15 Best Games to Play With Your Cousins


games to play with cousing

There’s nothing quite like a reunion with cousins. They are like your best friends, but they are better because they’re family. You grow up together, but you still have a great time every time you see each other. What better way to pass the time than by playing games? Here’s a list of my favorite games to play with cousins; some of them are drinking games, and some are a bit more tame for the younger ones. 

1. EXPLODING KITTENS

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Exploding Kittens is one of my absolute favorite games. It is like a game of Russian roulette, except with exploding kittens! Don’t worry, it’s much more fun than it sounds.

HOW TO PLAY

The game is simple: draw your cards, aim, and avoid the occasional exploding kitten. Throughout the game, you pick action cards and plan how to betray your friends and family.

Playing this fast-paced card game is the most excellent way to learn about it, but watch out for those exploding kittens in every deck!

2. CODENAMES

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CGE Czech Games Edition Codenames Boardgame
  • Work together to contact all of your agents before the other team
  • A perfect party game experience for game nights
  • 2-8+ player (in two teams)

Everybody has that one cousin with whom they have an almost psychic connection. Codenames is the perfect game to play with them.

HOW TO PLAY

Codenames is a word association game that you play in teams. There is a red and a blue team, and each team chooses one spymaster. You then set up a 5×5 grid of random words, and the spymaster has to get his teammates to guess the words by giving a one-word clue and one number that tells his teammates how many words refer to the clue.

Your teammates can now debate and decide which words they want to choose. It’s a super great game because if you know your cousins well, then it will be much easier to know how their minds will associate certain clues. 

3. CARCASSONNE

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Carcassonne is a really fun tile placement game. I love this one because it takes a bit longer to play, and there’s much more strategy involved. There are no teams in this game, so you and your cousins will have to battle it out on the board!

HOW TO PLAY

In Carcassonne, each player will get small tiles that have either roads, monasteries, paths, or cities on them. Then, you use those tiles on your turn to create a game board, connecting your tiles to the ones already on the board. Finally, you take your little pieces and place them on certain parts of the board, which will, in turn, earn you points. The player with the highest points at the end wins. The game is much more complex than this, and you will have such a great time trying to outwit your cousins! 

4. RUMMY

How to play Rummy

Rummy is one of my favorite card games. It’s been around so long and has evolved into so many different versions, but I just love the classic version the best. The best part is that all you need are some decks of cards in order to play this with your family.

HOW TO PLAY

Hand each cousin five to seven cards, depending on the number of players. Then, you each take turns drawing a card, creating a meld, and then discarding it. You can then lay off your cards onto other players’ melds, and the goal is to get rid of all your cards. The game is super fun, and you can easily adapt it by playing any rummy game variations.

5. CARDS AGAINST HUMANITY

Cards Against Humanity
  • A party game for horrible people.
  • Comes with 500 white cards and 100 black cards for eternal replayability.
  • Includes a booklet of sensible game rules and preposterous alternate rules.

All right, now this one is a game made more for the older cousins in the family. It’s so much fun to play with family because you already know the type of humor your cousins like, so you can be at an advantage with your cards.

HOW TO PLAY

Cards Against Humanity is one of the most popular games out there. Each player gets 10 black cards with random words and phrases, and some are quite silly, while others are pretty nasty. The first player has to draw a random white card that will have a fill-in-the-blank sentence on it. They are the card czar.

Now, each player chooses a black card from their deck that they think is the funniest or craziest response. All the players place their cards face down on the table, and the card czar chooses which card they think is funniest. Whoever played that card wins the white card. The person who collects the most cards wins the game.

6. TIMES UP

R and R Games Time's Up
  • The hottest party game just got hotter!
  • Minutes to learn, Easy to Play in Groups. For 3+
  • Winner of over 20 awards including Mensa select and game of the year

Time’s Up is probably one of my favorite games of all time. It’s like a combination of charades and a word association game. It’s a game that will definitely have you in tears from laughing so hard.

HOW TO PLAY

In Time’s Up, you play in teams of two or three. Then, one person from one team will stand up and begin drawing cards. They have one minute to get their teammates to guess what is on the card; it could be a person or a phrase. The team keeps the cards they got correct, and the next team goes until all the cards have been guessed.

The next two rounds are the best part. You use the same cards, but in round two, the player drawing can only use one word to make his team guess. Go again till all the cards have been used. Then, in round three, You can’t talk; you can only mime to get your team to guess the card! If somebody doesn’t spit out their drink during this game, then you are not playing correctly!

7. TICHU

Abacus 08092 – Tichu PocketBox
  • Modern Classic with a cult status
  • Excellent partner game for 4 players
  • Elegant Metal Box for space-saving storage

Tichu is another fun game I had to add to the list. You play in teams and attempt to get the high score of 1000 points. This is especially fun because you get to choose your favorite cousin to be your partner.

HOW TO PLAY

If you’ve played Rook or other trick-taking partner card games, Tichu will be straightforward. Four unique cards—the mahjong, dog, phoenix, and dragon—join the standard 2–Ace deck. In addition to these cards, Tichu’s mix of card-playing (players can play complete houses, straights, and other combinations) and strategy makes it unique (before rounds, players have to trade cards with partners and opponents as a mandatory step).

Tichu’s simple mechanics and clever trick-taking rule changes make it one of the best classic card games.

