Here are my tips and tricks for throwing the wildest and most fun Board Game night ever! Having thrown several myself, I’d consider myself an expert
Guest Who’s Invited?
The first thing you’ve gotta do is pick a date. From personal experience, if you try to pick a date that works for every single friend you want to invite, you’ll never succeed. True story. Friday or Saturday nights are obviously the best choices. Pick your date about 3-4 weeks in advance, then make a Facebook event or send out e-vites. Whatever you need to do.
A Word on Guest Lists & RSVPs
When you’re thinking up people to invite, try to pick what will be the least stressful for you. Invite people that like to play board games, not one’s that balk at playing. If you’re worried about two people who don’t like each other being there, don’t invite either of them. It’s really not hard. Also, remind your guests to RSVP! This is super important if you’re buying food and drinks, you really don’t want to run out. It’s also important if someone has an allergy, because then you can find out how to resolve that situation.
Get Your Games In Gear
This is the time for you to asses your board game (and maybe video game) closet. The ideal board game for a party with many people has the following characteristics: It can have four or more players, it doesn’t take too long to explain and/or set up, it’s fun, and it ends in less than 3 hours. Even if you have the world’s best gaming closet, ask your friends to bring their favorite board games, because you don’t own everything. To avoid confusion, write your name on your board games, game controllers, and even card tables. When people arrive, hand them a Sharpie and tell them to write their name on their games too.
My Favorite Party Games
- Bang!: You probably saw my post on the wildest western card game, but I cannot understate how good this game is. You need at least four, and I think 8 is the max! Doesn’t usually take too long.
- Cards Against Humanity: The old party classic! You can have as many people as you want playing this ridiculous (and sometimes lewd) card game. Young fanpeople: your parents may object, so try Apples to Apples instead.
- Spoons: A classic card game that will have everyone on edge! There are rules all over the internet, so give it a try!
- Twister: Spin the wheel and don’t fall over! It’s really fun to play, but way more difficult than it looks. Take off your socks if you wanna survive.
Master of Your House
For the best set-up, your house should be able to accommodate several extra card tables, or have room for people to play on the floor. The area with food should be a designated zone, preferably in the kitchen, set up nice and neat with all the necessary utensils. And just FYI: buck up and play games on the floor if space is tight. Seriously tho, it’ll make your life easier.
Eat, Drink, And Be Merry!
Do not serve a real meal, not even pizza. Why? It’s freaking expensive. Go with classic snack foods, that way all you have to do is set out plates and napkins. Also, ask your guests to bring a bag of their favorite snack or a 2-liter bottle of their favorite drink. Worried about not having enough? Simply tell everyone that this is not a meal, and once the snacks are gone, they’re gone. Pro tip: leave a Sharpie next to the cups so people can write their names on their cup. It saves so much clean up time and cups. Remind people to throw their trash away, and show everyone where the garbage can is, if need be. Or you can station smaller garbage cans around your house too.
What To Do When…
You’ve got a full-on board game blow out starting to form. Quietly observe from a distance what the situation is before jumping in, especially if you aren’t playing the game with them. Often times, people can work it out amongst themselves. If it escalates, tell them to cool down, and if need be, to take it outside.
Your friends are getting bored. For someone like me, this sounds terrifying. This takes a little bit of advance preparation. Try a group game, like charades, Truth or Dare, or mafia. Pull out a favorite (but if younger guests are there, parent-approved) movie, and resume games when you’re finished.
No one brought board games. Again, a terrifying scenario. You’re most likely going to have to pull every game you own out of the closet. You could also fire up your Xbox or Wii, if you weren’t going to before. But to avoid this, beg people to bring games, and text them a couple of hours before.
I could continue coming up with nightmare scenarios, but let’s not.
Get invites and a date squared away at least 2 weeks in advance
Invite the right kind of people and make sure they RSVP
Evaluate your board game closet and ask people to bring games
Make sure you have extra card tables and chairs (and ask people to bring them if you do not).
Only serve snack foods, and write names on people’s cups (and ask friends to bring snacks).
Understand that you will not be able to prepare for every scenario, but handle them as responsibly and graciously as possible.
This is your party, so at the end of the day, whatever causes the least amount of stress is the right choice!