5 Top Tips To Make Your Game Night a Success

As someone who has been in the hobby for awhile, some might call me a board game savant, my wife would say I just like to spend money. Either way I’ve picked a few tips and tricks I thought I’d pass on. Enjoy!

  1. Pretzels

There is a time in every young boy’s life when he has an urge to hold his first board game night. However, in his haste to invite people he’s unsure of what editable offerings accompany the occasion. For that young lad, and for everyone else, the answer is pretzels.

Pretzels are fantastic for board game nights because while they’re as morish as chips, or crisps, they don’t leave any residual food on hands. The same hands that will be holding, shuffling, and massaging your cards and tokens. After they finish the first bag of salty dry pretzels, hit them with increased prices for beverages. Or maybe that only works in Roller Coaster Tycoon.

Other good snack ideas include carrots, and celery with dip. If you want a healthy vegetarian option.

2. Hair Ties

If there’s something wrong with a grown man standing in the women’s hair care aisle, then I don’t want to be right. Hair ties are a fantastic accessory for board game organisation. Wrapping up a deck of cards, ensure that those cards are cushioned, yet tightly packed together.

This is much better than traditional rubber bands, which after a long while start to deteriorate and stick to your cards. Possibly even damaging them. I’ve also experienced rubber bands that cut into decks of cards and damage them along the side.

Hair ties are what you want to protect your board games.

3. Tackle, Bead Boxes, plus Baggies

In a similar vein, tackle boxes, or bead boxes are great for storing a large amounts of tokens. It also helps a lot with setting, and packing up a board game. Because now instead of dumping out all of the components from a bag. You just have to take off the lid.

Now, I know this sounds dumb, but buying your own gives you peace of mind that some Chinese factory worker didn’t repeatedly scrunch up your baggies a thousand times, and rub them through a mound of dirt. Which if it doesn’t happen, definitely feels like it does sometimes.

For us Australian’s, I pick mine up from Daiso – $2.80. They also have a range of baggies in different sizes.

4. Do Your Prep

Board game night hosters, and Dungeon Masters are both different types of swans. On the surface, we need to stay calm, and knowledgable. But we can only be this way with preparation, and that preparation takes a fair amount of work.

The most important thing you need to do is learn the rules. As nothing will put your players off more than sitting down at a table, pulling out a board game, and staring at each other blankly as no one knows how to play.

When you have a larger collection, it’s no longer about learning the rules but refreshing them. While also choosing ahead of time what the group will be playing. This can either be a group decision, or yours. But if you are going with a group decision, it’s almost always better to give the group a choice of three than a choice of your entire collection.

5. Have Fun

While this seems like a dumb point, it’s one that needs to be advocated. When it comes to games, people become incredibly competitive. Some people can handle this; others can’t. It’s a point worth remembering that the game is the game, and outside of that we’re still normal people. The outcome of the game has no impact on our lives.

If people aren’t having fun, or you see things escalating, be the bigger person and stop the game. It’s not worth getting angry at each. Board gaming is a pastime activity, a great one, but unless you’re playing for a monetary reward, your friends and family are worth more than winning a game.

6. The Bonus Tip: Don’t Go To Kickstarter

Just don’t do it. Kickstarter has been especially kind to board game publishers and designers. It’s made a space where board gamers will flock too. Where publishers can control the marketing, and the messaging of their game. We’re also at the point where they know what board gamers want, making pages very, VERY, hard to resist.

Yet, most of the games that come from Kickstarter aren’t that good. They haven’t been play tested, or the design hasn’t been labored over to the degree needed to produce something special. I would say 70% of 90 or so board games I’ve kickstarted have left my collection in the first 6 months.

It’s just not worth it.

4 thoughts on “5 Top Tips To Make Your Game Night a Success

  1. Haha, I wish I didn’t go to Kickstarter! Ever!

    Better than rubber bands: https://www.amazon.com/Pleasure-Electrostatic-Adsorption-Pulling-Residue/dp/B0796VB53P
    Note, I found this through a boardgame friend and they use anti-static tape at their work. Turns out it is also used for some funny stuff!

    Also awesome, cheap, and helps with organizing tokens: https://www.amazon.com/Mudder-Colored-Organza-Wedding-Jewelry/dp/B019DO5UOE

    Pretzels is a pretty good idea, but since I’m usually playing with kids, I enforce a no food/nor drink policy at the table. Which is usually the exact same time that my Father-in-law decides to cut up watermelon and give it to the kids. Just say no!

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