8. EVERDELL

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  • - Simple to learn gameplay with satisfying depth
  • - Dynamic tableau building and worker placement
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Card games are fun, but visual learners may find them challenging because most of the action occurs between the cards. Everdell, is one of the best mixed-mechanic games, combines cards and a central board. It’s sure to keep you and your cousins occupied.

HOW TO PLAY

Everdell uses tableau-building and meeple placement on a central board. You start with a few resources and workers and slowly expand to gather more resources. You also build structures using wood, stone, and resin and recruit woodland inhabitants with berries, it’s a strategic but charming game.

9. UNO

Mattel Games UNO Card Game for Family Night,...
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Everybody has played Uno at one point in their lives. It’s one of those games that can make or break a friendship. Luckily, you’re playing with family, so you’re stuck with them no matter how many cards they make you draw!

HOW TO PLAY

Uno is a shedding game. Each player gets seven cards, and then the rest of the cards make up the draw pile. Now, the first player flips the top card to start the game. Each player takes turns laying down cards of the same color or number, and if they can’t, then they draw a card. 

The goal of the game is to get rid of all your cards, but the best part about this game is all the action cards. You can play an action card that makes the next player skip their turn, draw up to 4 cards, or even reverse the turn order. This is such a great game to play, and it will definitely bring out your competitive spirit.

10. RISK

Risk Board Game, Strategy Games for 2-5 Players,...
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  • Includes gameboard, armies with 4 Infantry, 12 Cavalry, and 8 Artillery each,...
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If you and your family want to play a much more complex game, then I would suggest Risk. I recently learned how to play this, and I can’t wait to bust it out at the next family reunion. 

HOW TO PLAY

Risk is a game for those in the family that ever dreamed of taking over the world. Each player starts out with a small army in different territories on a world map. You take turns deciding where to place your armies. Then, on your turn, you can also choose to attack another player’s territory. You battle them with the roll of a dice that determines the winner of the battle. Finally, in the last part of your turn, you can move troops around the board to help fortify your territories. This game can last quite a long time, but it is so much fun.

11. MONOPOLY

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Monopoly is another classic game that can make or break friendships. There are many different variations of this game now, each with its own fun board. However, it’s very hard to beat the classic version.

HOW TO PLAY

Monopoly is a board game where each player takes turns rolling a dice, moving their player, and buying the property they land on. Once you own a property, you collect rent from other players when they land on your property. It’s a great mix of negotiation, strategy, and risk management. In order to win, you have to bankrupt the other players, which can make them quite angry. But we must remember it is all in good fun.

12. JENGA

Hasbro Gaming Jenga Wooden Blocks Stacking...
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Jenga is a game you want to play with the least coordinated cousins in order to give you the best chance. It’s a quick game that you can set up and replay quickly, so it’s perfect to get the fun game day started.

HOW TO PLAY

In Jenga, you set up the Jenga tower by laying sets of three wooden pieces in a crisscross pattern. Each player then has to choose one block from the tower to remove and place back on the top without knocking it over. There are fun variations you can play, such as adding dares to each piece. The player who knocks over the tower loses. 

13. BEER PONG

BEER PONG

Alright, now we’re getting to the drinking games. Obviously, this is for the older cousins in the family. Beer pong is one of the most classic drinking games, and it is quite easy to set up.

HOW TO PLAY

To play beer pong, you need a minimum of two players, but you can play in teams of two. Players place cups of beer in a pyramid pattern on opposite sides of a table. Then, the teams take turns trying to land a ping pong ball into an opponent’s cup. If they make it in your cup, you must drink the beer and remove the cup.

The goal is to get rid of all the other team’s cups. There are so many different rule variations that make the game more interesting. This is a must-play during your next reunion.

14. CHANDELIER

Chandelier

Chandelier is another great drinking game to play with family. It requires only cups and ping pong balls, so you can get it set up quickly. Warning: You will be competitive in this game.

HOW TO PLAY

To set up the chandelier, get a cup and fill it completely with beer. This cup should be elevated from the table with an upside-down bowl cup underneath it. Then, each player fills up a cup a third of the way with a drink of their choice. Now, you place your cups around the center cup in a circle. 

The setup is done; now it’s time to play. There are two ping pong balls, and players take turns bouncing the ball into other player’s cups. If the ball lands in your cup, you must finish it and refill it. If the ball lands in the center cup, then all the players finish their drinks and must flip their cups. The last player to flip their cup has to chug the center cup.

15. FLIP CUP

Flip Cup rules

You’ll feel like you are back at a college party when playing this game! Flip cup is an even simpler drinking game because all you need are cups and booze. A flat surface will be helpful, too. This is a great game to get everyone warmed up for a fun day of games.

HOW TO PLAY

You play flip-cup in equal teams of preferably four or more people. Players must stand across a table from their opponents. Each player fills up their cup with a drink and sets it in front of them.

Now, the first player from each team starts. They must chug their drink and flip their cup from the right side up to the upside down. Once they have successfully flipped their cup, then the next player in line can continue and do the same. The winning team is the first team to finish and successfully flip their cups.

This game gets super competitive because you can’t actually take your turn until the player before you has flipped their cup!

ENJOY YOUR COUSINS GAME NIGHT!

Cousins’ reunions are incredibly precious. Those are the moments when the best memories are made. With the love and chatter, embellish the “meet-up” with these fun games, and you’re all set for a fun reunion. Head over to our list of the best family board games for more recommendations.

Alan Lemus
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