13 Games to Play Without Anything – Games with No Board or Materials Required

Games to Play Without Anything

Remember the good old days where all you had was yourself and the company around you. No distractions, no technology, just a room full of people interacting and talking with one another. Ah those were the good old days. Well, I wanted to bring that feeling back in this article and give you some ideas of games to play with family without anything (no game boards or equipment needed). These games to play without anything are fun little games that you can play with your family or friends at home or anywhere. These games don’t require a board or any other kind of materials.

A lot of these games require some verbal interaction and others require you to get up and move around. In the end, none of these games require you to use any materials or boards to play. We consider these the best games to play with family without anything. We’ll have some other games towards the end that may require some limited materials.

No Materials Board Games

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Games to Play Without Anything

Here is our list of the best games to play with family without anything. No physical materials required! Check them out below…

1. 20 Questions

This classic game of 20 questions is great for any group and requires no materials whatsoever. One person will simply think of something (either a person, place, or thing). The rest of the group will take turns asking yes or no questions in order to try to guess what that person is thinking of.

If the players can not guess what the person has thought of within a total of 20 questions, then they lose and the person who thought of the initial phrase wins!

Remember, the questions can only be answered as “yes” and “no” and you should keep track of how many questions have been asked so that you do not go over 20!

This game can be played solely verbally without any type of board game to guide you. However, if you rather have some type of physical game with cards, then the game …I Should Have Known That would be something to add to your collection!

2. Charades

Charades is a classic game that probably most of you have played before. Who doesn’t love this game?

Charades consists of one (or more) players acting out a phrase without speaking while the other members of your team try to guess what the phrase is. The objective is for your team to guess the phrase as quickly as possible, before time runs out.

So maybe we lied a little, you will probably want to use some pen and paper, as well as a timer on your phone. You should split your family or party into two different teams and each team will individually write phrases on their piece of paper. This paper gets put into a jar for the other team to pick when it is their turn to act out.

Charades is pretty simple, but if you want to learn more, feel free to read through the rules of charades.

Do you like team games? Check out team game night board games to play with friends or family that may require some materials.

3. “I’m Having a Picnic…”

I love breaking out this game at parties or family get togethers. Usually, I am the only one who knows about this game or there are only a few people who are in on it. But don’t worry, you’re about to be in on it too!

Basically, you start off by saying “I’m having a picnic and I’m bringing…” and then you say an item that starts with the first letter of your first name. Since my name is Hillary, I would say something like, “I’m having a picnic and I’m bringing hamburgers.” Then I would go on to say “What are you bringing?” to everyone else in the room.

Now they must say an item that begins with the first letter of THEIR name. If they say something that does not qualify, then you say “Sorry, you can’t come!” If they say something that DOES start with the first letter of their first name, then you say “Great, you can come to the picnic!”

Once everyone says his or her item and you tell them that they either can’t come or that they can come, then you begin another round with stating another item that YOU are bringing. Then ask everyone again what they are bringing.

Sounds silly, but it’s actually a lot of fun! You keep this going until people eventually catch on that they must say an item with the first letter of their first name. Watch as your friends get frustrated and keep saying the wrong thing until they eventually catch on (or don’t). It’s hilarious!

4. Telephone

The game of telephone will never get old. It is a game that I have played at many sleepovers when I was younger, over and over again. It can turn out to be hilarious and disappointing all at the same time!

Choose someone to start and line up next to each other (preferably with a little space in between each person). The first person chooses a sentence to say in their head, and then whispers that phrase to the person next to them. Then that person who just got the phrase whispered in their ear whispers it to the next person. Are you keeping up?

This continues until the phrase reaches the final person in line. This person then blurts out the original phrase, or a mangled version of the original phrase, and then sees if they are correct by having the first person restate what they originally said.

See if your friends or family mangled the original sentence as it was passed along person by person. The outcome is usually hilarious and you will probably be pissed off to know that your friends family members are terrible listeners!

Games to Play Without Anything - Family

5. The Floor is Lava

This is a fun one. Your can play The Floor is Lava game at home without anything. All you have to do is yell “The Floor is Lava” and everyone has 5 seconds to get both feet off of the ground in any way possible (such as standing on a chair or climbing on a table). If they do not succeed within 5 seconds, then they lose and succumb to the boiling hot lava, that is the floor.

