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Top 7 Friendship-Ending Board Games
- Trivial Pursuit
Game Type: Strategy; negotiation
They say you shouldn't mix friends and money, and Monopoly is a perfect example of why. The goal of the game is to bankrupt your friends—the more money you take from their pockets, the better you are doing at the game. And if they need a place to stay for the night on the Boardwalk or Park Place, what do you do as a good friend? Well, it turns out you charge them. And if they can’t afford it, then take everything they are worth and kick them on the street. Hey, it is in the name of the game!
We've all spent hours playing Monopoly knowing that someone is going to leave broke and unhappy. But that doesn’t stop you from picking up as much land as you can and collecting rent from your friends on every turn, then taking that money to build houses so you can take more money from them on the next turn.
Then, you have the trading where people team up and make deals with each other. Watch as your friends complete sets of lands while you stay on the outskirts with your unmatched blue and purple cards. You can even argue about the piece you get before the game even starts; I call "Scottie Dog." This is a game only for close friends, or a game you don't play at all. There have been many flipped tables over the years.
Game Type: Strategy; negotiation
If you thought Monopoly was bad for backdoor deals and alliances, then you have not played Risk. It's the game of world domination, and there can only be one person left standing. And when you are the one on top, expect your friends to team up against you and take that ONE land that you need to get your bonus every turn. It's hard to be the one getting attacked while your friends go out of their way not to go after each other.
This game is war, literally. The only way to survive it is to have really strong friendships or make teams before the game starts. But if it's every man and woman for themselves, expect one winner whom everyone else is unhappy with. And the game is long. Not only do you need to survive the backstabbing, but it is also a test of endurance. This could be an all-nighter.
Your best bet is to grab Australia early and don't step on any toes. Let everyone else fight over Europe and North America, and collect your two man bonuses. Sure, you might now win at the end of the day, but you will anger anyone in the process. Nice guys finish last, but they get to keep their friends.
Game Type: Probability; strategy
"You’re not sorry at all!" When the name of the game is literally apologizing for messing with the other players, you know this is not a game about building friendships. Roll the dice and hope that you land on another person’s piece so you can send them all the way back to the start of the game. There is nothing you can do about it but watch as your piece resets to the start.
Sure, it's not as bad as Monopoly or Risk since you're not actively talking to your friends to stab another friend in the back, and because the outcome is determined by a roll of the dice, it is not really your fault that you landed there. Still, it doesn’t feel good when your friend is trying to take you down on every turn.
If you are going to play this game, at least act like you feel bad when you knock their piece off the board and make your way to the finish line. No one likes the one laughing as they remove piece after piece from the board.
Players: 1 or more
Game Type: Manual dexterity; hand-eye coordination
Jenga isn’t the worst of the list, but it is intense. I don’t know what it is, but when you're in a game that has gone on for a few turns, things get heated. Every move is like defusing a bomb, and you do not want to be the one that sends that tower crashing to the floor. If you are the person who pushes the wrong brick, then you have to watch as your friends cheer and celebrate your demise.
This game goes well with booze. At least then you have something to blame when you knock the tower over. "Oh, it must have been that glass of wine I had that caused me to shake!" And don't make teams; that's a recipe for disaster as you watch your friend try to take out the wrong piece.
There are no winners in Jenga, only one loser. Sure, it doesn’t cause the fighting of other games, but being that one person who knocked the tower over doesn’t feel good.
5. Trivial Pursuit
Players: 2–6 (teams are allowed)
Game Type: General knowledge; pop culture knowledge
Another game for smarty pants. "Oh, you didn’t know that that was the name of that country in Europe? I thought everyone knew that. I see that you do not have any wedges. . ." There is no way of playing this game without feeling really smart or really dumb. And if you are the only one feeling dumb, you are not going to be happy with the ones that are feeling smart.
This is another game you need to play with the right people. If everyone is not a walking Wikipedia, then someone will feel left out. Or at least make teams so someone can take the history questions while the other person can take the science section.
If you are going to play this game with a random group of friends, maybe stick to a lighter version like a pop culture edition or get ready to lose friends because you know the elements of the periodic table that they didn’t.
Game Type: Strategy
Two men enter, but only one man leaves. This is another game of intensity where there are no hold bars, and every move is serious. This is not a game for the faint of heart, and like other games of intellect, it will leave one party feeling smarter than the other. It isn't a good game to play with a friend unless you're both very mature, but really, why risk it?
This is one game I don't play with my close friends. There is no "casual" game of chess—every single one is a match to the death. If I do play it, I prefer playing online with strangers that I'll never meet in real life. And even then, I feel bad. I'll be the first one to send the "gg" message with a smiley face.
The good news is that you can only lose one friend at a time, so it is a slower way to lose friends than the other games on this list. But it can still be done if you're up for the challenge, especially if you play speed chess.
Players: Any (two teams)
Game Type: Drawing; vocabulary
"How is that a sandwich?" Sure, Pictionary is low on the scale of friendship-ruining games, but you don’t want to be that guy drawing scribbles on the board that look nothing like the thing you should be drawing while your friends are yelling names of fruits at you. And if you're not good at drawing, which a lot of us are not, then you can feel pretty silly up there with a marker.
And it is not only the drawing that can go wrong but also the guessing. Being a good guesser is a skill that could win or lose you a game. But if you are a bad guesser, then you could have an artist on the team and still not get very far. ("How did you not see that was a sunset?!?")
As I said, this one isn’t that bad, and with a few drinks, it can be a good time that leaves your friendships intact. But if there is a competitive person in the group, you might want to be careful with how you make your team.