Let’s face it… game nights are awesome! The Game Night God’s team would love for you to make your upcoming game night as epic as possible. Throughout this article, I’ll share some of my favorite epic game night ideas and game night stories that have created a ton of successful game nights throughout the years. I always try to host a game night with friends and family at least once a week. Over the years, I have become a little bit obsessed (in a good way) when it comes to hosting a game night and I love sharing my game night ideas with friends and other board game lovers. I even started creating my own game night themes! I’ll get to those later on in this article.
My noggin is full of epic game night ideas that will be sure to make your next game night the best it can be. I am excited to share my games night ideas with you so that you can pass them on to your friends and family, letting everyone in on these game night ideas I keep near and dear to my heart.
When it comes to planning a game night, there are some fun game night ideas with friends that you may want to consider before inviting your friends or family over for a night full of gaming. A little effort goes a long way when it comes to choosing the right games, picking an awesome theme, creating some rules, and preparing drinks/snacks. Game nights are something that everyone can look forward to after a long, and sometimes stressful, week of work or school.
Weekly game nights are also a great excuse to get together with friends or family and play games all night long. Who wouldn’t want that? If you are going to have a game night, then you want to make sure you are doing everything right so that your guests will have a night they will never forget. This is where having great ideas for game night come in!
Edit: We understand that the current world situation is not allowing us to get together to have game night with friends as often as we would hope. If you are still interested in learning about some of our epic ideas for game night, keep reading. However, we have thought of other solutions when it comes to staying home, but still having the ability to host an epic game night. If you are interested, check out our article on how to host a virtual game night over zoom. As the world begins to open up more, maybe you may want to plan ahead for when it is safe to have friends over for an epic game night.
Since I have game nights so often, I am always brainstorming new game night ideas to make sure each game night is unique and memorable.
Here is a brief outline of what we will be going over so that you can skip around if you would like:
- Planning a game night
- Choosing board games to play for game night
- Choosing card games & party games to play for game night
- Game night themes
- Game night rules
- Game night food & drink ideas
Here are some epic game night ideas to get you thinking, but don’t worry, I will be going over them in full detail throughout this article.
EPIC GAME NIGHT IDEAS:
1. Choose the perfect games to play for the personality and size of your group. You can choose between card games, board games, party games, and drinking games (if everyone is over 21).
2. Base your game night around a specific theme. For example, have a holiday themed game night, a puzzle game night, a trivia game night, a minute to win it game night, or just a plain old board game night.
3. Set some boundaries and some ‘game night rules’ so nothing gets out of hand and everyone has the most fun possible. For example, make a rule for everyone to put their phones away while playing so there are no distractions. It’s time to unplug!
4. Make some finger foods and prepare some drinks so that your guests are well fed and hydrated throughout the duration of the night. It might be a long night, so get those snacks and drinks out!
Those are just a few ideas to get you started. With that being said, I hope your brain is fired up! I am going to dive a little deeper into each of these epic game night ideas.
EPIC GAME NIGHT IDEAS WITH FRIENDS: THE GAMES
Game night would not be possible if we didn’t have some fun games to play!
There are so many games to choose from, so I narrowed down a list of epic game night games that are fun for everyone, whether you are having a family game night or a grownup game night with friends.
Since games are the main subject of a game night, I decided to put this section first to begin my ideas for game night. But if you already have a set of games picked out or are looking for something a little more out of the box, then you can skip to my ideas on game night themes by clicking here.
It is important to have a little bit of a plan before choosing which games to play. Therefore, I’ll quickly go over some things you should keep in mind when planning a game night and choosing the perfect games to play for game night.
PLANNING A GAME NIGHT
Depending on the personality and size of your group, some games may be better played than others. It’s important to know who is coming to your game night and plan out the best games to play before they arrive.
You can also urge your guests to bring their own games, but beware of this! If someone brings a game, then they probably expect to play that game. Therefore, you don’t want to be stuck playing a crappy game because you let your guests bring their own. Think about this before you encourage your friends to bring their own board games.
I know this can sound a bit harsh, but you only have a limited time to play a certain amount of games during your game night. Some games can last an hour or more! Therefore, planning which games to play and choosing them yourself might be best for the whole group.