This game can just be a spontaneous, one time game, or you can play multiple rounds by manipulating the objects in your room. For example, putting a pillow cushion in a certain spot of the room or flipping a table at a weird angle. Place items far apart and add in an aspect that once everyone gets off the ground, they need to escape and exit the room through a specific doorway.

You can play The Floor is Lava with the way your room is setup or add in some objects for more fun. Yes, we know that this strays a little from games to play without anything, but we couldn’t help it! This game is great for kids, just be careful when they climb on things, we don’t want anyone getting hurt!

6. Two Truths & A Lie

Now this is a simple, fun little game that you can play anywhere and without anything except your voice. The gist of the game is that one person comes up with three things about themself. Two of the things are true, and one is a lie. The other players must guess which one is the lie!

This game is a great way to get to know someone better and can be played over and over again. If you don’t want to do truths or lies about yourself, then make things up about things you know.

So for example, if I was playing, my three prompts would be something like:

  • I own a blog called Game Night Gods
  • I’ve been to 5 different countries
  • My left hand is bigger than my right hand

Can you guess which one is false? Well if you know me, then you know that I barely travel and would be lucky if I even left my state of New York. So the lie would be that “I’ve been to 5 different countries.” The other two are true. Yes, one of my hands is bigger than the other. Don’t make fun!

7. Never Have I Ever

Here is another verbal game that is similar to two truths and a lie. All you need is your voice and your fingers. Here’s how to play Never Have I Ever….

Players start by holding up ten fingers. So this would be both hands (obviously). Choose a player to start and they begin by declaring “Never Have I Ever…,” admitting to something they HAVE NOT done. So for example, “never have I ever been sky diving.” Players who have done this thing will then put down a single finger.

Once everyone has either kept their finger up, or put a finger down, play passes to the left, and the next person states something they have not done. Players who have put down all their fingers lose and are out for the remainder of the game. The last person who is left with any fingers up, wins!

This is a great game to play with family, but if you are 21 years or older, spice up the game a little by adding in some drinks. If players have done the thing called out, then they must have a sip of there drink. If no one puts their finger down or has taken a drink, then the player who called the Never Have I Ever must drink. Please drink responsibly!

8. Hide & Seek

I know what you are thinking… hide and seek!? Isn’t this game for kids? Well for us adults who are young at heart and for those who have kids in the family, this game never gets old.

Choose a worthy person to begin and gather around. Have that person count down from 50 and as soon as the count starts, everyone must scramble and find a hiding spot. You can play either indoors or outside.

After the count gets to 0, the person who was counting must now walk (or run) around and find everyone. The first person to be found loses and must be the counter next round. See if everyone can be found.

Ok, am I really explaining Hide & Seek right now? You know what to do! Get to hiding!

Games to play without anything

9. Man Hunt

Similar to Hide & Seek, man hunt is another great game to play without anything but yourself, especially outside in the dark!

The rules of Manhunt are simple. Just think of it as Hide and Seek, but in reverse. Basically a single person or a small group hides while everyone else looks for them. We like to call the people that hide the “fugitives.” If you are playing with kids, then group them with an adult so they do not get lost (we’ve had that happen before, it wasn’t fun).

The game goes on until all the hiders have been found by the seekers. The last hider to be found gets to pick the hider(s) for the next round. Just think of someone on the run (the hider) and the seekers are the cops trying to catch them. How fun!

10. Would You Rather

I remember having sleepovers when I was younger and playing “Would You Rather” for hours on end. Would You Rather is a great game for creative minds and could spark a lot of thought provoking conversations.

The rules are simple, one person asks the group a “Would you rather” question that is made up by them. The group has to pick between the two things.

So for example, a question would be… Would you rather have more time or more money? I would probably answer more time, because money can’t buy happiness!

It’s interesting to see how everyone answers each question and find out their thoughts on each one. Continue taking turns asking questions and answering them until everyone gets bored.

11. Red Light, Green Light, 1 2 3

I had to add this game to the list. It is just the perfect game that brings me back to my childhood. It’s fun to play as an adult or with kids and reminisce and be silly with friends or family members.

To play Red Light, Green Light, 1 2 3, one person is chosen to be the traffic light (bear with me) and he/she stands a good distance away from the other players with his or her back to all of the other players. The other players stand in a line facing the person who is considered the traffic light.

