How to entertain your guests can always be a worry. One way of handling that is by putting a party game on the TV! Whereas before, people often used Board Games to entertain the entire room at a party, we now have the ability to use video games to do much the same!

So here are a few games that are available on Steam that we picked out that should work great on the Steam Deck. Do bear in mind that these games require the Steam Deck to be docked and connected to a TV so everyone can see! Getting the Official Steam Deck Dock or a 3rd-party like a JSAUX Dock (affiliate link) is a good choice.

The Jackbox Party Packs - A Collection of Variety Party Games

  • Price: Varies between $24.99 and $34.99 when not on sale.
  • Players: Most games in the packs support 3-8 Players. Some support up to 6.
  • Skill Level: Most games are true party games, and don't require "video game" skill/experience.
  • Control Method: Each player uses a smartphone or other device with a web browser to play.

The Jackbox Party Packs are a well-known series of party games available on a wide variety of platforms. Each "Pack" contains a few minigames, usually 5 or so. Although they vary in quality, there are usually at least 2 or 3 solid games in each pack. The games often go on sale on Steam, so it's worth checking them out whenever a Steam sale is running.

You control Jackbox games using your phone, and the Steam Deck will just display information to all players. So as long as everyone has a phone or other device with a web browser, you're all set!

Given the type of games that these are, they're also suitable for non-gamers in the family.

Pummel Party - Mario Party for an Older Audience

  • Price: $14.99 when not on sale.
  • Players: 4-8 Players, although AI bots can be added to fill empty slots if you have less than 4.
  • Skill Level: Plays similar to Mario Party with minigames, a fair amount of skill is required.
  • Control Method: Players use gamepads to play.

Pummel Party is like Mario Party but for an older audience. It plays in a very similar manner, where 4-8 players traverse a board in the game world, collecting currency, and using that currency to purchase game-winning tokens. Periodically, everyone will play a minigame where they face off against each other in order to earn currency.

Each player requires their own gamepad, and the level of skill involved means that anyone playing should be a "gamer" as it were, or at least have a reasonable amount of experience with video games.

Electronic Versions of Existing Board Games

This one is a bit of a "gimmie", but playing an electronic version of a pre-existing board game can be a great choice. Having a computer handle all the rules for you can eliminate some confusion for newer players in learning a game, and it also speeds up play. Unfortunately, the quality of games like these tends to vary greatly, so here are a few that we've picked out that we think will work just fine for you!

Carcassonne - Tiles & Tactics - Strategic Infrastructure Planning

  • Price: $9.99 when not on sale, optional DLC adds a good amount of variety to games.
  • Players: 2-6, AI can fill in slots also
  • Skill Level: Carcassonne is a fairly strategic board game, requiring forward planning. Not many video-game-specific skills are required.
  • Control Method: 1 Gamepad, Passed between players. The game has no controller support, so enable Steam Input to emulate a mouse with a gamepad.

Carcassonne is one of my favorite board games out there, at least in its electronic guise. It requires a pretty large playing area for the actual board game. All players have to place tiles in the game world in order to make certain infrastructure, be it roads, cities, rivers, etc. Successfully building large pieces of infrastructure, positioned well, will earn players large points. Placing "meeples" onto pieces of infrastructure claim them for your team, so place them wisely.

The Game of Life 2 - A Casual Stroll Through Life

  • Price: $12.49 when not on sale
  • Players: 2-4
  • Skill Level: Plays the same as Game of Life the board game, mostly luck-based.
  • Control Method: 1 Gamepad, Passed between players.

If you're familiar with The Game of Life, there's not much I can say. This is a point-to-point board game, where the objective is... to go through life. You start out choosing whether to go into education or work, which affects the kind of job and wage you'll get at the start of the game, then you'll move along the game board, encountering various life events and earning wages/paying taxes until you eventually retire. A player's monetary assets at the end of the game mostly determine the winner.

There are many other board game adaptations, but these are 2 "classics" that stand out to me, I've played both and know they work. Unfortunately, a couple of older games that I enjoyed, Catan, Ticket To Ride, and Pandemic, were all removed from Steam and/or replaced with newer and inferior versions. So I can't recommend them as it stands.

It's Quiz Time - The Ultimate Trivia Game?

  • Price: $19.99 when not on sale
  • Players: 2-8, better with at least 4.
  • Skill Level: Trivia-Based Game, certain parts of the game reward faster answers.
  • Control Method: Smartphone or Tablets, an app install is required.

