In a city filled with extravagant clubs and lively bars, many of us are consumed by a perpetual fear of missing out. Sometimes we just want a simple night devoid of expensive Uber rides and overpriced drinks. Turn up the jams and get gaming — staying in just got a whole lot more fun.
Miami is no stranger to a good time. From the electric clubs of South Beach to the endless bars of Brickell, there’s no shortage of fun in the 305. However, the party culture can be overwhelming, so staying in with friends is a great alternative to a wild night out. Board games are a fundamental part of an at-home party. They bring out the competitive nature in everyone and are a great source of entertainment and bonding. While extremely rewarding and fun, organizing a true game night can be quite taxing. Whether you’re worried about what food to bring or what fights will break out over Uno, we’ve got you covered on how to ensure the best party experience with your friends. Let’s break it down.
Everyone must bring a game.
A great game night is all about variety. Each attendee, including the host, should bring their own game to the party. Whether you want to take it back to the classics with a game like Battleship or Monopoly, or bring a modern vibe to the event like Cards Against Humanity, having each member bring their own flair to the table allows for a diverse, boundless night of excitement.
To avoid confusion or accidental game twinning, check in with your group beforehand so everyone knows who’s bringing what game. If you don’t have one to bring, stores like Target and Barnes & Nobles have surprisingly extensive selections ranging from all different types of games. When in doubt, grab a deck of cards and some spoons.
Get familiar with the system.
Getting a heads up on who’s bringing what not only ensures variety but gives everyone the chance to familiarize themselves with the game material. While trying new games are fun, it can be annoying to have to check the rules every five seconds. Instead, make sure to familiarize yourself with each game’s structure beforehand to prevent any hold-ups — and try and learn the rules of the game you’re bringing so you can easily explain them to everyone else. The spirit of competition is great for game night, but a lot better when no one’s being accused of cheating.
Set the mood.
You must set the vibes to ensure a good time. Create the tone for all the fun that’s about to go down with music playlists and snacks. In addition to everyone bringing their own game, allow each person to DJ a bit. The right soundtrack can make it feel like the Disney Channel original movie moment of our dreams. To prepare ahead of time, make a collaborative Spotify playlist. As for snacks, convenience is key. Simple, practical snacks such as popcorn, Doritos and Oreos are great to have around. If you’re up for it, devote some time to making a charcuterie board that is equally aesthetic and delicious. Good food and great music — what could be better?
Lay the ground rules.
Let’s face it — without clear guidelines, game night can get a little messy. Establish some ground rules regarding game manners and team behavior. Game night can bring out the best —and worst — in people, so it’s important to set clear expectations. Get acquainted with board game night etiquette.
Rule #1: Commit to the game. Don’t abandon the event just because you’re losing or don’t like what’s being played. If you’re not interested, sit out that round and wait until a different game sparks your interest.
Rule #2: Don’t be a sore loser. If things aren’t going your way, stay put and regroup for the next round. On the contrary, if you’re winning every game, don’t get cocky. Conceit doesn’t really fit the vibes that we’re going for. If we’re being honest, you’re better off being humble so everyone can enjoy the night — though enjoy some revelry, you fought tooth and nail in that game of Clue.
It might seem obvious, but the essence of fun often gets overlooked during board game nights. As we know, game nights can incite uncomfortable feelings and bring out unwanted behavior in those we least expect. Losing and frustration can cause people to lash out and say things they’ll regret later. Don’t let simple fun be the cause of a friendship breakup. Leave the drama at the door, put feelings aside and have some much-needed fun with all your favorite people. At the end of the day, it’s just a game.
words_kaya langley. photo_nina d’agostini. design_emily collins & lizzie kristal.
This article was published in Distraction’s Spring 2023 print issue.