This past year wasn’t nearly as harrowing as 2020 (and even 2021), but it was still a wild ride. Booster shots, skyrocketing inflation, RSV and a looming (or is it here?) recession kept us all plenty occupied. But, with the holiday season comes the annual burst of good tidings and cheer, and now more than ever, we need an excuse to make the most of it. As we prepare to kiss 2022 goodbye and hope for better things, we’re planning our New Year’s Eve get-together for a fun night with friends and family. That’s why our round-up of New Year’s Eve games is chock full of levity, the likes of which will appeal to partygoers both young and old. From bingo and word search that you can play with grandma to “Two Resolutions and a Lie” and “Glow-in-the-Dark Pong Toss” (which might be better served for just you, your cousins and several rounds of holiday cocktails), we’ve got something for everyone.
30 New Year’s Eve Games to Ring in 2023
1. Who Made The Resolution?
Though it's the perfect game for people who've known each other for eons, it's also a great game to play as an icebreaker. Simply ask your guests to write a resolution on a piece of paper. It can be one they made in years past or something they're willing to conquer this upcoming year. Place the paper in a mason jar, shake it up, then have each person pull one out and guess who made the resolution. The more obscure and random the resolution is, the better.
2. New Year's Eve Musical Chairs
Cue up the holiday tunes and get the adrenaline pumping with a merry game of musical chairs. The best part is, this classic party game is suitable for everyone, so both adults and kids can partake. Move the couches and tables out of the way and give yourselves ample room to really move around.
3. Printable New Year’s Eve Word Search
This free and family-friendly printable game features a tame assortment of festive words, so even young kids can get in on the search. This ready-made activity will be a hit with adults, too, once the mellowing effect of that last glass of bubbly kick in and the party winds down.
This minute-to-win-it game requires nothing more than a couple of handfuls of the popular breath mints, some paper plates and a pair of tweezers. Here’s how it works: Guests compete to move as many Tic Tacs from one plate to another in 60 seconds using only the tweezers. The game proceeds one at a time, and whoever transfers the most mints wins the prize (of knowing they have superior fine motor skills).
5. New Year’s Jigsaw Puzzle
Waiting for the clock to strike midnight? Keep your guests occupied with a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle, like this one depicting fireworks bursting over the Manhattan skyline. Up the stakes by setting a deadline. Everyone must complete the puzzle before the New Year arrives.
6. New Year’s Eve Mad Libs
Turns out this road trip staple is a surefire form of entertainment as a party game, too. Guests take turns filling in the blank to complete a story so absurd and hilarious that you’re going to want to put your drink down when it comes time to read it aloud. Bonus: This game can easily be adapted to include adult humor or kept clean for family-friendly fun.
7. New Year Selfie Scavenger Hunt
Kids and adults will both love this New Year’s Eve game. Hand out cards that challenge everyone to collect selfies, from wearing their year-shaped glasses to the New Year’s kiss. Create a shared online photo album so your guests can upload their “finds”!
8. Play Monopoly
There’s no better time-killer than a round of Monopoly. Depending on who’s playing, a good game could take hours. Who will start the new year rich—and who will be bankrupt?
9. Pin the Nose on the Snowman
This winter, donkeys are out and snowmen are in. Gather the young ones around for a game of pinning the carrot to the snowman. Frosty will thank them for reuniting him with a nose.
10. Glow-In-the-Dark Pong Toss
This glow-in-the-dark spin on the classic college drinking game will inspire oohs and aahs from guests of all ages, while making the feat of hand-eye-coordination considerably harder. You can keep it kid-friendly by filling the cups with non-alcoholic beverages, or simply set up two different stations (one with bubbly, the other fruit punch) so guests of all ages can get in on the play.
11. Two Resolutions And A Lie
Find out how well your friends really know you with a rousing round of two resolutions and a lie (i.e., two truths and a lie with a New Year’s Eve touch). Gather the guests around and go in a circle. Each partygoer will get a chance to make three statements—two of which are actual resolutions and one a convincing imposter—while the remaining guests try to guess the lie. This game is fun at any point in the evening, but it may prove especially useful as an icebreaker when things haven’t quite kicked off yet.
12. New Year Highlights Game
On the face of it, this game sounds incredibly earnest (“biggest lesson learned this year”) but it all comes down to the way you play. Open-ended prompts allow room for interpretation, so players can introduce just the right degree of irony and humor to suit the mood of the soirée. Hint: The more, the better.
13. Indoor Snowball Fight
It’s the best of both worlds. A snowball fight without the frigid temps. We guarantee the kids will love it—and the grown-ups might get roped in, too.
14. Hot Cocoa Marshmallow Toss
This is just like any other pong toss, but with a seasonally-appropriate, warm beverage. Spike the hot cocoa for the grown-up crowd, if you wish, or just keep it a dry game. Either way, the reward is a drinkable dessert—and a warm n’ cozy way to ring in the New Year.
