One of my personal bucket list items for 2019 was to host an event. When I wrote this goal, I wasn’t exactly sure what kind of event I wanted it to be, but I was excited by the idea of planning something fun for my college friends and I to enjoy. When the opportunity presented itself, a Game Night became the perfect way to check that item off my bucket list. Here is a step-by-step guide on how my roommates and I planned my game night and tips for hosting a game night yourself!
PHASE ONE: Planning
After deciding that you want to host a game night there are a few things you’ll want to figure out so you can include it when sending out invitations. The most important of those decisions being when and where to host it. Luckily, a significant amount of my friends here at school live within walking distance, so when we all got “snowed in” I saw a great opportunity to have game night. I recommend choosing a central location with a good amount of floor space for games and scheduling it at a time when most people are free, like the weekend.
Now that you have a time and location set, you’ll want to prepare make sure you have the most important item: Games. Our game night consisted of card games like Cards Against Humanity, The Voting Game, 5 Second Rule, and Uno. I’d highly recommend similar games, but you could also play some board games, video games, or classics like charades or Pictionary – it’s all up to you! If you don’t have a preference you can also invite friends to bring games. However, you shouldn’t feel the need to go out and spend a ton of money on games. An easy way to save money is by inviting friends to bring any games they’d like or checking a local thrift store for games others might’ve donated.
PHASE TWO: Inviting People
Although this sounds like it would be the easiest step, I personally found it the most stressful. After my roommates and I came up with a list of friends to invite, we had to convince them all that our game night was worth walking through the snow for! Be prepared for lots of questions: “Who else is going? Where is it? What time did you say again? What game are we playing?”. The best way to reduce the number of times you hear these questions (which will, without a doubt, be a lot) is by sending a brief but descriptive invitation. For example: “Hey! My roommates and I are having a game night at our place on Friday night around 8pm. We’re inviting all our friends from the neighborhood and will have card games and snacks! Feel free to bring any other snacks or games you’d like!”
Now something I did not anticipate was that every friend we invited (with the exception of my best friend who agreed before I even had the chance to give details) responded with “Okay. I’ll let you know.” Some will and some won’t, don’t stress about it. Our game night started at 8pm and at that time there were exactly 2 friends there. If people seem on-the-fence about coming I found that also telling them they were welcome to bring a friend along made them more likely to come. By the end of the night we had a total of 12 people (some of whom were friends of friends) and game night was a great way to get to know them better and have fun while doing it.
PHASE THREE: Preparations
Atmosphere. You want to be sure to set up a comfortable and laid-back environment with lots of space for games. My friends all love to circle up and play card games on the floor, so we made sure we moved our furniture and such around so that we had space to do so. We also hung string lights and had a plethora of pillows and soft blankets on deck to make the room cozier.
Music. A simple way to also make the room feel more cozy is by hanging some string lights and having a fun playlist playing in the background. If you want you can make one yourself, or you can use a playlist from the “Party” genre on Spotify. That’s what I did and it took a lot of pressure off of me as a host to feel like I needed to deejay all night. But whichever way you decide to go about it, I would suggest making sure the playlist is several hours long so your guests don’t start to complain about hearing the same songs over and over again.
Refreshments. You don’t have to go out and buy a bunch of expensive snacks and drinks. My roomies and I all pitched in to pick up chips and 2-Liter sodas from the grocery store. We also swung by the dollar store to get cheap plastic cups and bowl to serve snacks in and buy an assortment of candy. If nothing else, definitely have a candy bowl. I guarantee it will be empty (or close to it) by the end of the night.
My final tip is to not get too caught up on hosting and instead try to let loose and just enjoy the night. Although this article was a guide on how to plan a game night, keep in mind that most things won’t go according to plan anyway. They definitely didn’t for us, but we still had a fun night with friends, and that’s what it’s all about.