Start planning early
A week or two before your game night, start canvassing friends, family and neighbors for fun and unique games. Borrow games or buy them second hand from a thrift store. Try to mix it up from the usual Scrabble and Monopoly variety, and look for games that will encourage good natured competitiveness and will have your guests laughing and strategizing.
Arrange for a sitter for the kids.
Or if several of your guests have children as well, set them up in another room with snacks and movies.
Get your guests comfortable
Once your guests arrive, you may need to break the ice, especially if your guests don’t know each other well. If this is the case, don’t start off with games, and instead let your guests snack, sip drinks and mingle. When it’s time to play, start off with a game that allows the group to get a little bit goofy, hopefully setting the mood for the rest of the night. Try a game like Taboo, The Game of Things, Cranium or Truth or Dare Jenga.
Pit the boys against the girls.
Try a game like Battle of the Sexes. Find free instructions and a template here.
Don’t forget about snacks!
Keep your snacks light and bite-sized and avoid food that’s super messy. If you like to bake, consider preparing fun, games night-themed snacks, like these domino cookies:
Or these scrabble rice krispie treats:
Read your group
Be sure to have a variety of games available and don’t be afraid to abandon a game if people don’t seem to be having fun. Different people like different things in a game, whether it be strategy, humor, team playing etc. In that same vein, you may notice that some of your guests don’t like games like charades, where they have to be the center of attention, or appear to be uncomfortable with the content of a game like Cards Against Humanity. The last thing you want to do is make anyone uncomfortable. With that in mind, gauge the interests of your group while they play, and choose the next game accordingly.