25 Best Board & Card Games for College Students (2020)

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My #1 pick for the best game for college students is Cards Against Humanity. Jump to my review of Cards Against Humanity below or click the image to check the price on Amazon.

Here are some other board and card games that would be great for college dorms.

The best card and board games for college students:

  • Cards Against Humanity (best adults only game).
  • Bananagrams.
  • Giant Jenga.
  • Settlers of Catan (best strategy board game).
  • What do you Meme?
  • That’s what She Said.
  • Never Have I Ever.
  • Speed Charades (best family friendly game).
  • Harry Potter Trivia.
  • Balderdash.

Looking for a Safe Family Friendly Option?

Most college games are adult themed. For a safer option, you can’t go wrong with the classic Charades. Click the image to check the price on Amazon.

Best Games for College Students

1. Cards Against Humanity

Quick Review: Get Cards Against Humanity if you like politically incorrect humor. This is an adult-only game.


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Adults Only.

Get this if you:

  • Like politically incorrect humor.
  • Want to see which of your friends has a twisted mind.
  • Want to break the ice – fast!
  • Would like a very social game.
  • Want a game for pre-drinks before a party or to play during your own house party.

Game overview:

Every player has to use their allocated cards to fill-in-the-gaps of a phrase that has been placed in the middle of the table. The person who is voted (by the ‘Card Czar’) as having chosen the funniest fill-in-the-gaps phrase gets a point! Rotate the card in the middle for new hilarious (and politically incorrect) fill-in-the-gap scenarios.

Related Article: Best Gifts for College Freshmen

2. Bananagrams

Quick Review: I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t like Bananagrams. It’s so fast to learn, too.


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Family Friendly.

Get this if you:

  • Like word games.
  • Need a game that breaks the ice with new friends.
  • Are into very social competitive games.
  • Want a fast-paced game.

Game Overview:

Each player creates their own scrabble board as fast as they can with a random selection of letters. Once you’re done, call “peel” to make everyone grab one more letter from the stack in the middle. The winner is the person who has a complete puzzle once you’ve all run out of letters. Once you win, yell out “Bananagrams!”

3. Exploding Kittens

Quick Review: A fast-paced but easy to play card game that’s a mix between Russian Roulette and Uno. Get the party pack (link below) for up to 10 players.


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Get this if you:

  • Want a game that can have many players for a party atmosphere.
  • Would enjoy a game that is a mix of Russian Roulette and Uno.
  • Want a game that you can pack away and store in your pocket.

Game overview:

Everyone starts with a handful of cards. For your turn, you can play a card from your hands and follow the instructions on that card. To end the turn, draw a card and hope it’s not an exploding kitten. If you draw the exploding kitten, you lose! It’s easy and self-explanatory for all beginners to get involved, but a whole lot of fun.

4. Five Second Rule

Quick Review: Get this for a family-friendly option! You’ve got 5 seconds to name 3 things that fit within the category listed on your card.


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Family Friendly.

Get this if you:

  • Want a safe family-friendly game.
  • Want a game that’s fun and fast.
  • Want a game that includes everyone.

Game overview:

Get a category like ‘breeds of dogs’ or ‘fruits’. You have 5 seconds to choose 3 things that fit within the category. In this pack you get 576 questions on 288 cards so you can play for a long, long time!

5. What do you Meme?

Quick Review: Players compete to add a caption to an image to create a ‘meme’. The funnier the caption, the better! This is an adult-only game.


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Adults Only.

Get this if you:

  • Like politically incorrect humor and adult themes.
  • Want to play funny social games that get the whole group laughing.
  • Would like a game that is a great ice breaker.
  • Want a game you could turn into a drinking game (if you want!).

Game overview:

This is the picture version of Cards Against Humanity. Players each have a handful of caption cards. The image card is played in the middle. Each player competes to provide the funniest caption for the image, and a rotating judge chooses which is funniest. Contains 360 caption cards and 75 photo cards. Consider also getting the NSFW expansion pack for more game play!

6. That’s what She Said

Quick Review: A ‘sexual innuendo’ twist on Cards Against Humanity. Get this one if you like Cards Against Humanity, but want something new (and raunchy).


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Adults Only.

Get this if you:

  • Want a game for pre-drinks before a party or to play during your own house party.
  • Like Cards Against Humanity but have exhausted all the expansion packs and want something new.
  • Have friends who like sexual innuendo.
  • Like hosting girls’ nights in.

