In our increasingly digital world, board games might seem like an old-fashioned pastime. But more and more people are turning to board games as a hobby. These days, board games are more than just the classic Monopoly, Clue, and Connect 4. European-style games are a class of tabletop games that generally have simple rules, short to medium playing times (no five hour Monopoly marathons here!) and lots of social interaction. These kinds of games have become incredibly trendy: board game cafes have opened up all over the world! We think that these games can be a great way to connect with family and friends. So why not change up your usual Friday night entertainment and throw a casual board game night party?
Fair warning: some of the games on this list can be played with kids, but some of them are grown-ups only! For games for all ages, check out our Family Game Night post.
We know that it is easy to pick up the phone or send an email, but even for a casual game night, we think invitations are a classy way to set the tone. These adorable invitations will let your guests know exactly what is in store — an evening of excitement and entertainment!
These invitations are adorable for a girls' game night!
When it comes to European-style games, there is no better place to start than Settlers of Catan. Players roll dice and collect resources to build their empire on the island of Catan. But since the other players are trying to do the same, you have to pick your strategy carefully! Settlers of Catan includes a ton of player interaction, relatively simple rules, and an exciting mixture of luck and strategy that keeps the game interesting every time you play. The game is for 3-4 players, but with the game's expansion pack, it can be played with 5-6.
Funemployed is a fabulous party game. We have never laughed so hard while playing cards! This game is definitely adults-only. Funemployed calls itself “the party game of real jobs and unreal qualifications.” It can be played with 3-10 players, who take turns “interviewing” for a job. Each player has to include four qualifications in their interview, leading to hilarious explanations of why your peg leg qualifies you to be a great astronaut, or why fairy dust will make you a great competitive eater. This game requires a little bit of creativity, but we guarantee that the effort of trying to interview to be an altar boy with the “beard” qualification will draw even the shyest player out of their shell. We also love the expansion pack, “Seasonal Help,” which includes job applications for elves, easter bunnies, and drunk uncles. Great to play during the holidays!
We have to admit that a game like Funemployed, and pretty much every other board game, for that matter, gains a whole new dimension of fun with the addition of some wine. Or throw in the towel and devote an entire evening to playing wine theme games 🙂
Make your guests work for their libation!
Dominion is considered by many board game enthusiasts to be among the best games ever made. The gameplay is simple: draw a a hand, play some cards, buy some cards, discard everything, draw a new hand. Wash, rinse, repeat. Dominion is included in the genre known as deck building games, where each player begins with an identical deck and uses “treasure cards” to buy cards that give you more advantages. These action cards give the player benefits like more actions per turn, more purchases per turn, and more money to buy cards. The base deck has 24 action cards, and since only 10 cards are used in each game, there is a wide variety of combinations and strategies that can be used. The game is easy to teach, easy to learn, but difficult to master!
The original Dominion game is a great investment and has a ton of replay value. If you find yourself becoming an avid Dominion fan, the expansion packs introduce new types of player interaction into the game, and can be a great addition to the original deck. If you do want the expansions, we recommend starting with Intrigue, Seaside, and Prosperity.
If you ever played a game of Mafia during your childhood, you know what fun it can be to play a game based on truth, lies, and finding the spy. The Resistance takes this to a whole new level by creating fun new dynamics for 5-10 players. Players are either members of the Resistance or Imperial spies. The Resistance must work to find the spies and bring down the Empire, while the spies must work to remain undetected. Unlike Mafia, however, there is no player elimination, which makes this a great party game. No one has to sit on the side feeling lonely!
Of course, there are those of us who get a little too competitive on game night. For the sore loser in all of us, there is Pandemic. In Pandemic, four diseases have broken out all over the world, and the players are a team of researchers racing to stop the spread and cure the diseases. Players must coordinate their strategies to beat the disease. If you cure all four diseases, you win, but if not, the entire team loses. This could be fun for a family game night or even as a social event for coworkers looking to build their teamwork! Of course, as with most European-style board games, there are expansions for those who fall in love with the game and are looking for an enriched experience.
In 7 Wonders, you're a leader of one of the seven great cities of the Ancient World. Your task is to establish the supremacy of your city, prosper, and erect an architectural wonder that will last through the ages. This game is great for 3-7 players, and is especially great for those who appreciate a stronger game theme and beautiful illustrations. In terms of gameplay, 7 Wonders is a good game for more experienced board game players looking for more complicated dynamics. In terms of expansions, we recommend either Cities or Leaders.
Party Supplies and Decorations
We recommend that you grab some of these adorable paper plates and party supplies to complete the look of your board game night. These supplies will give your party a polished touch, so that board game night becomes a classy affair. Chess themes and card themes are especially cute looks, but we also designed these custom paper plates based on one of our most popular board games, Settlers of Catan!
You should serve easy-to-eat finger food — think sandwiches, wraps, peanuts, pretzels, and cookies. Make sure to avoid greasy food, or consider serving dinner before the games begin, so that your board games are sure to stay in mint condition.
We love these adorable card suit snack bowls! Fill them with pretzels, crackers, or candy and set one of each on your board game table.
We had a lot of fun designing these paper plates and napkins based on Settlers of Catan!
We love these adorable plush dice! Tie them to balloons and place them around the house to accent your other decorations.
Party favors are a great way to send your guests off with a memento that will remind them of your party and keep them coming back for more amazing game nights! Cards and puzzle books are fairly cheap and make an adorable gift bag.
Let us know how your game night goes and check back often for new games and decorations!