Three/four players is what most board game tend to be designed for, which in general works great: there is only so much down-time, it's usually possible to get 3 people together of an evening (when there isn't a pandemic) and most boards/tables are quadrilaterals so everyone can sit on one side. All nice and easy.
But what happens when that extra person turns up to games club, or that family member who never wants to play games decides to join in? Here is my list of games that play 5 or more people, while there are obviously a number of excellent party games that play way more than 5 I have tried to keep this list more focused on slightly more involved games.
5) #7 Wonders - Had to be on the list, right? While actually not one of my top games it allows up to 7 players to play in the same time it would take 3. All your actions are simultaneous and as all the player interaction is mechanical you don't have to worry about negotiating (part of the reason it isn't my favourite) but as a game to warm up with before splitting into smaller groups for heavier games it is pretty decent.
4) #Coup / #Cockroach Poker - both great little bluffing games, I have only played one game of cockroach poker so I am less certain of it but I have played a tonne of Coup and always loved it. It takes minutes to play and the moments where you have to look someone in the eye and claim to have a contessa so their assassin (which they might not even have) doesn't kill you when all you have is a lousy ambassador is excellent. It creates hilarity every time. Cockroach poker seems to have these same kind of moments but even more frequently and is just pure bluffing without any of the interconnected powers of coup: kind of a boiled down version (not in a bad way) while I'll need to play it more before I can decide which is better, both are great and play up to 6 with minimal downtime.
3) #Not Alone - One of my favourite light games. It is a one vs many, with the many being up to 6 astronauts stranded on an alien planet awaiting rescue and the one being the native creature who, depending on your take, is trying to track them down to either eat or befriend them (I like to imagine the alien just gives them hugs until they agree to stay on the planet). Either way, the astronauts simultaneously and secretly select one of 5 locations to visit, each with their own powers, at which point the alien choses one location to go hunting. The alien has a deck of powerful abilities to even the odds a bit. Over the game the humans can gain individual access to up to 5 new locations with more powerful abilities making it harder for the alien to know where to go to catch them. However, every time an astronaut plays a location that card stays played in front of them, narrowing their choices for the next turn (there are locations that allow them to pick cards back up) so the alien can narrow down their choices and pin on human in. The game is won if the humans willpower lasts long enough for rescue to arrive. Overall it is a bluffing and second-guessing kind of game, there is a satisfying level of progression for both sides and it is usually a very tight game, with some great moments of tension.
2) #Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game (Also, #Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game and #Shadows Over Camelot) All of these hidden traitor games are great fun and work best with 5 people. there are wonderful moments in each of trying to work out why someone is doing something you wouldn't expect but there are often good reasons and accusing someone falsely has serious consequences. I love the dynamics around the table that these games create, with suspicions mounting and things generally going wrong. Dead of winter is the one I own and have played the most, and I love the crossroads cards that add in fun moral dilemmas to the game, plus the fact that your characters can die and that you each have a secret objective makes people act selfishly even if they aren't the traitor. The mix of cooperation and uncertatinty of who to trust is great.
1) #Archipelago - Possibly my favourite game of all time, it is a semi-cooperative euro game with a possible hidden traitor and secret scoring objectives. It is so so good! It is a little rules heavy but if you can get 5 players into it, the negotiating and deal-making that can happen are sublime. This really is one of the best games to get people looking up away from the table and really interacting with the other players. You are trying to work out what their secret objective is as evryone can score off of everyone else objectives and as you have limited actions per round, successful trading (which is a free action) gives a real advantage. I could go on and on about this game but I will just say that you should absolutely check it out if you get the chance.