From food to decor to board games ... I'm sharing my favorite tips for how to host a game night party!
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Are you a board game player? I absolutely love them! It's one of those things that my husband and I enjoy doing together on quiet nights at home, as well as with groups of friends.
I'll never forget the first time I played Scrabble with him and his friends. I was playing the first four-letter word I came up with, while they were coming up with three word combinations that scored 75 points per turn. Let's just say I lost badly, but got more competitive fast!
A game night party is the perfect way to entertain without a lot of hassle (unless you can't handle the competition). There's just something about playing games with friends that is so uplifting and easy going!
How to Host a Game Night Party
Today, I'm sharing all my tips for hosting an awesome game night party so you can get in on the action, too!
From invites to food, here's everything you need to host a fun game night at home.
Game Night Party Invitations
Of course, you don't need to send invitations. However, taking the time to send invites will make the event more special and will help set the tone for your party.
Here are a few game night invitation ideas I love, from free evites to more creative (and expensive) ideas:
- Evite Game Night Invite: I love this fun retro style! This is a great free option, and you'll find plenty of other unique choices on this site, too. Plus, Evite's website will keep track of your RSVPs.
- Minted Legendary Game Night Invite: Another cute, vintage style free evite.
- Minted Game Night Get Together Invitation: I love the graphic game pieces on this free evite.
- Minted Game Night Pieces Invite: This free evite has a great, striking design that will work for any party.
- Tiny Prints Are You Game? Invite: How fun is this free evite? There's nothing like a game night challenge!
- Tiny Prints Girl's Night Out Invitation: This printed invitation is actually meant for a bachelorette party, but I think it would be perfect for a girl's night at home, too.
- Playing Cards Invite: Instead of a standard invitation, attach the details to a pack of playing cards. Or for a more custom (and expensive) option, order packages of Photo Playing Cards.
- Memory Game: Create your own memory game to send to guests for a preview of the fun to come!
- Custom Puzzle - Design your own invite using Picmonkey or a similar photo editing website. Then, upload it to Shutterfly and get a custom puzzle printed. Guest can assemble the puzzle for all the event details.
Game Night Decor Ideas
Game nights are usually pretty casual, so let your decor reflect that.
First and foremost, make sure your guests have a comfortable place to sit. Surround your coffee table with decorative pillows (mine are from Graham & Brown) or floor pillows. Are your dining table chairs a little stiff? Placing small pillows on them will add comfort, as well as style.
The easiest way to create cohesive party decor is by choosing a color theme. Once you do that, it's simply a matter of choosing items in those colors.
Once you have your colors, the sky is the limit with what you can do. Get a helium tank and fill up tons of balloons. Hang colorful and inexpensive party fans. If your party has a casino theme,make these DIY giant dice playing cards. Decorate the walls with old board games (use Command Strips to hang them easily without damaging your walls). Make sure to keep the theme going with colorful paper straws, napkins, and plates.
Choose the Right Board Games
Of course, the best part of any game night party is the board games!
If you are throwing a super casual event, pull out your games and let your guests pick what they'd like to play. For most parties though, it's better to limit the options.
I like to choose a variety of games for my parties:
- Classics: games that most people will have played before (Scrabble, Life, etc.).
- A New Fave: a game you love that most people probably haven't heard of (mine is Pass the Pigs).
- No Explanation Needed: simple games that everyone will catch onto quick, like Jenga.
- New and Complex: longer playing games with lots of rules that you can introduce your guests to.
I absolutely LOVE Pass the Pigs!
Basically, it's a dice game, and the pigs are the dice. You toss the pigs and get points based on how they land. It's humorous and enjoyable to play.
I've been playing Pass the Pigs since I was a kid. My aunt and uncle had the game, and we'd play whenever we visited.
Each of the pig positions has a name, like snouter, razorback, etc. When the pigs were touching, it used to be called Makin' Bacon ... I kid you not! 😉 Now it's called oinker ... ha ha.