Game overview:

Players each get a handful of white cards with phrases. The rotating judge places a red setup card on the table which requires a fill-in-the-gap. Each player plays their preferred white card with a phrase that would fill the gap. The goal is to create the funniest sexual innuendo out of a combination of the red setup card and your chosen white fill-in card.

7. Never Have I Ever

Quick Review: All college students have played this game! Now get the party pack with over 600 unique question cards and challenges.


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Adults Only.

Get this if you:

  • Want a game for pre-drinks before a party or to play during your own house party.
  • Love drinking and dare games.
  • Need a game that can entertain anywhere from 4 to 12+ players.
  • Are looking for an inclusive game whee everyone at the party is involved.

Game overview:

This never have I ever party pack has enough question cards to keep you entertained party after party. The goal is simple: the player draws a card and reads what it says. The card will start with “Never have I ever…” If people have done what was written on the card, they lose a point (we’ll often use our fingers to keep score). If you lose all your points, you need to take a shot! You’ll learn a whole lot about your friends! The included paddles and shot glass add another entertaining element to this expansion pack.

8. Speed Charades

Quick Review: Charades is a family-friendly option if you don’t want to encourage drinking. Players act out words for their friends to guess. Compete team vs. team!


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Family Friendly.

Get this if you:

  • Want a family friendly classic that people of any age (including college students!) would lve.
  • Like games that involve miming and acting things out.
  • Like games that involve teams competing against one another.
  • Want a fast-paced twist on an old classic.

Game overview:

Speed charades follows the traditional rules of charades (teams compete against each other to try to act out and guess words). But, it adds a speed element to make the game more fast-paced and fun for a night in at the college dorm. You can play this game with 4 to 12+ players. This version has 280+ different prompts.

9. Clue

Quick Review: I pulled this out over last winter and my friends and I got addicted – quick! It’s a game of memory, strategy, and stealth!


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Family Friendly.

Get this if you:

  • Want a game that with slowly building tension.
  • Have smart and competitive friends.
  • Would like a family friendly board game option.
  • Love fun nights in with friends.

Game overview:

This board game is a murder mystery. Everyone has to guess three things: who did the crime, with what weapon, in what room? Each person has a chance to move around the board to a room. Once in a room, you can have a guess at the murder, weapon and room.

10. Drawing without Dignity

Quick Review: Think Pictionary, but for adults only. You’ll be sketching lots of … sketchy things.


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Adults Only.

Get this if you:

  • Like politically incorrect humor.
  • Want an adult-themed game that will get you and your friends laughing.
  • Like games where team compete against one another.
  • Are into drawing!

Game overview:

Players draw a card prompt and need to draw them out. Your team mates need to guess what you are drawing before you run out of time. The prompts are raunchy adult-themed prompts – don’t say I didn’t warn you! It’s a really fun game for breaking the ice with new friends and laughing with old friends.

11. Ouija Board

Quick Review: Get this one if you and your friends get excited about mystical and mysterious things! A Ouija board relies on your superstition to generate spooky answers to questions you ask.


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Get this if you:

  • Like witchcraft or spooky movies.
  • Have friends who believe in the mysterious and mystical.
  • Like to have silly laughs with your friends.
  • Want to find out what the world has in store for your future!

Game overview:

You and your friends ask the Ouija board questions while all holding the planchette over the board. If you’re in touch with the spirit world, the planchette will mysteriously tell you the answer by moving around the board.

12. These Cards will Get you Drunk

Quick Review: The name of the game tells it all. This game is all about pre-drinking ready for a big night of partying.


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Adults Only.

Get this if you:

  • Are in a group of friends who love to party.
  • Are looking for pre-drinking games.
  • Want a game that’s social, challenging, and funny!
  • Need an entertaining ice breaker to spark your party mood.

Game overview:

The game’s premise is simple: draw a card and read the instructions. Each card is a challenge for you. An example card is: “Tell your friends a joke. If they don’t laugh, take a drink”. Here’s another great example: “Pick someone and guess the color of their underwear. If you get it right, they drink.”

13. Do you Know Me?

Quick Review: A game for getting to know each other and learn some intimate hidden details about even your oldest friends.


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Adults Only.

