A Guide to the Tradition of Game Night
We geeks have a proud and noble tradition, where we gather around the table of fellowship with full plastic bottles or citrus soda or cans of energy drink (as well as snacks for all) and we partake in the spouting of abuses at each other known as, Game Night. In recent years this tradition has been taken over by electronic gaming, but there is something to be said about friends busting out the cards, books, or boards and put their friendship at risk through unnecessarily violent competition. Sure families and other people have game nights, but those tend to involve Parcheesi or half-hearted games of Monopoly. You have to pity them as they can not comprehend the pure enjoyment of the heavily detailed games we play. With their insistence that games wrap up at a reasonable hour, they do not know the delight that can come from playing until the wee hours of the morning, often followed by a trip to an all night diner. I know many of you reading this article have become nostalgic for such events; or perhaps the younger members of the audience have never experienced this before. Fear not. I am here to help you. I have compiled a list of things you will need as well as games you can play.
Beverages: There are many options here. What a drink needs to fit this category is a high caffeine content to keep gamers awake for the rest of the night (and sometimes keep them focused). One drink has become a staple to these events, Mountain Dew. The only Pepsi soda which outsells its Coke counterpart. This citrus-y beverage comes in a variation of flavors now, but it is the original that most people trust. In addition to this, energy drinks should be plentiful. Just as in your favorite Con, you will need to stay up and be alert for everything that goes down. I personally prefer Red Bull, but you may choose whichever you like. If you want to portray a sense of sophistication it is not unheard of to have coffee or tea available to your gamers.
Snacks: This can vary greatly depending on your circle of friends. I know personally these nights ended for me and my friends at a local 24 hour diner (this place to be exact). But during game play nibbles are a must, chips and Cheetos are in fact a hallmark. Taco Bell is also known to be a trademark food of game nights; as is pizza.
Atmosphere: Wherever you play you wish to be secluded, no family members or roommates to interrupt your game. If you are in a residential setting, a basement or a kitchen is optimal as both rooms tend to have tables which is a necessary element, and they tend to be out of the way. If, like me, you are luck enough to live close to a shop that holds a game night, these tend to lend themselves to a more festive environment, as a large group of like minded individuals are there for the same purpose.
The Games!!!!: The most important aspect of the night! Depending on what you wish to accomplish and what kind of people are playing will dictate what game is played for the night. Here are a few suggestions for you.
1. Dungeons & Dragons: A classic for these kinds of events. Notorious for its many editions and long set-up time (which can be fun in and of itself). Since the 1970’s compatriots have gathered around tables for the playing of D&D. Once your characters are created and your scenario is chosen it is up to you and your co-players to let your imaginations run wild. Good alternatives can be; Shadowrun or Vampire the Masquerade.
2. Magic the Gathering: Another classic game for geeks the world over. This card game can easily accommodate several players in a single game.Sporting countless players, it is easy for novices to find someone who will be happy to teach them how to collect Mana. A good alternative for those looking to be different is a more recent Collectable Card Game called Mystical Empire.
3. Munchkins: A simple game with enough variations to make any geek happy. A game much less intimidating in its complexities than the other games on this list. You play as an average gamer and venture through hoping to make it to Epic level in a completely hilarious competition. If you are looking for another light-hearted game sure to bring laughs to players there is also the much loved, Apples to Apples, which is sure to grab the attention of even nongeek gamers.
4. Risk: The older brother to Stratego, and the perfect game for geeks who grew up hoping to be the next Lex Luthor or Darth Vader. You choose your army and draw cards for your teritories and proceed to strategically battle your “friends” with the hopes of conquering the world. Many gamers graduate from this particular board game and tackle the challenge which is, Axis and Allies.
5. Settlers of Catan: A more recent favorite of game aficionados, whereas Risk allows you to conquer a world, Settlers of Catan allows you to build a world. Players must meticulously collect resources in order to help create a civillization on the island of Catan.
I hope this has inspired many of you readers to begin your own Game Night. If you have any fond memories of a game night or cool ideas feel free to tell us in our Comments section.