Done right, a game night can be more than just your typical hang-out with friends: you get to socialize while taking on new mental challenges together, get the competitive juices flowing, have some laughs and share experiences together you might not have otherwise – especially with challenging, pressure-filled games. At the end of the night, those experiences can create deeper bonds of friendship.
After you’ve paid a visit to your favourite board game shop and picked out the latest new game you know your friends will love, there’s still much planning and work to do to make sure everyone has a good time (and actually plays the game)!
Getting your place ready for a night of games and having plenty of your friends’ favourite munchies are important, but the tips below will help you get the most out of your game night.
Choose Your Game(s) Wisely / Strategically
The type of game you play should be heavily influenced by your guest list. If you’re playing with newer friends, choosing a light, less challenging game that lends itself to more laughter and joking around can help build up that comfort level you might not have yet.
With friends you’ve known forever, or friends that are serious gamers, you might want to try a game that takes you out of your comfort zones. You can also do a theme night featuring a game based on a movie or television show you’re fanboys and fangirls of. Either way, you should always have a backup game or two, just in case.
Finally, your game choice should be based on the skill level of the players. Which leads into the next tip, choose your guest list carefully.
The Guest List
While it can be fun introducing friends to other friends for the first time and seeing them bond, game night may not be the best night to do so – unless they are both avid players of the game being played.
Having beginner players play against expert-level gamers could be fun or could be disastrous, depending on how intense your friends are and how serious a game night you are having.
You also need to consider the amount of comfortable space you have vs the size of your party. If people are uncomfortable, can’t reach the board, or it takes too long to play your next move because of the number of players and sidetracking discussions, people will lose interest pretty quickly, and you may be calling it a night earlier than expected.
Be the Master of Ceremonies
As people arrive and start drinking and talking, the longer they do so, the harder it can be to get them to sit down and play, and you can end up starting the game around the time you were planning on getting to bed.
Ideally, you want people to play after they have had a chance to warm up, get sociable and are still excited to play. You might also want to take breaks for people to stretch their legs, go to the bathroom, get some fresh air, etc. But at the end of the night, if you’re hosting and you’re ready to call it a night, don’t be afraid to give a last game warning when it’s time.