How to Host a Game Night: A Guide to Hosting Game Nights

Game Night Essentials - Game Night with Friends

You just crash landed onto the only resource you need for the ultimate guide on how to host a game night. Welcome to Game Night Gods! We are experts on hosting game nights and we love what we do! We are going to dive deep into our most important game night essentials and how to host a board game night.

Gathering with friends and family to play games is a timeless tradition that brings people together for fun and laughter. However, hosting a game night can sometimes be daunting, especially if you need help figuring out where to start. From choosing suitable games to providing snacks and drinks, there are many elements to consider when planning a successful game night.

In this article, we’ll give you a comprehensive guide on how to host a game night that will be entertaining and memorable for all of your guests.

Board Game Night

What is Game Night?

There can be different meanings when it comes to game night. At Game Night Gods, we feel as though game night is a time to get together with friends and/or family and have fun playing games.

Pretty simple, right? But if you want a more in depth definition, check out our article on What is Game Night!

These games can be board games, card games, table top games, adult drinking games, outdoor games, immersive game experiences, or even old school games such as charades. Who doesn’t love charades?

Here is an example of just how chaotic and fun a game night can be!


Get ready to sweat after playing a few rounds of Happy Salmon boardgames partygames gamenight fyp

♬ Monkeys Spinning Monkeys – Kevin MacLeod & Kevin The Monkey

Game night is a great opportunity for laughs and bonding, bringing friends and families closer together. It is the perfect time to create memories that will last forever.

Okay, now I’m getting a little too emotional. I just love game nights!

How to host a game night

Game Night Essentials

Here at Game Night Gods, our goal is to give you all the materials to become a Game Night God yourself.

We’re going to dive deep into how to host a game night and the game night essentials, but feel free to jump to any section that interests you. Here is a brief outline of what we will be discussing in this guide:

Why should you host a game night? Because it’s fun!

Board game nights are not just for playing games. They are great opportunities to bond with friends and family by laughing and having fun all night long! Who wouldn’t want that? If this idea of ‘hosting a game night’ gets you excited, then you need to get your game night necessities in order.

To make it simple, you only need to know about the 4 game night necessities that we like to call the “game night essentials” for hosting a successful game night.

These involve making sure you have the best atmosphere, the best games, the best food, and the perfect amount of people.

How to Plan a Game Night

Planning a game night does not have to be complicated. Just take our word for it! When planning a game night, there are a few things to take into consideration so that you can host a game night that is loads of fun!

Here are the four major things to think about when learning how to plan a game night:

  • Inviting the right amount of people to your game night
  • Choosing the right games for the personality of your guests
  • Setting up your game night with the perfect atmosphere
  • Putting together food and drinks in order to fuel your guests

The recipe for a perfect game night is great games, great company, and great food.

Follow these game night essentials in order to host your first game night and have many more in the future! It all starts with hosting a game night at home with the right amount of people.

How many people you ask? Well read on fellow game nighter!

How to Host a Game Night with the Perfect Amount of People

Depending on the size of your group, there are certain settings and games that are best to play whether you have a small or large group. Also, knowing the amount of room (living space) you have within your home is important to take into account before inviting people over for a night of gaming.

We believe that your home is the best place to host a game night, however, there are many other locations you can use to host a game night. Check out our article on best locations for game night to learn more!

Knowing which games will work for the size of group you are hosting is very important. Therefore, it is important to invite only the amount of people you can handle, or the chosen games can handle.

Getting a hold on the amount of people attending will help you decide on which games to play (we will go over this in a little bit).

We must say that we have made the mistake of inviting TOO MANY people before to our game night. This sucks because most board games have a limitation of the number of players that can play.

Don’t make our mistakes, it wasn’t fun. We learned our lesson.

We have found that game nights work well with about 4-8 people. This may seem like a very small amount of people, but remember… game nights aren’t parties.

