How to Plan and Host an Epic Modern Board Game Night


Board games are growing rapidly in popularity, and for good reasons too. They bring people together for what I think is the best form of entertainment. With board games rising in popularity, so are board game nights. And hosting them can be really rewarding.

At the time of this writing, I just hosted an awesome, epic modern board game night with my husband this past weekend. So this topic is fresh in my mind. We had a blast and I’m so very excited to share more about our experience.

In this post, I’m going to share how you can host and plan an epic board modern board game night. I’ll break the process down into different phases and steps that will be easy for you to follow and implement yourself.

Let’s get started!

Planning Phase

As the saying goes, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. The first thing you’ll want to do is to plan your board game night so that it can be a success.

The amount of time that this stage will take really depends on how far in advance you like to plan. For our recent board game night, my husband and I started planning a week before we wanted to host the actual board game night. Depending on the stage of life your friends are in, you may need to plan farther in advance so your guests can find child care.

1. Figure Out When Your Board Game Night Will Happen

The first thing you need to plan is what day and time your board game night will happen. Personally, I think that weekends are usually the best time for game nights. This way, your guests can stay late to fight zombies with you longer. For our board game night, we choose Friday at 6:00 pm.

Select your day and time, and move on to step number two!

2. Plan the Food and Drinks

The second step is to plan what you’ll serve for food. The main reason I recommend doing this now is so that you can tell your guests what the plan will be when you invite them.

There are so many options when it comes to food. You can cook an entire meal, serve only appetizers, or just have snacks. It’s really up to you! As long as you’re clear about what will and won’t be provided, then you have complete freedom.

I think that sometimes the idea of cooking or providing a lot of food can be a barrier to hosting a game night. Don’t let it be!

We told our guests that we would have a few snacks and drinks, but we also asked them to bring a snack to share. This made it incredibly stress-free and easy for us. In planning the snacks, I made sure there were options for anyone with dietary restrictions. Here’s what we served:

  • Cucumbers
  • Sliced peppers
  • Almonds
  • Trail mix
  • Chips
  • Beer
  • La Croix
  • Wine

With just this small list, we still had snacks for vegans, vegetarians, those who can’t eat gluten, and those who are on a whole 30 or doing the keto diet. However, if you’re looking for more ideas, read this post about board game night snacks.

Once you have your food and drink menu planned out, move on to planning step number three!

3. Decide Who You’ll Invite, and Invite Them

Now that you know when your board game night will be, and what you’ll do for food and drinks, the next step is to decide who to invite and invite them!

My husband and I are the only two avid modern board gamers in our current friend group. Because of this, we wanted to make sure that the group of people we invited could easily be split into two different board games. That way, Ben (my husband) could teach and handle one game, while I taught the other.

We ended up inviting eight people—four different couples. We texted all of our friends we were inviting, letting them know the date and time. This is also when you will want to tell your guests about the food and drink plan. We told our friends that we would have a few snacks and drinks, but we asked them to bring a snack to share as well.

After you’ve invited all of your guests, move on to planning step number four!

4. Plan Games Based On Who Can Come

You should hear back from your guests within a day or two, but if you haven’t heard a for sure “yes”, or “no”, follow up.

Once you know who is coming, you’ll be able to plan what games you’re going to play. This will also allow you to figure out if you have the proper seating for your guests.

Planning the games we would play took the most thought and time for us, especially since we didn’t know a lot of the people who were coming very well.

We ended up choosing Zombicide and Wingspan for this particular game night. They’re both easy, but engaging and memorable games. On top of that, they accommodated the number of players we were expecting very nicely.

However, if you’d like help planning what games to play, you can use this awesome tool to create your “board game menu”. If you’re on BoardGameGeek (and have listed all the games you own), then click on “make a printable menu from my games”.

You’ll then be asked to enter your username, and it will generate your customized board game menu. It’s so fun! See an example of one I generated, below:

Once you’ve decided on what games you’re going to play, you’ve finished the planning phase.

Preparation Phase

Now that you’ve planned your board game night, then the next phase is to start doing the actual preparation work. I’ll break this prep up into the day before, and the day of your board game night.

The Day Before Your Board Game Night

The day before your board game night, the main two tasks are shopping and cleaning. Go shopping for the snacks, drinks, and other supplies you may need. A few of the things on our list were:

  • Plastic cups
  • Paper bowls
  • Paper plates
  • Napkins
  • Folding Chairs
  • Snacks
  • Drinks

We also picked up a few seasonal decorations just for fun! That same day, we also cleaned our apartment and set up the extra table we would need.

The Day of Your Board Game Night

The morning of the day that your guests are going to arrive, send them any other details they may need. For us, this was our address and the code to get into our building. I sent the details in a quick text that also served as a friendly reminder.

About 1-2 hours before your start time, start setting up the board games you’re going to play, and get all of the snacks/food ready and set out. (If you’re cooking a lot of food, you’ll probably need to start this step earlier in the day.)

Read over or scan the rules of the game you’ll be playing, thinking through the best way to explain it to your guests. This helps so that you’re prepared and can confidently explain the game when it’s time.

Play some music and wait for your guests to arrive!

During Your Epic Modern Board Game Night

Your board game night has started! You did all the work to make it here so now just enjoy it. Relax, and have fun.

Help your guests with the games if needed. And of course, be a good host and make sure your guests have what they need as well. But mainly just focus on having fun and enjoying the game night you worked so hard to create!

After Board Game Night

The key to having great modern board game nights consistently is to evaluate how each one went. As you’re cleaning up after your guests leave, think through a few of these questions:

  • What went really well?
  • Who enjoyed what kind of game?
  • What could have gone better?

Taking time to think through these questions will help you to host another epic board game night. You probably got to know your friends/guests better, so now that you know more about their personalities, think through what games they might like to play the next time.

And hopefully, like I was, you’re smiling and laughing as you think about just how much fun you had.

Why I Love Board Game Nights

With all of the technology and screens we face on a daily basis, board games provide a unique form of entertainment that truly brings people together. They give us something to bond and laugh over. And they provide a chance to create shared experiences and memories with those in your life.

No matter where you’re at in your board game journey, I hope this guide helps you to plan and host your own epic modern board game night. You won’t regret it!

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