Ever hosted a game night? Where do you start? Managing the menu, guest list, games, and cleanup can seem overwhelming But don't be discouraged. This is your opportunity to have the event of the year. Here are the tips and tricks to get the party rolling make it memorable,and get them to ask when is your next game night.
1. Know Your Attendees
Different gamers like different kinds of games. Ask your attendees what they want to play. If they don’t know, offer up games you have enjoyed in the past. If people enjoyed it they will most likely play again. Use your favorite social media to crowd source ideas and get everyone talking before the big night.
Poll Your Attendees
What do your attendees want to eat? Do any of them have dietary restrictions? Is alcohol okay? Getting these questions answered early prevents unintended surprises and stress on everyone.
Let's be honest not all gamers play well with others. Maybe you have two attendees who have a dispute. Maybe you have an aggressive player and a sensitive player attending. Be respectful and ask them if they are willing to attend with the each other present. If they are, try to have things they can play separately to match their gaming personalities. If not offer a separately scheduled event for each.
2. Who's Bringing What
Many times guests will be willing to show off their cooking skills, or pick up food for the group. Potlucks are a great way to distribute the workload, and the cost. Also consider making a main dish and having others bring sides or drinks to complete the meal(s).
Board games take up table space, and so does your food and bar. Clear your tables and
counters to create as much space as possible. Designate game tables and make sure you have enough chairs for all your guests. You can ask guests to bring a folding chair if your guest list grows to epic proportions.
Leverage your attendees game treasure troves to have the games that people want to play. If no one has a game, consider asking an guest to purchase it instead of paying for food or drinks. See if multiple attendees are willing to split the cost of a game. This may give everyone something new to play, making the event more memorable.
Be upfront about +1s, +2s or +infinity added guests. Too many people may throw off your menu or event plans. Tell your players upfront if they can invite others, it will help you plan effectively.
3. Game Night Schedule
Games & Events
What games do you intend to play and when? Maybe you have other events like a movie or contest as part of the night. Some of your attendees may only be able to attend a part of your event so a schedule will help you both plan accordingly.
Don't Let Them Be Stuffed or Starving
Especially if you are cooking, let people know what the meal plan is. This lets others plan their day so that they don’t ruin there appetite or arrive starving. Hors D'oeuvres are a must if the gaming is an all day event.
From The Beginning Till The End
Be clear on when your game night starts and ends. Even if it is open ended people can plan around your event. Set a reasonable end time, particularly if people have to work or if drinks are involved. Your clear plans show that you are respectful of their time.
4. Awesome Ambiance
The Right Tune for Right Time
This can vary depending on the games you are playing, maybe you're dungeon diving and need an epic soundtrack, maybe it is a casual card game and you need it to break the silence. Music can help get people in the right mindset for gaming. Make sure to keep the volume at the appropriate level, to not distract your players.
Special Affects Anyone?
Like music, the right lighting will depend on the game. Playing in a poorly lit dungeon may have drawbacks when people are trying to read game manuals or cards. Lighting can also be used to set the mood. Take the time to think about lighting where you will be playing. Remember to make sure everyone feels safe and can still move freely around the game areas.
Is it time to dress up? Maybe. Many people find that being in costume helps them get into character, especially if your game night has a theme setting like a murder mystery. Remember, you want to make the event memorable. Keep in mind that not everyone may want to participate. Be upfront with your attendees about your expectations and give them options if needed.
5. Get Your Attendees to Help
Setup vs. Cleanup
Don’t be a one person army. Get some attendees to arrive early to setup and have others help you cleanup after. Most will contribute particularly if they are having a good time.
Cooks & Bartenders
Leverage these skills that others have. If they like to cook then the meal will be that much more delicious, if they like to make drinks put them to work at the bar (with limits). Leverage them so you can focus on other game night activities, and make extra sure these members of the team are enjoying the event.
Game Masters (GMs)
Even if only playing one game, decide on who is running it. Take care of your GMs so they can take care of the players. If playing multiple games, try to have a different person run each one or at least let them alternate. This helps the GMs keep the energy up during the games, helping other attendees enjoy the night even more.
Awesome game nights take planning. Each set of attendees will present you with opportunities to create memorable experiences for all. Don't forget:
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