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Here are 2022’s top adult board games

August 2, 2022

Picture this: You are having a braai with your friends and have decided to invite your new neighbour. The two of you hit it off, they seem like they’ll be a great addition to the group and it’ll be a great opportunity to get to know them better. And the best way to get to know anyone is through board games – of course.

Board games are a great way to break the ice and build bonds. They create an atmosphere of ease, fun and friendliness. A perfect cocktail for a guaranteed good time.

According to Philip Galliford, spokesperson for toy and game distributor Solarpop, several fun games are great for families to play. Games that enjoy a special place in the hearts of adults are those that have meme-like humour and often off-the-wall art styles. 

Create the kind of vibe that will allow your people to let your hair down. Showoff your creativity and intellect with games such as:

  • Exploding Kittens
  • Unstable Unicorns
  • Codenames  
  • Poetry for Neanderthals

Exploding Kittens

With a name like Exploding Kittens, who knows what type of game is inside! It requires a warped sense of humour and light-hearted fun. But what it really needs is cold, hard patience and strategic thinking.

Exploding Kittens is a feline-powered version of Russian Roulette. Players take turns drawing cards until someone draws an exploding kitten. At which point they figuratively explode and are out of the game. But there’s a twist. If a player holds a Defuse card, they can defuse the exploding kitten card with a selection of cat distractions that include: 

  • Laser pointers
  • Belly rubs 
  • Catnip sandwiches

All other cards in the deck are used to move, mitigate or avoid the Exploding Kittens. Players are able to stall for time using the various effects of the other cards in the deck, allowing them to take cards from other players’ hands and take a peek at the next cards in the deck. 

To win this game, you’ll need to be good at bluffing

The game was selected in 2015 as a Golden Geek Best Party Board Game Nominee and again in 2020 as a 5 Seasons Best International Card Game Nominee.

Unstable Unicorns

This game turns the docile, magical concept of unicorns on its, Uhm, horn! The unicorns in this game are unlike any you’ve ever encountered – fictional or otherwise. The game requires players to build a unicorn army and learn how unstable their friendships are.

Players begin with a Baby Unicorn in their stable. Do yourself a favour and do not get too attached. In the game, there are over 20 Magical Unicorns to collect, with each possessing a special power. You need to build an army as quickly as possible or risk destruction. Players can seek revenge or choose to protect their stable using their magic! 

board games
Unstable Unicorns? Yes, please!

It is not as easy as it sounds. Another player may have a Neigh Card that sends the game into madness. The first person to complete their Unicorn Army is named The Righteous Ruler of All Things Magical… at least until the next game.

A reviewer on Amazon says, “For me, it is a game that makes the unicorns have a life of their own because of the abilities it brings to the gameplay. Each card has its own part that might contribute to a chain of effects. 

Overall, a game that is fun to do over and over with plenty of players because it can be unpredictable if played right.”


According to the online magazine, The Strategist, Codenames is the best re-playable board game for adults. It’s ideal for a small group as it requires a minimum of four players. Should there be more people, the game can be played in teams, adding to the fun. It’s an engaging game that can be played for a short time and can be replayed until there is only one winner or winning team.

In Codenames, two teams compete to see who can make contact with all of their agents first. The two teams are headed by two rival spymasters who compete to make contact with all of their agents. Whoever can make contact with all their agents first wins. Spymasters give one-word clues that can point to multiple words on the board. 

Their teammates try to guess the words while avoiding those that belong to the opposing team. Thrown in the mix is an assassin that everyone needs to avoid.

board games
Care for a game of Exploding Kittens anyone?

Philip Galliford, Spokesperson for toy and game distributor Solarpop, says, “Codenames is all about figuring out the clues, which makes it more than just about winning or losing. It requires teamwork and quick thinking, so ideal for a dinner party of eight to twelve guests. The host will have them laughing and chatting before the first round is up.”

Best of all, Codenames is also available in Afrikaans.

Poetry for Neanderthals

So, you think it’s easy to talk like a Neanderthal? Those who’ve had a go at Poetry for Neaderthals will tell you that it’s a lot harder than it seems. 

From the same crazy creators of Exploding Kittens, this game is loads of raucous fun. The rules are straightforward and the game is easy to play – players need to give clues by speaking in single syllables, which is not as simple as it sounds.

If the word you have to guess is broccoli, a person might say something along the lines of “green thing you eat for live long and have good health.” If instead, they use a big word like vegetable, the person on the other team can bop them on the head with a giant inflatable club called the NO! stick and they lose points.

The goal of the game is to score the most points by correctly interpreting words and phrases. The chosen Poet starts off the game with a Poetry Card and tries to get their teammates to say the listed word within 90 seconds. The team with the most points wins. 

A reviewer on Amazon says, “You never realize how many multiple-syllable words you use in a sentence until you’re not allowed to use them. This is a fun game that really makes you think, which is a good thing.”

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