Games to Play with 3 People: Fun and Engaging Choices for Small Groups

Are you searching for entertaining and engaging games to enjoy with a small group of friends or family? Look no further! In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore a diverse selection of games specifically designed for three players. Whether you’re planning a game night or just looking to pass the time, these options are sure to provide hours of fun and excitement.

In this article, we’ll cover a range of game categories, including card games, board games, dice games, and even some unique suggestions. We’ve carefully curated this list to ensure that you find the perfect game for your group of three. So, let’s dive right in and discover the world of games tailored to small gatherings.

1. Card Games for Three Players

Card games are a fantastic choice for small groups due to their versatility and accessibility. Here are some options you can enjoy:

card games for 3 people

1.1. Classic Card Games

1.1.1. Rummy:

Rummy is a classic card game that’s easy to learn and offers plenty of strategic depth. The objective is to form sets or runs of cards in your hand. With three players, you can play a variation known as “Indian Rummy,” where each player is dealt ten cards.

How to Play:

  • Each player is dealt ten cards.
  • The goal is to form sets (groups of cards of the same rank) and runs (consecutive cards of the same suit).
  • On your turn, draw a card from the deck or the discard pile and then discard a card.
  • The game continues until a player goes out by forming their entire hand into sets and runs.

1.1.2. Crazy Eights:

Crazy Eights is a simple yet entertaining game where the goal is to be the first to get rid of all your cards. Players take turns matching the current card’s rank or suit with a card from their hand. Special rules, like skipping a player or changing the direction of play, keep the game exciting.

How to Play:

  • Deal five cards to each player.
  • The player to the dealer’s left goes first, and the game proceeds clockwise.
  • Players must match the rank or suit of the previous card played, or play an “8” card to change the suit.
  • Special cards like “skip” and “reverse” can affect gameplay, making it more exciting.
  • The first player to get rid of all their cards wins.

1.1.3. Go Fish:

Go Fish is a great choice for younger players or those new to card games. The objective is to collect sets of four cards of the same rank. Players ask each other for specific cards, and if the opponent has them, they must relinquish the cards.

How to Play:

  • Deal five cards to each player.
  • The objective is to collect sets of four cards of the same rank.
  • Players take turns asking each other for specific cards (e.g., “Do you have any threes?”).
  • If the opponent has the requested cards, they must give them to the asking player.
  • If not, the asking player draws a card from the deck.
  • The game continues until all sets of four cards have been collected.

1.2. Modern Card Games

1.2.1. Exploding Kittens:

Exploding Kittens is a humorous and strategic card game where the goal is to avoid drawing an exploding kitten card. Players use various action cards to outmaneuver their opponents and be the last one standing.

How to Play:

  • Each player starts with a hand of cards.
  • The deck contains “exploding kitten” cards that players must avoid.
  • Players take turns playing cards that can defuse the kittens, skip their turn, or target other players.
  • The last player remaining without exploding kittens in their hand wins.

1.2.2. Sushi Go!:

In Sushi Go!, players draft sushi dishes to create the best meal. The game’s cute and colorful design, combined with its quick gameplay, makes it a hit with both beginners and experienced gamers.

How to Play:

  • Players are dealt a hand of cards representing sushi dishes.
  • Each player chooses one card to keep and places it face-down.
  • After all players have made their selections, the cards are revealed and resolved.
  • Points are awarded based on specific combinations of sushi dishes.
  • The player with the most points at the end of three rounds wins.

1.3. Strategy Card Games

1.3.1. Dominion:

Dominion is a deck-building game where players construct their decks by acquiring cards from a central supply. The objective is to build the most efficient deck and accumulate victory points. With numerous expansion sets available, Dominion offers endless replayability.

How to Play:

  • Players start with a small deck of basic cards.
  • The central supply contains various kingdom cards for purchase.
  • On your turn, play action cards, buy new cards, and discard your hand.
  • The objective is to build a deck with the most victory points by acquiring kingdom cards and estates.

1.3.1. Race for the Galaxy:

Race for the Galaxy is a deep and strategic card game that challenges players to build interstellar civilizations. Players choose actions simultaneously, making each turn a dynamic puzzle of choices and strategy.

