Friendships sometime seem like a series of running into each other, catching up for 2 mins, comparing schedules for a real get together, then promising to catch up “when things slow down.” Planning a game night with several friends regularly? Forget about it.
We’re all busy with the day-to-day, usually so often that our hobby gets back burned until we can carve out that perfect few hours. Unfortunately, waiting for perfect usually decreases the chances of it happening at all. Erase ‘perfect’ from your phone and put its stuff on the street! With a few hacks getting the gang together for a game night can be as easy as a roll of the dice.
1 – Consistent Day/Time – Schedule a regular day or night for game night. First Fridays, every other Saturday, every long weekend, whatever works best in general for your group. Regular events stick out in peoples’ heads, and if a player can’t make one there’s another already on the calendar for them to keep in mind and look forward to. Additionally, you’ll have that time regularly set aside on your own calendar for some game-y goodness.
2 – Find an Established Group – Can’t plan/host your own? Look for an already established group that welcomes new players. Check meetup or your local game store – there may be a gathering already regularly scheduled that you and your friends can join, taking the hosting/scheduling duties off your shoulders. (Pro tip: wear a game related shirt everywhere! You might be surprised how many folks approach to mention their love of board games and regular gaming group.)
3 – Public Space – Don’t have time to clean? Keeping 17 dogs in your apartment? Live out in the boonies? Find a central, open location for everyone to meet at. Libraries and community centers typically have public rooms, as do some small colleges and larger coffee shops. And keep your eye out for some more unusual spaces – we have a couple local pubs and restaurants with public space you can reserve as well. Less commute/cleaning time = more game time.
4 – Prep for pre-game – Kick the game into high gear early by setting up before everyone arrives. Send out tutorial videos for games. Punch and bag components (great netflix watching activity). Set up larger games with lots of bits and bobbles before the party gets started. Don’t derail valuable game time with twenty mins of organization and prep.
5 – Kiddo entertainment/Dog party – Juggling little folk or fur babies can often prevent folks from being regular. Consider hiring a single sitter for the entire group either in another area of your space or at another, nearby participant’s place. Not only does this increase the possibility of folks attending and staying longer, and give mom and dad a relaxing, responsibility-lite evening to look forward to, it means fewer overall interruptions for everyone involved.
6 – Alternative Times/Places – Think outside the box when it comes to game “night”. Why not game brunch? A quick game with work friends during lunch break, or a combined baby playdate/parents gamedate works as well. Or a gorgeous autumn afternoon picnic and play time. There’s no limitation on hours for this one. (Also, keep a game in your bag for improptu gaming moments, like while before the food comes at your favorite restaurant or waiting for the kids to get out of their activities.)
7 – Take a Poll – Scheduling apps like Doodle Poll are a gift from the tech world to busy girls everywhere. Throw out an invite to all your friends and let the app figure out when you all share free time. And don’t wait til every single person will attend! Once you have majority plan your evening; the next time you put together a game the person who couldn’t make it will be on the list and someone else will have to miss. Just get something on that calendar!
8 – Enlist some help – If your gaming group is more than you playing solo Spirit Island every week (hopefully), then everyone can contribute fifteen mins towards putting on game night. Round robin game spaces so you’re not the only one cleaning and setting up. Or maybe you have the best space, but one friend is better at finding game videos and another makes amazing snacks. Additional benefit – almost everyone wants to feel needed, so this one will also help folks feel like they’re a valued member of the group. And working together to host a great event will make your group tighter than ever.
Gather up a few friends and get those games on the table – with a little strategy you CAN fit game night into your life!
“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” ~ Narthe Troly-Curtin