how to host a board game night

How to Plan and Host a Board Game Night

Nothing brings your friends or loved ones to the table the same way a board game does. Duel with your buddies, team up with your sibling, or play solo. The possibilities with board games are endless!

So if you are the host, how to host a board game night with perfect planning? Although the first thing that might spring in everyone’s thought is ‘Just call them over’.

However, it is not as simple as that.  If you don’t plan the game night well ahead, it can turn out to be boring and completely uneventful. You want it to be rather interesting and memorable so that your friends will jump on the opportunity whenever you host a game night again.

Although there is no one-size-fits-all structure to hosting a game night, we do have some tips for you that will make the long night board gaming sessions fun and engaging for your guest. Let’s begin!

Planning and Hosting a Game Night

1. When to Arrange a Game Night

You can host a game night at any time of the year. However, you need to look out for certain factors such as weather or your guests’ schedules. Weekends are always the best days for a game night.

During warmer months, you can have the get-together outdoors. Also, before arranging a game night you need to store your board game collection for quick play.

2. Know the Participants

First things first. Knowing the players is extremely crucial. Everyone has a favorite, and they might only prefer certain types of board games.

One of the hardest decisions is picking the right game to play. You have to nail this one as you don’t want a game that will last hours. That will get boring and the players might back out eventually.

If you have any doubt, you can always play safe and go for the simple selections over the complex ones. If you only wish to play few types of board game, invite the ones that have relevant experience in that specific game.

3. Set the Mood

board game night

Since it’s game night, you need the perfect setting. As it is just a casual occasion, you don’t need any fancy decorations. However, if you have some themed decors, that will be great!

Another way to set the mood is by playing music.  Since it is a great mood settler, you can create a playlist that everyone will appreciate.

You can also throw in plenty of pillows where your guests will play the games. This will help with the fatigue caused during long board gaming sessions. You also need to make sure that there is enough lighting so that the players will be able to see their game pieces as well as the board.

4. Be an Amazing Host

Now that you have all your friends over to your place, you need to set the mood. If you have invited people that haven’t been to your home before, they might be a bit shy at first. It’s your job to make them feel at home. Introduce your new friends to others, and welcome them to the game.

Don’t isolate anyone. Make sure to reach out to every guest and keep them engaged. Although this may seem slightly paradoxical, gaming night isn’t all about tabletop gaming. For half the time, it is about knowing one another, and building relationships.

5. Make Sure Everyone Knows the Rules

There are a lot of board games that have a complex set of rules. It is important that your guest knows how to play the board game. Experienced players may have no problems cruising through the game, however, for new players even the first steps might seem daunting.

If you have a new board game that no one has played yet, you don’t want to spend the first 20 minutes going through the rules of the game. It’s best that you don’t spend the entire night figuring out how the game works.

What you can do is use 2 minutes to know the story, and a couple of minutes to understand how the game works.

6. Set a Time Frame

Board games can last hours. When you are a host, you have to monitor the timing of the game. It is not good when the game starts very late or if the game takes too long to finish. If you think the game will take longer, you have to break it into sections and time it.

Try to start the game half an hour to 45 minutes after the guests have walked it. Any delay when starting the game will make the guests antsy or the guest might think that they have arrived too early.

If the game is long, divide it into segments. Take breaks in between the segments to relieve any stress so everyone jumps back in feeling refreshed. This will give the players the chance to use the bathroom and also get some snacks.

7. Ready the Snacks!


Food alone can bring that one lazy friend to the game table. Playing all night will make your guests hungry. You need to be prepared for this and keep the snack stash full.  If you have enough space, you can consider keeping all the food on side tables. This will avoid any liquid spills or table clutter.

Food and snacks such as crisps, hot cocoa, milkshakes, are perfect for this occasion. They can keep your guests full if you have a long night. Finger or bite-sized foods are also a great treat as they are very easy to manage.

Also, you can ask your guests to bring their favorite food to their place to share it with others. If you have a buffet arrangement, that is even better!

8. Remember, It’s Just a Game

just a game

Sometimes we forget that no game is bigger than life and relationships. It is common to get mad when things don’t go the player’s way. Even veteran players fall victim to rage.

The point of board games is not just to win, it is about having a great time as well. If you are the host, you can allow the players to bend the rules just to go a bit on the new players. It is best to keep the lawyering to a minimum so that everyone has a good time.

If anyone deliberately breaks the rules to gain an uneven advantage over others, remind them of the rules so that they can understand them and not repeat it.

Final Words

You don’t have to be a professional party planner to host a board game night. Showing courtesy to your guests and providing them with hospitality will go a long way. But if you know planning on how to host a board game night, it’ll help you arrange a memorable night.

Board games are a great way to socialize with your friends and family. It doesn’t matter if you go over the top and host a low key get together. At the end of the day, it’s all about having a great time.

Long board game sessions may get overwhelmingly boring. But by following the simple tips above, you can throw in a late-night board gaming session that everyone will remember. We hope you enjoyed the article. Good luck hosting a board gaming party!

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