If you're planning a party, you might want to check out the party advice I put in Scribbles #16 [Link to Party Advice]. My main advice for sparking conversation and getting people past "so, what do you do?" is to play a mixer game and the best mixer game I've come across is Human Bingo.
Many years ago, I created an Excel spreadsheet that allows anyone to create customized unique Human Bingo cards for each player. You can download it by right-clicking this link: Human Bingo: the Spreadsheet .
You don't need elaborate prizes. I let people take a chocolate or choose something from my box of dollar store items.
- Hand out the cards with pens or pencils when you have a critical mass (~20).
- Players interview each other to find names they can place in squares that match them. (Warning: some people are not honest and will either claim accomplishments that are not true of them, or will deny their pasts. It's up to you as host how strict to be. I am very strict about false accomplishments, but if someone prefers to not admit to having kissed a cousin, I let it go.)
- Anyone who gets a horizontal, vertical or diagnonal line of five completed squares with no duplicate names wins a bingo. Keep playing until prizes run out or the players get bored.
- If you're single and looking include "came with platonic friend" on some cards.
- If you're looking for a tuba player for your brass ensemble, you might find one by putting "plays the tuba" on some of the cards, but it never worked for me.
- You don't need to make it easy, and you don't need to put in things that you know a guest or two will fit in. The more players you have, the more bizarre you can make the squares.
- If the "Create new cards" button doesn't work, try these instructions.
Sites for downloading the file: