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Top 8 tabletop games that will ruin your friendships

Top 8 tabletop games that will ruin your friendships
PHOTO: Unsplash

Board games have always been an essential aspect of a social group to bond over and enjoy but if you’ve ever played a round of any board game, from classics such as Monopoly, Risk or Catan, to even simple ones such as Uno, the truth is that board game life can easily be filled with competition, and if you have to learn the hard way – som tabletop games can potentially destroy relationships. 

Nevertheless, even with such a crucial factor on the line, we continue to still play the game because sometimes winning just feels good.

Therefore, all in the name of harmless fun, despite having relationships face impending doom, here are our top picks of tabletop games to play if you want to betray, exploit and deceive your friends for your own personal victory. Additionally, if we have missed out on any good picks, don’t hesitate to let us know as well.

1. Coup US$6.99 (S$9.44)

The objective of this game is to be the last man standing. Coup makes use of your ability to manipulate and bluff to eventually win the game. The 15 card deck consists of three copies of five different characters of which hold unique influences and abilities that will give you a potential advantage to lead the game.

Each player is randomly given two character cards at the beginning along with two coins. As the game progresses, each participant will have to be observant of how their counterparts act during the game.

If players sense something amiss during another player’s turn, they can call bluff on their influence, forcing them to reveal their character. If the suspected player is caught bluffing, they will lose one influence but if they are telling the truth, they are able to exchange their character for another and the person who called bluff will lose theirs instead.

Here is a list of what players can do during their turn:

Character Action Effect Counteraction
Income Take 1 Coin
Foreign Aid Take 2 Coins
Coup Pay 7 coins for a player to lose influence
Duke Tax Take 3 coins Blocks Foreign Aid
Assassin Assassinate Pay 3 coins for a player to lose influence
Ambassador Exchange Exchange Cards with Court Deck Blocks Stealing
Captain Steal Take 2 coins from another player Blocks Stealing
Contessa Blocks Assassination

2. Donner Dinner Party (US$18.73)

Donner Dinner Party is a fast-paced game of social deduction that involves manipulation and tests your ability to figure out if your friends are lying, or be able to put your deceiving face into action.

Players will be given character cards randomly which depicts whether they are a pioneer or a cannibal, the latter being the antagonist in the game. Additionally, each player is also equipped with equipment that comes in handy to help you survive being eaten – unless of course, you’re a cannibal, in which case you might want to play dumb about what you have.

Every round consists of players going hunting, led by the appointed camp leader for that specific round. Players will contribute food to the table from their deck to feed the number of campers during that round. If the food is not able to feed everyone, one player will be eliminated. Cannibals will try to thwart the efforts made by the pioneers since they prefer having a taste of human flesh rather than the food offered.

In the end, if the number of cannibals equals or are more than the number of pioneers, the cannibals win and if the pioneers survive seven rounds, they win instead.

3. Munchkin (US$22.49)

Based on the cliches and oddities of Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) and other role-playing games, Munchkin is a game that makes use of strategic acts to reach the top level first to win.

Players can acquire D&D style character classes during the game which determines to some extent the cards that each participant can play. Each player starts at level one and for them to win, they first have to reach level 10 the fastest.

There are two decks of cards on the board – treasure and encounters. Each turn, players ‘kick down a door’ by drawing an encounter card, which usually involves battling a monster. Monsters have their own levels and players must try to overcome them by using the levels, weapons and powers that they have acquired along the way.

Other players can help choose to help the player defeat the monster or hinder them by adding extra monsters to the encounter. Defeating a monster will result in drawing a treasure card and acquiring a level, but losing to a monster would usually involve losing levels and treasure.

4. One Night Ultimate Werewolf (US$11.09)

If you’re looking for a quick game to play with friends, One Night Ultimate Werewolf is perfect for that. Approximately 10 minutes playing time, with up to 10 players, this game might be short but it is still fun and engaging.

Players will be receiving a random role – the wicked Werewolf, tricky Troublemaker, helpful Seer or one of the other dozen characters that hold a special ability that will help one another’s survival.

