You’ve heard a million times “ it’s all fun and games” well tonight it can be! Here are my game winning rules for a fun and affordable family party.
Rule number one. Keep the food simple and mini sized.
Small bites are key for game night. Choose food that allows you to focus on the play, not juggling plates and flatware.
Here are a few ideas for things you can make yourself in minutes or find at wholesale stores like Costco or Sam’s Club.
Cheesy beanie bites
Use mini fillo shells and fill them with a spoonful of refried black beans, and white shredded cheese. Bake at 350 until the filling is hot and the cheese is melted, about 8-10 minutes. Add finely grated red pepper as topping.
Mini chicken nuggets with individual dipping sauces. You can make or buy nuggets. For dipping sauces use mini ramekins or bathroom size paper cups cut down, use pinking sheers for a nice finish on your paper cup. The sauces can be purchased or home made. Mix it up by including a chili pepper salt mixture and Thai lemon grass spicy mustard.
Endive leaves are perfect bite size scoops. Instead of chips, use these with a festive mango salsa or a warm blue cheese artichoke dip.
BBQ meatballs on a skewer are always a huge hit. For game night, up the ante and add an egg noodle, a sprig of basil and a grape tomato and turn your dish into a mini spaghetti and meatballs.
Bite size pieces of garlic bread are filling and simple to prepare! Buy frozen garlic bread. Chop into squares and bake.
It is fall so serve your dessert in a mini pumpkin...pumpkin crème brule is so easy to make and just bake it in the mini pumpkins. Use white gourds if you are going with a theme of black, white and red for game night.
I suggest you serve 6 different food options with at least one sweet option. Since you are not serving a full dinner guests will need a little more food. The smaller they are the more you need. Calculate about 10-12 hors d’oeuvres per person for the first hour. Then after the first hour only you need 4 per person. Serve 1 mini pumpkin per person for dessert.
Rule two. Game on! Be creative with your food presentation.
If you decor is your thing, bring your A Game to the table and I guarantee it will inspire your guests to do the same. Use game boards to serve hors d’oeuvres, decorate platters with poker chips and playing cards. Clean old board game pieces and toys like the Rubik cube and domino's to use as props on platters. Most of all have fun!
Rule three. Original games are winners!
Don’t worry if you don’t have a ton of board games. There are some fun games that you can play using items you probably already own. Here are a few below and check out one of my go to game books “Super Party Games” by John Chaneski for more fun ideas.
News papers, magazines, catalogs, tape, copy paper
Give players or teams words to find such as “a palindromic word” like madam. When the team or players find all the items they tape them onto a piece of paper and then create a sentence from their word pile. Make it challenging by having players make a news headline from recent events. The team that finishes first is the winner. Points can also be assigned on how hard the word is to find.
Will Shortz from the New York Times created a version of this game.
ABC – VIP
3x5 cards, markers
This is a variation of the old TV game show Password.
Pairs of clue givers try to get their teams to guess the identity of a famous person by giving one-word descriptions…in alphabetical order.
Both clue givers are given the same celebrity. Team A goes first and their team gets one guess from the one clue given out loud. For example; if the celebrity is Donald Trump. The first clue giver gives his team the word “affluent”. Team B could clue giver could use the word “building”… and so on until the celebrity is guessed.
Card stock, duck tape, paper tape, or safety pins (something that will stick to clothes), computer printer
Print out a ton of celebrity names, dead, living, esoteric etc…
The host pins a celebrity name on each guests back. The guest does not know who his/her celebrity is. They have to ask a series of yes or no questions to find out which celebrity they are.
Strange but True
Pens/pencils, index cards, tags, markers
For this game folks have to guess each other’s secrets.
To prepare the host needs to call your guests and find out a little secret or unusual trivial from each person. Like a shy woman could give this trivia“In grade school I was a bully.” Gather about 6 secrets. During game night call three people to front of the room for each secret. Prepare trivia cards to give to each of the three people. One of the people is the actual secret holder the other two are extras and have made up secrets/trivia. The guests get to write down whom they think the secret belongs to. The person who guesses the most secret keepers correctly is the winner.
Rule four. Dare to laugh. If you are looking to roll the dice and go board game crazy here are a few favorite games that are popular with my family.
Trivial Pursuit BET YOU KNOW IT (NEW)
You can buy your way to the winners circle with this new version of Trivial Pursuit! This brand new game offers a whole new way to play where you bet if your opponents actually know the answer. Guess correctly and players will earn chips
that can be used to buy wedges -- or they can earn wedges by answering questions correctly on their turn. On each turn players are able to choose their favorite from one of four rotating topic
cards in the specially designed “Mixologist” envelope. So, players may answer a GEOGRAPHY question about Dogs, Breakfast, Broadway, or Jingles. TRIVIAL PURSUIT “Bet You Know It” cards have 1,800 fresh questions which also feature a variety of new styles including images and multiple choice. With a chance to earn a wedge on every turn – victory is that much closer
Your teammate has to guess the word you are describing, but you can not use the TABOO words on the list or you are out.
ELECTRONIC CATCH PHRASE
Players have to guess all the catch phrases/words before the timer runs out. Features and Benefits: 2 Teams alternate turns guessing the answers to clues in 11 categories, including
Entertainment, Sci-Tech, Sports & Games and more, to keep things interesting. Unit's clock counts down and buzzes when time is out.
The family/party game tests players on how well they know each other with more than 1,000 questions designed to spark laughter, creative discussion and lasting memories. Players are asked a series of questions they have to write an answer to. Then one "reader" collects the answers and reads them out loud. Players have to guess who said what. It is a great way to get to know people. Questions include Who is your favorite author?
This is the next generation in electronic interactive games that combines the power
of music, motion and memory. The game gets players moving as they are challenged to
match the patterns of light and sound by quickly motioning their hands through the Loopz™
rings. Players must showcase quickness and skill to keep the music sequence going, while an
internal counter keeps track of time completed levels and overall performance.
Players draw pictures based on words drawn from a deck. The audience/teams have to guess correctly.
A creative-thinking category-based party game produced by Hasbro through the Milton Bradley Company and published in 1988. The objective of the 2-to-6-player game is to score points by uniquely naming objects within a set of categories, given an initial letter, within a time limit.
From the game fictionary or dictionary.
An actual word is given to players and they have to define it with either the actual definition or something made up (I prefer making things up,shhhh). Players then turn in their answers anonymously and take turns voting on the best one. Points are assigned on various levels with the player whose definition accrues the most points wins.
Think you know it all? Bezzerwizzer® is a new twist on trivia with 20 categories of questions, plus stealing and tile-swapping for fast-paced game play. As players make their way around the board, they must rely on both strategy and knowing all the answers, as opponents can steal points or categories away from them! For up to four players.
Clue originates from the United Kingdom, where it's known by its original name - Cluedo. The popular murder mystery board game was originally named Murder!, but had its name changed when the Waddingtons game company picked it up. The name Cluedo is a mixture of the words "clue" and "ludo" - ludo being the name of another board game, which most closely resembles Sorry! or Parcheesi. In North America, the game's host and victim is known as Mr. Boddy. In other parts of the world, including the game's native UK, he's referred to as Dr. Black. This name seems to make more sense, as the guests are also named for colors (Miss White, Colonel Mustard, etc.). Clue has had video games devoted to it since the days of the Commodore 64, and has also had its own feature film.
The thing I love most about game night is that is really invites laughter and conversation at any party. I hope these tips help inspire you to create your own winning bash! For more fun event ideas you can also check out www.rivaevents.com.