CHOOSING THE BEST START TIME AND LENGTH FOR GAME NIGHT
What time should game night start? How long should game night last?
This is probably one aspect of game night planning that doesn't usually get a lot of thought. However, the start time of your game night is actually quite important and hints to your guests what type of evening to expect. Likewise, the length of your game night is an important consideration to keep in mind.
Here are a few of our top considerations for start time and length of your game night:
TOP CONSIDERATIONS FOR START TIME AND LENGTH
DON'T FEEL CONFINED TO THE NIGHT
Sure, game night has a great ring to it. But don't feel like you can't enjoy a nice morning or afternoon with friends playing board games.
DON'T CONFUSE THE DINNER CROWD
One of the biggest considerations to make for your game night start time is to plan around dinner and avoid confusion. If your game night starts at 4:00pm, you better have plans to feed your group dinner because everyone will assume you will be serving food. If you decide to start the evening at 7:00pm, your guests will assume this to mean they should eat prior to arriving.
No matter what time you start, it is always a good idea to have plenty of drinks and snacks on hand.
CONSIDER OTHER COMMITMENTS
Not everyone has the luxury of being able to sleep until noon the day after game night. If any of your guests have small children, live far away, or have other commitments keep this in mind when planning your start time and length of the evening. This certainly doesn't mean you have to cut your evening short, but it does mean you should ensure that your guests have an easy opportunity to leave in between games at a reasonable hour. You can even build these exit opportunities into your game night agenda.
Just remember, if you know your friends have to work the next morning, sucking them into Gloomhaven at 10:00pm is probably a good way to reduce the size of your game group quite quickly!
WHAT YOUR GAME NIGHT START TIME SAYS ABOUT YOU
You can't be serious!? Oh, you are? Mad respect.....we actually dig your style. Nothing shakes the cobwebs loose like some good old fashioned worker placement. As long as you promise coffee and a McGriddle, we are SO in!
Seriously though, if you are surrounded by the type of people who perk up at the thought of board games before breakfast, we're jealous. My brother will not even consider opening Terraforming Mars until at least noon. For shame!
You're not messing around are you? At least you gave your friends and family time to drink their first cup of coffee I guess? Yeah, you're a pretty generous friend.....
If you expect people to show up this early to play board games, you better come through with a good breakfast. Just be careful, no one likes a syrupy meeple!
A board game party at noon can say one of two things - if you are a casual gamer who enjoys your beauty rest, this is a smart move. Starting at noon gives you plenty of game time with no risk of stragglers cutting into your zzz's.
On the other hand, if you are as serious about board games as we are, then your noon start time ensures your guests will have no "I'm tired" excuses to help them duck out of your 10 hour game night.
Check, and mate.
Starting your game night at 2PM tells us that while you want to squeeze in all 8 of your new games, you also don't want to come across as a crazy gamer geek to your friends and their guests. That's cool, just take deep breaths and talk slowly. They will never suspect you!
Look at you, you rebel. Starting game night at 4 instead of 6 this time? You are really coming out of your shell.
In all fairness, 4:00pm is a pretty good start time. If you have snacks or appetizers prepared when guests arrive, you should be more than able to knock out your first game (or two fillers) before dinner.
You are a traditionalist by nature. That's why you decided to begin your game night at the most obvious of start times. It is a game "night" after all, right?
A word to the wise though: Make your food intentions very clear. 6pm can cause some confusion as to whether your guests should eat before or arrive hungry!
You either want to avoid having to make people food, or you have small children to put to bed. Why else would you start your game night at 8:00pm? I know the phrase "Be there at 8" is a popular one, but this start time doesn't leave much room for gaming and socializing. Then again, if you don't like your friends very much, it's kind of perfect!
Better late than never. I hope you brewed plenty of coffee? If your game night begins at 10:00pm, you better also have some spare sleeping bags! With friends like these, you must be a pretty special person. Either that or you all work 2nd shift!!
You did it.....you really did it. You should be ashamed actually.....you finally made us admit that there is a time of day when board games do NOT sound fun.
YES, of course we were joking! A midnight trip On the Underground complete with neon lights sounds amazing. Also, did you know there are 34 games with the word midnight in their title?? Yes, we checked....
You sir/madam are a legend of epic proportions!
HOW LONG IS TOO LONG FOR GAME NIGHT?
The secret to keeping your guests coming back is to always leave them wanting more!
This is the perfect amount of time for casual gamers or newbies. It is enough time to either play 2 different games, or get multiple plays of the same game in. Plus it leaves some time for socializing and relaxing in between.
This is going to be the sweet spot for most people. This is enough time to play several mid-weight games along with a filler or two. Any longer than this, you risk burning your friends out (but hey, there's always solo games!)
You have a group of intense gamers. If you can fit a game of TI4 in while still having time to tackle that new worker placement game you bought, hats off to you! Just know the signs and symptoms of game fatigue and treat them early!!