While a night out on the town or clubbing with friends seems like a good weekend escape from work and stress, nothing beats a game night at home.
Avoid running into crowds, waiting on long lines and paying for overpriced drinks and food. Here are seven essentials that a host needs to turn ordinary game night into a night to remember:
Game night is appealing to all age groups. With the plethora of classic games, like Monopoly and Scrabble, and unconventional ones, like Sagrada (a game where you can build a stained glass window by building up a grid of dice) and Quantum (a game of space combat, strategy and colonization), it is difficult to shop for games to bring to game night. Selecting a game depends on the group that you are entertaining for. If you are inviting work friends and you don’t really know individual preferences, go for the safest options, such as Apples to Apples (a fun multiplayer card game based on comparisons) or Trivial Pursuit (a board game based on general knowledge and popular culture.) If you are inviting friends who are gamers, get something more challenging, like Boss Monsters (a card game where players compete to build the ultimate dungeon) and Munchkin (a role playing card game about dungeon adventure.) You can find inexpensive board games at yard sales, thrift stores and even rummage sales. Make sure to check that the game contains all the pieces required before purchasing it.
Nobody wants to spend the night switching between standing and sitting on a cold hardwood floor. Not having anywhere to sit can alienate friends and give them a reason to leave early. Make sure you have enough comfy seats for your guests. A standard couch can only seat around four people, so prepare kitchen seats or your coffee table chair if you are expecting more guests. Make the setting more intimate and relaxed by arranging the furniture into a circle.
Another element that can make or break game night is food. The spread you prepare for guests should be well thought out. Small bites that guests can easily grab and devour are perfect for game night. For example, potato chips with hummus dip, fruit kebabs, finger sandwiches, star puffs, and spicy popcorn. If you are doing a game night after work, people might want something heavier, like hotdogs or burgers. Make sure to keep the food fresh and hot (nobody likes stale chips or cold burgers.)
A fun night always includes some cocktails and specialty drinks. However, when the ball starts rolling, nobody has time to play the role of mixologist. Constant pausing to rush to the kitchen can disrupt the flow of the game. Serve one specialty cocktails that you can prepare ahead of time and beer and wine. This will make your guests feel more relaxed and take some of the pressures and stress out of the hosting.
TV or Music
Even though most people don’t really follow the show or movie playing on TV during game night, it’s good to have background noise to keep things going. Bouts of awkward room silence can dampen the night and make your guests sleepy. Turn the TV on but keep the volume low. You can even put subtitles on for those who want to watch. Lively music can also keep the momentum of the party going. Put on your iTunes a party playlist or favorite Pandora station for some upbeat background music.
Make sure your home is a fun and inviting place for game night. Aside from music, proper lighting is essential. A solitary candle will be enough to set a calm environment. If you are using conventional fluorescent light bulbs, dim them so the lights are not too bright. Clear out any displays or trinkets that are taking too much space, so the game area is not cluttered. The area should be tidied up from any used clothes, bulky boxes, or paperwork.
The people you invite to game night will impact the overall experience of the group. Try to limit invitations to people who know each other or have at least met once before. Inviting two different groups of people, such as work friends and high school friends, can create a socially awkward vibe, especially if personalities conflict. Start the game night tradition with your closest gals or buddies and then introduce one or two outsiders with a pre-game-night dinner.
Hosting a fun game night can strengthen friendships and relieve stress from a long day or week without costing you a lot of money. Use the tips above as a checklist when you are planning the ultimate game night.