Hosting a "Games Night" can be a lot of fun, it can be a rewarding experience to bring fellow gamers together and enjoy a night thats main focus is our hobby. Games nights can also be a great way to get new people interested in Board Games. Below I will cover some of the pitfalls and most important ways to host successful a night that has players wanting to come back.
Where to host your Games Night?
Just because you are the one organizing and putting the Games Night together does not mean it has to take place at your house, although I would recommend having your first couple at your house with a small group of people that you know. Other options might include:
- The library
- Local Gaming Store
- Local Gaming Club
- Another member's house
- Hotel Lobby (depending on the hotel they might ask you to leave if no one is staying there)
- Bar / Restaurant / Food Court
Who to invite to your Games Night?
Who you invite has a lot to do with the success or failure of your Games Night. For your first couple Game Nights I think it is important to build your comfortably, build your confidence and develop what YOUR games night is all about. So for your first few nights I would suggest inviting:
- Close friends (preferably with gaming experience)
- Coworkers (with gaming experience)
- Family (with gaming experience)
I suggest you only invite people with experience and that you know so you can work on things like your ability to explain rules, come up with 'Games Night Rules' about eating/drinking. Decide what makes your games night different, and this way your first few games nights will be mainly focused on actually playing games. After you ran a few nights and are comfortable with your setting you can then start to draw from other sources
- Family/Friends/Coworkers without gaming experience
- Fellow gamers from your local store/club
- Look for people in your area interested in games
- Advertise your Games Night and let people come to you
What to play on your Games Night?
A lot of choosing a game has to do with who is invited and what their experience is. Knowing your players is important if you are the one in charge of selecting games, being the person who organizes the event you may want to make someone else in charge of bringing games, if this is the case be sure to coordinate with him/her what type of game you need.
If players are new try playing an 'Intro Game', or something tailored specifically to your players' tastes.
If you have the same consistent group you could consider games with a 'campaign' type feel where you won't finish in just one night, or what you accomplish carries over into the next game.
Where you are playing also impacts what you are going to play, if you are playing somewhere public you might be tight on space, or have a poor lighting situation or limited playing time. Choosing a game should not be random and unless everyone is experienced I would not recommend bringing out the latest and greatest game you just picked up.
A common pitfall is to try and learn games on the spot, be sure that you are comfortable with the rules and gameplay so that you can just talk/explain without having to look back into the rulebook. It's always awful when you play a game only to realize near the end you were doing some key element wrong.
These three elements all tie together and form the most important parts of running a games night. Once you have a grasp of these concepts, or have run a successful games night and want to make it `over the top` and the best games night in your area, read my guide to hosting a games night part 2.