We have found that game nights are best played with 4-8 people. It is important that you do not invite TOO MANY people to avoid people getting bored, or crammed into a small space around one game board. If you want to know more about why too many people can ruin a game night, be sure to check out our article on the game night essentials.
With that being said, your guests should be as comfortable as possible because it could be a long night! So make sure you invite only the amount of people that will fit in your space.
Timing is also another important thing to take into consideration when hosting a game night. Check out this article on how long should a game night last if you are unsure about this subject.
When you have a solid grasp on the amount of people you are inviting and the timeframe for your game night, you can now start thinking about which games to play!
BOARD GAMES FOR GAME NIGHT
Board games are my favorite type of games. I’ll list some of my favorites here, but keep in mind, the possibilities are endless! To see all of the Game Night Gods’ favorite games to play for game night, take a look at our article on the best game night games.
Here are some of the most classic games that most people enjoy and that I recommend playing at any and all game nights:
TICKET TO RIDE
Ticket to Ride is one of the best board games out there for people who have never played anything beyond roll-and-move games. It’s a fun and simple game that is easy for both young and adult players alike to quickly understand.
Ticket to Ride is a cross-country train adventure in which players collect and play matching train cards to claim railway routes connecting cities throughout North America. The longer the routes, the more points they earn.
This game is downright fun and can be played with 2-5 players. The rules are simple enough to write on a train ticket – each turn you either draw more cards, claim a route, or get additional Destination Tickets. It’s easy to learn and quick to play, while still involving some light strategy.
I guarantee that after playing a round of Ticket to Ride, new players will be wanting more. It is very family friendly making it a perfect game for the holidays. As an added bonus, Ticket to Ride is available in many sequel games that offer journeys through new cities and countries such as Europe, New York City, Japan and more!
See an example of the beautiful art and bright colors of the game board and game pieces below after we completed a whole game.
Also known as “The Settlers of Catan,” this game is a multiplayer board game where players assume roles of settlers, each attempting to build and develop holdings while trading and acquiring new resources. Players gain points as their settlements grow, and the first to reach a set number of points, wins!
I love playing Catan with friends and family. It is a must have game for all board game lovers! The replay-ability rate is super high as each time you play, the game board is randomized.
Catan is a pretty simple game to grasp for beginners. Once you get the hang of the gameplay, you can really dive deep into the strategy. When you are able to conquer the land and build many settlements, there is an awesome sense of accomplishment, especially for the person who comes out victorious!
The game board is colorful and the art is awesome. This aspect just makes the game even better to play and look at. You will never get bored of Catan as the creators have released many expansions to the game. These expansions continue off of the original game board and really add a lot of value for greater gameplay.
With certain expansions, you can play this game with up to 6 players. You cannot go wrong with Catan. You can get your own copy of Catan by clicking here.
Tiny Towns is a board game where players are tasked in planning and building up their town, one building at a time. This board game is for 1-6 players and can be played within 45-60 minutes.
In Tiny Towns, you are a mayor of a tiny town in the forest. The small creatures in the forest have crafted a civilization far from predators and need help collecting scarce resources and building materials. Each player must cleverly plan and construct a thriving town within the forest.
The gameplay mechanics in Tiny Towns consists of each player obtaining a 4×4 grid that represents a town. Resource cubes are placed in specific layouts to construct buildings and grow your town. But be careful! Once a resource is placed, it cannot be moved unless constructed into a building. Each building that is constructed scores victory points!
The game ends when no player can place any more resources or build any more buildings. The player with the most victory points at the end wins! This is a simple and fun game that would be great in a new gamer’s board game collection.
Wingspan is probably the most well known engine building game to a lot of people, and most likely the first game that you will play in this genre of board games. It’s a competitive, medium weight, card-driven, engine building board game that is a must have tableau building game!Wingspan is played with 1-5 players and gameplay can last between 40 to 70 minutes. In this board game, you are a bird enthusiast who is researching, watching, and collecting birds with the main goal being to discover and attract the best birds to your network of wildlife preserves.
