When you think of board games, the mind normally drifts to games the person played in childhood. Monopoly, Sorry!, Trouble, Clue, and more. While some of these games are good classics, the board game world has expanded considerably. Board games aren’t made the way they used to and that’s exciting for those who want to share new games. Here are some tips to keep in mind if you want to introduce new board games, and improve the playing experience.
Know your Group
Probably the most important tip is to be aware of what type of friends you have. Are they people who like card games? Board games? Or maybe a bit of both? It’s also key to be aware of if they are competitive, prefer short or long games, and a general idea of their availability.
You don’t need to know every aspect of their life or anything, but getting a good picture of what your group is like overall can help in knowing what board game people like. If they like card games, Munchkin, Cards Against Humanity, or Boss Monster are good. If your group is into longer games, Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, or Risk might be good options.
Regardless of what you’re picking, finding a game that all players can get into is key and makes for a better experience.
The other aspect to consider is forming a plan. What is your intention with this hanging out session? Are you expecting to play a series of board games with friends? Or is it something more casual and more on social interactions? There is likely a board game or table top game that can set the mood for that if your intention is to bust that out.
But in order to do that, you have to plan. All you have to do is consider your intentions, but also who is actually coming and what they are like in these scenarios.
Read the Rules
Some of you may be lawyers, but that’s not a reason to be one around a gaming table. Rules are important in the enjoyment of everyone and the last thing you want is for people to argue over rules. It’s key that you spend a bit of time covering over the basics of the rules first. Make sure you do not skim over those directions and details.
With basic details covered, you avoid arguments, but also people’s reactions to unique situations will generally be calmer. This is especially true in games that have thousands of rules like Magic: The Gathering. You don’t need to explain those small details, merely the basics. That way when a specific interaction comes up, players aren’t going to be at each others neck about the rules.
Don’t be Salty
A good household rule and something that all players need to keep in mind. Game nights can be get really intense, even in groups that prefer long and calm games. There are a variety of emotions flying around during those games and it’s important to let that go once the game is over. People harbouring those negative emotions about the games or the experience is bound to bring that back next time and could spoil an evening or even future get-togethers.
Mix things up
Variety is important in some circles. Depending on your style of event, it can get boring awfully fast if the same player wins every night. Having some various board games or card games handy can mix things up and give other people a better chance of winning. The variety also ensures that nothing feels stagnant, even in the event you play one game every time you hangout. Having another option is always refreshing.
Split the Costs/Responsibilities
Even if you’re the organizer, you don’t need to be the one paying for everything. Don’t be afraid to delegate as it’ll save you both money and time. You want the hangout events to be group efforts. This tip will obviously reduce stress on you, but also when the group works together to make something happen, the more they’ll enjoy the experience too.
On the note of mixing things up, it’s still a good idea to have various card games and board games available. Why? Well, some of us are adults and we don’t always have time. We might have other responsibilities, or perhaps something last-minute came up. Whatever the reason is, it’s important to work around other people’s schedules. This means being flexible and ensuring people can still play even if you’re down a player or two.
At the same time though, stability here is key. Obviously you shouldn’t be upset if someone can’t show up, but for future events, you want to plan consistently. Maybe you want to do this once per month on the first Saturday or Sunday? Or why not a Thursday or Friday night every week?
Having a straightforward and predictable plan is key as people are able to work around those in a better way. After all, if people know when your event is, they can plan around that. On top of that, getting in touch with them in advance can also help in ensuring people will show up.
Let the game be the Center of Attention
When you get together to play a game, actually play the game. What I mean by this is have little to no music playing, turn off the TV, and leave all phones in your pocket or off to the side away from view.
These things ensure that people are more focused on the game and can get sucked into the game more. They start to forget their issues and problems of daily life. It’s a place to let your imagination go wild. This is the type of experience you want to capture when people play.
Ensure everyone is having fun and can play
Finally, you want to make sure people are getting the most out of the experience and that everyone is having fun. You want to pay attention to the people around you and make sure you are addressing their needs. Sometimes that means have accessories to help with some players, or offering a variety of games (including video games) to ensure people are enjoying themselves.
At the end of the day, everyone having a great time leads to people playing games better and having a fun time.