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As a shy guy, I have trouble meeting new people. I don’t consider myself anti-social, but I do prefer to stay home instead of going out. And when I do go out it’s with people I already know, so I don’t get much practice opening up to strangers and building new relationships.
But when I am in such a situation, I’ve found that the best way to break through the ice—especially when it’s a group of people who don’t know each other—is to bust out one of these mobile games.
Here are some of the best icebreaker games that you can play on your phone and carry with you anywhere you go.
1. Heads Up!
Heads Up! is the best. There’s no competition. If there’s only one game that you download on this list, let it be this one—and even though it costs $1 for iPhone users (free for Android), it’s well worth it. Don’t hesitate. Just get it!
Players take turns holding the phone to their forehead so that everyone except the holder can see the screen. The goal is for the player to guess as many of the words that appear as they can before time runs out…
…with everyone else describing the words that come up without saying the word itself. You can play in teams, or just have fun going round robin around the group. Hysterical, fun, and you’ll make memories each time you play.
2. Out of the Loop
Out of the Loop is similar to the board game Spyfall, in which everyone except one person is shown the same secret word.
The game will instruct players to ask each other questions, and the goal of the one who’s left out of the loop is to figure out what the word is, while everyone else needs to figure out who the loner is.
The game works with 3 to 9 players and plays in under 10 minutes. Lots of laughs and lots of replay value.
3. Would You Rather
There are many versions of Would You Rather out there on both mobile platforms, so feel free to pick one of them if these particular ones don’t work well for you.
But the concept is simple: the game presents two choices, and you have to pick one. Play it publicly with a group of people for a great way to spark some interesting discussions—things may go deeper than you expect!
Spaceteam is a game where everyone involved will need to download to their phones. It’s played simultaneously: everyone receives a unique dashboard with technobabble-labelled buttons, with occasional instructions that pop up on the screen.
The twist is, the instructions could be for you, or they could be for someone else—so you have to yell them out.
The best games of Spaceteam devolve into everyone yelling over each other, laughing, trying to figure out who needs to do what before the ship crashes (the premise is that everyone is playing a role in piloting a spacecraft).
5. 5 Second Guess
In 5 Second Guess, players take turns being given 3 things to name (e.g. animals that would be bad as pets, places where people keep their money, etc) and they have 5 seconds to provide satisfactory answers.
Everyone else judges whether the answers are good or not. Whoever racks up the most points wins! In additon to the hilarious answers that are frequently given, it’s just fun to watch people freeze up on super simple questions.
For a game that’s guaranteed to evoke laughs while forcing everyone to let down their guards, Mimics is the one you want.
You’re given a funny pace to imitate, and everyone else needs to guess which picture you’re imitating. Yeah, it’s as silly and funny as it sounds. Try it! You might be surprised how much you like it.
7. Party Starter
Party Starter is great in that it’s a collection of party games, so you always have something else to play if one grows old.
The ones that are good for breaking ice include “Never Have I Ever,” “Explain the Word,” and “A to Z.” They’re light fun, but double as jump-off points for further discussion.