Tips for Hosting Game Night

Instead of going out, enjoy a casual night in with board games and snacks around the coffee table.

When entertaining at home, the evening does not always have to be arranged around the dinner table. Some of my most enjoyable gatherings have been hosted at the coffee table. While there are many ways to casually host guests in your own home, the timeless game night is well worth revisiting — after all, Will and Grace hosted a weekly game of charades.

Planning a game-oriented playdate for grown-ups is simple, and will no doubt have your 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.


The Rules

When planning your next game night, consider the following:

1. Keep the numbers small. Game nights work best with 4-6 guests.

2. Keep the menu light. Offer nibbles and drinks, rather than a meal.

3. Keep the drinks flowing. After all, game playing is thirsty work.

4. Ensure everyone knows how to play and keep instructions on hand for a pre-game refresher course.

5. Unless you are planning for an all-nighter, agree on an end time.

6. Everyone loves a prize, so having a winning bottle of wine on hand keeps the competition healthy.


What to Serve

Potato chips and candy bars are best reserved for the playdates of yesterday. Grown-up playdates should be more adventurous. These are some of my game-night favorites, and they are all easy to put together in little time.

Start the night off with a pre-game toast of your favorite tipple accompanied by these bite-sized baked mushrooms. Or, for a new twist on bacon-wrapped dates, try these prosciutto rolls for something a bit meatier. Serve your favorite crunchy snacks, like popcorn, in a variety of small bowls for something light. I like these sweet and salty nuts, but be sure to make a lot — they tend to disappear fast! You can also make your own chocolate-dipped pretzel sticks; simply coat pretzel rods in melted chocolate chips and let them harden on a wax paper-lined cookie sheet. Of course, the night would not be complete without these cookies with three kinds of chocolate in them, fresh out of the oven.