How to Host a Games Night with Friends

How to Host a Games Night with Friends

So, you're thinking about hosting a games night with your friends? Fantastic choice! A games night can be the perfect way to unwind, have fun, and create lasting memories.

The Basics of a Great Games Night

Setting the Scene

First things first, atmosphere is key. Whether you’re hosting in-person or virtually, creating the right ambiance sets the tone for the evening. For an in-person gathering, think cozy and inviting. Dim the lights a bit, throw some comfy cushions around, and maybe light a few candles. You want your space to scream “relax and have fun!”

For a virtual games night, consider asking everyone to use a fun virtual background. This adds a bit of flair and gets everyone into the spirit of the event. Don’t forget to test your tech ahead of time to avoid any hiccups – check your internet connection, make sure your video platform works well, and ensure everyone has the necessary links and software downloaded.

Snacks and Drinks

No games night is complete without some delicious snacks and drinks. Go for a mix of sweet and savory to cater to all tastes. Think popcorn, chips, dips, and maybe some themed treats if you’re feeling fancy. For drinks, offer a variety of options – sodas, cocktails, mocktails, and plenty of water.

Choosing the Right Games

Now, let’s talk games! The heart and soul of your games night. Here’s a rundown of some fantastic games that are sure to be a hit, whether you're gathering in person or online.

In-Person Games

    1. Codenames

A word-based game that’s all about communication and strategy. Perfect for teams and guarantees loads of laughs.

    2. Settlers of Catan

A bit more complex but highly engaging. This strategy game revolves around resource collection and trading. Great for those who love a bit of competition.

    3. Cards Against Humanity

Not for the faint-hearted, but if your group has a dark sense of humor, this game is a must. It's outrageous and hilarious.

    4. Pictionary

Classic and always fun. Drawing skills not required! All you need is a big pad of paper and some markers.

Virtual Games

    1. Jackbox Games

These are a collection of party games that players can join via their phones. They’re incredibly easy to set up and are perfect for virtual play.

    2. Among Us

A multiplayer game that involves teamwork and deception. You’re either trying to complete tasks or secretly sabotaging your friends. It’s thrilling and a lot of fun!

    3. Virtual Pictionary

Just like the classic, but online! Use a platform like where everyone can join in and draw.

    4. Solitaire

If your group loves card games, solitaire is a fantastic option. There are numerous versions available online, and it’s a great way to unwind solo if you need a break between group games.

Keeping Everyone Engaged

Mix It Up

Variety is the spice of life, right? Don’t stick to just one game all night. Plan a few different ones to keep things interesting. Start with something easy and light-hearted to get everyone in the mood. Move on to more complex games once everyone is warmed up, and finish off with something relaxed and fun.

Keep Score (Or Don’t)

Depending on your group, you might want to keep score to add a bit of competitive edge. Or, if you’re more about the fun and less about the competition, just enjoy playing without keeping track of points. Either way, make sure everyone is on the same page to avoid any awkwardness.

Breaks Are Important

Don’t forget to take breaks! It’s easy to get caught up in the fun and forget to stretch or grab more snacks. Schedule a couple of breaks throughout the night. It’s a great time for people to mingle, refuel, and recharge.

Be Inclusive

Make sure everyone feels included. If someone isn’t familiar with a game, take the time to explain the rules. Encourage everyone to participate, but also respect if someone wants to sit out a round.

Themed Nights and Special Touches

Themed Games Night

Why not take it up a notch with a themed games night? Themes can make your event extra special and memorable. Here are a few ideas:

80s Night

Dress up in your best 80s gear, play 80s music, and maybe even choose games from that era.

Fantasy Night

Think wizards, knights, and dragons. Decorate accordingly and choose games that fit the theme, like Dungeons & Dragons.

Movie Night

Pick a popular movie and base your games and snacks around it. For example, a Harry Potter night with themed snacks and a trivia game.

Special Touches

Small details can make a big difference. Here are some fun touches to consider:


Who doesn’t love winning a prize? It doesn’t have to be anything big – maybe a small trophy or a quirky gift.

Photo Booth

Set up a simple photo booth with props. It’s a fun way to capture memories and gives everyone something to take home.


Create a playlist to set the mood. Choose upbeat, fun tracks that everyone will enjoy.

Virtual Games Night Tips

Communication Is Key

In a virtual setting, clear communication is crucial. Make sure everyone knows how to join the game and is comfortable with the technology. Set up a group chat to share links, troubleshoot issues, and keep the conversation flowing.

Keep It Light

Virtual games nights can sometimes feel a bit more formal. Break the ice with a fun intro game or a quick chat to catch up. Keep things light and don’t stress if there are technical difficulties – just laugh it off and move on.

Use the Right Platforms

Choose platforms that are user-friendly and reliable. Zoom, Google Meet, and Discord are great options for video calls. For games, look for ones that are designed for online play and have good reviews.

Wrapping It Up

End on a High Note

Make sure to end your games night on a high note. Play a final round of a favorite game or share some funny moments from the night. Thank everyone for coming and maybe even tease the next games night to keep the excitement going.

Hosting a games night is all about having fun and making memories with friends. With a bit of planning and these tips, you’re sure to host a night that everyone will remember fondly.