How to Host a Game Night: Level Up Your Hosting Skills

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So, you are planning to gather your fellow board game enthusiasts or introduce your friends to the hobby. That’s fantastic! However, keep in mind that it takes a bit more than just inviting people over and having a few drinks while rolling dice. 

If you’re looking for some advice on how to host a game night that will be epic, unforgettable, and downright fun for everyone, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some tips that may help you whether you’re a seasoned tabletop gamer or a complete newbie. Let’s get started, shall we?

1. Choose Your Games Wisely

The first and most important step in hosting a successful game night is choosing the right games to play that you know your guests will enjoy. With over 140,000 titles out there, you’re sure to find something suitable. How hard can it be, right?

If you’re expecting people with diverse tastes or experience levels with board games, it’s essential to plan ahead. You need to select games that will entertain everyone; otherwise, you’ll have a far-from-perfect game night.

Party games are a go-to choice if you’re hosting a large group with different preferences. For us at Boar Gamer, Codenames, Just One, and Decrypto are great picks for six or more people, but titles like 7 Wonders, Ticket to Ride, and Sheriff of Nottingham offer an excellent introduction to the hobby for new players as well.

Bojan is ready for a board game night
As you can see, Bojan always comes prepared for board game nights. 😁

Cooperative board games are ideal if you invite people who prefer competing against a game  (or if they’re sore losers and would rather blame the game than the winner 😉). 

There are tons of fantastic modern board games available, so it’s crucial to do your research and pick ones that you think your friends will enjoy. We at Boar Gamer are here to help you pick the perfect game for you. For starters, always consider the following:

  • how many players you’ll have on the night,
  • the difficulty level of games,
  • the length of time it takes to play the game.

2. Plan Ahead

Don’t let the game night be a last-minute decision! Inform your guests well in advance so they can clear their schedules and get excited about the event. A week or two in advance should be enough time for most people to make arrangements and for you to pick what games you’ll play. Some people like to familiarize themselves with the rules of the games they’ll play, which is an especially good practice if you plan on playing more complex games like Nemesis.

A game of Wingspan
Neatly organized game of Wingspan. Perfect table space for your bird sanctuary.

3. Create a Comfortable Space for Playing Board Games

Once you’ve chosen your games, it’s time to set the scene. Create a comfortable and inviting space for your friends to play in. Ensure you have enough chairs for everyone and a large enough table for the board games you plan to play. Consider setting up snacks and drinks to keep everyone fueled and hydrated.

You can also play some background music and ensure there’s sufficient lighting to see the board and playing pieces. If you want to go the extra mile, play something thematic for the game you’re playing. For example, some 1920s jazz would pair well with Lovecraftian games, and Raiders of the North Sea is even better with Viking chants in the background.

strategically positioned snacks
Keeping the food stocked and close at hand may mean the difference between winning or losing the game, but watch out that you don’t make a mess of your cards. 

4. Explain the Rules

As the official board game night host, it’s your job to teach the rules of the games on offer, even if the players have prepared beforehand. Prepare yourself by reading the rules before the game night starts. Nobody enjoys waiting while you rifle through a 50-page rulebook. If the game is particularly complicated, consider playing solo for a few rounds the night before to gain hands-on experience.

Be patient and clear when explaining the rules, and be ready to answer any questions that may arise. This is especially important if you’re playing a game that’s new to everyone. You don’t want anyone to feel left out or confused, so be patient and thorough when teaching your fellow players how to play.

5. Balance Fun and Friendly Competition

While the goal of game night is to have fun, some games are more entertaining with friendly competition. Encourage your friends to play their best, but don’t let things get too serious. Remember, it’s just a game, even if they send you on a foolhardy quest in Lords of Waterdeep!

If someone is struggling or falling behind, try offering them advice or encouragement. This can help keep everyone engaged and invested in the game, which most modern board games are perfect for.

Lords of Waterdeep board game night

6. Mix Things Up

Don’t be afraid to mix things up and try different game genres throughout the night. Playing the same game for hours on end can get boring for some people, so switch things up and try something new.

