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How to Organize An Awesome Game Night: Guests, Games, & Grub

Updated on April 7, 2016

Warning that this hub contains a one-stop-location for how to host an awesome game night. As such, it is long and will not be read thoroughly in a five minute sitting. HOWEVER, it is your lucky day and you only need to skim each section: Guests, Games, Grub, to get the information you need to ensure your next game night is a blast!

Want the "Shell Notes" version of this Hub?

In case you don't have time but still need the information - here is a summary of this hub.
In case you don't have time but still need the information - here is a summary of this hub.
My collection of board games (excluding the dominoes and Mexican Train dominoes that were too heavy for the shelves). I admit I may have a small problem.
My collection of board games (excluding the dominoes and Mexican Train dominoes that were too heavy for the shelves). I admit I may have a small problem. | Source

So You Want to Host a Game Night?


I admit it: I am a game board junkie. I am willing to suffer the horrible loner humor and other harassment that accompanies being that girl. However, I know that you secretly envy my collection of games that makes Target and Wal-Mart wonder if they should cut marketing costs in the game department. Since I am generous, I decided to share my tips for a successful, amazing, and fun game night. Game night will never be the same once you try the tips below for who to invite, what games to play, and what food to serve.

Guests


Every awesome and memorable game night comprises 6 – 10 people with various personalities. I like to ensure I have a nice array of friends so I can laugh so hard I cry. Have you ever mixed your intellectual, Einsteinesque friends with your party-loving, dry humor, night-on-the-town buddies? Oh, talk about fun! Mixing up personalities is especially great if you are going to play the games suggested in The Best Games to Play, as they require mixed personality types to achieve best results. It is best to have a mix of ages, backgrounds, and personality types, as well as to ensure you mix people from various social circles. Get your coworkers, PTA crowd, and church friends together with your night-out and book club friends. Needless to say, some will respect you more and others may respect you less, but it is all in the name of fun. (Besides, those who respect you less are just upset that you have better gaming skills. It is them, not you.)

Games


Most Fun, Outrageous, and Informative Games

Want to have the BEST game night ever? Want to learn totally random facts about your guests? Have you always wondered what words or people your friends associate with certain characteristics or adjectives? Then choose from one of these games, which are sure to have you out of your seat, moving around, and perhaps even testing the boundaries of your bladder at times. I have truly laughed until I cried playing these games and love the results no matter what the personality mix of my guests.

By far one of the best games created in a long time. Sure to be a crowd pleaser.
By far one of the best games created in a long time. Sure to be a crowd pleaser. | Source

Dicecapades, where were you during my high school years? This game is much like Quelf with its totally insane challenges, except they are not as spontaneous and outrageous. In Dicecapades, others know that you are about to get up from the table and run in and out of six rooms in the house, or that you are about to stack five dice in your hand while singing "America the Beautiful." They are encouraging you as you do push ups, sit ups, and jumping jacks. The kids get a kick out of watching the adults do silly stunts while learning a value lesson in being a free spirit and letting go of inhibition. Think you are strong? You will have a chance to show it when you arm wrestle some a specific number of times in Action Land. Think you are smart? You will have a chance to show it in Triviaville by answering random questions. Think you know your gas companies? Prove it when you get to Thinking Town and have to roll the dice and name that many gas companies.

Who would have thought a game with such a silly name could be so much fun? Oh....yeah, I guess that does make sense.
Who would have thought a game with such a silly name could be so much fun? Oh....yeah, I guess that does make sense. | Source

I have never laughed so hard as when I played Quelf for the first time last month. I cried when one friend was trying to make her face pouty so she could mumble the words of her favorite Christmas carol. Was it funny because of the effort to stop smiling? Or was it that as she did this, I had to sit with my arms and legs straight since it wasn't my turn? Or was it that another player had his hand sitting in a bowl of water while he waited for his turn? I will never know, but I do know that I can't wait to play it again with an even larger crowd. This game is so fun and so silly that I cannot imagine the creators are adults. If they are adults, I do not know how they could create these challenges without the use of some form of substance or lack of sleep. At one point in the game, I had to present as a lipless, toothless, rapping prison guard who had been tarred and feathered by the inmates. Oh, and did I mention that for each of these challenges, we weren't allowed to tell one another what we were doing before hand...just had to get up from our seats and do what it said. No warning. No idea what was about to come at us. Just rise and perform. And if anyone was curious why we did what we just did...penalty fee for being nosy! Amazing, fun, and creative game that is great for anyone from children through adults. Warning: Before engaging in Quelf, ensure no cameras or cell phones are ins arm's reach of any player. This game can produce plenty of blackmail material you do not want to show up on Facebook or Twitter.