How to Play:

  • Players simultaneously choose actions from a set of cards.
  • Actions include exploring, developing, and settling planets, as well as producing and trading goods.
  • Players aim to build an efficient and profitable galactic empire.
  • Points are scored based on the cards played and objectives achieved.

2. Board Games for Three Players

Board games offer diverse experiences, and many are tailored for groups of three. Here are some recommendations:

board game for 3 people

2.1.1. Settlers of Catan:

Settlers of Catan is a beloved board game where players collect resources and build settlements on the island of Catan. Negotiation and trade play a crucial role, making it a highly interactive and engaging games to play with 3 people.

How to Play:

  • Players collect resources like wood, brick, and ore to build roads, settlements, and cities.
  • Trade with other players to acquire needed resources.
  • The first player to reach a certain number of victory points, obtained through building and development, wins.

2.1.2. Ticket to Ride:

In Ticket to Ride, players collect train cards to claim railway routes across a map. The goal is to complete destination tickets and connect cities to earn points. Its accessible rules make it perfect for players of all ages.

How to Play:

  • Players collect train cards to claim railway routes on the map.
  • Complete destination tickets by connecting cities to earn points.
  • The game ends when one player has two or fewer trains, and final scores are tallied.

2.1.3. Carcassonne:

Carcassonne: Carcassonne is a tile-laying game where players build a medieval landscape with cities, roads, and fields. Players score points by completing features and strategically placing their followers, known as “meeples.”

How to Play:

  • Players draw and place tiles to build a medieval landscape.
  • Claim cities, roads, fields, and monasteries with your “meeples.”
  • Points are scored based on completed features and controlled territories.

2.2. Cooperative Board Games

2.2.1. Pandemic:

Pandemic is a cooperative board game where players work together as members of a disease-fighting team. The goal is to prevent global pandemics by treating infections and finding cures. Teamwork and strategy are essential.

How to Play:

  • Players work together as a team of disease-fighting specialists.
  • Travel the world, treat infections, and research cures to prevent global pandemics.
  • Win by finding cures for all diseases before outbreaks get out of control.

2.2.2. Forbidden Island:

Forbidden Island is another cooperative game where players are adventurers on a sinking island. They must work together to collect treasures and escape before the island sinks completely.

How to Play:

  • Players are adventurers on a sinking island.
  • Cooperatively collect treasures and obtain the four corresponding treasure cards to win.
  • Be sure to escape from the island before it sinks completely.

2.3. Strategy Board Games

2.3.1. Chess:

Chess is a classic strategy game that has stood the test of time. With its simple rules and complex gameplay, it offers endless opportunities for strategic thinking and skill development.

How to Play:

  • Each player commands an army with various pieces.
  • Move pieces strategically to control the board and threaten your opponent’s king.
  • The game ends when one player checkmates the opponent’s king.

2.3.2. Scythe:

Scythe is a strategic board game set in an alternate-history 1920s Europe. Players control factions with unique abilities and compete for resources, territory, and glory. It’s known for its beautiful artwork and deep strategy.

How to Play:

  • Players control unique factions with special abilities.
  • Compete for resources, territory, and objectives.
  • Score points through various achievements, such as combat, building, and popularity.

3. Dice Games for Three Players

If you enjoy games of chance and luck, dice games are a great option. Here are two popular choices:

dice games

3.1. Yahtzee:

Yahtzee is a classic dice game where players roll five dice and aim to achieve specific combinations like straights and full houses. It’s a game of probability and strategy as you decide which combinations to aim for.

How to Play:

  • Each player takes turns rolling five dice with the goal of achieving specific combinations, such as a straight, full house, or four of a kind.
  • After each roll, you can choose which dice to keep and which to reroll for up to three rolls per turn.
  • Score points based on the combinations you achieve.
  • The player with the highest total score at the end of all rounds wins.

3.2. Liar’s Dice:

Liar’s Dice is a social bluffing game where players roll dice in secret and make bids on the total number of dice showing a certain value. Bluffing and deduction skills are key to success.

