Thursday, November 5, 2009

Top Tips for a Great Game Night

In our October Ahead of the Game, we asked readers to send in their top tips for hosting a successful game night. Thanks to everyone for all of the great tips! Below is a sampling of our favorites--

Beware of the snacks that are natural enemies of board games. Cheetos are a good example of a natural enemy of board games. Here’s a good rule of thumb: if you are tempted to lick your fingers after eating this snack then it has no place at game night.- Scott, PA

Balloon on mailbox or sign on front door, so guests know where the games are being played!- Rosemarie, IN

Turn nobody away. As long as the attendees want to play games of any kind, the group should adjust or be adjusted to meet the desires of the patrons. If the trend doesn’t seem to develop as the organizers envision, perhaps it will spawn a spin-off group.- David, MI

Consider using a lazy Susan turntable to place the game board on top of so that everyone has the same view during his or her turn.- Chris, CA

Tournament Prize for large groups! It doesn't matter what the prize is, everyone loves to win something! This works especially well with large game groups!- James, SC

Mix invitees based on skill/experience - invite some regular game players, and also folks new to party/board games.- Patrick, OH

Don't play a game that embarrasses anybody. Anything that puts undue pressure on any of the participants is not fun. Trivia games are fun, but games where one person ends up looking stupid is not fun. If somebody isn't going to like/be good at a trivia game, don't play them.- Liena, TN

Invite your friends that you don't see often- Devon, KS

Provide with the invitation a description of the game and its basic rules.- Robert, TX

Set a theme for the evening (ie. Word Games, Games that take 3 hours to play, Games that we haven't played in over a year, Pirate games)- Anna, OH

Consider getting silly colored hats or other colored costume pieces (boas, bandanas…) so to players can match their game color.- Erin, CA

Keep it simple – then you can focus on the fun of the games rather than entertaining.- Marypat, OH

Make sure pens work and sharpen pencils ahead of time- Ray, NJ

Encourage participants to bring their favorite game to share.- Sherrie, CO

Always announce the plans for the next game night during the middle of game night, after everyone has arrived, and before people have left.- Will, WA

Music is great to welcome everyone together. If the games are quiet, background music can help keep the energy flowing. If the games are noisy or get rowdy, music may just get in the way, so turn it down or off. - Carrie, MI

Invite your guests to "participate" in the planning of the event. Send them a list of games you have in mind and poll them to see which games they are interesed in.- Gary, TN

If the people in the group don't all know each other, play a get- to-know-you game first to get them acquainted. Keep it short.- Sue, SC

If you have house rules inform people. I know this sounds like common sense, but it is easy to forget. Do you a policy regarding shoes? Does the dog get people food?- Bruce, MI

Take pictures when you can. We treasure our moments together and enjoy talking about past experiences/game nights.- Amy, TN

If children are attending, make sure that you have age appropriate games for them and a separate table- Cecile

Suggest making this event into a once a month or every other month event rotating the hosting house- Lori, IL

If a "problem" arises, have a "Do Over" instead of insisting on one answer over another.- John

Play - but no heavy competition. We set guests so that no partner (wife, etc) plays together.- Ellen

Make sure the bathroom is not embarrassing!- Elliot, IN

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