How To Host The Perfect Game Night With Friends And Family

  • Family
    All Ages

Are you one of those families that has a games cupboard? You should be! Stacked full of everything from cards to jigsaw puzzles, board games to physical games, you’re treated to hours of fun and entertainment every single time you open the door.

Here at ellaslist we are pro family fun time and fully support you kicking it up a notch with a board game night everyone can participate in. Not only are you spending time as a family and making memories together, but you are helping your children learn about sharing, taking turns, waiting patiently, paying attention, forward thinking, and how to be a good winner and loser. These are invaluable traits to take into adulthood, and it’s all getting passed on in pleasant play.

We’ve got some great ideas for making your next friends and family game night the best it can possibly be.

First things first: Snacks. 

What’s a party without party food? There should absolutely be some nibbles set out and perhaps heftier food at half time, things you can eat with both hands!

For one handed gameplay snacks, think things that aren’t terribly greasy and that are easy to pop in between rounds. Boiled or devilled eggs, popcorn, finger sandwiches, bowls of lollies, dry nuts, cheese and crackers, fruit and veggies with dip are all excellent standbys.

We also love a theme - what about checkerboard cookies? Jelly snakes for snakes and ladders? Traffic light biscuits that are in the Twister colours - you are only limited by your imagination!

Step it up

Speaking of theme, it’s also a fun idea to decorate your space to get everyone in the mood. Think of seating (you’ll need plenty of comfy chairs and cushions), make posters, string fairy lights, draw up a colourful rule sheet, set up game stations for rotations, dress up your house to represent the rooms of Cluedo, and don’t forget to send creative invites to all your game night friends.

Think of the children

Select a mixture of games, both in length and complexity, but also include a game that you know each member of the family likes so everyone gets a little of what they want. Have a mixture of group games, two-player games, and even solitary games for those who want a little solo time.

Break up the longer games with a few filler/break games. Extra points if they get you up out of your seat and moving! Twister is great for this. Monopoly is notorious for taking a long time, so at half time play a few games of Snap! Or Connect 4 for a change of pace. And we recommend Cluedo for the ultimate kid-adult game night challenge. It unites young and old and will do forever! Even better if you do it in fancy dress costumes! 




Rules are rules

Ensure everyone understands the rules as they are set out to avoid consternation later. If you have misplaced the rules for your games, you can look them up online. If there are added rules to accommodate younger or other members of the family, make sure everyone is in agreement of what they are before you start.

Set out the object of the night in advance too. Will you be playing all together? Round Robin style? When is the snack break? How do you determine who wins the night?

Have patience

Kids can take forever to make a move sometimes (checkers and chess can take twice as long in this situation!) but if everyone is aware that we need to make allowances and be patient for those of us who aren’t as fast or savvy, there will be fewer fights later.

It’s also important to ensure everyone feels free to learn the games at their own pace. Getting your head around Ludo, or how to score Yahtzee, for example, can be difficult at first before becoming second nature. Allow newbies to take a little time!

This is the real deal

For the ultimate in Family Game Night action, make trophies or a sash for the game’s winners and crown the night’s game king or queen. Make it an annual or semi-annual event and keep a running tally of who the overall winners are. Nothing like a friendly rivalry to keep things interesting! When folks have a long-term stake involved, they are more likely to really get the most out of what game night can provide.

Have fun!


Thanks to Hasbro: This article is brought to you in partnership with Hasbro Gaming, our Supporting Brand Partner for the Unplug & Play Initiative.

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