Essentials For Game Night

Putting together a game night with your friends is a rewarding experience.  You get to sit around and share laughter and stories, all while enjoying some delicious food and a little healthy competition.  Board games can be very expensive, though, and unless a piece is missing or broken, there's no reason a used game can't be as enjoyable as a brand new one.

A game of monopoly.

Some of the best board games to buy are not actually board games at all (but we usually call them that because they're packaged in a box like a real board game) -- instead, they're party games like Pictionary or Cranium that can be played over and over with the same or different groups and yield entirely different results.  Mad Gab and Boggle are also uproarious fun when played with enthusiastic friends, but for a quieter crowd, get a real board game like Monopoly or Clue.

If all you can find are decks of cards, buy them up!  There is a plethora of excellent card games that four or more people can play, so even if you're expecting a large crowd, don't be fooled into thinking cards are only for small groups.  Play a big game of Texas Hold 'Em, or Hearts, for some strategic games.  Or, for something more fast-paced and competitive, try Nerts, a stacking game that can be comfortably played with up to eight players.  (Rules are here:

Feeling super ambitious?  Make up your own games, using toys and other substitute playing pieces you find in the free or 10¢ box.  Start out the evening by coming up with a set of rules, which you can then play out using the pieces as player chips, obstacles, board spaces, or whatever your creative minds can conjure up.  Save the pieces in a box and write down the rules so you can play it again, or, if you didn't really enjoy it, scrap it and start over.

A super competitive group might have fun competing to win prizes, and garage sales are the perfect place to get gimmicky little items that can serve as the winner's bounty.  A matching penguin salt and pepper shaker, a rusty charm bracelet, or a deflated football can be fought over as you and your friends battle on the board.  The type of prize shouldn't matter if it's just a matter of pride and having fun.

A themed game night needs some decorations, which you can find at garage sales as well.  Though you may not be in luck if you go out shopping with a theme in mind, allowing yourself to be inspired by what you find is a great way to pick up some cheap decorations.

Finally, you could add some spice to the night by trying out a new dish or snack prepared in a way you've never tried before.  If you don't have the proper equipment to do so, you can always pick something up a yard sale for a few dollars.  Who knows -- maybe you'll find it's a technique you really enjoy!

Just remember: there are some things money can't buy, but for everything else...there's garage sales!  (Come visit for more great resources to help you navigate the wide world of yard saling!)

Comments (5) -

Kevin Libby
Kevin Libby
3/24/2013 12:57:12 PM #

When you're at a friends house, you don't need a lot of these items stated. You just need a bottle of vodka or any alcoholic drink and you can all spend the night with laughter and make memories that you won't forget even if you grow old.

I say that because I'm a totally different person when I'm with my friends compared to when I'm with my family. I'm a quite and introspective person when I'm at home but when I'm with my friends, I can do crazy things like get drunk and have some fun. We would go out and drink our hearts out and even the smallest talk can be so great and funny when you're actually drunk. Being drunk is not that bad though. You can enjoy the night and be with your friends at the same time.

Xavier Griffin
Xavier Griffin
3/24/2013 1:01:32 PM #

I'm a competitive person even at casual games like these. I hate to lose even when I was still a kid. We, with my sister and neighbors, were always playing snakes and ladders and I always hated it when I lose. Even up to now, I'm easily irritated and I'm highly emotional and sometimes let my emotions get the best of me.

I'm somewhat hot tempered so I get to a lot of fights and misunderstandings with just playing snakes and ladders. It's funny right? But that's just how I am. I'm a plain competitive person and in whatever I do, I always strive to be the best. There's no such thing as finishing a great second place because it's still a loss...

Steven Cyr
Steven Cyr
3/24/2013 1:07:40 PM #

I was always confused with the game Generals with the video game of The Generals. I remembered one time in school, my classmates were talking about Generals and I suddenly joined the conversation and shared that I loved playing that game. I thought they were talking about the board game but I was mistaken, they were actually talking about the video game and they all laughed at me. That was one of my funny experiences when it comes to board games.

Sean Bell
Sean Bell
3/24/2013 1:11:43 PM #

Aside from the classic snakes and ladders, I also enjoy playing scrabbles. It gets your mind to work under pressure and your vocabulary get put to the test. Sometimes you get rattled and have a mental block leading to forming simple words with less points or even worse, you can't form any word at all.

Riley Bennett
Riley Bennett
3/24/2013 1:17:06 PM #

The game is not that important from my experience. What matters is the food that comes with it. Smile It's not fun to play if your hungry and you can't function that well. Eating chips, crackers and junk food while your playing like monopoly brings the game to another whole level. It changes the definition of fun and games. It would also save you time because you don't need to stand up and cook food in the kitchen. It's ready to eat and is readily available because it's within your reach.

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