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Are You Game For It?

By Hannah Kasprzyk

My husband loves to play board games! He’s always finding new ones and adding them to our growing collection. Of course, with games you need people to play them. One of our favorite things to do is have people over to our home for a game night.

The great thing about hosting a game night is that it provides a wonderful opportunity to fellowship with and get to know others better. It does not have to be scary or stressful.

Often keeping things simple is the most enjoyable for everyone. If you’ve never hosted a game night in your home before, here are a few tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way to help you get started.

First, determine who you want to have over. This could be a family, couples, friends, or new people in your church. Only invite as many guests though as you can fit around a table or in your living room. For my husband and I, we have found that between 6-8 people (including ourselves) is a comfortable number for our home. You not only want to ensure you have enough seats for everyone but also keep in mind that most board games only allow for between 4-8 players at a time.

Secondly, when you invite someone over, follow through and get a date set on the calendar. If you leave your invitation open-ended just saying “hey, we would love to have y’all over for a game night sometime when you are free,” then it will never happen. Even people you think are “too busy” have free time available if you would just both check your calendars, pick a date and time that works best for everyone, and mark it down. We don’t usually pick an ending time but just remember to be sensitive to those who must get up early the next morning for work or school.

Now that you have guests coming, it’s time to get the house ready. You don’t have to “spring clean” your entire house! I like to focus my attention on the common areas: dining room/kitchen, living room, and bathroom giving them a basic tidying and cleaning. The bathroom is an area I like to ensure is extra clean – the floor, toilet, sinks, mirror, and fresh hand towels. Before your guests arrive, you could light a candle or two (especially in the bathroom) to add a pleasant aroma and ambiance. Just be sensitive on the types and number of smells you use as some people have sensitive noses.

Next, determine if and what food and beverages to serve at your game night. Let’s be real – who doesn’t enjoy some snacks and treats while playing games? If your guests are coming close to or right after the dinner hour, it’s a good idea to clearly communicate if you are planning on serving a meal or just snacks. Sometimes you may just want to have dessert and games. If possible, ask if there are any dietary restrictions, preferences, or major dislikes that your guests have. With whatever food you have, remember to keep it simple. Meal foods could include pizza, wings, tacos, and grilled hamburgers or hot dogs. If you choose to just have snacks, choose a nice variety including some healthier options too. I have found that having a veggie tray with dip is always a hit. You could also do a cheese and cracker platter, chips and salsa, popcorn, or party snack mix. For dessert, having something sweet like cookies, cupcakes, or even brownies and ice cream are easy options to have on hand to offer your guests with a sweet tooth. For drinks, it’s always good to have one or two other options like soda or lemonade to serve along with water. In our home, we have a Keurig, so we also enjoy being able to offer coffee, tea, and hot chocolate to our guests. Personally, I like to lay the food and drinks out on my countertop in a buffet style. This allows the guests to help themselves as much as they like during their visit. I also prefer to use disposable plates, cups, and silverware to cut down on the clean up afterwards.

This brings us up to the day of your event!

When your guests arrive, give them a quick tour of your home making sure to point out where the restroom is. When everyone is assembled, encourage them to dig into the yummy snacks as you continue to converse by asking lots of questions. Remember the whole purpose of this game night is to get to know these people better. You could ask about their story, where they grew up, how they met, what they do for a living, their salvation testimony, what they like to do for fun as a family, or their favorite vacation spot. If you are still unsure or have run out of ideas, there are plenty of helpful conversation starters that you can acquire online or through resources like TableTopics.

When everyone is about finished eating, you can start directing attention towards playing a game. The types of games you play will depend on who your guests are and their tastes. Find out if they like games that are fast-paced, strategy, chance, or word-building. Sometimes asking them what types of games they usually like to play in their home will give you an idea. My husband will usually pre-select a variety of our games that he thinks would be fun to help guide in the decision process. We’ve also had guests bring along a few of their favorite games as well. With people you don’t know as well, it’s a great idea to start with an icebreaker type game like Apples to Apples, Whoonu, Say Anything, Double Ditto, or 5 Second Rule. Play a couple of rounds and then try a different game. If there are young children, you may want to play simpler games that they can participate in or team them up with an adult to play along with. Here are some of our favorite games for each category:

  • fast-paced fun – Pit, Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza, Ratuki, Dutch Blitz, or Spoons

  • strategy type games – Clue, Ticket to Ride, Catan, Codenames, Monopoly Deal, Pandemic, or Scotland Yard

  • word games – Bananagrams, Scrabble, Scattegories, Boggle, Mad Gab, or Tapple

  • low-pressure fun and laughs – Telestrations, Cash and Guns, Really Bad Art

  • card games - Sequence, Uno, Skip-bo, Phase 10

  • very large groups – Catch Phrase, Taboo, Outburst, Pictionary, Cranium, and Quelf

If your guests have never played the game before, make sure to give clear instructions and even play a “practice” round to get everyone started. If you want to build up your family’s game collection, Goodwill is a great place to find used games at a decent price. Just always check to ensure all the pieces are included.

That’s all, folks! Hopefully these tips will be a help to you as you plan your own game night. If you are anything like me, remind yourself not to overthink it. It does not need to be extravagant or Pinterest-worthy.

Keep the objective in sight: to fellowship and have fun. Happy hosting!


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