How to Play:

  • Each player starts with a cup containing dice.
  • Players roll their dice secretly, keeping the results hidden from others.
  • Players take turns making bids on the total number of dice showing a certain value across all players’ cups.
  • Bluffing is allowed. You can either raise the bid or challenge the previous bid.
  • When challenged, reveal the dice to determine if the bid was accurate.
  • The player who loses a challenge loses one die. Continue until only one player has dice left.

4. RP Games To Play With 3 People

For those seeking immersive storytelling and adventure, tabletop RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons can accommodate three players and a Game Master. Create your own epic tales in a fantasy world, where you assume the roles of characters and embark on quests filled with challenges, mysteries, and excitement.

rpgs games to play with 3 people

How to Play:

  • Design and create your unique characters with abilities, skills, and backgrounds.
  • One player serves as the Game Master (GM), responsible for narrating the story and controlling non-player characters.
  • Players embark on quests, face challenges, and make choices that shape the narrative.
  • Resolve actions through dice rolls, primarily using a 20-sided die (d20).
  • Collaborate with your party to overcome obstacles and complete quests.
  • Immerse yourselves in a rich fantasy world, filled with adventures, mysteries, and epic battles.

5. Word and Trivia Games

Challenge your vocabulary or test your knowledge with these word and trivia games:

word games

5.1. Scrabble:

Scrabble is a classic word game where players create words on a game board to score points. The bigger the word and the more challenging the letters, the higher the score.

How to Play:

  • Players take turns creating words on a game board using letter tiles.
  • Words must connect to existing words on the board.
  • Each letter has a point value, and players earn points based on the word’s length and the values of the letters used.
  • The game ends when all letters have been used, or one player cannot make a legal word.
  • Calculate the total points, and the player with the highest score wins.

5.2. Trivia Pursuit:

Trivia Pursuit is a trivia game that covers a wide range of topics. Players answer questions from various categories and aim to collect wedges to complete their pie-shaped game piece.

How to Play:

  • Players move their game pieces around the board by answering trivia questions from various categories.
  • Correct answers earn wedges of different colors.
  • Players aim to collect one wedge of each color and return to the center of the board to win.

5.3. QuizUp:

QuizUp is a digital trivia game that offers a vast selection of topics and questions. Challenge your friends or play against opponents from around the world in fast-paced trivia battles.

How to Play:

  • Choose a category or topic to challenge your opponents.
  • Players take turns answering trivia questions within a limited time frame.
  • Earn points for correct answers and compete to achieve the highest score in the chosen category.
  • Continue playing rounds or select different topics for variety.

6. Unique and Creative Games

For those looking for something out of the ordinary, consider these unique and creative games:

creative games

6.1. Codenames:

Codenames is a word game where players give one-word clues to help their team guess the correct words on the board. However, you must be clever with your clues, as there are words that should be avoided at all costs.

How to Play:

  • Players are divided into two teams, each with a spymaster and field operatives.
  • A grid of words is laid out on the table, representing agents.
  • The spymasters give one-word clues to help their team guess the correct words while avoiding the words that belong to the opposing team.
  • The team that identifies all their agents first wins, but beware of the assassin word that ends the game for the guessing team.

6.2. Once Upon a Time:

Once Upon a Time is a storytelling card game where players collaboratively create a fairy tale. Use your cards to weave a narrative and be the first to successfully conclude the story with your “Happily Ever After” card.

How to Play:

  • Players collectively create a fairy tale using a deck of story cards.
  • Each player contributes to the story by playing cards with elements like characters, items, and events.
  • The objective is to incorporate your assigned “Happily Ever After” card into the story seamlessly.
  • The first player to successfully conclude the story with their “Happily Ever After” card wins.


In this comprehensive guide, we’ve not only explored a wide variety of games tailored for three players but also provided detailed instructions on how to play each game. Whether you enjoy the strategy of card and board games, the excitement of dice games, the immersive storytelling of RPGs, or the wordplay of trivia games, you now have the knowledge to dive into these games and have a fantastic time with your group of three.

Remember, the key to a great gaming experience is having fun and creating lasting memories with your friends and family. So, gather your group of three, pick a game from our list, follow the provided instructions, and let the gaming adventure begin!

With these engaging games for three people and clear instructions, you’ll never have a dull moment again. Happy gaming!

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