In the course of one round, players have the opportunity to use their talents to avoid getting eaten by the wolf and once the round ends, the village will have to decide who the Werewolf is. Rounds will continue once the Wolf is discovered or once the villagers are eliminated.

Due to its fast pace, players will want to keep playing, but do be wary once discussions get heated as that might lead to an unexpected friendship strain.

ALSO READ: Top 10 family-friendly board games to get your holiday season started in Singapore

5. Quoridor (US$34.29)

Quoridor is an abstract strategy game. Surprisingly, despite having simple rules, it is a game that requires top-notch analysis to strategically win against your opponent. The objective of the game is to advance your pawn to the opposite of the board all while trying to obstruct the other players from doing the same.

On each player’s turn, they may either move their pawn to the tile around them or place a wall to obstruct their opponents. The wall placements are a good way to hinder them, but not to completely block them off. 

With all players striving to block each other from their goal of absolute victory, this is certainly a game that will result in ruined relationships.

6. Risk (US$12.66)

One of the more popular games on this list, Risk is a war game with the goal of conquering the world. This specific board game has spawned different themed editions such as Star Wars, Game of Thronesand even Halo. Yet, with all the variations, the game play remains the same.

Each player’s turn consists of adding reinforcements through territories held, attacking other players by comparing the highest dice rolled and/or move a group of armies to another adjacent territory of yours. Players are only given three moves per turn hence, they may choose to act according to their desire.

It is a simple and direct game to play but it does more damage to friendships than what we all expect. Nevertheless, it is a RISK worth taking if it means victory.

7. Secret Hitler (US$62.81)

If you are a big fan of political and historical board games, Secret Hitler is the game to get your hands on. It is dramatic and includes numerous betrayals, although much less sinister than the actual historical events, it is still a game that can have players turn their backs away from you.

Each player is randomly and secretly assigned to be either part of the liberal party or the fascist party, and one specific player to be the Secret Hitler.

The fascists will coordinate to sow distrust amongst the whole group and potentially install their cold-blooded leader for the ruling. The liberals must find and stop the Secret Hitler and the fascists from succeeding to win the game.

In the beginning, players will close their eyes and the fascists will have to reveal themselves to one another. Additionally, Secret Hitler, with his eyes closed, will give a thumbs up during the reveal for his party to know their leader. The fascists learn who Hitler is, but Hitler does not know his followers are. As for the liberals, they do not know who anyone is.

For each round, players elect a President and Chancellor who’ll work together to enact a law from a random deck of laws that the players have given. For liberals to win, they will have to pass five liberal policies or assassinate Secret Hitler. The fascist team on the other hand will have to pass six fascist policies or elect Secret Hitler as Chancellor after three fascist policies have passed.

This game will definitely cause a barrier between friends who are of different parties with the bluffing and manipulation that happens. Nevertheless, it is a party game that involves humour, which all board games result in.

8. UNO (US$9.99)

When it comes to ruining friendships, the classic game of UNO reigns it all. Played with either a small group of twos to a big group of 10, this game will certainly make or break every social group. 

Players are dealt with random UNO cards and each one will have to race to empty their hands all while thwarting other players’ chance to win against you.

In turns, players attempt to play a card by matching its colour, number or word to the topmost card found on the discard pile. If a player is unable to place down a card, they may draw one from the draw pile and if still unable to do so, they will have to pass their turn. 


To spice things up and to raise the possibility of a fight, UNO is filled with Wild and special cards that get everyone riled up when playing against each other. This ensures a fun session filled with tension and potentially leads to long-held grudges in the future

Furthermore, with UNO celebrating its 50-year milestone, Mattel has gone full out to commemorate that spirit of inclusiveness and competitive fun. The American toy company will be releasing a list of new UNO Anniversary sets that introduce new twists on game play, as well as a fresh logo and tagline.

And that’s it for our list of tabletop games that will ensure a ruined friendship. Whilst we may (or may not) be joking about ruining friendships, this list is in no way a reason to purposely break off your friendships. Instead, a way for your group of friends and family to build stronger ties with one another.

This article was first published in Geek Culture.

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