A player’s actions consist of creating powerful combinations of birds and habitats that will gain you food tokens, lay eggs, and draw from hundreds of unique bird cards. You must use strategic gameplay to plan ahead and choose wisely when playing these unique bird cards.
The winner is the player with the most points after four rounds. Wingspan is a great engine building game that will be sure to take flight at your next game night.
KING OF TOKYO
King of Tokyo is a fast paced, high stakes, battle for power, board game! The name says it all, each player must fight to become the one and only King of Tokyo, but be careful not to lose too many hearts while in power! This game is great for geeks who love mutant monsters, gigantic robots, and strange aliens. Pick your monster and get ready to fight!
In order to win the game, one must either destroy Tokyo by accumulating 20 victory points, or be the only surviving monster once the fighting has ended. King of Tokyo is a 2-6 player game that is quickly learned and can be played in about 30 minutes.
Featuring cute creature meeples and beautiful components, Everdell is a game of dynamic tableau building and worker placement. It is one of our favorite engine building games that is played with 1-4 players in about 40-80 minutes.
In Everdell, a player will be the leader of a group of critters with their intents on performing different tasks. There are buildings to construct, lively characters to meet, events to host, and so on. It’s a busy road ahead!
On their turn a player can take one of three actions. The first action includes placing a worker on one of the board locations, events, or destination cards. Workers will perform actions that will further the development of a player’s tableau. The second action includes playing a card that will either generate resources, grant abilities, and ultimately score points. The final action is preparing for the next season as workers are returned to the player’s supply and new workers are added.
The game is played through the four seasons starting in winter and ending when the following winter ends. The player with the city that contains the most points at the end of the next winter wins. If your board game lover already has Everdell, have no fear! There are THREE expansions, Spirecrest, Pearlbrook and Bellefaire, that are available for the game. They may not be willing to buy them for themselves, making it a great gift for the holidays!
There are so many other board games out there that are sure to make your game night epic. Let’s move on to some of my favorite card games and party games!
CARD GAMES & PARTY GAMES FOR GAME NIGHT
Board gamers are a diverse group of people. Some prefer simple straightforward easy play games while others cannot play anything that doesn’t contain some sort of strategy. Then there’s that group of board gamers that are here for the fun and laughs! This section is for you guys!
Card games are great for sitting around and having each player hold a hand of cards. You can avoid having to setup an intense board game and dive quickly into a card game.
Here is our list of the best party games perfect for any occasion! Featuring unique, bizarre and downright hilarious components, each of these games are guaranteed to draw in a crowd and offer hours of high energy gameplay.
Kittens and bombs? What could possibly go wrong?! Exploding kittens is a fast paced, Russian roulette-ish card game perfect for parties! Get ready for high energy and a ton of laughs because you never know what cars you’re gonna get.
The website describes this game as “a card game for people who are into kittens and explosions, and laser beams, and sometimes goats.” We think that speaks for itself, after all, who doesn’t love goats?
Exploding Kittens is known for being the most-backed game in kickstarter’s history. Meaning that people saw the awesomeness of this game before it was even released!
Grab some chopsticks, because it’s time to give the gift of Sushi this Holiday season! Sushi Go is a fast paced card game for 2-5 players that can be played in as little as 15 minutes!
You are eating at a Sushi restaurant working to grab the best combination of Sushi dishes. Different cards can be made into unique combinations that score you points. Collect the most sushi rolls or make a full set of sashimi to gain you the most points to win the game! With so many combinations to be made, and a quick pace players will be hysterical with joy.
Choose your cards wisely and be careful as to which cards you let your neighbors take. They may be creating combinations of Sushi cards that will beat you. This simple “draft and pass” game is great for playing with board gamers and non gamers alike. Sushi Go is a great card game to add to your board game collection and have to have on hand for special occasions. It is easy to learn and loads of fun for everyone involved!
YOU’VE GOT CRABS
Ok, I know what you’re thinking, but don’t judge a game by its title! Before you scroll past this one, give me a chance to explain the game. You’ve Got Crabs is a hilarious team-based party game from the creators of Exploding Kittens.
