Recently, we (in the royal sense) managed to deduce that Clue, Settlers of Catan, and Yahtzee are fun if you like computing probabilities, but only then. That's not their only problem, after awhile your friends get tired of losing (as well as playing with someone who ignores them in favor of calculating probabilities). However, there is another genre of games: word games.
This game merely depends on your fuzzy logic abilities to recall names of objects beginning with particular letters. Either you�re good at it or you�re not. You may get better with practice, but it doesn't matter since nobody cares who wins. The fun part is seeing how your friends think, kind of like a constrained Freudian word-association test. Bantering between answers may even rise to the level of non-game-based interaction.
Winning Balderdash depends on your knowledge of obscure words and dictionary style. You can get better at it by reading the dictionary, but again, nobody cares who wins since the fun is in hearing the ridiculous definitions your friends come up with.
This depends on you and your partner either consciously or unconsciously agreeing on a specific kind of clue: synonym, cue word/phrase, etc. This game would be more fun if it let you talk more, like taboo.
This game requires you to describe a word without using certain commonly associated words (like describing baseball without 'base,' 'ball,' 'play,' 'field,' 'hit,' 'bat,' 'home,' 'run,' or 'catch') within a limited amount of time. This also lets you see how your friends think, and what sorts of nervous ticks they develop under pressure. The buzzer is obnoxious and should be foregone in favor of a timekeeper.
An interesting blend of strategy and word games, Scrabble requires you to scramble and unscramble words quickly enough to compute the values for all possible words and choose the statistically best word to play. You must also carefully block your opponent from the triple-word scores and be the first to play (no matter how short the word) when they do open. Always plan to clear your board. Those so choosing can lower the strategy component by narrowing the field of usable words to "foreign language," "naughty," or any other mad libs designation.
Perhaps the most promising of the word games. Someone finally took the average distribution of letters in the English language (a la Scrabble) and made a deck of cards. The possibilities for adapting traditional card games are seemingly endless (poker, gin, rummy, etc.). Gene insists on playing the game according to the rules at least once before exploring the possibilities, but the instructions are so convoluted that we haven't been able to get a group to stay long enough to play it through right.
Word games don't fit so well into the "Never Settle" philosophy of life, but they let me pass time with friends (which is better after all than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick). This still leaves timeless classics like Trivial Pursuit, Pictionary, Memory, Set and Uno, and attractive new possibilities like Cranium, TriBond, Apples to Apples, Loaded Questions, Barbarossa, Mystery of the Abbey, Scene It?, Break the Safe, Clue FX, The Perilous Parlor Game, Smarty Party, Inkognito, Puerto Rico, Quarto, Batik and a host of other potential favorites that move closer and closer to actually doing something with your friends.