Get this if you:

  • Would like a game for breaking the ice or getting to know people better – fast!
  • Need some new discussion points for partying with friends.
  • Want to make new friends with people you’ve invited around to your place.

Game overview:

One player sits in the hot seat. The player to their right reads out one of the 460 question cards. An example question is: “Has this person ever kissed someone in this room?” The rest of the players hold up a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ card in answer to the question. Repeat 5 times. The winner is the person who gets the most answers (aka knows the person best!).

14. Codenames

Quick Review: This is a game for people who like wordplay. You need to give hints to your team mates about the words you are thinking of – without using those words.


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Family Friendly.

Get this if you:

  • Enjoy team strategy games.
  • Like language and word games.
  • Are into a more thoughtful game for people with brains.
  • Like team member games with a minimum of 4 players (you can play with less, but it’s not as good).

Game overview:

I enjoy this game for a rainy afternoon, but find it is best with 4 or more players. There are 25 cards with simple words on them laid out in front of you. One team member needs to give a hint then the rest of the team needs to point out the words on the board that you are referring to. If you get the word wrong, you may just get burned and loose! The more words you hit in one attempt, the more likely you are to win.

15. Settlers of Catan

Quick Review: My roommates and I were obsessed with this game one summer. It’s a civilization building game – beat your competitors by building the best civilization!


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Family Friendly.

Get this if you:

  • Want a game for thinkers and strategic players.
  • Like computer games like Age of Empires or Sim City.
  • Like playing games to waste away an afternoon with friends.
  • Want a family friendly game that college students love.

Game overview:

Take turns to build upon your civilization. Make strategic decisions to build trade routes without leaving yourself exposed to competitors. I usually find these sorts of games have a big learning curve. But I’ve got to admit I was surprised how quickly I became addicted to this great game.

16. Ticket to Ride

Quick Review: Compete against your friends to build a train across the USA. Gameplay feels similar to Settlers of Catan.


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Get this if you:

  • Like strategy board games.
  • Like board games like Settlers of Catan.
  • Like playing games to waste away an afternoon with friends.
  • Want a family friendly game that college students love.

Game overview:

Connect cities across the USA by building train lines. You need to get to the best train routes before your competitors claim them. Earn extra points for connecting important cities that are long distances apart. It’s a fast-paced strategy game that takes about an hour to complete. I really enjoy it.

17. Doodle Face

Quick Review: Get this drawing game if you like collaborative rather than competitive games. You’ll need to pull out your art skills for this one!


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Family Friendly.

Get this if you:

  • Like collaborative rather than competitive games.
  • Are a fan of drawing games (or like to doodle yourself).
  • Need an inclusive game that gets everyone involved.

Game overview:

The game is simple: everyone draws each other! Each turn, you get a random card that tells you what facial feature to draw next. You pass your drawing board to the right each turn, so every facial feature for every person is drawn by a different person. It’s a collaborative effort that ends with some hilarious cartoon pictures.

18. Balderdash

Quick Review: A really fun game where you have to trick everyone else into believing your nonsense!


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Get this if you:

  • Like games where you have to try to fool or deceive your opponents.
  • Are creative and quick-witted.
  • Like to show off your intelligent or funny side.

Game overview:

One person draws a card and reads it. The card will be a word or prompt requiring you to provide a definition or answer. Everyone in the group has to write down an answer to the best of their abilities. Then the person who read out the definition has to guess which answer is true and which is false. Try to fool your friends, or call them out for lying!

19. Apples to Apples

Quick Review: A safer family friendly alternative to Cards Against Humanity. Try to find the funniest comparison to the stimulus card to win.


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Family Friendly.

Get this if you:

  • Want a family friendly alternative to Cards Against Humanity.
  • Like games that cause funny and out-of-context comparisons (and get everyone laughing).
  • Want an inclusive game that everyone in the group can play.

Game overview:

The judge plays a green card in the middle. This card will show a person, place, thing or event. Each player has a hand of green cards. Players need to play a green card that they think is a funny comparison or likeness to the green card. Rotate judges each turn so everyone gets a go.

20. Pandemic

Quick Review: A cooperative board game. Work with your team to contain a pandemic and save the world.


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Get this if you:

  • Enjoy games that are cooperative rather than competitive.
  • Like games where you can occupy a character who has certain strengths and weaknesses.
  • Are getting a gift for a medical student or public health student.