Think you know your words? Good a bluffing when you don't? This game provides laughter and sometimes tears as you try to guess which answer is the true definition of a word.
Think you know your words? Good a bluffing when you don't? This game provides laughter and sometimes tears as you try to guess which answer is the true definition of a word. | Source

Balderdash is one of my favorite games. With the right crowd, I can laugh all night. I have been shocked, disappointed, and outright flabbergasted by some of the responses I have heard while playing this game. Suddenly the shy, quiet kids are making the louder people laugh like a comedian was in the house. In this game, one player reads a word from a card. Then all players write their best definition for the word, trying to think of what others will believe is the correct definition. All along, the player who read the card is writing down the right definition and will then read all of them aloud. Players will vote on which definition they think is correct, and the owner of each definition gets to move forward one space for each vote. Can you guess the correct definition of "Flumadiddle" or "Wuhlah"? We sure had a blast trying on new Year's Eve!

Want to learn totally random things about your friends, this game will help you achieve that within the first five minutes!
Want to learn totally random things about your friends, this game will help you achieve that within the first five minutes! | Source
So many versions to choose from! There is never a dull moment during Apples to Apples.
So many versions to choose from! There is never a dull moment during Apples to Apples. | Source

Would You Rather wear high heels every day for a month or wear only socks every day for a year? Would you rather be stuck on an island with your mother in law or someone from a religion you dislike? In this game, players choose between two scenarios by writing down their selection and handing it to the current player. The current player must then guess which answer belongs to others. The game can get pretty interesting if you have the right crowd, as players will begin to realize, sometimes it is fun to throw out what you don't think others will guess for you.

Apples to Apples and Sour Apples to Apples are wonderful games to get a crowd talking. This is a great game to play before Quelf or Dicecapades because it helps players to loosen up and get to know one another. Some are boring and play the game as it is intended...throwing out the right cards at the right times. Others love to mess up the judge's thought process by throwing out cards that the judge will think belong to others! Why is this important? The point of Apples to Apples is for the judge to pick a card with an adjective and then judge which player responded with the best answer. For example, the judge throws out "Lovely" and the players respond with the card in their hand they believe the judge would find to define that word. It gets fun when players start throwing out random cards, such as "Stinky Socks" in response to "Lovely". In Sour Apples to Apples, the person throwing out this card would have to spin the apple for having the worst response! Be careful, as spinning the apple can have some negative consequences.


Runners Up

Not ready to get up and moving, but still want some good laughs? These games provide a nice mix of learning about others, showing off your talents, and having fun. They are great games that produce a fun game night for everyone without being to active. They are also great games to play with children if you use teams.

Who doesn't love the fast-paced fun of Uno?
Who doesn't love the fast-paced fun of Uno? | Source

Some Fun Uno House Rules


  • If you play a wild, a person wearing the color you choose may select to trade hands with you.
  • Anytime a 7 is played, all players switch hands with the person to their right.
  • Anytime a 0 is played, all players switch hands with the person on their left.
  • If you plays a skip card, the person who is skipped may decide to trade hands with any player.
  • If you forget to call Uno, you have to trade hands with the person with the most cards.
  • If you win, you get to wear a crown or tiara for the next hand.

My favorite game of all times: Uno. While it does not provide for much laughter, it is always fun to see who can call Uno first. House rules make this game fun for the entire crowd. Have all your guests write down their favorite house rules and mix them in a hat. Pick out three rules to apply to each game. Let the fun begin!

