If you are hanging out with your friends, and you find yourself getting bored, then you are missing out on the fun of spending time together. Try playing a game to add some fun. With friends around, there are countless games you could play that wouldn't be nearly as enjoyable alone. It's simply a matter of what you all like to do and what options are readily available.
Big Two is an Asian card game for two to four players. You play with an ordinary deck of cards, with the jokers removed. Big Two is highly strategic, which makes it fun to play over the long term, but it has enough of an element of chance that weaker players will still enjoy the occasional victory.
Deal out the entire deck evenly to the players. (If you're playing the two-player version, deal the deck three ways, and set the third pile and the extra card aside.) Players keep their cards a secret. The person with the lowest card, the three of clubs, plays first. He can discard a single card, a pair, a three-of-a-kind or any legal five-card poker hand. The next person can either pass or play. If playing, she must play an equivalent number of cards (one, two, three or five) and must play a higher version of that combination. For instance, a 7 beats a 3, a higher straight beats a lower one and any flush beats any straight. When somebody plays and everybody else passes, that person gets “control” and can restart the sequence by putting down any legal combination. The first person to discard his entire hand wins.
The game takes its name from the fact that the deuces, long stuck at the bottom of the ladder, are the highest-ranking cards in this game, ranking above the aces. The single highest card is the two of diamonds, followed by hearts, spades, and clubs, respectively. Holding the “Big Two” is a powerful advantage. Note that there are many different variations on the rules of Big Two, and some people rank the suits differently.
Charades has the advantage of requiring no equipment at all. It's a game where everyone can participate in at once, and it's an abundant source of amusement and humor. The point of charades is to act out a word or phrase, such as “United States of America,” using only body language. You can't speak at all, and you can't write or draw specific words. Your friends, meanwhile, have to try and interpret your gesticulations correctly. The first person to guess the phrase correctly gets to decide who will go next. Alternatively, each person can alternate turns in a regular pattern. If nobody guesses correctly, the person doing the acting can either take another turn, with a new phrase, or choose somebody else to go.
This friendly competition has the advantage of an edible outcome. If you and your friends have access to food and even the most rudimentary cooking facilities, you can each set off to prepare a dish. You can set whatever rules you want, such as specific ingredient limitations, time limits, budget limits or anything else. When you prepare all the dishes, you get to eat the results and choose the winning dish.
Josh Fredman is a freelance pen-for-hire and Web developer living in Seattle. He attended the University of Washington, studying engineering, and worked in logistics, health care and newspapers before deciding to go to work for himself.