There's nothing like a fresh pot of coffee to bring people together. Add your favorite games to the mix and you've got a party! Just follow these easy steps to get started.
- Pick your team. Make a guest list, aiming for an even number of game-loving friends and considering the vibe you're after: intimate gathering or bigger group with multiple games going at once.
- Show off your theme. Create a centerpiece containing game pieces or tuck playing cards into serving trays—even the bathroom mirror.
- Make things comfortable. Re-create a cozy atmosphere by setting up plenty of inviting chairs or floor pillows, so it's easy for your guests to stay in the game zone.
- Follow the rules. Game nights can spark a competitive streak in even your most laidback guest. Keep things fair and friendly by clearly discussing all of a game's rules prior to playing and making sure everyone understands.
- Get in the game. Remember to offer a variety of games so you cover everyone's comfort and skill levels.
Consider these creative options for your next game night:
Card Games: Visit Bicycle Cards and click on "How to Play" to find step-by-step instructions for every card game from bridge to solitaire (the site lists instructions for 19 versions of Gin Rummy alone). You can also search by age group or number of players.
Conversation Games: Get to know your new neighbor—or your best friend—a little better with conversation starters. Ask guests to brainstorm creative questions (see the Proust Questionnaire for a jumping off point) and write each on a notecard. Shuffle the cards and let guests take turns asking and answering. Limit response time to keep the game moving and the answers entertaining.
Creative Games: Bring out your friends' creativity (you know it's there!) with a game based on drawing or writing. Telegraph, a variation on the classic Telephone game, uses both. To play:
- Person One makes up a sentence and writes it on a notecard.
- Person Two reads it, turns over the card, and illustrates the sentence on the other side of the card.
- Person Three looks only at the picture and writes a sentence on a new notecard to describe it.
The process continues until everyone has had a chance to draw or write—at which point the final drawing is compared to the original sentence with hilariously disconnected results.