Some of the variations of Uno include:

  • Uno Deluxe - Regular Uno with a wipe off scorecard on the box.
  • Uno Attack - This battery operated version of Uno surprises players by randomly spitting out (or neglecting to spit out) cards when a button is pushed. Will you get no cards, a few cards, or a whole lot of cards? Be careful to not get the press twice card!
  • Uno Spin - This version comes with a spinner that determines which actions you will take. Watch out, you may have to switch hands with other players.
  • Uno Flip - How good is your aim? In this version, you get to catapult your "flip" guy across to someone else's mat. If your aim is good, you get to give away some of your cards. If it isn't, you will be the proud new owner of one of theirs.
  • Uno Tippo - Do you have a steady hand? How good are you at remembering how many cards have been played? In this version, you have two stacks to choose between, but choose wisely. If you make the scales tip the game is over.
  • Uno Reflex - This version comes with a machine you have to press after each turn. Are you fast enough to react? After you press the button, the machine may show a color. If it does, the last person to place down a card of that color pays a penalty.
  • Uno Roboto - Oh what fun it is to make your guests do crazy stunts! How much more fun is it to do it while your voice is disguised as a robot? This is your chance to finally become R2D2 and sound cool. Fun for the entire family, this game allows you to create house rules and record them in a robotic voice. The robot randomly issues instructions, including determining whose turn it is, telling players to trade hands, or enacting house rules.
  • Uno Flash - Let's talk about Uno not being a quick game! This game once took more than 2 hours because the electronic flasher determines whose turn it is next...and sometimes it is yours again! Never think you are ready to go out because you could be the one faced with acting upon the previous players Draw Four despite being six seats away.

Can you name five major league baseball teams, musical instruments, or elements from the periodic table of elements?
Can you name five major league baseball teams, musical instruments, or elements from the periodic table of elements? | Source
Can you identify the various items from Taco Bell's menu? Whose jingle is "The More You Know"? Which car manufacturer was the first to use television ads?
Can you identify the various items from Taco Bell's menu? Whose jingle is "The More You Know"? Which car manufacturer was the first to use television ads? | Source
Can you match your friends responses for free association of "Fruits"? Can you predict your friends' consensus on the best rock band from the 90s? Can you convince a group of country lovers to become rap fans? This game will allow you to try.
Can you match your friends responses for free association of "Fruits"? Can you predict your friends' consensus on the best rock band from the 90s? Can you convince a group of country lovers to become rap fans? This game will allow you to try. | Source

Can you name five chocolate companies? Chain stores? Types of apples? If so Name Five is our kind of game. This fast paced game allows you to test your knowledge in a variety of subjects. You can play as individuals or as teams by competing in challenges and answer questions. In one challenge, players take turns naming one item from the category until no one can respond anymore. The last player to answer moves forward. In another challenge, the first player to respond to the category wins. When playing with teams, this is NOT the time to be polite and wait for the other team to finish speaking. When you reach the end of the game, you have to name five of category on the card. Sound easy...try it at your next game night.


The Logo Game illustrates how commercial our society has become. How long will it take you to identify four types of candy bars shown on the card? Can you remember the first slogan used in Verizon's ad campaign? Who made Reading Rainbow a popular show? This game tests your knowledge of slogans, logos, and goods from a variety of companies. I was amazed at how much my teenager knew when we looked through the cards after purchasing the game. While I am against consumerism, this game provides a fun opportunity to test your knowledge. Parents looking to make a statement can do so well with this game. Friends looking to have fun can fulfill their desires as well.


Hear Me Out is best played with a large group. It is a lot of fun with the right crowd. The players roll the dice and move throughout the board, competing in challenges along the way. You will have the chance to compete against other players writing down the types of fruit you know. If you can write the same answers as others, you get extra points. You will have the chance to guess what your friends' consensus will be on various topics, from the best type of cheeseburger to the best color to wear in the spring. Be careful, some friends are smarter than they appear to be and will throw you off by choosing what they know you won't think they will! Finally, think you can convince your friends to become part of your new organization that will feed the hungry? Oh, you will have the chance during the Sound Bite challenge! This game is definitely not for soft-spoken individuals, as you have to get up and talk in front of the crowd at least a few times in the course of the game.