Favorite Board Games
Here are some of my favorite board games:
- Scrabble: one of my all-time favorite games! My husband and I have the Deluxe Turntable Edition, which is crazy expensive. I'm positive we didn't pay anywhere near that much, but I love the turntable for parties since players can swivel the board when it's their turn. You could save a lot of money and place the original Scrabble game on a Lazy Susan (use some Command Strips between the board and Lazy Susan to hold it in place).
- Upwords: if you like Scrabble, you'll love Upwords, too! Basically, you use other peoples letters and add your own to create new words, building up as you go.
- Pass the Pigs: like I said, this is a major fave of mine! It's funny, plus simple to play, and everyone loves it. There's also a Party Edition with extra pigs so multiple people can play at once. And then there's a Pass the Big Pigs edition (shown above) with jumbo pigs that I'm kind of obsessed with!
- Jenga: this game is a total classic that anyone from kids to adults will enjoy playing. Get Jenga Giant to play on nice days in your yard, too.
- Scattergories: this is a lively game that will get you thinking ... not too hard though! Each player gets a list with different categories (like street names, professional athletes, vegetables, etc). One player rolls a dice to pick a letter, then everyone has to come up with an answer for each category that starts with that letter.
- Yatzee: a classic dice game that's fun and easy to play. Perfect for older kids and adults.
- Trivial Pursuit: this is one game I love, but I'm horrible at. Trivia is not my strong suit, and my husband consistently kicks my butt ... ha ha. There are tons of different editions, everything from Harry Potter to Star Wars to a family friendly version.
- Cards Against Humanity: a super popular and funny game. Adults will love this politically incorrect game.
- Monopoly: a total classic, and like trivial pursuit, there are lots of different editions.
- Splendor: this is a game our friends, who are pros at finding unique games, gave us. It may seem complex at first, but it's easy to catch onto and fast to play.
- Life: another classic that I love! My sister, friends, and I played this constantly as kids, but adults will enjoy it, too.
- Connect 4: this is such a fun game for kids and adults! My husband and I play frequently.
- Go Fish, Old Maid, and Animal Rummy (set): will there be kids at your party? These classic cards games will keep them occupied.
- Hi-Ho! Cherry-O: I played this as a kid, and I played it with my 5-year old niece recently, too. A great game for young children.
- Uno: a fun, easy to catch on to, card game for all ages!
Getting Organized for Game Night
One of the most important things to know when considering how to host a game night party is how to organize everything.
Here are some easy tips to get you organized:
- If you have the room, set up different game playing stations. That way, guests can rotate between different games.
- Make sure your games aren't missing any pieces.
- Gather lots of pens and paper. There's nothing worse than scurrying around while your guests are waiting to play.
- Set up a food and drink table that guests can visit in between games.
- Prep as much food ahead of time as possible so you can enjoy the party, too.
- Stock your bathroom with extra toilet paper, clean hand towels, and simple toiletries, like hand lotion, that guest will appreciate having on hand.
Game Night Awards and Prize Ideas
One of my favorite game night party ideas is to award prizes! It doesn't have to be anything super crazy or expensive, just something that will add extra excitement to your night. Everyone loves a prize after all!
I like to make DIY game night champion ribbons. They're quick to create and can be embellished with different phrases, like #1 Champ, Best Sport, Worst Loser, Most Creative, etc.
Game Night Food Ideas
One of my favorite parts of hosting a game night party is planning the food. Since game night is inherently casual, keep things simple and choose recipes that can be prepared ahead of time.
Go for easy food that can be eaten between games, like pizza, candy (you can't go wrong with peanut butter or classic M&M'S, chips and dip (try my Creamy Lemon Artichoke Dip), and other yummy bites. Don't forget a range of drinks, too. An easy cocktail (my Lemonade Shandies are delish and not too strong), wine, beer, and non-alcoholic beverages, like soda, lemonade, or iced tea are perfect.
Of course, you could also theme your food ... these Scrabble Cakes and Cupcakes are so cute!
I hope you enjoyed my tips for how to host a game night party!
What is your favorite board game?