This type of party can be perfect for adults, teens or children. Simply play the games as is or kick your party up a notch with some of the creative ideas below.
By Alisa Bangerter – Studio 5 Party and Family Ideas Correspondent
Unique invitations help create anticipation and help set the mood of the party.
• Search thrift stores or yard sales for games or use games with lost pieces for parts that can be used when making invitations.
• Use a table saw to cut game old boards in pieces to use as invitations. Write or attach party information to each piece.
• Actual game pieces or dice are fun additions to an invitation.
• An actual card from a game such as Uno makes a really fun invitation. This idea is great if you are inviting a lot of people and a pack of Uno cards is very inexpensive. Simply attach party information to the back of the card or punch a hole in the card and tie onto invitation.
• Scrabble tiles or other letter tiles from a game can be used as embellishments for an invitation. An idea with this would be to include a bunch of Scrabble letters (paper) in each invitation with the instructions that whoever comes with the most valuable or longest word using the letters will win a prize.
• Include paper play money as part of an invitation and say: We “value” your presence at our party.
• Think of items that you could include with an invitation that would coordinate with the games you will be playing. For example, small toy ships with party information attached to them would be fun for a Battleship party. Be creative!
• Give an apple with party information shaped as a leaf and tied to the stem. This would be perfect for an Apples to Apples game party.
• If you are having a game night party where you will be doing drawing games such as Pictionary, Win, Lose or Draw, etc., attach an invitation to a marker.
• Create an invitation to look like a spinner for a game. Place party information in the spaces on the spinner.
• Give actual puzzle pieces or cut invitations into a puzzle.
• Square cards are easily decorated to look like dice.
• Scrapbook and craft stores carry stickers and paper with game board images. Also computer clip art is a great resource.
• There are online companies that will print game party invitations for you. Simply do an online search.
Game night parties do not really need much decoration. If you wish to decorate, try to incorporate the games you will be playing as part of the decor.
• Using game board boxes or game boards on the walls or around the room can add instant décor.
• Decorate the room like a giant game board with squares or enlarged playing pieces. Have game board squares go up walls on ceilings, etc.
• Decorate with enlarged images from the game(s) you will be playing.
• Punch a hole in both ends of cards from a set playing cards (or other cards form a card game). Tie cards together to make a garland that can be used as décor.
• Decorate your rooms to resemble a game board such as Clue. Players could even come dressed as a person from the game Clue for added fun. There are several fun board games where characters could dress like the theme.
• Create a bouquet of cards from a card game. Simply attach cards to wires and insert with greenery in a vase or a plant. Use as a centerpiece. Game pieces could also be wired on stems.
Playing board games at your party is a lot of fun. Sometimes adding a different twist or unique idea can make the party even more fun and one to remember.
• There are many board games that are versions of TV game shows. These can be a lot of fun especially if you have a “game show host” and play for prizes. Have game show music playing in the background to create atmosphere.
• Have a large white board or chalkboard to keep scores and other information on.
• If you are inviting numerous people make sure to have games that can be easily joined such as Catch Phrase or Balderdash so others can get started if someone is late to arrive.
• Ask guests to each bring a favorite board game. Vote on what to play or play several games at a time. This is fun to see what games guests like and will allow your guests (and you!) to maybe learn a new game.
• Set up different game stations around your room. Make sure to use games that someone could join in at any time and be able to know what was happening. Quick games also work great for this type of party. Set a timer for 10 minutes and then have guests rotate to a different game when the timer rings. Players must pick up where the previous players were. Points or play money could be given to players or teams as they win games (or place). Points or money could be redeemed for simple prizes at the end.
• Give everyone a set amount of play money as the night begins. Have certain words that no one can say such as “win,” dice,” “move,” etc. If someone says one of the words that are not allowed they must give up so much money or give it to the player who caught them. The winner with the most money at the end wins a prize.
• Set a timer when playing games that are long such as Monopoly or Risk. As soon as the time allotted is up, the person who is ahead wins. Sometimes it is fun to play these games but because of the length of them, they are often not an option.
• There are companies online that sell giant versions of board games. Giant games such as Chess can be played with actual people as the game pieces. Have them dress the part and you have a lot of fun for a large group.
• Add your own twist or rules to a game. For example if someone lands on the “go to jail” space in Monopoly they have to stand up and sing a song. If someone rolls doubles they get to move ahead three extra spaces. If someone spells a certain word in a word game they get extra points or a prize. If someone gets four wild cards in their hand while playing Uno, they win! Just be creative.
• Give small prizes to winners (or losers) or to those who have obtained a certain point value, etc. You could add your own rules so that every time someone landed on a certain square or rolled a certain number, they get to choose a prize. Prizes such as dice, a set of cards, yo-yo’s, candy bars, a new card game, snack mixes, etc. work well.
• Have an inexpensive trophy cup engraved for the game night winner(s). Check out thrift stores for old trophies that could be fun to give as a prize(s).
• Try playing some specific themed versions of well-known games depending on your guests interests. For example, Monopoly comes in numerous versions such as Star Wars, sports teams, boutique (cute for teen girls), etc.
Having snacks at your party is a must. Amaze your guests with your creativity and coordinate the food with the games you will be playing.
• Use game boards as serving platters (cover with clear contact paper first) or as placemats.
• A fun tablecloth would be a new Twister mat.
• Use game boxes to set trays of food items on – making food at different heights.
• Have a central area for treats and drinks or place small bowls of (non-sticky and non-greasy) treats on each table where games are being played.
• Place a game board sticker or Scrabble tile stickers to spell guests names on their cups. (Check out craft and scrapbook stores for stickers.)
• Follow the theme of a game board for example: Candyland. Have candy from the game board as refreshments, a treat bag or on the table. Use the items to decorate a cake or cupcakes.
• Use a cookie cutter to cut game or game piece shapes.
• Decorate cookies to resemble game pieces, tiles or dice.
• Use larger game pieces or tiles to decorate cupcakes.
• Attach cute (paper) game images or small game pieces to the top of toothpicks to use as food picks.
• Place veggies or other items on wood skewers and place in a dartboard. The dartboard holds the skewers and acts as a serving tray.
• Create individual snack boxes for guests to take with them as they play games or rotate to different games. Include a variety of snack items and treats and don’t forget a napkin.
• Make small petit fours that resemble dice.
• Wrap napkin rings with ribbons and tie on playing pieces. Napkin rings can also be made using playing cards.
• Make snack mixes that coordinate with games. For example a Twister mix could include twisted pretzels as well as red, green, yellow, and blue candies. A Scrabble mix could include Alpha Bits cereal along with nuts and candies. Be creative.
• Keep a look out for items that could be served to coordinate with your game party. Look for other items such as wrapped chocolates, shaped candies, etc. that would coordinate with a game.
• Apples served in a variety of ways would be fun for an Apples to Apples game party.
Remember playing games together is inexpensive, fun and can be very educational. Many games have you create strategies, spell, draw, budget money, use creativity, etc. And don’t forget games can make you laugh – which is healthy for you!!!!