When you host a party, you invite a bunch of people to come over to hangout and socialize. If you are having a game night, the intention is to play games and keep everyone involved. This can get harder with the more people you invite.

Game Night Essentials

3 Reasons Why Too Many People Can Ruin Your Game Night

Here are a few reasons as to why inviting too many people over to game night can ruin your game night!

  1. People get impatient if they are waiting around for their turn. You don’t want your friends falling asleep on you if they have to wait for 10 people to roll a dice or choose their cards before they can play their next turn. We’ve been there before and it’s rather frustrating.
  2. It’s hard to find good games that can have more than 8 players. If you have too many people for the game you are playing, then people may have to double up or create teams of multiple people, and this may not be fun for most players. People want to be able to think out their own strategy and play their own turn. Unless it’s a game that requires teams, you should never double up players for one pawn! If you do happen to have a large group of people, check out our article on 31 board games that support higher player counts.
  3. There aren’t always enough places to sit. If you have a small room or are all trying to huddle around one little game board, this won’t be very comfortable for your guests. Don’t cram your guests into a small room. If everyone is playing the game, then make sure everyone is comfortable and they have enough room to play the game the way it’s supposed to be played.

Sometimes it is beneficial to write down a list of the people you want to invite. Some game nights may need to be planned ahead and you are not crazy for doing it. Take a few minutes to sit down and plan a guest list.

Trust us. We have ran into many problems in the past for not planning a game night correctly. Avoid our mistakes and think about WHO you are inviting and HOW MANY people you are inviting. You might not know at the moment, but this is a very important part of your game night planning.

This may sound harsh, but don’t be afraid to leave people out. When you’re hosting a game night your intention is to play games with people who want to play them. So in order to be a great game night host, make sure you invite people that won’t ruin your game night.

Now that you have thought about your guest list and the amount of people to invite, we can choose which games to play.

Choosing the Right Games to Play for Game Night

It is always a good idea to have an assortment of games picked out before guests start to pile into your home for a fun filled night of playing games. Knowing about different types of games are probably one of the most important aspects to really get a good grasp on when learning how to host a game night.

If you know how many people will be attending your game night, then check out our article on the best board games by player counts, that showcases the best board games for a specific amount of players.

If you don’t have games picked out at the beginning of the night, then this can delay your gaming. It can even cause conflicts when different parties do not agree when choosing a game to play. We don’t want any arguments brewing at the beginning of the night, do we? This could really put a sour taste in everyone’s mouth for the rest of the night. Even worse than that, people might leave!

It’s best to know your guests and what games they would enjoy playing. Most game nights are usually held with friends or family, so you probably will have a good understanding of your guest’s dislikes and likes before choosing which games to play.

If you are having a game night with fresh faces, then we will go over some of the best generic games that most people enjoy playing. A lot of people don’t realize that game nights can be really good ice breakers when meeting new people.

Who wouldn’t want to reveal the ‘fun side’ of someone they just met? Hosting a game night is the perfect opportunity to let loose and explore one another’s goofy and fun characteristics.

Although, we don’t recommend playing ‘Monopoly’ with someone you just met, because wow, that game can really bring out the worst in people.

If you are planning a game night with people who have never played board games before, then we recommend reading our article on the best gateway board games to introduce new players to game night.

Having games picked out already will set the mood that these are the chosen games and your guests will go along with whatever has been planned already. Hopefully one of your guests don’t want to be “that guy” or “that girl” who changes all the plans and goes against what everyone says.

After all, game night should be fun and relaxing, so your guests should understand that.

Although, we must say, playful competition and arguments are always entertaining, as long as they have to do with the games being played. You don’t want to ruin the mood at the start of the night and get into an argument about what games are being played.

Therefore, have a stack of games ready to play. If anyone asks about other games, then just say “oh man, those games are stuffed away in my closet. Let’s just stick with these games.”

Choosing more games than the allotted time for gameplay may be a good idea as you can offer guests a few choices on which games to play during the night based on the time determined of how long should a game night last.

