It can be great fun to gather your friends round for a competitive game of bridge or an evening of charades.
We have advice to help you choose the type of game to play, as well as some tips to make hosting a games night and serving snacks hassle free.
Plan Your Games
The game you choose to play should be well suited to the friends you invite round.
Some friends might like a simple, fun game like Charades, Pictionary or Articulate – games that pit ‘teams’ of two people and up against each other. The benefits of games like this are:
- Simple rules will suit people who don’t normally play games
- They are good for creative people
- These games can be particularly good for talkative friends
- They can be great as a way of introducing friends to each other
- Older children and teenagers will also enjoy games like this, if you want to host a family games night
If have friends who you think would like to test their abilities more, try playing some card games like Uno, Blackjack, Rummy or Whist, or board games like Trivial Pursuit or Carcassonne. These are great because:
- They can help people build up card game skills
- You can see which friends enjoy competition, and who hates it (which is helpful when planning other games nights!)
Once people have mastered games like Whist or if you know they enjoy more of a challenge, you could host a competitive games night for a card game like Bridge or Poker, a board game like Scrabble, or even a game of Mahjong.
- These games suit people who like competition, strategy and skill
- People get better at the games the more they play them, so the games stay fun and are great to play regularly
How to Host
When you invite people, make sure you let them know it’s going to be a games night so they don’t turn up unwilling to play.
If it’s a game that you think people might have less experience with, you could send them rules in advance, or links to online versions of the game that they could practise on.
It’s a good idea to ask for RSVPs for games nights so you know how many tables and chairs to set up.
Sometimes it can be fun to ask people to bring a dish or drink with them – crisps and dips, a bottle of wine, biscuits. Just make sure people bring different things, so you don’t end up with lots of bags of crisps and no wine!
Get your games space ready in advance of people coming over. Set up any chairs and tables for card or board games, clear space for games like charades, and make sure you have a clock timer, pencils and paper as well as anything else needed for the games themselves. Depending on the game you’re playing, you might want to have a music playlist ready too.
Make sure you leave about half an hour to an hour from the time you invite guests to the time you start playing the game, so people can get settled, meet each other, or catch up.
What to Serve
It’s always a good idea to serve snacks at a games night.
The best foods to serve are easy-to-eat finger foods that leave little mess and mean people can nibble at food without having to stop playing.
You could serve:
- Sandwiches filled with cucumber, cheddar, cream cheese, smoked salmon or ham and cut into ‘fingers’
- Sausage rolls, mini burgers, tiny quiches, or spring rolls
- Cupcakes or cookies for a sweet treat
- Crisps, nuts, or pretzels
If it’s a daytime event then pots of tea and coffee will always go down well, but you could try making an iced tea for variety.
Depending on the friends you invite and the sort of games you want to play, you could ask guests to bring alcohol with them to share, or serve a non-alcoholic punch.
Have you ever hosted a games night?