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Games with Two

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Party in the House Tonight! - 7 Tips to a Great Game Night

Jason Moslander
United States
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Originally Posted at

We love to host game nights. It's just a blast to have a house full of people, or in our case, a small apartment full of people crammed in like sardines. Hosting a game night can be really rewarding. It allows for you to experience new people and new games, and others can experience new games and new people, too. Or you can change both of those news to old. It just depends on your personality really. I thought it would be interesting to share some of things that we do to try to have a successful game night. In my eyes, a successful game night is one where everyone has a good time--it's that easy. So, without further adieu, here are some tips to help you host a game night of your own...

#1 Set it up

I usually plan my game nights in advance. I try to give a month's notice so that everyone has time to get off work, and make sure that they haven't made other boring plans. Last time, I only gave two weeks, and I realized the night before that it was also the opening of The Avengers...we had about six people show up. For our large game nights, I like using Facebook. I setup an event and invite a ton of people and tell them to invite whomever they want as well. I then ask people to bring games and snacks. If I am having something more low key, i.e. just a small group over to play a specific game or another couple or two over to play, it's usually done via phone calls and texts.

#2 Have a Plan

Make sure you have an idea of what you want your game night to be. Are you going to play party games? Strategy games? Filler games? A mix of whatever? It's really up to you, but I try to make sure my guests know what they are getting into. No one wants to come expecting to play Wits and Wagers and end up a ten hour game of TI3. I like to set a theme ahead of time, or ask people what they are wanting to play. These can be a narrow as saying, "We are having a Ticket to Ride party," or as wide open as, "bring your old games that never see the light of day." This helps the party have a good flow, and no one feels like they were part of a bait and switch.

#3 Know the Games

If I know someone wants to play a game we haven't played in a while, or I want to play a game that is new to me, I try to make sure that I have a good handle on the rules. If I can do that, it makes the gaming experience better for everyone. If you are not the rules guy, get the directions to your rules guy so that you aren't going into a game blind.

#4 Play Host

It's important that everyone at your party has a good time. If there are not enough seats at table, be the one to volunteer to sit out. Play what others want to play. Pretty much, don't be a jerk. Although you are hosting, you are not a dictator. Your job is to make sure everyone has a good time. If that means you don't get to play your favorite game, then so be it. Let's face it, we all consider ourselves before the group. Resist your natural tenancies and do what's best for everyone else. When we host a game night, Mrs. GWT usually doesn't play so that she can play party host. She makes sure everyone is happy and those who are not interested in playing a game are not left sitting in a corner by themselves.

#5 Seating

If you can, try to have adequate seating for the number of people you are having. When we have our big nights, we try to have 2-3 tables setup. This allows for multiple games to take place. Now, this doesn't always happen. Normally, two tables will be pushed together to make one big gaming table for a large group game.

#6 Have Fun

Remember parties are to enjoy people and have a great time. The last thing you need to be is Debbie Downer. Make sure your guests our having a good time as well. Don't take the night too seriously, and make it fun for everyone. Otherwise, they will never come again, and you will end up sitting at home playing board game apps on your Kindle Fire. Okay, that may not be true, but enjoy yourself at your board game night.

#7 Progressive Arc

I see our game nights as a progressive arc. We usually try to start with something light and easy. This would be your basic 10-30 minute filler game (especially if only a few people have arrived), and then, we move onto the more meaty games as more people show up. These are the ones for 3-8 players that take 1-2 hours to play. We will try to play one or two of these, pending on time. Then, we end the night with something light. If we have a large group, we break out Ultimate Werewolf, and with a smaller setting we love The Resistance. This makes the night feel like somewhat of a movie: light at the beginning, heavy plot build up, then your conclusion.

These are some quick and easy things to do, that may help your next game night be a success. What kinds of things do you do to make sure that your game night is fun for all?

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