There are fantastic filler games like Next Station: London, That’s So Clever, and Cartographers, which are easy to explain and take less than 30 minutes to play. If you need anything less serious, card games like Exploding Kittens and Sushi Go are perfect picks. After a short and sweet game, it will be easier to tackle Eldritch horrors or fantasy beasties in another game.

7. Have a Backup Plan

Sometimes things don’t go as planned, so it’s essential to have a backup ready in case something goes wrong. Maybe one of your games ends up being too complicated, or someone gets tired of playing the same game for hours on end. In these cases, it’s good to have a backup plan. Consider having some classic board games, like Azul or Settlers of Catan, on hand just in case.

azul tiles
These are relaxing for everyone. Except for those that are stuck with taking tiles they can’t use. 

8. Be a Gracious Host

This point may be less related to your choice of board games, but it’s just as important. As the host of game night, it’s crucial to be a gracious host. Make sure everyone feels welcome and included, and don’t forget to thank everyone for coming at the end of the night.

If you’re providing snacks and drinks, ensure you have enough for everyone and consider any dietary restrictions and preferences your guests may have. You could also politely ask everyone to bring a snack or drink to share, potluck-style.

epic game of DnD
Hosting a game night can be thematic and fun as this merry band of pirates can confirm.

9. Take Breaks

Playing games for hours on end can be exhausting, so make sure to take breaks throughout the game night. This will give everyone a chance to rest, stretch their legs, and get ready for the next round. Take the time to catch up with your friends. The point of hosting a board game night is to have a fun in-person experience with your friends and family.

10. Have Fun

Last, but not least, remember to have fun! As the host, your enthusiasm is contagious. If you’re enjoying yourself, it’s more likely that your guests will too. Embrace the spirit of the night, and let your love for board games inspire other players to have a great time.

nidavelir gold coins
When you host a game night and accidentally open the door to Nidavelir’s VIP Gold Coin Lounge!

Final Thoughts

Hosting a game night is an incredible opportunity to connect with friends, make new memories, and share your passion for board games. By following these tips, you’re well on your way to creating an unforgettable experience that will have your guests eagerly anticipating the next event and the opportunity to play games with you. 

So go ahead and get your gaming space ready, brush up on the rules, and prepare to be the host with the most as you embark on this exciting journey. Remember, the key to a successful game night lies in your attention to detail, adaptability, and, most importantly, your ability to have fun along with your guests. Happy gaming!

FAQ

  1. How do you host the best game night ever?

    Hosting game nights starts with planning ahead and inviting a fun group of friends to join your board game night extravaganza. Carefully curate a selection of favorite games that cater to different tastes and skill levels, ensuring everyone has a blast.
    Ensure you have a spacious game board area and comfortable seating. Don’t forget the finger foods! Provide a variety of tasty snacks to keep everyone energized and ready to conquer their next game. With a combination of strategic planning, engaging games, and a welcoming atmosphere, you’ll quickly become the go-to host for unforgettable game nights. Let the good times roll!

  2. What should you have for a game night?

    If you are looking for adult game night ideas you should consider modern tabletop games. These provide a far better experience than trivia games or a classic game of Monopoly

    First of all, modern new games keep all players engaged for the duration of the game, even if it’s not their turn. If you are looking for fun game ideas for your next game night, you’ll find some of the best board games reviewed here at Boar Gamer. 

  3. How can I make my game night more interesting?

    If you are looking into great game night ideas and ways to make them more interesting, consider these suggestions:
    Hosting themed Nights: Choose games with a common theme and encourage guests to dress up or bring themed snacks.
    Mixing genres: Offer a variety of game genres and styles to cater to different tastes and keep things fresh.
    Creating a tournament: Organize a friendly tournament with a bracket system or leaderboard for added excitement.
    Make a game rotation: Set up different gaming stations with various games, allowing guests to rotate and try new games throughout the night.