How to Start A Game Night: Part 1 – Choosing Your First Game

How to Start A Game Night: Part 1 – Choosing Your First Game

We still remember our first game night. A small group of friends came together on a Monday night at a home to play our first board game–Small World.

It was amazing!

In two rounds we learned what kind of gamers we were. We had a thinker, a mocker, an irrationally vengeful maniac, a smooth talker and a hopeless gamer (more on how to deal with these types of gamers in another post). There was strategy, there was some luck, but most importantly, there was fun. No one remembers who won, but we do remember we couldn’t just stop with one game night.

But this isn’t about us. We want you to start a game night. We want as many other friends and families to start their own adventure into the hobby of board games.

Whether you’re just thinking about getting into board gaming or if you’ve already purchased your first, shiny new board game, and need some tips on how to get that fabulous plastic and cardboard played, you’re in the right place.

So are you ready to start a game night? Great! Let’s get started!

Choosing a Game

If you’re a total newbie, then let us be the first to say congratulations! Board gaming has so much to offer and can create some of the most memorable social occasions (you won’t quickly forget the time someone flipped the board because they got so mad at your killer move).

If you haven’t bought a game and are still trying to decide, take our survey. It will help lead you to a great game based on your tastes, how long you want to play and how much you want to think. You can be sure it will be a good game, as we test and re-test every game we recommend. You’ll also find that the games we recommend are highly rated by the board game community.

Even if you’ve already purchased a game, the survey is a great way to find other games that you, or your friends, may be interested in.

Of course, the survey’s recommendation is just that: a recommendation. There are other ways to find games you like, and be sure you’ll like the one we recommend.

Another way to get an idea of a game you might like to try, is to look at some games in person. A good place to try that stocks good hobby games for beginners is Barnes and Noble. Look for the Strategy Games section. They will often have games like Settlers of Catan or Carcassonne. Check the games out, look at the art on the box, and then check our descriptions or reviews at other sites like Board Game Geek.

Finally, once you’ve narrowed it down to a game or two that you want to buy, you might be able to find a website where the game is playable online, or, there may be an iOS or Android version of the game. Many popular games like Ticket to Ride and Small World have tablet versions. A tablet version is nice, because it is often a fraction of the cost of the real game. In our opinion, online versions are never as fun as the real thing, but it can help you see if the game feels right for you and your group.

Preparing Your Game For Game Night

Once you’ve purchased your game (or games!) of choice, we recommend you become familiar with the game before your game night.

You can try a play-through with your partner if you have a willing one. But it isn’t strictly necessary. It is a good idea to at least read through the rules once. Depending on the game complexity, the rulebook can seem confusing, so online tutorials may help too. We’ll cover teaching games in another post, but as long as you’ve read the rules and watched a tutorial, you’ll be in pretty good shape to explain the rules.

No one wants to spend more time learning than playing, so do your homework! The game will be more fun if you get the rules right. But at the same time, don’t over-stress about making a small mistake. It’s not the end of the world if everything isn’t perfect the first time through.

Of course, this all assumes you have some willing people to play with, but we know that this isn’t always the case. Read part two for tips on how to find people to game with.

If you’ve taken our survey and purchased a game recommendation, let us know how it worked in the comments.

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