I don't always do party games. I find that especially at adult-centered parties, they aren't always a necessity. Usually if the conversation is flowing and everyone is having a good time, I am fine with leaving well enough alone. However, I like to have something prepared, just in case (especially if everyone is not well acquainted). And at children's birthday parties, and baby showers, they are somewhat of a standard. I don't like to repeat games/activities (or party themes, period) but I have a few suggestions that might get your wheels turning:
1. "Verbose" Song/Book Titles: We played a version of this at my "Totally 80's" birthday party, using 80's song titles. You take a song or book title (use ones that coordinate with your theme) and extend it, being as wordy as possible, and only using synonyms for each word in the title. You can see some of my ideas in the picture above. I just type them up in Word. Be sure that you write your answers somewhere-it can be more difficult than you think to remember them! You could also do this for a baby shower with nursery rhymes ("Rhythmically move back and forth, farewell, tiny, new child" would be "Rock-a-Bye, Baby) or children's book title ("Feline in head covering accessory" would be the "Cat in the Hat".) You can award extra points or make it more difficult by asking people to list the author or artist, as well.
2. Acronyms: This is a great baby shower activity, using the new baby's name, but you could also do it at a bridal shower, using the couple's last name, or at an older child's birthday party. Kids love to hear complimentary things about themselves! You could also do a version of it at a party with couples-ask them to do their own last name separately and award a prize to the couple who have the most similar answers! You simply list positive adjectives for each letter of whatever name you are using. It makes a wonderful keepsake for the guest of honor. To simplify it, if you are doing it for a specific person or name, type the name vertically in large font in Word and print out copies for each guest to use. Have everyone share their "answers" after they are done.
3. Sign/color a book: A great keepsake/activity for any party that you have a guestbook for, is to have a specific book (a storybook, or illustrated children's book works really well) for guests to leave their comments in. You can even use a coloring book, and encourage guests to color the page they sign. At my sister's wedding, my sister Robyn, provided ink pads and blank index cards for guests to put fingerprints on and then create little characters/animals and leave their congratulations. It was very cute and much more personal than a regular "sign your name" guest book. I have also seen this idea used on diapers at baby showers, you write a witty comment on them in permanent marker, but I am not a huge fan of this, myself, but it would be easy and useful!
4. Craft project: At Carson's "Wild Things" party, each child made their own crown (in the book, Max wears a crown). When Josie had her American Girl doll party, I found mini craft kits that they could make doll headbands out of. See if you can find a simple project that relates to your theme and have all the guests make something! If it is a baby shower, you can make something all the guests can give to the guest of honor. I have seen showers where everyone creates a hairbow or onesie for the new baby. Or you can make something the guests can take home-at the art party all the girls made aprons. This was really easy-we just let them use sharpies! Take any aspect of your party to use as inspiration, and even consider pre-assembled craft kits to make it easy. Oriental Trading is a great source for this kind of thing.
5. Scrambled Words: This is a great standby, and also a good time-filler. You can scramble your own theme-related words, or you can use a puzzle-maker like this one. This site, Discovery Education, has tons of options to make your own word search, crossword puzzles, and lots of other things. You can have a lot of fun with it even if you aren't having a party!
Don't force yourself to have a game or activity, but consider the possibility. Sometimes the goofier and crazier you get the better memories everyone will make! You don't have to have every minute planned-just one, perhaps two is usually plenty. And don't forget, sometimes simple is best: a pinata, or pin-the-tail/bow/any-piece-you-want on the whatever are always fun!
See the rest of the series here.