Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Enter Game Night

Are you old enough to remember the days before video games? When a rainy day weekend meant one of the best things to do was spend the afternoon playing board games with your friends?

OK, so you’re probably not. In which case you can bill your next game night get together as a super retro evening of fun from the annals of American history. If your friends don’t go for that, just promise them beer and cocktails, plus free food. They’ll be there.

There are so many games on the market that it came be hard to choose the best one (or several) for a truly great game night. We have a few dos and don’ts that can make things easy for you.

Do: Consider your attendees. Are your friends math and science nerds who spend their days in a lab or wordsmiths who write all day for a living? Perhaps you have a mix of both. Does the group know each other well or are they meeting and greeting for the first time? These details will be useful in your game selection.

Don’t: Even think about a game that can take hours to finish. Like Monopoly. Sometimes even Pictionary can be a several hour marathon, although there are ways you can change the rules a bit to make it go faster.

Do: Pick a game with easy rules that everyone can learn easily. In other words, not Backgammon. We’ve been faking our way through that one for years. And make sure you can have multiple players. Are there teams involved in the game? If so be sure you invite an even number of people so the teams can be evenly split.

Don’t: Do any betting or have a prize for the outcome. This just brings out the scary, uber-competitive side in people that you probably don’t want to see.

Our top game picks:
Catchphrase. This is a very fun charades like speed-guessing game controlled by a beeping console passed around the group of players. The person with the console in hand must get their team members to guess the word displayed on the device, without saying the word. Hilarity ensues.
Scrabble. An oldie but a goodie. Suitable for multiple players and the more people playing, the faster the game goes. If your friends play Words with Friends on their phones, this is surely an astute choice.
Candyland. Adopt and modernize the board so that you have personal challenges associated with some of the pitfalls in the game. Land in the chocolate swamp, get charged with serving dessert at your next game night. That sort of thing.

Got any great games that you enjoy with your friends? Which ones are your favorites?

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