Have you ever wondered how to host the ultimate games night at home? A game night is such a simple pleasure and can become the highlight of your social calendar. Not only does it encourage proper competitiveness but a card game or a board game is the perfect tool for getting people chatting and laughing. If you have had your ideas of the games’ night destroyed by those endless years of Monopoly around the table, shake it off. There is so much fun to be had with some better-designed games.

The ingredients of the best night

When designing your great game evening, you need to make sure you gather the right components together first. The ingredients for your evening need to perfect if the night is going to rise to your expectations. First, you need people to come with the right frame of mind. This evening is going to be a dinner party with some extras thrown in. Get the pitch right to your guests, so that they come with a desire for social interaction.

You then need to choose the right games. The games are just there as a springboard for the laughs and chats that will make the evening. Therefore, the games need to be easy to teach and can be played in short rounds. If it becomes a regular event, you can increase the complexity of the games and your ambitions for the play. Getting started, you will need to keep it simple.

Lay the foundations

Make sure someone in the household knows the games you are going to play and can explain the rules clearly. You don’t want to try to keep the interest of your guests while you are reading the rule book.

Then, set a time for people to arrive before food. You don’t have to be too strict about this timing but if you can get in a couple of games before the meal, you will set the tone of the event. If the arrival time is open-ended, you could be left hanging around with some guests while you wait for others to arrive.

You should also partially prepare the meal before people arrive, so you can be involved in the early games too. A one-pot dish that is easy to prepare is perfect for games night. Imagine serving a stew or offering a pot of chilli. If your meal preparation is too complicated, you will feel left out of the fun.

The games you could play

Obviously, it is a good idea to have a variety of games ready and prepared to get you through the whole evening. The easiest way to get started in gaming nights is with a pack of cards. There are a host of games you can play from this one prop and most guests will come knowing some of the basic principles. Card games also work well if there is just four of you or a houseful.

There are literally hundreds of card games but some favorites include euchre, pitch, 500, and canasta. Bridge and Tichu are also amazing games but you really need to be taught by an experienced player before you hope to make them the basis for your social evening.

If you are looking to play one game all night, you could do no worse than poker. If you are going to include a little betting on your games night keep the amounts small and the ground rules clear. But there is clearly no better fun than a circular table, a pack of cards, and a group of good friends trying to bluff each other.

If you want to stretch into board games then Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, and Dixit are easy to learn and they don’t go on for too long. If you let people know that you are hoping to become the ultimate game night host, you are likely going to get games for your Christmas and birthdays for some time to come.

Keep people topped up

Don’t skip the games. The problem with hosting a gaming night is that you are leading the game and responsible for food and drink. Often one thing will fall away and be unsuccessful. Therefore, take the problem of food and drink out of the mix by setting up a table where people can self-serve. Keeping this table well away from the games area is also a sound idea, as you do not want there to be an accident all over the playing area.

If you are feeling adventurous, you could always use drinks to increase the level of competition and release some of that early tension. While full-on drinking games might want to be left for the end of the evening, you can start with a few teasers at the start to loosen things up a little.

As you can tell, there is no better way to spend an evening at home with friends than a game night. It never needed to be dull, so shake off those bad memories and give it a try.