How to Rule Your Own Game Night
Tips and tricks from some local game night pros
The Caroline County Board Gamers each month host a board game night at the Denton branch of the Caroline County Public Library. For the past four or five years, Chrissie Barr has hosted the event, which attracts anywhere from 10 to 20 people.
Barr and her friend Elizabeth Bradley cofounded the group, which has an active Facebook group for those who want to post game-related information, recruit people for game nights, and engage in conversation about board games. The group is open to the public and can be found at https://www.facebook.com/CCBoardGamers/
Barr’s event at the library is open to the public (including children), and admission is free. Barr, her boyfriend, Dustin Yoxall, and some of their game-loving friends are regular attendees. Yoxall said lately, a few groups of kids have started attending on a regular basis.
While Yoxall and Barr typically bring a selection of about 25 games, they will bring easy-to-learn, fast-start games if they know kids will be attending.
Players can select from a range of popular games, such as Clue or Scrabble, but Barr and Yoxall also bring a range of less common and perhaps more interesting games. Other players are welcome to bring games, as well. Some have brought games they bought by donating to Kickstarter campaigns.
The game group at the library normally hosts games that can be completed in a few hours and rarely host games that run over to the next event. Some gamers have tried starting Dungeons and Dragons groups at the gaming night but if some players cannot make it every week, those groups lose energy and stop meeting.
If someone sees a game on the table that looks fun, normally another gamer knows the game and can jump in to explain the rules.
Game Night Tips
courtesy of Dustin Yoxall
No need to have a large party to enjoy a game night. Three or four people make a solid game night.
Time. Most games run about 45 minutes if everyone is familiar with the rules. Schedule a game night for at least a couple of hours so those unfamiliar with the rules can learn. Yoxall said smaller, shorter games that take five to fifteen minutes to play can also be fun. He recommended a card game called Fluxx that has about 25 variations. Schedule more time for more intricate games or if trying out a new game.
Consider the size of the game, length of game play, and player comfort when selecting a table and chairs. While a round of UNO might work around a folding card table or a family room coffee table, a dining room table or other solid surface will better hold a board game or a game with dice.
Finger food is the best option for game night. It allows people to nibble in between turns. Whether it’s comfort food like pizza, potato chips, or chicken wings, or the slightly more elegant cheese and charcuterie platters, olives, and fruit, provide plenty of napkins to keep greasy fingers from grubbing up games.
Third Eye Games in Annapolis has an expansive selection of board games, a knowledgeable staff, and a games open to try in the store. Yoxall said Target in Easton often has an interesting selection of less common games.