Scrabble is always a good game to select when playing with friends who love vocabulary and word games.
Scrabble is always a good game to select when playing with friends who love vocabulary and word games. | Source
Nab It and Scrabble Flash are fun alternatives to traditional Scrabble.
Nab It and Scrabble Flash are fun alternatives to traditional Scrabble. | Source

Faithful Stand Bys

Scrabble, the Original, Nab It, and Scrabble Flash variations, provide for a faithful and true game night in which you get to impress your friends with your high school vocabulary, street language, and ability to convince everyone that AESTS is a word (remember it was on the latest episode of CSI when they were about to catch the criminal thanks to the wonderful discovery of AESTS in the person’s hair?).

Boggle, Scattergories, TriBond, Clue, Mad Gab, Cranium, and Scene It can also make for a fun night. Trivial Pursuit Pop Culture is great for a mixed ages crowd and can provide hours of fun and help everyone realize that you have a crowd of know-it-alls who know less about pop culture than they let on.

Be careful if you choose to serve kid friendly foods. Sometimes the little ones love to play hide and seek while the adults are playing games. Look how fast this cupcake went hiding!
Be careful if you choose to serve kid friendly foods. Sometimes the little ones love to play hide and seek while the adults are playing games. Look how fast this cupcake went hiding! | Source

Grub


For me, the menu is one of the best parts of game night because I love to cook and entertain. I usually serve a main dish and a few appetizers / finger foods so we are all well fed throughout the night. This keeps the games fun and entertaining, the kids fed (if you are having a game night with adults and children), and the games going until everyone is exhausted from all the great times instead of hungry or grouchy.

For main dishes, I usually make a baked ziti, chili, baked macaroni & cheese, meatballs (served with grinder rolls), or various sandwiches. I then complement the main dish with veggie and fruit platters, a cheese tray, and some desserts. If you do not like cooking or do not have time to cook, try going to your local deli or hiring a friend looking for some extra cash.

Taco bars are wonderful for mixed games nights with adults and children (also known as family game nights to some). Cook all your meat (or meat substitute) and prep the lettuce, tomato, cilantro, onions, peppers, sour cream, Fritos, and other fun toppings during the day and store in the fridge. When guests arrive, warm the meat on the stove, and set out the various toppings. Open the bar for service and allow everyone to create his or her own tacos while preparing for a night of fun, laughter, and sometimes tears. The kids love the taco bar and adults enjoy seeing happy kids.

If you are working on a budget, as each person to bring their favorite dish so you can have a potluck and sample foods others enjoy. Whatever your budget, the key to a good food arrangement is to have both a sustainable meal and snack foods for throughout the night. If you choose not to serve dinner, notify your guests ahead of time so they may choose to eat a full meal prior to coming. No one likes to think the invite includes a meal only to find out dinner will be Doritos and soda.

Success! Remember the formula:

Putting It All Together for Awesomeness


The main ingredient to a successful game night is relaxation. Do not worry about whether you invited the right people, chose the right games, or served the right food. Instead focus on winning…er, having fun. Enjoy the company you have and laugh until you cry as you play fun and silly games with old and new friends.

Have some secrets of your own for hosting a fun and exciting game night? Share your tips on guests, games, and grub below to help us all make our games nights more successful and amazing.

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    • GinnyLee profile image

      Ginny 5 years ago from Arlington, VA

      How very fun! My son absolutely loves strategy games like Carcassonne (and more specifically, whipping my tail at it.)

      I love the pictures! Looks like a lot of fun!

    • CreateSquidoo profile image

      CreateSquidoo 5 years ago

      Your posted gives me lots of idea in creating nice nighttime games.

    • EyesStraightAhead profile image
      Author

      Shell Vera 5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Thank you both! There are so many games out there that I focused this hub in the awesome ones (in my opinion). I really would have loved to also cover The Game of Things, You've Been Sentenced, Risk, Stratego, Blokus, and so many more that are great games as a well.

      Ginny Lee, I've not heard of the one you mentioned. How old is your son? I will look this up in case it may be one my daughter will enjoy. My next hub is Making Learning Fun: Great Family Games for Toddlers and Preschoolers. If he is young, you may enjoy that one, which will be posted by the end of the week.

