Ultimate Guide to Game Night

What to play and serve before getting competitive

Another Saturday night, another ho-hum dinner party. For some, the words "game night" may conjure images of parents' endless bridge games or an overly competitive friend rubbing his win in everyone's face, but done right, a game night can bring a group of friends together in  the way a civilized dinner conversation cannot. Even a quick game played around the table before dinner is served works well as an ice-breaker when guests haven't met before.

Drinking games may be a college student's way of getting drunk fast, but they don't have to be relegated to the dorm room; they can be a fun, interactive way to watch a movie or TV show marathon with a group. Game night is also a great way to get kids excited about eating their veggies, and there are even some ideas that make playing with food something parents will want children to do.

The key to including games in the night's itinerary is keeping things casual and freewheeling, so serve foods that are unfussy and drinks that will loosen people up beforehand. No one likes a host that forces an agenda down their guests' throats, so it's best to have a variety of games or ideas for games that people can come to a consensus on, and if people know what the plan for the night is in advance, they can put on their best game faces — and dress comfortably. Keep reading for our guide to party games, for everything from which games are best to what should be on the menu.
 
 
After a busy workweek, nothing is more appealing to some than starting a fire in the fireplace and inviting friends over for a night of fun in your own home. For an evening of guaranteed fun that is also low-key and budget-friendly, bring out the board games.
 
 
 
 
Game night is back in fashion. And, according to Cynthia Nims, the author of Gourmet Game Night, "it’s not just a generational thing anymore." More than an after dinner game of cards, a game night is an enjoyable, relaxing, and inexpensive alternative to a night out on the town. And when armed with a couple of recipes for game-friendly goods that won't leave you with sticky fingers or your game surface cluttered with plates, you have everything you need for a memorable evening.
 
 
 
Planning a game-oriented playdate for grown-ups is simple, and will no doubt have guests begging for more play time. Timeless games like poker, charades, cribbage, Monopoly, and Trivial Pursuit provide hours of entertainment, and the supplies are readily available at most shops.
 
 
 
Be it a formal board game or something impromptu, having a game to play around the coffee or dinner table can break the ice within a group of new acquaintances, or it can be a bonding element between the oldest friends and family.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
When hosting a dinner party, there is no reason to fear that dull conversation will leave guests with a sour taste in their mouths. Just as you would plan your menu in advance, it’s wise to think about ways that you can engage your guests (and their minds) around the dinner table before the day of the party. Using games the group can play together is one of our favorite options.
 
 
 
When the weather turns cooler, going out on weekends is not as appealing (especially when it is snowing or raining) as staying in and having friends over. If the chitchat turns dry, and board games are, well, boring, try popping your favorite movie in the DVD player, or putting everyone's favorite television show on the TV, for something new. But only if you're of legal drinking age...
 
 
 
Inspired by the punkin' chuckin' and apple bobbing competitions of autumn, and summer afternoons spent lined up along the stone wall challenging friends to see who could spit the cherry pit or watermelon seed the farthest, we’ve come up with six ways to make mealtime a bit more fun this fall.
 
 
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