Game Night Party
How to plan a board game party so the kids aren't bored

A birthday party is supposed to be all fun and games, so why not plan a game night
party? It's a Parcheesi idea, so have fun with it! Clue, Scrabble, Twister, Monopoly and
poker... Trust us, you won't be "board" with classic games. And with a little party
planning you can turn an ordinary evening into something extraordinary.

Whether it's casino night, family night, a birthday party, or a
slumber party, a game
party is all about unplugging and unwinding for a good time. Start by setting out a
dozen of your favorite games and letting the kids decide what to play. Throw in some
Foos-ball, table hockey or ping-pong, then set out to Twister and dance under a disco
ball. Alright, game on!

    NOTE: "Wii"an call have a good time! Set up the ground rules for game night on
    the electric games. If you plug in the Wii, the kids may not want to play any
    board games at all and likely they will be up until the "Wii" hours of the night.
    So save the Wii as the last game or just make it a Wii night all together!

Here's how to put on your poker face for a very special game night:

  • Have a play with words. Set the tone for game night with puns. If someone is
    reaching for a treat, put on a tease and say "Don't MONOPOLIZE all that
    popcorn," or "I'm so SORRY, but that's mine!" Get a hat and stick it with playing
    cards and when guests question it, just say "Oh, I'm a CARD SHARK." Once you
    start in this fashion, the other kids will start thinking of their own antics.

  • Play games in group rotations. If the evening is short and you want to pack in a
    lot of fun, set up some games on tables for rotations. So if you have 12 guests,
    set up three tables with four players (8 guests, 2 tables of four players and so
    on). Assign teams by color, set the time, then start playing. When the time's up,
    players move to their teams spot and continues the game of the other player.
    You'll need to put a marker on the spot of the player who's turn it is. You can do
    this easily with a card on a photo clip the way a restaurant delivers your order.

  • Take a chance on casino night. We'll wager that a casino theme party isn't tops
    with younger kids, but older kids will enjoy the thrill especially if there are prizes
    at stake for the high rollers. Keep games simple: Black Jack is a good starter
    game and you can orchestrate a simple game of roulette. Have prizes for first
    place, second and third, then provide a surprise with consolation prizes for the
    others.

  • Play at least one new game. A board game party can also be a learning
    experience that your kids will never forget. Adults may learn something as well
    in playing CashFlow For Kids, by Rich Dad Robert Kiyosaki, right. Schools teach
    children how to work for money, but CashFlow for Kids teaches children how to
    have money work for them. It includes the book "Rich Dad's Guide to Raising
    Your Child's Financial I.Q." Play this game once before the party.

  • More ways to have fun and games at your party:
  • Use a deck of Colossal playing cards, right, for decoration and games.
  • Play BINGO with candy pieces. When someone yells "Bingo" everyone
    gets to eat the treats on their board. Haribo Gummy candies, left, are he
    perfect size.
  • Make chocolate chess or checkers pieces, see lower left, and let the
    winner take all!
  • Look on eBay for scratchers games. (Be sure to get cash back at eBay for
    all your eBay purchases.) Scratcher tickets work like lotto tickets, but you
    supply the prizes, and you can customize them for the birthday kid.
  • Add some new Monopoly board games to your list. Below we have
    Horseopoly, Dogopoly, Catopoly, Gardenopoly, Danceopoly and many
    others, below.

  • Make-Your-Own Opoly Board Game! It's everything you need to customize the
    game board, cards, play money (even the box). Whether using a computer and
    printer or a pen and scissors, anyone can manufacture the perfect individualized
    "Smith-opoly." The "Make Your Own OPOLO" kit, right, contains a CD-ROM,
    floppy disk, paper and label set, game board, six colored pawns, two dice, an
    easy-to-follow booklet for publishing, and game instructions. Customize this
    game for the birthday kid and create a memory.

Food ideas for a board game birthday party
All that dice tossing and poker bluffing makes a kid hungry! An easy solution is to
order pizza, and the obvious choice is none other than Dominoes Pizza.

  • Take heed of these neat ideas: If you want to keep game night casual, encourage
    kids to graze on a selection of appetizers. Finger foods that are easily
    accessible and won't leave a sticky residue on your game pieces are your best
    bet, so stay away from the greasy buffalo wings. Here are some ways to
    contain the mess:
  • Use short clear cups for dips with veggie sticks, chicken strips with ranch
    dressing, or sliders (mini hamburgers) with French fries.
  • Arrange rolled tacos in tall clear cups with a dips visible at the bottom of
    the cup. Make a few varieties to include a dab of guacamole, salsa and
    plain varieties at the bottom. Just a dab will do or the appetizer won't be
    very appetizing as it will get soggy and messy.
  • Set corn dogs on a tray with tall cups, some with a dab of mustard,
    others with a dab of ketchup, and others still without anything at all.