Game overview:

Players work together to treat diseases all over the world. You can choose your character (each character has different abilities), then work together to find cures and treat the four diseases before they destroy the world. The game lasts for 45 minutes and requires 2 to 4 players. I find it works better with 4 players.

21. Harry Potter Trivial Pursuit

Quick Review: A game for Harry Potter lovers. And let’s face it: most college students have grown up loving the Harry Potter books and movies.


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Family Friendly.

Get this if you:

  • Fancy yourself a Harry Potter nerd.
  • Love Trivial Pursuit or any other type of trivia.
  • Have friends who also love Harry Potter.

Game overview:

It’s trivia – but for Harry Potter lovers! Contains 1800 questions covering all 8 Harry Potter films. Choose your house, move around the board, and collect ‘wedges’. As the game goes on, you’ll need to answer obscure trivia questions about Harry Potter, the magical creatures, and the back story behind the magical world of Hogwarts.

22. Giant Jenga

Quick Review: It’s Jenga – but massive! This is so much fun to play at college dorm parties. If you’re a little bit tipsy, it’s even better.


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on Amazon.

Family Friendly.

Get this if you:

  • Like physical hands-on games.
  • Want a fun gimmicky game that will make you new friends.
  • Want a game that has no limit on the number of players.

Game overview:

Jenga requires you to remove blocks from the Jenga tower without making it collapse. As the game goes on, the tower gets more and more wobbly. This giant Jenga game is placed on the floor and played in the middle of your living room. It’s huge!

23. The Game of Life

Quick Review: This is a great game for people at the start of their adult life. It requires players to make choices about how to live their (imaginary) lives to come out the end – happy and wealthy!


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Family Friendly.

Get this if you:

  • Are thinking about what you want to do with your life (you’ll relate to the game!).
  • Like a good competitive board game like Monopoly.
  • Are interested in entrepreneurship or getting wealthy.
  • Like to play all-afternoon board games with your friends.

Game overview:

Every player jumps in their car and drives around the board, making decisions about how to live their lives. Gather experiences, pets, kids, jobs and … sometimes some debt as well! Add up your money at the end of the game. The person who ends up wealthiest wins.

24. Risk

Quick Review: Try to conquer the world and defeat your friends. Take control of entire continents.


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on Amazon.

Family Friendly.

Get this if you:

  • Like battle and strategy games.
  • Are into highly competitive games – there can only be one winner!
  • Want a board game you can play with your roomies every weekend.

Game overview:

This classic from the 1960s never gets old. You need to conquer continents by attacking your opponents and taking over their territory. Once you control a continent, you’re in a stronger position to attack the next players. Every move is a risk so you need to play it strategically!

25. Throw Throw Burrito

Quick Review: .It’s half card game, half dodge ball. Who doesn’t want a card game where you can throw Burritos at their friend?


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Get this if you:

  • Enjoy physical games.
  • Want to throw something at your friends.
  • Enjoyed Exploding Kittens (it’s made by the same people).

Game overview:

Your task is to collect matching cards while avoiding getting hit by a burrito. Lose points if you get hit, but gain points if you get matching cards. Duck, dodge and weave your way to the winner’s podium. The burrito-throwing battle starts when someone plays a ‘battle card’. You’ll always be on edge and ready to dodge the burrito.

What to Look for in a Game for College Students

Family Friendly or A Little Naughty?

College students often love games that are naughty, raunchy and politically incorrect. A lot of the games on this list are just like that!

But I’ve also selected several that could be played by anyone. Competitive games like The Game of Life, Clue and Risk are fun competitive games that are also innocent and can be played by people of any age.

Also keep in mind that a few of these games are specifically drinking games. If you’re not of age or don’t like to drink make sure you stick to those games that don’t have drinking built into them.

Competitive or Chill?

Some of us like a competitive game. Others like a game that’s cooperative or just relaxed. Keep in mind not only your preferences, but the preferences of your friends and room mates.

Easy to Pack

You might want to get a card game if you don’t have much storage space. Board games and giant Jenga are games that will take up a fair bit more space.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the best board game for college students is inherently subjective. Everyone has their own preferences. But hopefully this list has inspired you and given you a few great ideas for what board or card game you want to get next. Good luck – and don’t forget to study!

Related Article: Best Bikes for College Students

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