The school holidays – especially the winter ones – are the perfect time to host a games night. You can rug up in your cosiest PJs, enjoy hot chocolate and tasty treats and stay up late battling it out. Here’s how to nail your next games night.

Pick your games

Obviously, games are key to the perfect games night. You want to ensure your selection is suitable for every player in attendance, doesn’t drag on too long and strikes the perfect balance between competition and chaos. You need to ask yourself a few questions, like ‘how long do I want everyone to stay for?’ and ‘How important are the rules to my games night?’ in order to determine the number and types of games you play. Try to strike a good mix of board games, trivia games and card games to mix things up a little.

Establish a ‘phone jail’

For a good old fashioned games night, ask your guests to go tech-free. Set up a ‘phone jail’ in another room and have them put their phones in there. Nothing disrupts the flow of games night like unwanted phone calls or players getting sucked into a social media vortex! If the idea of being without their phone is stressful, assure your guests that they don’t need to put them on ‘Do Not Disturb’ (they may need to be contactable in case of an emergency). You could even allow everyone to check in for a minute or two periodically – though all at the same time – throughout the night.

Consider your teams

And try to allocate them before the night. This will save you time and allow everyone to get straight into the games, while also ensuring no one has an unfair advantage or is left out. Try working out the teams at random a couple of days before the games night, and tweaking them where necessary before letting your guests know their allocation. Let them know that their teams are final and try to make it so that people are a little bit outside their comfort zone – that’s how great memories and friendships are formed. May the best team win!

Establish a scoring system and a prize

Your games night can be as casual or as serious as you choose. Deciding to keep score will obviously make the night more competitive, as will establishing a prize for the overall winner/s (depending on the prize, of course!). A fun idea is to keep the prize a mystery until the final presentation – guests won’t know what they’re playing for or how badly they want to win, adding an extra element of surprise and fun. If you plan on hosting regular games nights, the prize could be a makeshift ‘trophy’ that is won week after week?

Sort out your snacks

Sustenance is key for any games night. Try these recipes:

  1. This delicious French onion, bacon and cheese cob loaf
  2. These cosy winter drinks, like hot chocolate and mulled wine
  3. This mouthwatering coconut caramel slice


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