Players divide into groups of two. Before sitting team members must come up with a secret signal that they will use to give each other a heads up that they’ve completed their match. After everyone has decided on their signal, each team sits opposite each other at a table. Starting with one side of the table, players try to be the first ones to collect four of the same card type. Once they do, they then must pass the secret signal to their teammate.
If your partner sees your signal and yells, “You’ve Got Crabs,” your team gains a point. If an opponent sees your signal and yells, “You’ve Got Crabs,” you lose a point. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins!
CARDS AGAINST HUMANITY (18+)
Cards Against Humanity is one of the most well-known adult party card games currently on the market. It doesn’t take much to get the hang of matching cards up to make up hilarious scenarios and wildly inappropriate statements.
You may see this game advertised as a “party game for horrible people,” and this statement can hold true once you are a few rounds deep playing with your friends (and maybe a few rounds of drinks in).
Looking for epic game night ideas? You NEED to have Cards Against Humanity in your stack of games for game night. It’s a card game that will create many laughable topics that are sure to be talked about the next day.
Get your own copy of Cards Against Humanity here.
There’s my list of ideas on board games and card games to get you started. You are sure to have a great night if you play any of these epic games.
Looking for more? You can check out our list of 11 best game night games to play for a grownup game night.
TELESTRATIONS AND TELESTRATIONS AFTER DARK
The hilarious drawing and guessing game, Telestrations is when Pictionary meetsTelephone! This game really has no winner making it the perfect choice for creating a lot of laughs and endless fun.
There are two versions of the game “Telestratons.” The regular version contains ordinary prompts that are suitable for younger audiences. Telestrations after dark contains mature content and is most definitely adults only!!
At the start of a round each player grabs their whiteboard booklet and chooses a prompt. They then flip the page and proceed to draw that prompt. Once everyone has finished drawing, players pass their booklet to the person next to them. It is then their job to guess the prompt from the drawing given to them. Once each player has made a guess, everyone passes their booklet to the next player for them to then draw the guess prompt. Play continues until each player receives their original booklet back. Players finish the round by flipping through their booklet and sharing the guessed prompts and drawings!
If you are looking for a fun and energetic game for a large group of people, then this is the perfect game. We have had so much fun playing numerous rounds of this game that results in a lot of playful arguments and people talking over each-other (in a good way).
You may have heard about different versions of this game, but they all have the same play style. It is a unique good guy vs. bad guy game as players are either part of the innocent village or the threatening mafia.
Players choose a role at the beginning of the game and must “go to sleep” each night by closing their eyes. The moderator has a set dialogue that directs different players to perform different actions from both sides of the village and mafia throughout the night.
After each “night,” some people may have been murdered, and the surviving players must discuss who they think the killers are. As everyone’s eyes were closed the previous night, no-one knows who performed which actions.
Everyone has a secret role and the villagers must work together to identify the mafia and execute them! The Mafia must lie and pretend that they are part of the villager group so they do not get executed.
Once all the mafia are executed and the midnight murderings stop, the villagers win. However, if the mafia work to take out each villager and none remain, then the mafia wins!
You can either play this game by creating roles yourself by looking up a guide online, or purchase the actual Mafia game that will help guide you.
This game can get pretty complicated with multiple roles, so we recommend picking up a copy of the mafia card set to help guide you through the game.
GAME NIGHT THEMES & IDEAS
Let’s spice things up a little bit and talk about how you can add a little bit more than just games to your game night.
There are so many different things that you can do with a game night. This includes having a theme for the night. Game night themes can give a certain setting or ambience to a game night that can make it different and more fun compared to just a regular game night. I am not saying that a regular game night is boring, but having the same type of game night every single time can become monotonous to some people.
Here are some game night themes I thought up that you can incorporate into your very own game night:
GAME NIGHT THEMES:
- Lego Game Night
- Christmas / Holiday Game Night
- Nerf Gun Game Night
- Puzzle Game Night
- Minute to Win It Game Night
- Family Feud Game Night
- Trivia Game Night
- Jackbox Party Pack Game Night
- Board Game Night – it’s always easy to whip out a few board games and just call your game night a “board game night”
Don’t worry, I’ll go into more detail about each of these themed game night ideas below! Let’s go over all of our game night themes and game night party ideas!
