Five Easy Ways to Start A Game NightOctober 1, 2018
The Internet has made life much easier for us tabletop gamers to find each other. A quick glance at Board Game Geek or Meetup will usually yield a few nearby game nights. But what if there are none? Then it’s up to you to set it up. It’s not that difficult to do, but it does take some work.
Here are five easy ways to start your own local game night.
1. Find a Comfortable Spot
Find a local coffeehouse, brewpub, or restaurant that will host your group of gamers for a few hours. You want a place with adequate space and lighting so everyone can be comfortable while playing. Talk to the establishment’s manager about your plans and remind your group to support the business by purchasing food and beverages while you’re playing.
After you’ve established your spot, then be consistent with your meetup schedule. Be there every week (or every month) on the same day and time. It’s no fun for someone to go expecting game night, only to find out it was unceremoniously changed to the day before.
2. Bring A Variety of Games
While you may enjoy heavy Eurogames, those who show up to your game night might prefer something else. Bring a variety of games for different tastes. Some players want easy to learn and quick games, while others may join you for those heavier games. But one thing that’ll kill a group faster than anything else is players not enjoying themselves at the tabletop. Don’t force them to play games they have no interest in playing. Have plenty of choices for everyone.
Also, be sure you have games for different player counts. Sometimes people will arrive early or late, so a two-player game like Patchwork or Lost Cities will be perfect. If you have seven players, then 7 Wonders works great before you break into two groups of three and four.
3. Keep It Simple
Don’t try to do too much in the early going. No tournaments, giveaways, or events at your first meetup. Have a good number of games available and let things develop organically. As the group grows, you’ll be able to start scheduling all of the extra goodies to make your game night even more special.
4. The Friendlier, The Better
Name tags. They’re the best way for people to get to know each other quickly. Have everyone wear one (including yourself!) while playing games. It’s easy to forget people’s names while you’re trying to learn or explain the rules to a game, especially when everyone in the group is still new to each other. When people refer to each other by name, it helps foster a friendlier, more relaxed atmosphere.
5. Get the Word Out
It’s easy to get caught up in setting everything up just right for your new game night and then forget about promoting it. Not everyone is going to show up to each meetup, so you’ll want to get the word out and ensure that there are players available every week. Meetup and Board Game Geek are the best websites to promote your game night. You can also create a group on Facebook for your game night, which will make it easy to schedule events.
With these five tips you’ll be able to get your game night going in no time. Be patient, though; it takes time to build a great game night. You’ll have your ups and downs, but remember the lesson of Field of Dreams: if you build it, they will come.