The movies and dinner. Dinner and a movie. Another movie, another dinner. Ever get tired of the same old night out weekend after weekend? Even if you do love a good movie and meal (who doesn’t?) sometimes it’s fun to shake it up with something new!
Maybe you’re looking to spend a fun evening with old friends, and meet some new ones, too! If you want to try something new this weekend, open your door for an evening and host a game night. Unlike a fancy dinner party, a game night can be easy and stress free to throw together and is sure to be a blast for all involved.
How do you plan a fun game night that won’t break the bank? Here are six easy steps:
1. Decide how many people to invite
The number of people at your party will help determine what games you play. If you invite ten friends over, you can plan games that the entire group can play together. Another option is to have two games going at once so people can rotate back and forth between games.
If you’re planning on spreading the word and open to a larger group, you can plan on having at least three games going, if not four. Besides helping choose the right games, knowing the number of guests can help you best select what snacks to serve and how you want to set up your space.
For a more intimate game night, you may want to keep the party indoors. If you’re going to be playing games with a large crowd and you have the outdoor space, open up the patio or backyard. Throw up a string of fairy lights and a citronella candle and you’ll be good to go!
2. Pick your games
One of the most important part of any game night is, of course, the games. Personalities and personal preferences vary so your best bet is to have a good variety to choose from. Not sure where to start? Here are some of the more popular game options:
- Catch phrase – great for a small or large group
- Cranium – best for six people.
- Wii – great for the energetic people who want to actively compete against each other
- Charades – simple, easy, and can be played with any size group
- Poker – because cards are fun! Several different variants to play
- Scattergories – creative and simple! Great for a smaller group
- Trivial Pursuit – allows people to use random knowledge. Fun as a small or big group!
What game you play may come down to what games you have in your hall closet. But you could also ask around and borrow a few games from friends. There’s no need to rack up a big Amazon bill for the latest and greatest games when the classics are just as much fun as the latest trends!
3. Plan a menu
Because game nights are more fun to throw when you don’t have to break your budget, plan on asking each guest to bring a food item to share. When the Wii and game pieces are involved, finger foods are your best bet. You don’t want your guests trying to balance spoons, forks, plates, and their deck of cards all at once!
Some menu items that will satisfy stomachs without making too much of a mess on your roommate’s Monopoly board:
- Chips and dip
- Fresh veggies and hummus
- Deviled eggs
- Fruit platter
Obviously you’ll want to tailor the menu to your favorite treats. If you decide to host your game night after dinner time, you can keep the snacks light. If you’d prefer to stick to the simplicity of wine, cheese and crackers, go for it! It’s your game night, have fun with it.
4. Send out your invitations
You’ll want to give your guests enough notice to schedule in the night on their calendar. If you invite them the night of the game night, you may end up with a room full of games and snacks and no one to play games with! Once you have the date picked out, choose your guests and get the invitations out.
Whether you’re a traditional mail, evite or Facebook group person, the sooner you give people a heads up, the more likely you’ll get a good show. Give your friends a brief description of how awesome the night is going to be and ask them to RSVP with what snack or drink they would like to bring.
If you’re feeling adventurous, open the invite up so that your friends can invite their friends, etc. Game nights are great ways to meet new people!
5. Set up the space
As your big game night approaches, play around with the area in which you will be hosting. If your living room will be the main area, move the furniture around to make space for the games that require more people and set aside a smaller area for the Go Fish players.
Setting up card games like Poker? Consider opening your kitchen or dining room table up as the card station. It’s an easy place for the players to keep track of their cards and chips (both the edible and non-edible kind).
If you’re going big and planning on opening up your outdoors, make sure you have a table or trays set up for the games and refreshments. Outdoor lighting by way of porch lights, Christmas lights, candles, a fire pit, or tiki torches will add to the ambiance of the evening.
6. Prepare for your guests
This is your game night, so make sure you have everything prepared ahead of time so that you can join in on the fun without having to run last minute errands. Make a list of the snacks, games and items you’ll need to make the night a success and round them up at least a few days before your event.
Paper and plastic ware, snacks, drinks, and a fresh deck of cards are some of the things that you may want to include on your list. If you don’t have a good mix of music already on hand, consider downloading a party mix or outsource this task to a creative friend who enjoys putting together play lists.
Once you have your shopping done, add the finishing touches on your game area. Get ready to have a night full of fun, laughter, and great conversation with your friends. It will be a night that you (and your guests!) don’t soon forget!