What Games Should Be Played at Your Board Game Night?

One of the most important aspects of game night, is well, the games! There are so many board games, card games, and table top games, that would be perfect to play at your very own game night.

We have a bunch of articles for games to play in different situations for game night, so be sure to check out our game night blog to get some ideas!

If you don’t feel like looking through all of our articles, be sure to check out some our picks for the best game night games to play when having a game night with friends. This article highlights our favorite games that are great to play at any and all game nights.

Are you looking for games that are easy to learn and play? Check out the article we have on board games that are easy to learn and play in under an hour.

We know that it can be a bit frustrating trying to choose board games that everyone will love. Just remember that not everyone will enjoy the board games you choose, but it’s good to know which board games may be appealing to a larger audience.

Modern Board Games Most People Love

There are so many board games out there. Every year, tons and tons of board games are being released on kickstarter and many of them are great. It’s so hard to choose.

Perhaps you are into social deduction games like Among Us, or rather engine building board games. No matter what you are into, we have all of the information provided on our blog and in this article to make sure you are playing the right games for game night.

If you are not sure which games to play, then here are some of the best modern games that we have found are great to play at any game night:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • Pandemic is our go to cooperative game for first time co-op players. It is a high stakes, thought provoking strategy board game that offers players the opportunity to work together to find a cure and save humanity!
  • 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!
  • Everdell features cute creature meeples and beautiful components, and 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.

These games can be a bit strategic, but are fun to play once you understand the different components of the each game.

If your friends want to dive deeper into the world of strategic board gaming, something we like to call “table top gaming,” then we recommend checking out our article on the best tabletop games for beginners.

Classic Board Games for Every Gamer

There’s nothing wrong with going with the board game classics such as scrabble, monopoly, clue, sorry, or trouble. I can list them all, but you can also check out some of our game reviews on our site.

We have many classic board games hidden away in our closet that we love taking out from time to time. Sometimes these are the best games to play with new board gamers or non gamers because they are very easy to understand and are well, classic!

We have some articles that can direct you to discover other games based on your interests in the classics, such as board games like clue.

The games you play at game night do not have to be different every time. If you find a really fun game that everyone enjoys and you want to keep playing it each night, then go right ahead.

Ok, so here’s a quick story to get you thinking. My sister and I started playing 12 sided Mexican Dominoeswith our friends for game night. We introduced the game to our parents and now we play every Saturday night!

Seems crazy, right? Wouldn’t you get bored playing the same game every week? The bottom line is that we enjoy the game so much, we don’t mind playing it every week.

Card Games for Game Night

Card games are great because they are easy to setup and they are usually pretty simple to learn. They make for great party games when you do not want to get into the deep strategy of board games.

There are also a bunch of card games constantly coming out on Kickstarter, such as The Rules of Everything, that you may want to look into and back if you are looking for more ideas on cards games for game night.

Here are some of our favorite card games that are easy to take out and play right away are as follows:

  • Exploding kittens is a game about kittens and bombs. What could possibly go wrong?! It 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. These card games are great to whip out during your game night and play a few rounds.
  • Unstable Unicorns is a card game built to destroy friendships… in a good way. Don’t be fooled by the cute unicorns pictured, these magical beings are full of destruction and betrayal. Recruit unicorns to your stable and work to build up your unicorn army in order to destroy your friends and come out victorious.
  • Sushi Go is a fast paced card game for 2-5 players that can be played in as little as 15 minutes!

Party Games for Game Night

Most people like having game night where they can sit back, relax, and play games with their friends. Usually when you are having a night like this, you want it to be fun and not involve a lot of thinking.

This is where party games come in. The card games we mentioned above are great party games, but there are also other games that we consider party games that are perfect for a casual game night with friends.