LEGO GAME NIGHT
Forget the board games and card games, break out some legos! Purchase lego kits from the store or a big box of colorful legos where you can let your guests pick and choose building blocks and let their creativity out.
You can even have a competition. The person who makes the best lego creation wins! As the host, you can be the judge of your guest’s creations.
If you are feeling generous, purchase a $25 gift card to a local restaurant and let that be the prize for the winner. This will give your guests incentive to really let their imaginations take control and make the best creations possible.
Who doesn’t love legos? I sure do.
CHRISTMAS / HOLIDAY THEMED GAME NIGHT
Having a game night around the holidays? Plan to have a Christmas themed party with Christmas decorations and lights. Play our recommended board games and card games OR create Christmas themed games of your own.
You can play Charades and use words like “Reindeer” or “Christmas Tree.” I would try to think of more complex words, but I have a flaw where I suck at choosing words for Charades (sorry lol).
Every year I host a game night around the holidays and invite guests over to play games, drink, and eat a lot of food. I require all guests to wear ugly sweaters (it’s mandatory!).
We like to play some board games and card games in the beginning of the night. Then we move on to charades. Finally, we end the night with playing the Jackbox party pack games. I have a whole section on the Jackbox party pack games below for those of you who do not know what they are.
Don’t get us wrong, we also like to have random dance sessions in between games. Having the ambience of the Christmas lights and decorations really makes for a fun setting to bring on the Christmas cheer and play some fun games.
If you love the holidays and Christmas time, then you NEED to work in a Christmas themed game night party into your already busy holiday schedule. Trust me, it’s worth it!
NERF GUN GAME NIGHT
If your friends are too energetic and antsy to sit down and play a board game, then we have a great idea for an epic game night. Here it goes… NERF GUN FIGHT!
You don’t have to be a kid to have fun with nerf guns. Pick a nice day and wrangle up some nerf gun gear from your local toy store (or target). Then head outside and let the fun begin. Have a nerf gun fight with your friends.
A nerf gun themed game night may sound a bit crazy, but let me tell you, it’s so much fun! You can even set up targets and see which one of your friends has the best shot.
Don’t own any nerf guns? That’s ok! Check out some of these nerf guns here.
PUZZLE GAME NIGHT
Looking to have a relaxed game night with friends? Pick up a few puzzles or one giant one and spend the night putting together different puzzles.
One time, the Game Night Gods team were putting together a huge puzzle and lost track of time. When we finished, we looked at the clock and it was 2AM!
It was really fun working together to finish the puzzle. We had some nice music playing and were even drinking some glasses of wine. The night was so relaxing and we were rewarded with an awesome looking puzzle at the end of the night.
MINUTE TO WIN IT GAME NIGHT
We all know the famous TV Show “Minute To Win It” that was a huge hit. If you don’t remember, it’s ok. Basically, each contestant would have to perform different challenges where they would only have 1 minute to complete.
If they couldn’t complete the task, then they would lose. The person who completed all the games and was able to make it to the end, wins!
I think that this is a perfect idea to host your own minute to win it game night! A lot of the games involve simple little objects that you can purchase and put together from the dollar store.
Need ideas? Check out this video I found below that gives you a bunch of ideas for a minute to win it game night.
FAMILY FEUD GAME NIGHT
Based off of another famous TV show “Family Feud,” I started having game night with the ‘family feud’ theme years ago, and let me tell you, these nights are so much fun!
What I usually do is divide my guests into two teams, just like the TV show, and I make myself the host. Each team gives themselves a silly team name and we set up our chairs facing each other on each side of the room.
We have a family feud board game that we use to guide us, but you can also find prompts online to use. It is also best to use a white board to keep score.
My family and friends have had endless hours of fun just playing multiple rounds of Family Feud, this is why I think it is a perfect theme to base a game night around.
TRIVIA GAME NIGHT
I feel like you can never go wrong with trivia. Who wouldn’t want to show off their trivia skills and deem the title ‘smartie pants of the group.’
Similar to the family feud style theme, you can set up two teams and have a host that will ask the questions. Each team can take turns answering questions or make it even more fun by having teams ‘buzz in’ with the answer.
