We are always on the lookout for bookish fun and never need an excuse for a literary evening. Having a love for all things literary doesn’t mean you have to spend nights reading or debating the latest novel — it’s also about having fun and trying new things.
At Once Upon a Book Club, we are crazy about everything bookish, and games are no different. There are so many fantastic bookish board games out there, but we also love to play some of those old favorites!
Here are our top 5 fun games for book lovers. These are great to play with your family and friends and will give you a night of fun and laughter. We love playing some of these at our book club meetings — they just add an extra bit of sparkle!
Bookish Game Number 1 — The Book Blurb Game
This one is so much fun and seriously gets everyone’s brains working overtime. All you need is a pile of books (crime and romance make excellent candidates), some pens and paper, and a lot of creativity.
How to play:
The first team member picks a book and reads the blurb from the back.
The other players must now try to write the novel's first sentence. While each person is coming up with their attempt, the first player writes down the original first sentence.
When everyone has completed their sentences, they hand them back to the first player, who reads each one out loud.
The objective is for the remaining players to decide which one is the real sentence. Points are easy—1 point if your fake sentence is chosen as the real one and 2 points if you pick the original sentence.
The game is finished when everyone has had a turn reading a blurb.
Bookish Game Number 2 — Dictionary Bluff
This is another firm favorite and perfect for those fellow vocab lovers. This isn’t necessarily about how vast your vocabulary is but rather about how quickly you can think on your feet. Simply grab a dictionary, pens and paper, and put on your thinking cap!
How to play:
The first team member chooses any word from the dictionary—the more obscure, the better—and writes out the definition, along with two of their own.
Now it’s time to put on your poker face and read all three possible definitions aloud.
The rest of the players need to choose the correct one. Scoring is as follows—1 point for anyone spotting the real definition and 2 points if your fake one is voted the winner.
Bookish Game Number 3 — Guess Who!
This one will definitely test your bookish knowledge! How well do you know the characters and authors your friends and family love? For this game, all you need is some pens and paper and a container—a black top hat would add that extra bit of drama!
How to play:
This game works best with 6-10 players, which are divided into two teams and your teams don’t necessarily even need to be even!. Each team member is given 5 pieces of paper on which they need to write down one person on each piece. They can be authors or characters from any of your favorite books.
Fold the pieces of paper and place all of them into your chosen container—hats, bowls or fabulous book boxes all work well.
Each team member then has a turn to pick a piece of paper and, as quickly as possible, describe the name on the paper. Just remember, you can’t use any words from the name or title in your description! As soon as the rest of the team has correctly guessed who they’re talking about, they can grab another piece of paper and continue until 1 minute is up.
Teams receive 1 point per correct guess in each round. When the minute is up, it’s the next team’s turn. The winning team is the one with the most points after all the pieces of paper have been read.
Bookish Game Number 4 — Book Bingo
Book Bingo is a brilliant way to challenge your family, friends or fellow book club members. The options and variations are endless, and that’s why we love it. No book bingo game is ever the same, and you can tailor it to your needs!
How to play:
You will first need to create your own special Book Bingo card. These cards are usually 5 x 5 grids, and each block contains your challenge. If you’re looking for inspiration, you may want to try our Secrets of the Sea book bingo card.
We love this part—filling the boxes with fun challenges! Let your imagination run wild and get out of your comfort zone. This is a great challenge for a book club—you can push yourself to try new genres and authors. For families, you can include a number of pages or books to read or even add fun things like listening to an audiobook or watching a film adaptation.
Next up is deciding on the time frame, and that all depends on your challenges. Why not come up with a 2024 challenge? We would love to see all of your book bingo cards. And as for deciding on the winner—it’s whoever finishes their card first!
Bookish Game Number 5 — Book Title Pictionary!
Before you start panicking over your artistic talents—remember this is just like Pictionary and stick figures, doodles, and symbols are most welcome! If you love Pictionary, then you are going to love this version with its bookish twist. Instead of drawing words, you will be drawing book titles.
How to play:
Write down as many titles from books as you can think of—if you need some inspiration, have a look at some of our past book boxes! Fold the pieces of paper in half and place them in a bowl.
Divide your group into 2 teams, and let the games begin! One person from the first team picks a piece of paper and tries to draw the book title on a large piece of paper or a whiteboard. Whiteboards are so much fun as everyone can watch and sometimes, you will look back and be astounded that your team guessed the title from your doodles.
Each team has a minute or two to guess the book title, it's up to you, but we have found more than 2 minutes is far too long. Now, it's the second team’s turn. Teams score a point for correctly guessing the title, and whichever team has the most points at the end is the winner.
Whoever said bookworms were boring doesn’t know anything! We know how to get down and have lots of fun. Bookish games are the ultimate way to celebrate all the good things in life, like fun, friendships, food, and all things literary.
We can’t wait to hear about your favorites! Whether you opt for the Book Blurb Game, Dictionary Bluff, Guess Who, Book Bingo, or Book Title Pictionary, we know you will have a blast.
Wishing you all lots of fun-filled game nights! Happy reading!