  • Scrabble your message. Get out the scrabble tiles and use them to create
    birthday messages. Use the holders as place cards for a formal table setting on
    family game night. For a casual buffet style table, use the scrabble tiles to mark
    your appetizers, such as "hot salsa" or "spinach dip."

  • A trip to Candyland. Dig out the old Candy Land game board and use the game
    board itself as a mat for an array of candy bowls. If you still have some of the
    plastic Candy Land figurines, glue them to a beverage stopper.
  • If you look carefully, there are a variety of game candies on the market.
    Look for dice lollipops, and right you'll find a dominoes candy mold to
    make very theme appropriate chocolates.

  • More ways to have fun with food for a game night party:
  • Set out some Goldfish crackers with a sign that reads "Go Fish."
  • Replace the glass pebbles or stones from a Mancala game with colorful
    jelly beans.
  • Serve Parcheesi (a selection of cheeses), and be sure to cut some into
    dice shapes. You can also make  dominoes by cutting flat rectangles and
    embellishing with whipped cream cheese
  • Set a bowl of cherries on the old favorite game of Hi-ho Cherry O, along
    with other cherry favorites, such as
  • Serve drinks with a monkey from the barrel of monkeys game, hanging
    from the edge.

How to set the scene for Game Night
Board game party decorations aren't necessary as most of your decorations will be
with the buffet table. Besides, as kids mature to a game night party, decorations may
not seem "cool." Even so, you may want to add a few special touches.

Here are some board game party decoration ideas that should get a nod of approval
from most any kid:
  • Wrap fuzzy dice on the front door or birthday kid's bedroom.
  • Hang a curtain entrance of playing cards. Just attach cards with fishing string.
  • The birthday kid can wear a mardis gras style necklace with dice, right.
  • Sprinkle dice, poker chips and dominoes like confetti on the tables. (Dominoes
    look best standing upright). Buy Chessex "Pound-O-Dice," left to get
    approximately 100 factory seconds die for decorations. The pack may include
    speckled, marble, rainbow, opaque and translucent die.

Incidentally, if you don't have many old board games, head to the thrift shops to find
some which you can use for displays.

Favors for a Game Night Party
Our favorite board game party favors are the game night candies, top left, which
feature mini boxes of classic games, like SORRY, MONOPOLY and the game of LIFE.  
They'll make a sweet edition to favor bags, but put out a few for show!

Kids in this age range aren't going to be satisfied with  few cheap trinkets in a bag, so
you may have to make some edible goodies, like chess chocolates. Looking for game
night favors will be a challenge, but are you game? Here are some ideas to put the
odds in your favor:

  • Roll the dice. Give each kid a cup with dice along with a selection of your favorite
    dice games. Here are some printable family dice games. Farkel Party, left,
    includes several colors and is a fun family game. You can also find a collection of
    fun dice, like alien dice.

  • Let the chips fall where they might. For poker games, have the kids play with
    chocolate casino poker chips, right. They're a bit on the pricey side, but regular
    poker chips will be as well and the kids will love winning the chocolate kinds.
    And check this out, the checkers candy mold, left.

  • Think small. Stash favor bags with a mini deck of cards. Be sure to have prizes
    on "deck"too, such as Finger Twister, right, or any of the miniature sized board
    games from Milton Bradly or Hasbro.

Board Game Party Invitations:

Make a clever invitations for your game night party with playing cards and your
printer. Send guests five playing cards each with a part of the party message so they
can shuffle through the party details.

  • Invitations and party wording ideas for a game night party:
  • Are you a player? Then Brittany wants you at her 12th birthday party!
  • Put on your POKER face Saturday, May 15 at noon
    and come be the LIFE of the party.
  • Wii can all have fun at 123 Park place
  • Get a CLUE and R.S.V.P. mom Melanie, at 867-5309 or you'll be SORRY!

Resources for a game party
There are lots of reasons to host game night with your family and friends. A family that
plays together, stays together. Here are some fun ideas for you:

  • Country Living says "Host a Game night" and you should get a taste their down
    home good looking food suggestions.

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Game Night Candy: Monopoly, Clue, Operation
Dominoes Pizza Logo
Twister Finger Game
Checkers Candy
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