Board games aren’t just Monopoly or Sorry! anymore, and while those classic games are great, modern board games have come so much farther. With so many board and tabletop games to play, the gaming night is something that many groups of friends have instituted. Here is a guide to hosting and organizing the perfect card or board gaming night.
Know thine group
You know your friends, and how they are, and so you know what kinds of card or board games they like to play. Are they competitive, do they have a lot of time on their hands, or can you only play during the evening? If they are competitive, perhaps card games like Star Wars or Munchkin or Gloom would be perfect for the party. If not so competitive, perhaps European or German-style board games such as Settlers of Catan or Ticket to Ride would be more their speed. Whatever you pick out or buy for your board game collection, if you go in with a knowledge of your friends’ habits and likes, you will make your gaming night one fun for all.
Make a plan
Know how much play time you have to play games? What type of gaming activity is it? Are you just cracking some cold ones and playing around the coffee table or after dinner parties, or is there a whole theme for social interactions, like at a gaming convention? Do you like playing multiple casual games, as Sushi Go!, Cards Against Humanity, Exploding Kittens, King of Tokyo etc. over the course of the night? Or you prefer to set up a longer popular game like Pandemic or Arkham Horror or Magic: the Gathering? As long as you set yourself up for success, your gaming event will go off without a hook.
Unless you are a lawyer in your real life, there is no need to be one around your game table. Your gaming night is meant to be fun, not a rule debate. Read and teach simple rules and don’t be afraid to only skim the directions to whatever tabletop games you’re playing and learn it deeper while you play. Or have experienced gamers bring their favorite games, making them guide people for the rest of the group. Especially the emerging gamers. The top games are most popular, usually, because they’re easy to learn, so don’t be afraid to just jump in. Watching movies on Youtube if you’re stuck is also a very good idea.
Don’t get bitter
Sometimes playing board games can get intense, but once the game is packed up, leave all those emotions there. Your gaming night is about having fun, and if you allow bad feelings to ruin the night, the friendly local game won’t last long.
Variety is the spice of gaming night
Unless your game night is just to play one game per event, whatever you and your friend’s favorite card game is, it might be best to keep a variety of games at hand. These games should have different playing styles and lengths.and some decks of cards, so nothing feels stagnant. This way, like the above tip, no one feels bad when one in the group is just better at a certain game and always wins.
Split the burden
Just because you’re the host of your gaming night, that doesn’t mean you have to do it all. Just like the tabletop gaming is a group effort, so should be your local gaming event also. Saving money and time is ok. Have Bob bring the drinks, maybe Tim can get there early and make dinner. And maybe someone can stay a little later to help fill the dishwasher and pack away the games. A group that works together, games together even better.
Flexibility is key
They’re all adults, probably with jobs and other things going on in their lives. Thus sometimes, even on the last minute, they may not be able to show up. It would be best to have a few card games or classic games on deck that can be played with a different number of players. This way, if someone drops out, the rest of you can still play games and not call the night off. But that being said…
Stability can be helpful
While you shouldn’t be upset if someone can’t make it, organizing your gaming night on the same day every time can be helpful for people to schedule around. That could mean the first Saturday of the month, or every other Thursday, whatever works for everyone in general. Just get in touch with them in advance to confirm the plans are still standing.
Let the game shine
If you are all getting together to play and enjoy these board games, actually play the games. Turn off the television, maybe only play some music in the background, leave your phones in your pockets. Let yourself dragged into the games and forget about any other problems of day to day life. Let your imagination spring and get into the body of the characters and into the thrills and adventures of your board games. But remember the Golden Rule: NO cheating allowed!
Make sure everyone is having fun
Pay attention to your players, make sure they are getting the most out of the time they spend with everyone. Don’t be afraid to not play a game again, should it not fit what the group or even one of the players wants to play. There are always people who would pick up a game if you no longer want them. And if someone is a party game pooper and doesn’t want to play any more card games and neither any of the modern board games, make sure you have your video games collection handy to let them continue having fun.
What do you think? What’s YOUR successful game night recipe? Feel free to comment!