15. New Year’s Disco Ball Surprise
Why gather around the tube to watch the ball drop when you can make the magic happen at your own New Year’s bash? Craft this super cool and shiny disco ball and fill it with treats for a festive party activity that’s sure to wake everyone up in time for the stroke of midnight.
16. New Year’s Eve Scavenger Hunt
Try this one out at the beginning of the party as a getting-to-know-you activity for a diverse guest list. Hide various items around the designated party space and pair guests up in teams to search for said items. The scavenger hunt objective is pretty straightforward, but it ensures partygoers from different parts of your life start feeling comfortable with each other right off the bat.
17. New Year’s Countdown Bags
These countdown bags work in much the same way as the balloon-popping countdown game mentioned above, except that both the prompt and the activity materials await unwrapping. Pluck a new bag and open it up with every passing hour for another novel way to keep partygoers entertained and engaged with one another.
18. New Year’s Eve Poker Match
Truth: A good poker tournament can last several hours (i.e., the length of your party). But even if the skill level is generally low among your attendees, this game of strategy is a ton of fun and a great way to kill some time before the clock strikes 12.
19. DIY Instagram Matching Game
Turn the real-life memories of you and your friends into a matching game that celebrates the highs and lows of the last year. (OK, let’s be honest—it’s Instagram, so only the highs.) This is an entertaining and refreshingly personal party game, and since so many of us are addicted to our Insta-feed, it will likely be an instant hit.
20. New Year’s Eve Champagne Relay Race
Pop the bubbly a little early for this fast-paced, festive game in which players compete in teams to fill a champagne flute with the good stuff as quickly as possible using only a teaspoon. Just be sure to use some cheap bubbles for this one, since all the agitation might result in loss of fizz by the time contestants are ready to drink the prize.
21. New Year’s Eve Dice Game
This family-friendly dice game is a great way to celebrate happy memories from the outgoing year (because yes, the year was rough but surely there were some good things that happened this year). It comes with a free printable and the play includes candy—so the kids in your life will be on board with the trip down memory lane, too.
22. End of the Year Charades Game
It’s hard to go wrong with charades, especially when it involves acting out the highs and lows of such an eventful year. Partygoers will laugh, cry and laugh-cry together while playing this straightforward, but endlessly entertaining classic.
23. New Year’s Eve Twenty Questions
Try your hand at being a mind reader with this classic game that tests you and your partner. All you have to do is think of anything tied to New Year’s Eve (the ball drop, Times Sqaure and “Auld Lang Syne” come to mind). Your partner then has to figure it about by asking 20 questions, to which you can only respond with a “Yes” or “No.” If you have decades-long New Year’s Eve memories at the top of mind, great. If you’re only two New Year’s Eves into your relationship, even better. You can get points by thinking of small details—the delicious cocktail you had on the night you met or the color of the hat you put on right before the countdown began—and see if they’ll get it.
24. New Year’s Eve Do or Drink
Like “Truth or Dare,” but boozier. You can always purchase a game of “Do or Drink” online, but why not make your cousins squirm by writing out dares you know they’ll hate? Careful though, they may ask you to literally kiss a frog or down five shots of tequila in return.
25. The Name Game
This one can be a little tricky, so pay attention. How it works: You and your loved ones sit in a circle. The first player will say the name of a famous person and then the next player has to name a celebrity whose first name starts with the first letter of the previous celebrity’s last name. Use famously mononymous celebs such as Cher, Sting or Madonna to raise the stakes.
26. New Year’s "Jeopardy"
No other game brings out the vicious competitor in everyone quite like Jeopardy! And with good reason. Clearing a category in this famed trivia game not only means you’re smart, but it also means you clearly have the potential to go on the show and blow everyone out of the water, you just choose not to, obviously. Keep the competition at home with a downloadable, New Year’s version of the game.
27. New Year’s Name That Tune
End the year on a high note with some holiday music. All you have to do is hum the first notes of a popular New Year’s song (throw in some Christmas tunes in there too) and have your family guess it within 20 seconds. Whoever guesses correctly gets a point and goes up next. To make things really festive, give yourselves permission to fully belt out each correctly guessed tune. (We suggest beginning with Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas to really get the ball rolling.)
28. Cards Against Humanity: Absurd Box
If the last few years could be summed up, absurd would definitely be one of the words. Make it a hilarious evening by playing Cards Against Humanity as the clock creeps towards the New Year. Here’s to another year filled with more laughter and, hopefully, less absurdity.
29. Who’s Most Likely to...?
How well do you know your friends? How well do they know you? Play a few rounds of this game and find out. It’ll be a night full of half-truths, humor, finger pointing and incredulity, guaranteed.
30. Christmas Cornhole
Christmas might be over, but don’t let that stop the kids from indulging in a game of cornhole. Besides, snowmen are far from out of season.