Tips on how to host a successful board game night for family & friends. Skip the regular dinner and do a different style of party this time around.
My post on having a gaming night with family and/or friends resulted in a lot of people asking for advice on how to host one. Here are some of my tips on hosting an entertaining game night.
Make the guest list
Figure out who to invite, and the number of people to invite. Most team-based games require at least 4 players, and of course an even number is best. It's a good idea to invite people who already know each other, or who will be able to get along with each other. Be specific on whether it's an individual invite (could be a girl's night in), or a couple invite, or a family invite.
Decide on the game(s) you want to play
Based on the guest list and the number of people invited, decide which game or games to play. If it’s a mixed age group, Sequence is a good option. If it’s adults, then Cranium is a fun game to try out. If it’s a kids party, twister is a great option but if it’s a mixed gender game night, twister might just get . Keep a selection of 2 - 3 games to try out, after which you can decide your favorite(s). If hosting for the first time, start with simple games making sure at least one person knows how to play or has read the rules in advance. If the board game playing time is 2 hours, and 1 hour is spent understanding the rules, that will create issues.
Keep the food simple
It’s tempting to go all out and serve the typical dawaat food that we Pakistani’s are known for, but the focus of this party is the games not the food. If you spend all your time eating, then who’s going to play the games? Some options include:
- The host orders a one-dish style meal from outside with drinks.
- The host makes the meal at home (again one dish) and gets drinks.
- All the guests pitch in money, and the host orders food from outside with everyone’s consensus.
- Lastly, skip the glass plates, and just eat in disposable plates. Minimal clean-up required in the end!
What you choose to serve depends on the dynamics of your particular group. In my case, I make the food when I host gaming nights because I love making food, but my friends order it. In my second gaming group, we all pitch money and order from outside.
Keep entertainment for the kids
This doesn’t apply to all parties, but if one of your friends is bringing their children, keep some entertainment for them. Could be pen paper, or a game, or a book or a stuff toy. Or ask the parents to bring something because kids will want to join in. So either let them play, or keep them occupied in something else. In my case, I have this set of cars and a mini-game of connect4 which is perfect for children.
Make house rules
Every set of board games has a standard set of rules, but sometimes we create house rules based on what is convenient for us. For e.g. living in Pakistan means we are not as familiar with American or British pop-culture, especially the kind that relates to daily living. So we skip those cards in Pictionary and Taboo. Similarly in Cranium, we rarely know the 80’s songs that are part of their humdinger category, so we skip that. Make sure these house rules are discussed in the beginning, and they are fair to all teams else it will create confusion and make people angry.
In the end, just keep it simple. The best part about gaming nights is how casual they are and the more you try to fancify them, the awkward they will get. So just go basic and enjoy the games.
Do you love board games? Have you hosted gaming nights? Let me know your experiences with hosting gaming nights in the comments below.
To purchase board games, check out the toy shops near Delawala Clifton, Karachi. If it's not possible to host a party at your own place, you can go with friends to PiSocial, The food's average, but they have an excellent variety of games.