Game Night Done Right
Have you ever experienced the simultaneous excitement and anxiety of trying to plan a fun night in for a group? Who will come? What will we eat? More importantly, what will we do? Fear not; there’s a simple solution. Host a game night! Below are some easy-to-implement suggestions for creating an epic game night your crew won’t soon forget!
Coordinate your guest list & your game list
You can go about this one of two ways — either plan the games around your guests or plan the guests around your games.
- Look for games ideal for 9 to 10 people. Couples make good teams, but you can always randomly draw and mix up the groups a bit.
- Think about content as well. If you’re excited to break out the latest iteration of What Do You Meme, you might want to hold your grandma’s invite for next time (unless this is your gran).
- Try to keep your selections to no more than two types of games. This gives your guests time to enjoy the activity but allows everyone to relax a bit and mingle.
Map out your space
Once you’ve chosen your guests and games, think about the space(s) most suitable for game night success. Just don’t move too far away from the food!
- Dining Room: Small group dice, card, or board games, as well as puzzles, work well around a dining table.
- Den: Make tournament-style games like bunco or poker easy with several card tables and folding chairs.
- Living Room: Gather your guests around the coffee table and couch for more active games like charades, Pictionary, and Heads Up, or any game that requires a TV screen.
- Backyard: Weather permitting, get your guests up and at ‘em with cornhole, bocce ball, and other easy lawn games.
- Multiple Spaces: Murder mystery and escape room games can make use of multiple rooms; keep things manageable by staying on one floor.
Get game-friendly food & drink
When it comes to game night dining, KEEP IT SIMPLE. You want the food and drinks to enhance the experience, not detract from it.
- Avoid anything you have to manage once guests have arrived. Stick with easy-to-eat finger foods that can sit for awhile, allowing guests to come back for more throughout the night. Need some ideas for setting up your food? Check out our Kitchen Island Guide to Entertaining).
- Make big batch cocktails ahead of time (bonus points for game night-themed drinks) and have them ready — along with water, soda, and coffee — for guests to refill between rounds. Game night is also an excellent time to break out your awesome bar cart.
- Plan your drinkware according to your space. Stemmed wine glasses might work well for a calm, table-based game of Scrabble, but could end in disaster if your guests balance that red on the arm of the couch during a lively round of Twister.
Add some flair
Image Credit: Anders Ruff
Once you’ve tackled the big details, have some fun with the little touches to ensure a memorable event.
- Welcome your guests and set the tone with personalized game pieces. They’re guaranteed to be appreciated and enjoyed, whether or not your chosen games require pieces.
- Lean into the theme for decorations. Work with the games you already own (or pick some old ones up at a thrift store) to create Scrabble tile buffet cards, playing card bunting, Monopoly money-wrapped water bottles, and more.
- End on a sweet note. Have fun with homemade domino brownies or playing card cookies, or send your guests home with some candy-filled game night goodie bags. Everyone’s a winner!
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