It's Quiz Time isn't the best trivia/quiz game I've played, but it's one of the few that supports up to 8 local players and also has a huge variety of questions. Boasting tens of thousands of questions, you probably aren't going to experience any repeats any time soon. The main downside for me is having to install an app on everyone's phone who wants to play. And the quiz presenter can be a little annoying to me sometimes. But hey, at least it's not Buzz!

Drawful 2 - Party Pictionary

  • Price: $9.99 when not on sale
  • Players: 3-8
  • Skill Level: Requires you to draw on your phone/tablet, but no "video game skills" are required.
  • Control Method: Each player requires a smartphone, Tablet, or any device with an internet browser.

If you're familiar with Pictionary, you know most of the drill here. One player is secretly given a prompt that they have to draw. The other players then see the drawing and make up fake answers as to what the original player's prompt was. Then everyone has to vote for what they think was the original prompt. If you guess correctly, both you and the drawer of the drawing get points! Simple right?

Drawful 2 has been given away for free quite a number of times before, so it's possible this one has just been sitting in your Steam library! This holiday season might be the time to break it out.

Gang Beasts & Party Animals - Physics/Ragdoll Brawlers

  • Price: Both games are $19.99 when not on sale.
  • Players: 2-4
  • Skill Level: Both games require some experience with video games.
  • Control Method: Each player requires their own gamepad.

I'm bunching these two in together as they're very similar games. Both support up to 4 players (technically Gang Beasts should support up to 8, but it hasn't for the past 2 years). Both are priced the same, and both play in much the same way. These are 3D Physics/ragdoll fighting games. Gang Beasts is more simplistic, just requiring you to punch and grab opponents to throw them out of the ring.

Party Animals has some additional features like weapons, stamina, and the ability to kill enemies without throwing them out of the arena. Party Animals also has AI, which lets you fill the lobby with 8 players even though you only have 4 human players. Another consideration is that Party Animals will have to run at 30FPS on your Steam Deck, whereas Gang Beasts can run at 60FPS.

Beach Buggy Racing 2: Island Adventure - Kart Racing Mayhem

  • Price: $19.99 when not on sale.
  • Players: 2-8
  • Skill Level: Requires some experience with video games
  • Control Method: Each player requires their own gamepad.

Beach Buggy Racing 2: Island Adventure is a pretty unique game. Not only was the franchise originally a Mobile game, but it's one of the few games to support 8-player split-screen. You might want a TV on the larger size to play this one, but if you have a group that are into racing games, then BBR2:IA might be the game for you. As Kart Racers go, it's a pretty decent one, and as far as I know, the only Kart Racer that supports 8 local players.

Screencheat - Fast-Paced FPS

  • Price: $14.99 when not on sale.
  • Players: 2-8
  • Skill Level: Everyone should have a good understanding of video games.
  • Control Method: Each player requires their own gamepad.

Screencheat may rank as the most confusing game on this list. As such, I'd only recommend it if every person in your party has a decent knowledge of gaming. It's basically a First-Person Shooter, with one catch, you can't see your opponents. Instead, you have to look at their screens to figure out their location, and then shoot them with that knowledge. Hence the name of the game, "Screencheating" being an old practice in the early days of split-screen where you can "cheat" by looking at your opponent's screen to find out knowledge you shouldn't otherwise possess. It's hectic, and a little confusing, but can be a blast with the right group of friends.

Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed Collection - A Solid Kart Racer

  • Price: $19.99 when not on sale. 2 Copies required for more than 4 players.
  • Players: 2-4 on each Steam Deck/PC
  • Skill Level: A decent level of skill at video games is required.
  • Control Method: Each player requires their own gamepad.

I was in two minds about whether to include this one, but it's possibly the most solid kart racer I've played on PC, and it has the advantage of allowing up to 4 players on each device in network races. So if you are fortunate enough to have 2 Steam Decks/PCs, and 2 TVs/Monitors, you can connect them for an 8-player race over a network. If you have just 1 Steam Deck/Display, you can still play a good old 4 player race. It's pretty standard as far as Kart Racers go, but it has polished gameplay and is a good bit of fun.

If you are playing docked, apparently you need to use the game's configuration tool to set the display to "windowed/fullscreen", or else the game will crash.

This is my selection of games that I think would be great for a party. Have I missed any? Let me know in the comments below and I'll check them out and add them to the list if they make the grade!

I hope you found this guide helpful!

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Oliver Stogden
Oliver began playing video games at an early age, starting with the SNES console and Commodore Amiga computer. Nowadays, his interest is in the future of portable technology, such as handheld gaming systems, portable power stations/banks, and portable monitors. And seeing just how far we can push these devices.
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