      Thank you both for stopping by and leaving comments.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well you have done all of my work for me. I don't have to research any games now for the rest of my life. I like your sense of humor young lady, and as long as it is an interesting read it is never too long...like this hub. Great job! I'll be back.

    • Pinkchic18 profile image

      Sarah Carlsley 5 years ago from Minnesota

      Voted up and awesome, this looks like so much fun! I just love having game nights with family or friends. You did such a great job here too!

    • EyesStraightAhead profile image
      Author

      Shell Vera 5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Thank you Pink and Billy. I enjoyed writing this one and the one I am working in. I think I know my niche now and have a rhythm going and a plan, which I was lacking at first. Please do come back. As you know, I will be seeing you at your hubs!

    • KrystalD profile image

      KrystalD 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      I wanted to hub on this topic! lol! Great minds think alike but your idea is very well put together, written and informative. I also liked the pictures.

      Games are so much fun. I hope to incorporate my play in my life. I think adults have a way of limiting their play. Time to bring it back! We deserve it :)

    • donnaisabella profile image

      Donaisabella 5 years ago from Fort Myers

      I went looking for more games for game night two days ago and we came out of walmart with a few that pleased us. A new version of cranium, very interesting, Apples to Apples, Balderdash, Imaginiff, Uno, Old Maid and another whose name I have forgotten. I look forward to months of fun. I wish we had as many games as you have. At first there a lot of games that people gave us but we did not care about them very much so I gave away most of them. Now we appreciate them a lot more and are buying back what we want. This is a very helpful hub. Thanks for writing it.

    • EyesStraightAhead profile image
      Author

      Shell Vera 5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Donna and Krystal, Thank you for reading! Yes, games are fun and some of the ones out now really hit the bar and can have you laughing with friends all night!

      Krystal, Please still write yours if you want! I will link to it in this one so readers have another perspective of fun games. I read all the posts in puttin your own pictures on blogs so I figured why not? It definitely helped me clean up the kids' games we have, for that hub I am writing now! Definitely incorporate the play..we adults should have fun too! Off to answer your questioning a moment!

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 5 years ago from USA

      I just love game night. Our family arranges these from time to time, and it is always so much fun. I'll have to consider adding friends from various circles on my party list.

    • EyesStraightAhead profile image
      Author

      Shell Vera 5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Millionaire Tips, it adds a new level of fun. Playing Balderdash or Quelf with friends from various circles and of different personalities can provide a lifetime of memories! You just don't know what to expect!

    • profile image

      MarcieG. 3 years ago

      Just hosted my second Family Game Night and had a blast. First up were appetizers: fried won tons and cocktail hot dogs. Dinner was a make-it-yourself baked potato bar with lots of toppings. There were snacks on the table and dessert, too. I created a questionnaire for everyone to fill out with questions like, "What's your favorite candy bar?" and "What is the most adventurous thing you've ever done?" and sent them in advance. I created a matching quiz from the responses called "How Well Do You a Know Our Family." This was the first game of the night after dinner. While everyone filled out the quiz, I posted a copy of everyone's questionnaires in the kitchen for fun reading later. I glued a photo of each person onto their questionnaire for added fun. The second game was one I took a chance on buying after reading rave reviews online called Likewise. It was a success! I altered the rules a bit for ease of play since we had 12 people playing. The third and last game was one I had played many years ago called Catch Phrase, which was also a hit! I like to surprise my guests and make gatherings memorable. At the end of the evening I placed a basket on a table near the door with a goody bag for each guest containing their favorite candy bar, which I knew because if the quiz. Each guest took their quiz as a souvenir. (Another fun game I want to mention is Reverse Charades. We played this at Thanksgiving and it was super fun!)

    • EyesStraightAhead profile image
      Author

      Shell Vera 3 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      This sounds like it was a lot of fun! I will have to try some of these ideas. Thank you for sharing.

    • profile image

      Luna 14 months ago

      What if you made teams of 3, one person blindfolded, one not using their arms, and one not talking on each team, and they had to work together to get their food?

    • EyesStraightAhead profile image
      Author

      Shell Vera 4 months ago from Connecticut, USA

      That would be kind of fun!

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