Make sure to keep track on a white board and have a set number of rounds. The team with the most points at the end wins!
JACKBOX PARTY PACK GAME NIGHT
I mentioned the Jackbox Party Pack Games before, but I’ll explain a little bit more on how you can base a whole game night around this theme.
The Jackbox Party Packs are downloadable packs that you can access on mostly any device. There are six packs in total, and each pack comes with about 5 mini-games. Although we like to call them ‘mini-games,’ each games really holds their own and can be standalone.
The gameplay is pretty straightforward as you follow the directions on the TV and each player uses their phone as their ‘controller.’ Players must answer prompts, draw silly pictures, and choose different objectives, all from their phone.
We have planned classic board game nights before, but then we found ourselves just playing the Jackbox Party Pack games the whole night! You can have endless hours of fun just playing these games. The best part is that all you have to do is fire up a pack on the TV and make sure your phone is charged.
You can take a look more at the Jackbox Party Pack games here.
GAME NIGHT RULES
Let’s face it, game night can get crazy! However, don’t get me wrong; this is actually a good thing. It means that people are enjoying themselves and having fun.
Since game nights involve a lot of people and differing personalities, it might be a good idea to set some rules before you begin your game night so that everyone stays safe and enjoys themselves.
Here’s some game night rules to follow:
1) Be on time. Make sure your guests show up on time so that you aren’t waiting on anyone to start gaming. It can be a real drag if you have to wait around for someone and you don’t have enough players for a certain game. If someone agreed to come to the game night, then they should try and show up on time!
2) Keep it clean. If it’s a family game night, then make sure guests aren’t cursing, taunting, or harassing other players. Of course if your group of friends like to curse and make fun of each other in a lighthearted way, then that’s fine. I know my friends love to do it! BUT, if it’s a PG game night, then keep it PG.
3) Don’t quit. If guests are playing a game and they might not like the outcome, they must follow through and complete the game no matter what! Nobody likes quitters or sore losers!
4) Unplug! Make your guests put their phones away or in a basket at the beginning of the night. This way there will be no distractions and everyone will be focused on the game. There is nothing I hate more than someone on their phone and not paying attention when their turn comes around.
5) Have fun! Don’t forget to have fun because that is the most important rule. If my guests aren’t having fun, then I’m not having fun!
There’s no need to be too strict with these rules, but just a mention of some of them can help your game night run smoothly.
As I think of more rules, I will be sure to add them here. Be sure to leave a comment at the end of this article with any suggestions you may have on some game night rules!
GAME NIGHT FOOD & DRINK IDEAS
You cannot have a game night without delicious food and drinks (alcohol and/or non-alcohol). You can of course host a game night without alcohol, but having some liquor for your guests sure does help them loosen up a little.
I’ll get to the drinks in a little bit. First, I want to let you know some of our favorite snacks to serve. If you are a big cook, feel free to prepare these snacks. If not, then you can always purchase frozen or pre-made snacks from the store.
Some of are favorite snacks are:
- Taco Dip
- Soft Pretzel Bites
- Veggies and Ranch Dip
- Chips & Popcorn
- Cocktail Meatballs
- Baked Chicken Tacos
- Classic Pigs in a Blanket
Check out our article on easy game night recipes for ideas on what to cook for game night. We are also beginning to add more and more recipes to our game night food recipe vault. So be sure to check that out if you are interested in cooking and preparing food for game night!
Don’t let your guests be thirsty. Make sure you provide pitchers of soda, water, or iced tea. If you are having a game night with alcohol, we have found that making a punch is the best way to go. Who doesn’t love punch?
We have been incorporating more mixed drinks and “fun” drinks into our game night. We will be sure to update our recipe vault as we make more drinks that we feel will be perfect for an epic game night.
I hope you enjoyed this article outlining all of my epic game night ideas. If you follow some of the ideas in this guide, I am sure that your game night will be epic!
Just remember, make sure you are playing the best games for the personality and size of your group, let your guests enjoy themselves but set some boundaries, and create a theme to spice things up a little. Oh and don’t forget the snacks and drinks!
Please leave a comment below if you enjoyed this article or have any questions or suggestions!