Are you looking for a way to break the ice and get to know your new flatmates or coursemates? After having a far from normal freshers week experience, you might be looking for a different way to fill the time and get closer to those soon-to-be great friends. We’ve compiled a list of our favourite board games you can play to either make (or break) some new friendships. Have fun!


Codenames- Amber Birchill

Codenames is a great board game, which is not only fun but also encourages you to get to know your new flatmates and understand their way of thinking. There are two teams of agents and spymasters. If you’re the spymaster, you have to try and give clues to your agents to find certain locations, which are all indicated by a word. As the spymaster, you give a one-word clue in order for your team to guess the correct location. For example, if the word you want them to guess is ‘butter’, you might say ‘toast’. 

However, if you really want to challenge yourself, you can try and get the other people to guess multiple clues with only one word, sometimes managing to knock out several locations with one simple clue that links three or even four words together! It is at times frustrating, but always fun, and it’s not just a great party game for a night-in with or without drinks, but also a great way to break the ice with your new flatmates! 


Cards Against Humanity – Catherine Lewis

There’s icebreakers, and then there’s taking things a bit too far. Admittedly, Cards Against Humanity does have the potential to lean towards the latter. 

Each round, a random black card is drawn that proposes a question, or alternatively a sentence with one or more blank words. One player is the card czar (this role rotates every round), who will pick the winner of the round, and the rest of the players will play white cards which contain a response to the black card. The funniest answer wins!

The cards you’ll have to pick from are completely random, so you never know what options you’re going to have to pick from, which keeps the answers varied every time. There’s also an online version of the game that you can play with people all over the world – perfect for these socially distanced times! 

It is definitely worth noting that a lot of the cards are sexual in nature, and some could be considered offensive, though generally this comes down to how you play them. However, because of this, it might not be a game that absolutely everyone will enjoy, so make sure everyone knows what kind of game it is before you start!

So tell me, what do you drink to forget? What’s kid-tested, mother-approved? What gives you uncontrollable gas? Prepare to bond with your new friends over some ridiculous scenarios and even more ridiculous responses in an evening full of laughs, groans and exasperation.


The Chameleon – Kate Procter

A six-player board game that even your less bright flatmates should be able to understand. 

In this game, players must work out who amongst them is the Chameleon. A Topic Card containing various items is placed on the table for all to see. Two dice are rolled and the numbers lead everyone (except the Chameleon) to a coordinate on their Code Card, which is used to locate the secret word on the Topic Card. Meanwhile, the Chameleon has to pretend to play along.

For example, if the secret word for the round was ‘Pizza’, each player then, including the Chameleon, takes it in turns to say a word related to ‘Pizza’, moving clockwise around the table.

If you are the Chameleon, your mission is to blend in with the other players, avoid detection and work out the secret word on the Topic Card.

If a player’s word is too obvious, the Chameleon might catch on and figure out the secret word. If it’s too cryptic, people might start to think that they’re the Chameleon.

Once everyone has said their word, the players begin debating the Chameleon’s identity. This is where you get to channel your inner attorney and pick holes in each other’s arguments. After a few minutes, everyone votes by pointing at the person they think is the Chameleon.

The player with the most votes must now turn over their card. If it’s a Code Card, you’ve accused the wrong player and the Chameleon has won. Idiots! If it’s a Chameleon Card, then you’ve successfully cornered the Chameleon… but it’s not over yet. The Chameleon can still take a guess at the secret word. If they get it right, they win.


Secret Hitler – Catherine Lewis

Secret Hitler is a game of teamwork, deception, and betrayal. There are two teams competing against each other; the Liberals and the Fascists. 

Each player is randomly assigned the role of Liberal or Fascist, with one person given the role of Hitler. The Fascists know what everyone’s roles are, including Hitler. However, Hitler and the Liberals don’t know who’s who, and must try to figure this out throughout the game to have the best chance of winning.

Each round, one player is the President, and must choose another player they want to be their Chancellor. Everyone votes for if they want this to pass, based on how trustworthy they find them. If voted down, the next player in line becomes President instead. 

When elected, the President takes three random cards, and discards one. They pass the remaining two to the Chancellor, who chooses which one to put down on the board.

The Liberals’ goal is to fill the board with Liberal cards, or assassinate Hitler. The Fascists’ goal is to fill the board with Fascist cards, or elect Hitler as the Chancellor after three Fascist cards have been placed; all while keeping their Fascist identity hidden.

The fun comes from the debates that’ll unfold as the Fascists desperately find ways to defend themselves from the Liberals’ accusations, whether it be by throwing someone else under the bus, earning someone’s trust, or telling a convincing lie. No two games are the same, and what better way is there to make friends than by destroying their trust? Wait…


Image credit: George Tuli


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