When the person who is the traffic light says the word ‘Green Light,’ the other players move forward until he/her spins around, calling ‘Red Light’. If the person catches anyone moving as they spin around, then that person is out! Don’t get caught red handed! The final person remaining who didn’t get caught during the game, wins!

Playing games with family

Games to Play With Family Without Anything – Only Light Materials

I wanted to add a little section for games to play with family without anything that only involves some very light materials, such as pen and paper. Mostly every family or friend’s group should have some paper and a pen lying around.

Some of these games might include just needing a deck of cards. A standard 52 deck cards box can be purchased at most stores online or the dollar store. You can play a ton of games with just a standard deck of cards. We will list some of our favorites below!

12. Mafia

If you are looking for a fun and energetic game for a large group of people, then this is the perfect game. We have had so much fun playing numerous rounds of this game that resulted in a lot of playful arguments and people talking over each-other.

All you will need for this game is the initial setup, which includes some paper and a pen.

Everyone has a secret role and the villagers must work together to identify the mafia and execute them! The Mafia must lie and pretend that they are part of the villager group so they do not get executed.

You can play this game by creating roles by looking up a guide online, but we will go over the most important aspects here too. The roles that are most commonly used and that we recommend are mafia, villagers, the doctor, and the detective. You will also need one person to be the narrator and in control of the game.

To setup, write each role on a piece of paper and crumple it up and put in either a hat or cup. Depending on the size of your group, you may want to have either 2 or 3 mafia, 1 doctor, 1 detective, and everyone else will be villagers. Make sure there are less mafia members than villagers.

Have everyone pick from the cup their role and keep it a secret from other players. Each person will have only one role per game.

How to Play: One person will be the chosen moderator and will have to keep track of what happens during the day and night. Everyone chooses a card (role) at the beginning of the game and keeps their role to themselves. They must not tell anyone their role.

These roles will be a doctor, villager, mafia, or detective. A role may have a specific duty that they can perform during the night in order to narrow down the mafia players. After each night, the players have the decision to reveal what they found out during the night and discuss with other players so that they can help each other narrow down who the mafia players are and ultimately execute them.

Everyone will close their eyes for night one and the moderator will guide the players through the night. First, the mafia will open their eyes and decide to kill one player. Next, the doctor will open his or her eyes and tell the moderator which player they would like to protect/save. If they choose the player the mafia wanted to kill, then that person gets to live another day. Lastly, the detective gets to wake up and investigate one player. The moderator will tell this player if the person being investigated is either good (a villager or detective) or bad (a mafia member). The rest of the players who are villagers have no special actions during nighttime.

After each night, the moderator will tell everyone to wake up and open their eyes. If someone was killed, then the moderator will inform the players and the slayed person is a ghost and cannot participate in discussion for the rest of the game. Players can draw conclusions and vote other players out during the day.

If the villagers can successfully execute all mafia players, they win! If the mafia players execute all the villagers by lying and outplaying the villagers, then they win!

13. Cards Games with a Standard Deck of Cards

These are card games that you can play with just any old deck of cards. This is your standard 52 deck of cards that we all know and love. Most of these games are considered “classics” that span back hundreds of years.

Here are our favorite classic card games with a deck of cards:

  • Rummy
  • Go Fish
  • War
  • Old Maid
  • Bullshit
  • Slapjack
  • Crazy Eights
  • Twenty One (Blackjack)
  • Knockout Whist
  • Poker (Texas Hold’Em)
  • Solitaire
  • Bridge

You can easily learn these games by searching “how to” guides online. We love to always carry a standard deck of cards with us anywhere we go so that we can play any of these classic card games when we find ourselves in situations of boredom or games to play with family without anything (except a deck of cards).

Click here to get a classic deck of cards to start playing these awesome card games!

Games with No Board or Materials Required

This was a fun little post I wanted to put together for people looking to play games without anything, no board or materials required. I know that a lot of these are mostly “kids” games, but you will find that they are actually fun to play as an adult if you have kids in the family.

Whip out these games at your next family get together or hangout with your friends. You will be sure to share some nice laughs and have a ton of fun. The best part is that you don’t have to come prepared, just make sure you know the rules of each game and you are good to go!

Happy gaming!


Hillary is a 28 year old board game enthusiast from New York who specializes in hosting game nights.

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