Whether you're a college student trying to break this ice with new friends, or you're just looking for activities to spice up your next dinner party, you can't go wrong with playing a game. But save Apples to Apples for another day, and look no further than your own smartphone. The App Store and Google Play Store are full of social games perfect for parties, and that don't require endless button mashing. The best are the games that handle two social elements: Games you play with friends in person, and also involve social media.
We played a couple of these games at the TechHive office and had perhaps a little too much fun for a Thursday morning. We started with SnapDare (free; iOS), which combines every middle school student's favorite game (Truth or Dare) with every middle school student's favorite app (Snapchat). We were skeptical at first, but SnapDare completely won us over after a couple of rounds--probably when associate editor Caitlin McGarry had to dance on a table in our semi-quiet newsroom.
With SnapDare, you challenge friends to a truth or dare question of your choosing. The app has a bunch of suggestions for you to pick, or you can create your own. Your friend then has to complete the truth or dare on his or her smartphone and capture the evidence in a photo or video, which gets sent back to the original challenger. Dares can be shared between two parties or between a larger group, and the footage disappears after its been viewed. We think you'll find this modern twist on an old-school classic party game to be a hilarious hit.
Another favorite is Heads Up! ($1; iOS and Android), a game created in part by Ellen DeGeneres and made popular on her talk show. It's popular for a reason: It is so much fun. It's a category-based guessing game, where your team gives clues about a topic and you have to guess what it is. One person holds the phone up to his or her forehead with the display facing out--which shows the word in play--and the rest of the group has to help you figure it out without telling you the actual word itself. When you guess correctly, tip your head down to go to the next card; or tilt back to pass and get a new card. You and your team must try to get as many cards as you can before time runs out.
The best part about Heads Up! is that your phone's camera records your team acting out these clues, so you can review each round and laugh at everyone's incredible acting skills (or impressions, like senior editor Susie Ochs's amazing Porky Pig). You can even share these videos to Facebook or Twitter. The app comes with several categories, like songs, accents, animals, and impressions, and you can buy more decks within the app for $1 each.
Trust us, these two games are sure picks--and everyone wins. Have any favorite party games you can play on your phone? Share them in the comments below.