If you haven’t heard yet, board games are all the rage once again not only with kids and families, but all kinds of adults looking for a fresh way to socialize with friends. In the last 5 years, board games quietly made a comeback into mainstream entertainment. Not only is there more and more new games being produced, but sales of games and puzzles worldwide rose from $9.3 billion in 2013 to $9.6 billion in 2016 and expected to grow exponentially. Furthermore, you can also find board games at cafés and bars especially dedicated to them, another trend fast growing in popularity partly due to nostalgia (Millennials are the last demographic to have been completely raised on board games before video games completely took over) and necessity (board games can be played over and over and are on-the-go leisure).
Of course, board games have also returned to the home not only among families with kids but adults and their friends with Board Game Nights taking center stage as a regular “Can't-Miss” event. Therefore, if you plan to host an evening of “analog” gaming AKA Board Game Night, the 5 tips below will enhance it to epic proportions.
When throwing a Board Game Night especially for adults (family nights don’t necessarily require invitations), you need to deal with the reality of inviting too many guests or not inviting enough guests that can quickly put a damper on the occasion. While there is no magic number for the right number of folks to invite, you must remember, most board games have a set number of players. “Monopoly,” you might recall, accommodates 2 to 8 players and has precisely 8 tokens especially for them. As a result, your guest list will be dictated by the games you plan to play (look at the game box for more information) or vice versa, what games you can play will be dictated by how many players you have.
While “extra” guests can always watch and play in the next round, even classic board games like “Monopoly” takes two hours to play, making the next round seem like an eternity. The last thing you want is for some of your guests to get bored and feel like the odd man (or woman) out. Finally, you also need to consider how many people can fit comfortably in your house and at your table(s) (see Tip #5).
Tip # 2 Tie It All Together with a Theme
With food, drinks, and fun present, your Board Game Night is officially a party so why not have a party theme to set a mood. Whether you’re feeling Medieval or Sci-Fi, you can tie together everything from your line-up of board games to your menu to your prizes. The question of which came first, the game night or the game, makes a repeat performance. You can base your theme on the games you will be playing i.e. “Superheroes” if you have a line-up of games with a superhero theme like the “Marvel Heroes” game). On the other hand, you can choose the games you will be playing based on your theme like ‘80s Night (with “Back to the Future,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,”or “Ghostbusters” board games, of course). Naturally, you can use your theme to guide everything, including party invitations, décor (again, more in Tip #5), food (definitely pizza for “TMNT,” drinks, and prizes. Yes, you can play ‘80s music (if that’s your theme) while guests arrive, but we suggest turning down all distractions once all the guests are present and game night proper commences.
Tip #3 Serve Easy-to-Eat Foods
As previously mentioned, your food and drink menu can be inspired by a central party theme or by your board game line-up (they can likewise be totally independent of one another). Keep in mind your guests will have one hand on their food and the other hand on the gameboard. Therefore, food that will be easy to eat with your hands or munch down between rounds is best such as sliders, non-messy appetizers, and of course, cookies (they’ll appreciate the sugar rush). Since there’s an unlimited number of finger food recipes at your disposal, tying in a theme or board game title will be easy like bat-shaped cookies and gross-appearing food fit for Halloween to tie in with your horror titles (like “Betrayal at House on the Hill” or “Eldritch Horror”).
Tip # 4 To Drink or Not to Drink?
As for drinks, sodas and other canned beverages will do. Like finger foods, they’re easy to have around. However, if you want to turn up your party quotient, you can serve cocktails that can also take inspiration from a theme or your game line-up. A grown-up party is always more relaxing with drinks and can set the appropriate atmosphere. For example, drinks can be inspired by the token colours in a game of “Sorry” or by the characters from “Clue” (2 verified board game classics). On the other hand, alcohol will impair attentiveness so beware.
Tip #5 Location, Location, Location
We don’t mean your home per say. We mean on what you and your guests will be playing your board games on. Your coffee table might be good enough for family time, but your Board Game Night might need multiple tables for multiple games to be played throughout the evening. “Monopoly,” for example, requires a larger playing surface like your dining table, especially if you have 8 players. Add the need for guests to keep their food and drinks close at hand, and location becomes a logistic nightmare.
While card tables and TV trays can come in handy, many gamers have found this Board Game Night conundrum easily solved with the Transformer Table (https://www.transformertable.com), which can be seamlessly custom fit for 2-12 people. It’s actually 6 tables in 1 in sturdy hardwood (choose from Birch Grey, Black Oak, Chestnut, Natural Acacia). You can even choose from 5 generous sizes to accommodate your gaming whim. It’s especially recommended for RPG/Miniature gaming and already well- prove in that industry.
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