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A Good Old-Fashioned Game Night

By Lauren Holstein

Good old-fashioned game night is the perfect way to get together with family or friends without breaking the bank. It’s also a great way to leave the screens behind and look each other in the eye! Here are some game night ideas so you can get face to face time instead of FaceTime.

The first step to game night is selecting your games. While some board games can cost $30 or more, you don’t have to buy a new game to have people over. Make a communal effort to gather the games by asking your guests to bring what they already to the party. It’s likely that at least one person will have time-tested favorites like Monopoly, Life, or Clue stored away in a closet. Then there are some games that just involve a pad of paper and pen, like Charades. Prepare for Charades by jotting down categories and ideas (such as favorite movies, books, or TV show titles) before your guests arrive to get the inspiration started. Another game that involves nothing, but your guest participation is Two Truths and a Lie. Even better, there is no preparation required for this game; just an imagination and a good poker face.

Now that you know what games you’re going to play, set the scene by creating a comfortable atmosphere. Everyone lounging around the coffee table can create an informal setting. Adding extra pillows and blankets are an extra touch of comfort. It’s also cozier than being upright at a dining room table.

Food is essential when preparing for a game night. Since you’re going to want to participate, prepare easy and laid-back self-serving bites. Some ideas are pizza bites, pigs in a blanket, a cheese plate, a crudité platter, or meatball sliders. Put your own twists on these classic items to let your guests know that you went above and beyond just opening a package. It's also nice to have a signature drink in a large pitcher so guests can pour, refill, and jump right back into their game. Don't forget desserts! It's likely that you'll have guests with a sweet tooth. Fruit and cookies are always a safe bet for keeping everyone satisfied.

To increase the competitive energy, create a winner’s board. Have the winner’s board on a large display in a centralized location showcasing everyone’s face or names. As the games go on, continually track everyone’s points. Whenever a player wins, move their faces up and down according to their score.

Once you’ve enjoyed all the rounds your crew wants to play, it’s time to tally the final points and hand out prizes! Just like the planning, prizes don’t have to be expensive. Have first, second and third place range from anything like choosing snacks for the next evening, who starts off first for the next game, or who gets to take home leftover desserts.

If your friends and family enjoy game night, make it a standing commitment like a monthly book club! This is a great way to make it through all the games lying around the house and get people to step out of their comfort zones. We hope you enjoy some of these ideas and get the chance to unplug with family and friends!