HOW TO CHOOSE THE PERFECT GAMES FOR YOUR NEXT GAME NIGHT
What are the best games to play at a game night? How can I know which games will be a hit?
Unfortunately there is no one size fits all answer to this question. Below we will provide you with some tips and tricks to help with your selection but ultimately the decisions is up to you. After all, you know your guests way better than we do. And with 10's of thousands of board games in existence, we couldn't possibly cover them all. Our goal is to share with you a wide range games with unique themes in hopes that one will resonate with you and your game group.
Feel free to contact us for advise on games for your next game night!
TOP 5 TIPS FOR CHOOSING THE RIGHT GAMES FOR GAME NIGHT
MATCH THE THEME TO YOUR AUDIENCE
One of the most important considerations when choosing games for game night is the theme. A game's theme is the first thing your guests will notice and it will do one of two things almost immediately - draw them in and get them excited for the game OR turn them off and make them dread the thought of sitting down at the table. This is why theme and knowing your audience is so important.
So, if you know your guests enjoy the great outdoors, consider a game like Parks. If your group are wine connoisseurs, you couldn't ever go wrong with Viticulture. If you are playing with sports fans, there are many great sport themed games to choose from. The combinations and possibilities go on and on.
So have fun with matching your games' theme with specific people on your guest list, and pairing that with a nice themed music playlist never hurt either! Feel free to contact us if you'd like some suggestions for fun themes that your guests might enjoy!
KNOW YOUR GUESTS' LIMITS
Admittedly, this is one area I am guilty of pushing too far sometimes. I get so excited about a new, heavy euro game that I forget my audience and try to force my parents to play. Thankfully, they are good sports but not all game night guests will be. For most people, all it will take is one bad experience with a game that is too heavy or too thematic to turn them off on board games completely.
As a game night host, you have an obligation to consider your guests' limits and tolerances, particularly when it comes to game length and weight. You are always better off choosing a quicker, lighter game first to gauge how well your audience grasps the concepts and their willingness to move onto more substantial games. Easing your way into games is always a good choice when introducing newcomers to hobby games.
DON'T CRAM TOO MANY GAMES INTO ONE NIGHT
Once again, I am guilty. I always measure the success of my game nights on how many games we got to play. I'm working on this. But it's hard.....we board game geeks tend to have a lot of stamina when it comes to gaming but we have to try and remember that not everyone's idea of a good time is learning and playing 6 new board games in one night.
So fight the urge to stack up 6 shiny new games for game night and take the evening one game at a time. Enjoy the company of your friends and family and everything else will fall into place!
Click here to read an example game night agenda designed to help space out your evening properly.
CHOOSE A GOOD VARIETY OF GAMES
My golden rule for game nights is to never play two heavy games in a row. I find it very refreshing to mix in lighter strategy or party games in between medium/heavy weight games. Not only does it give everyone a brain break, but it allows some time for socializing instead of strategizing.
But don't stop at only mixing up the weight of your games. Make sure you have a good variety of both theme and game mechanisms to keep everyone on their toes!
KNOW YOUR GAMES INSIDE & OUT
I can't stress this point enough. Never, ever think about bringing out a game at game night that you haven't studied the rules and played through on your own. It is absolutely critical that you know your games inside and out. Of course, you can consult the rulebook, but the more you know about the game and the more comfortable you are, the easier the game is going to flow. And on top of that, the more relaxed you will be. There is not much more stressful than trying to learn a game on the fly with 5 other people staring at you waiting for an answer. Don't put yourself in that position!
Click here for more advise on how to teach board games to new players.
5 OF OUR FAVORITE GAME NIGHT GAMES
These 5 games are quick, simple, and sure to be a hit with just about anyone at your next game night
TICKET TO RIDE
Alan R. Moon
Publisher: Days of Wonder
We don't know if it's possible to dislike Ticket to Ride. This train game about route-building has transcended hobby gaming and is now one of the most popular, modern mainstream game in existence. And for good reason. The simplicity of the mechanisms means anyone can pick it up, but the level of strategy you can achieve will keep you coming back over and over again. It is truly addictive. We recommend Ticket to Ride Europe as your first map, but starting with the USA would also be ok. If you are really concerned with the game being too complex, you can also start with a smaller version, such as New York or London.
If you're like us, you grew up watching your parents, grandparents, and extended family play trick taking games, like Hearts or Euchre. This is one of the reasons we like The Crew so much - it is relatable to people who have never played modern hobby board games before. This game brings a new twist to trick taking - the game is fully cooperative, with players working together to take the right tricks at the right time to accomplish a series of increasingly challenging missions. At first, when I introduce this to people familiar with trick taking, they are confused and really aren't interested. However, once I convince them to set down and play, they can't get enough. The Crew truly turns the world of trick taking upside down in the best way possible. If your family or friends are into trick taking, you can't go wrong with The Crew.
Dixit is a beautiful party game with a very simple premise - describe the art on your card in one word or phrase and try to get others to guess which card is yours. But, as always, there is a twist - you don't want everyone to guess your card, otherwise you earn no points. So, you need to think of a word or phrase that you know someone will recognize but you can't be too obvious. This game encourages creative thinking within a very simple set of rules. It doesn't take itself too seriously and that is one thing we love about it. This is a perfect beginning or end of night game which allows for plenty of interaction and conversation, while still providing the fun experience of playing a party game.
Publisher: Space Cowboys
If we had to describe Splendor in one word, it would be satisfying. The main components of Splendor are different colored sets of poker chips made to look like gems. They are used to buy various cards set out on the table. For instance, one card might cost you 3 blue gems and one white gem. However, once you've bought that card, it will provide you with an extra gem throughout the whole game. For instance, it might provide you with an extra white gem. So, when you go to buy your next card, which requires 4 white, you only have to pay three. Eventually, you will have collected so many cards that you will be able to buy more without even spending gems. Yes, there is something very satisfying about picking up those poker chips, buying cards, and building up an engine of gems to help you buy even more cards. The rules of Splendor can be taught to anyone and we have yet to meet someone who did not enjoy playing it. Highly recommend!
Sushi Go is a classic and has become one of our "go to" card game to introduce newcomers to the concept of card drafting. At its heart, Sushi Go is a simple set collection game where you are trying to collect various types of sushi, wasabi, dumplings, and even pudding for dessert! All of these cards score differently depending upon the type of food it is. And you collect these cards by drafting with other players - that is, you select one card from your hand to keep and then pass the rest onto the next player. You continue this process until no cards are remaining. This adds a layer of thinking to the game, because sometimes you will have to choose between taking the perfect card for your hand, or taking the card that you know your opponent desperately needs. At the end of the day, we love Sushi Go because it introduces the concepts of set collection and card drafting to new players. Indeed this is one of our favorite gateway card games!