Number of Players: 2-4
- Time: 15-20 minutes
You have to court the princess, who is behind lock and key, and the only way you can communicate with her is through love letters which, unfortunately, you can’t personally deliver.
To complicate your love life even more, if that’s possible, you aren’t the only one vying for her attention. You must prevent others from delivering their sweet nothings to her while making sure yours gets there signed, stamped, and sealed with a kiss.
Pro Tip: Love Letter – Kanai Factory Edition (pictured) includes a prince in addition to a princess.
This game would go good with the Royal Party Theme.
6. Shadow Buff
- The Goal: Correctly guess a guest’s silhouette
- Equipment Needed: Lamp, White Sheet, and Tacks
- Number of Players: 6
- Time: 10-30 minutes
Setup: Hang a white sheet in a doorway in your home, and verify that you can easily enter and leave the room without the sheet falling down. Place a lamp outside the doorway, just far enough away from the sheet that the players only see a silhouette when someone is standing inside the doorway.
The group is split into two teams, three players on each side. Players outside the doorway take turns walking in front of the sheet, while the players inside the doorway vote as to whose silhouette it is.
Outside players are free to use props and pose or walk differently than they normally would. After the score is tallied, teams switch positions.
7. Loaded Questions
- The Goal: Correctly guess who answered the questions
- Equipment Needed: Loaded Questions Party Game
- Number of Players: 3-6+
- Time: 45+ minutes
It is a fun all-around party game in which you end up gleaning interesting insights of fellow players, laughing, and just having a good time.
The player whose turn it is reads a question from the questions card out loud, and the other participants honestly answer the question and write it down while not making their answer glaringly apparent. Then the reader has to match the answers to the players.
Pro Tip: Try playing with just the cards and no game board for a more conversational flow.
8. “21” Dares List
- The Goal: Welcoming the Birthday Boss into adulthood
- Equipment Needed: Creative Mind
- Number of Players: 2+
- Time: Up to you!
Preferably a bit ahead of their 21st birthday, write down 21 daring things the Birthday Boss can do that will enlighten and enrich their life. Coming up with 21 things might be a task, so enlist family and friends.
Gameplay: Dare away, but be prepared to participate in the dares!
All kidding aside, Vegas is a fantastic spot to enjoy your 21st birthday. But to be straight with you, it can be a little too much for many people, especially kids who have never been exposed to never-ending free liquor. So if not a trip to Vegas, what other ideas are there for celebrating adulthood? There are plenty of things you can do on your 21st birthday that doesn’t involve drinking so much liquor that you forget how much fun you had.
If none of these ideas sound great, you can always just do what the majority of brand new 21-year-olds do. Let your friends take you out to a pub and pour way too many cocktails down your throat.
The outcome will be a night of pain that you probably have never felt before, and the hangover the next day will be legendary. But know that you are not alone and that this rite of passage has been shared by many, and even though you might not remember much, it will be a night you never forget.