  • Looking for an adults only, mildly inappropriate, hilarious game to play with friends (maybe not family) while enjoying a few drinks after a long week? Then Cards Against Humanity is the game for you! It’s one of the best adult party card games that is bound to create tons of laughter while melting away the stresses of everyday life.
  • We LOVE the Jackbox party pack games. These are packs that you purchase on your streaming device that come with 5 unique games per pack. There are 6 different packs in total (we have all of them) that you can play right on your TV. Each player must use their phone as their ‘controller’ to answer prompts or do different objectives depending on the game. At the end of the night when everyone is tired and just want to sit back and relax, we always throw a jackbox game on the tv and everyone can play right from their phones! These games are great to play at any game night and require no setup. Just have everyone sit in front of the TV and use their phones to play.
  • Telestrations and Telestrations After Dark is a hilarious drawing and guessing game, where Pictionary meets Telephone! This game really has no winner making it the perfect choice for creating a lot of laughs and endless fun.

As adults, we like to also incorporate drinking into our game nights. We like to call these our “tipsy game nights.” If you are above the drinking age and want to host a game night that involves drinking, then check out our article on the best board games and party games to play while drunk or tipsy.

Other Games for Game Night

There are times when we want to try out new games. We like to make a trip down to our local target or board game store and see which games we don’t have or if there are any new releases. We usually pick up a few and the Game Night Gods team dedicates a night to playing all new games.

You may even want to try out some games to play with family without anything! These are games that require no boards or materials.

We are always open to new findings and trying out new board games, card games, or table top games. The team has recently discovered a modern type of gaming that we like to call ‘immersive game experiences.’ Categories for these games include escape rooms or monthly board game subscription boxes.

We love playing these types of experiences where the game challenges you to work together to solve a problem or mystery. They usually involve a lot of physical components where you are forced to immerse yourself in the game and work together with others.

Immersive Games to Play at Game Night

Game nights don’t have to involve just your average card games or board games. There are other fun things you can do together with your friends or family like becoming detectives and solving a mystery or working together to escape a room.

We like to call these types of games, ‘immersive game experiences’ as it is another fun thing you can do at home when hosting a game night.

We recently got involved in playing an immersive experience game called ‘Hunt A Killer’ together. Our friends and family loves true crime mysteries, so we thought it was the perfect box to try out.

For example, we receive a subscription box every month with new clues on our hunt to track down a killer. Every box, we are able to eliminate a suspect and we eagerly wait for the next box to arrive the following month! Don’t worry, there’s an option to expedite the shipping of your next box if you don’t feel like waiting (we have done this a few times because we just couldn’t wait).

This subscription box called Hunt A Killer gives the Game Night Gods team and our friends a reason to get together each month. We plan a night to open the box and sift through clues and discuss who we think the suspect is and isn’t. It takes us about a few hours to complete one box and we have fun every second of it.

If you love true crime and murder mysteries, then check out our in depth Hunt A Killer review!

Another subscription box service we love is Cratejoy. Check out our article on the best board game subscription boxes for game night from Cratejoy.

These subscription boxes include tons of standalone mysteries, escape rooms, and even new board games to discover and play that are perfect for your next game night. If you would like to explore cratejoy, visit their site and discover 1,000’s of subscription boxes as unique as you are!

We are also always on the lookout for new board games, card games, table top games, and immersive games such as Hunt A Killer and the subscription boxes at Cratejoy, so keep checking back regularly to see our findings!

Other immersive games include games that you can play with a little piece of technology that may be sitting in your house right now. There are actually a lot of board games to play with Alexa that you may find useful your next game night.

We couldn’t fit all of our ideas in this article, so be sure to check out some of our other epic game night ideas that showcases other games, rules, and game night themes to spice up your game night.

Set the Perfect Atmosphere for Board Gaming

Since we touched upon the topic of space and making sure your guests are comfortable, let’s discuss the best type of atmosphere for game night.

Your guests are going to be there for a while and will most likely be sitting in the same spots the whole night depending on which games you play. Therefore, you want to make sure your guests are comfy and have plenty of room to settle in.

