Winter’s here, and it’s officially time to stoke the fires, fill up your larder and get to hibernating. While most towns and cities will be lighting up with festivities and workplaces will be laying on the festive parties and dinners, when it comes to socialising during the winter months, we’d rather stay a little closer to home.
That’s why playing games with your friends is the perfect way to spend those wintry nights in. We’ve all grown a lot more accustomed to playing digital games in recent years, with the gaming industry seeing a spike in both audience and revenues since 2020. And, while it’s fun – well, more than fun for those with professional aspirations – to play top games like God of War and Elden Ring solo, there’s nothing quite like getting your best mates rounds for a whole night of gaming and hanging out.
So, what do you need to know to host the perfect gaming night in? Keep reading to find out!
Gather your Friends
First things first, if you’re going to host a gaming night, you need to get your friends together. There are a few things to consider before you hit ‘publish’ on that Facebook event, though: how much space do you have? How many friends do you want to play with, and what type of games will you be playing?
We’ll get onto games a bit later in the article, but for now, let’s stick with gathering your friends. When you host a gaming night, it’s important to remember that you’re not hosting a party. Yes, they’re both social events, but while you can never have too many guests show up for a party, when it comes to games nights, the more is most definitely not the merrier!
This, of course, all depends on how big your house or apartment is and how many of your friends would be up for playing games all night too. Generally, a gathering of 4 to 8 friends is the sweet spot for games night. If you’re exclusively playing board games, you can go to the upper end of that range, but if all your games are screen-based, stick with under 5 to ensure that everyone gets to play.
Choose your Games
A gaming night wouldn’t be a gaming night without games to play, so this is an area to put a touch of consideration into. Don’t just think you can get away with playing one game all night, even if you and your mates are all die-hard fans. After a few rounds, even the most appealing game can run a little dry. Whatever type of games you have, make sure you have a few on hand to switch things up throughout the night.
With gaming technology being the way it is right now, it can be tempting to just play video games all night. However, you’ll maximise the fun and camaraderie if you include a mix of classic and modern digital games. You could even choose a theme that will guide which games you choose or ask your friends to nominate their favourite games to play. Think outside the box, too, and don’t just go with the obvious choices.
Say, for instance, that you and your mates are RPG gamers. Instead of playing Dota 2 again, introduce a platformer or first-person shooter into the mix. Similarly, when it comes to card games, don’t just settle down for yet another round of Texas Hold ’em when a game like blackjack is available as both a traditional card game and in several digital formats on platforms like PokerStars Casino.
Take it from us that you will be hungry during games night, but no one will have the inclination or appetite to sit down for a seven-course, gourmet dinner! Once again, we find it prudent to remind you that hosting a gaming night is not the same as hosting a dinner party. And no, this doesn’t mean you should just reach for the Pringles and be done with it; there’s a balance between convenient food and nutritional snacks.
Salads may sound boring, but with some exotic additions, they can pack a punch when it comes to flavour and give you energy for a marathon gaming round. Mini sourdough pizzas are easy enough to prepare and cook in advance, and they’re ideal if your friend group is a mix of vegetarians and meat-eaters. Or, you could ask your mates to bring a dish each, especially if you have some picky eaters in the group.