You may have to move around some furniture or add in some additional seating so that everyone can have a seat and enjoy the fun! Get creative with your space!

Horseshoe seating

It’s best to have an open play area where everyone can sit in a circle or a semi-circle. Make sure that everyone can see each other and there is nothing blocking the view of each player, especially if you are playing a game where you need to see a person’s facial expressions or hand gestures!

We aren’t in a Classroom, but check out this visual on the “horseshoe” seating arrangement. This is one of the best seating arrangements where everyone is able to see each other.

By placing everyone in a semi-circle or even a full on circle, everyone will be able to see each other and interact with each other if necessary.

Sounds silly that we are looking over a seating chart, right? Well turns out that most people do not know the ideal seating arrangement for game night.

Also, don’t forget to choose the best lighting for your game room.

You may want to have a themed game night or set up some decorations to set the atmosphere. These can be geeky decorations based on your favorite movie, game, or tv show. This is not mandatory, but can create a nice little fun environment for your guests to enjoy. We go over more about game night themes in a different article on our website.

Another thing we should mention is setting the mood with a board game night playlist. You will want to play some killer tunes to have in the background of gameplay when you have your guests over.

How to Host a Game Night with Plenty of Food, Especially Finger Foods!

If you want to have a successful game night, then you need to make sure you feed your guests and have small bites available so that guests can grab some goodies in between turns.

We have a whole other article dedicated to easy game night recipes and what to cook for game night. This is how important this subject is!

BEWARE OF THE DEADLY CHEETOS. Unless you want all of your game cards or pieces turning orange, DO NOT serve Cheetos (or any food that leaves behind a sticky powder).

Here are some of our favorite foods to make and eat during game night (we will link to the recipes as well):

You don’t have to be too strict about eating around the game board, just make sure your guests have plenty of napkins and clean off their fingers before playing their turn.

Also, don’t forget about dessert. These can be simple offerings such as brownies and cookies! You can either buy some from the store or throw a quick batch in the oven.

Some desserts we love for game night:

Here’s an interesting hack… make cookies in the oven before game night so when your guests enter your home, they will smell the sweet aroma of cookies in the air. Yum.

Keep a look out for more game night recipes that we will be posting of our favorite finger foods, appetizers, desserts, and drinks.

Prepare Drinks, Either Alcohol or Non-Alcohol

You don’t need alcohol to make a game night fun, but it can sure help people let loose and be less tense, especially if you are hosting a game night with some new faces.

You can just go for some store brought soda or iced tea, but we feel as though the best drink to make for game night is punch. It can be easy to make a large batch of punch, and you can set the alcohol on the side so non-alcohol drinkers can enjoy the punch as well.

Here is an easy recipe for punch to make at your next game night. If you are having an age 21 and over party, then pair your punch with a nice bottle of vodka (our favorite is Titos vodka).

If you are not a punch person, then you can never go wrong with having a pitcher of iced tea and a few bottles of soda. It’s also important to have a pitcher of water or some water bottles for the people who don’t drink alcohol or sugary drinks.

Just make sure your guests are well hydrated and ready to game!

How to Host A Game Night at Home

So you made it to the end. Congratulations! Add 20 points to your score. Wait, are we keeping score?

You should now have a good understanding on all of the necessary aspects that go into hosting a game night at home.

Feel like you need some more Game Night Gods magic? Well click here for some more epic game night ideas! There’s some extra fluff in there that we didn’t include in this article.

To wrap it up, the most essential parts of hosting a game night include choosing the right games to play, inviting over the right amount of people, making seating arrangements with plenty of room to play, and serving the best food and drinks.

We hope you enjoyed these game night tips on the game night essentials! Feel free to come back as we will be adding more findings as we host more and more game nights.e

Don’t forget to share this article with other game night lovers! You can use the buttons below to share to your favorite social media channels.


Hillary is a 28 year old board game enthusiast from New York who specializes in hosting game nights.

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