Game night party

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Playing Monopoly
Games like Monopoly are still a game-night hit
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Tips for planning the perfect game night party

Game nights are a great, stress-free way to spend time with family and friends. The game night party concept was introduced years ago. Remember that old commercial for Yahtzee that ran in the '80s? "I got 50 poi-nts!!" As cheesy as the commercial was, the group of folks playing always looked like there were having a blast. Same goes for Pictionary. Remember when that was all the rage?

While those games are still hot choices for your game night party, there are endless options on the market today. Everything from clay-twisting Cranium to Scattergories to new, digital versions of Trivial Pursuit.

No matter what game you choose to play, here are some tips for planning the perfect game night party:

1. Invite people. You have to have enough people to get a solid match going. And it also helps to invite an even number so Uncle Fred isn't left playing solo or not at all. Heck, send party invitations. This way your party patrons can plan ahead and prepare mentally for the challenge.

2. Serve food. A party isn't a party unless there is food on the table. Even if you're not a chef, just serve chips and dip. Regular chowing livens the mood. Besides, good, healthy competition boosts the appetite. Let them eat!

3. Make sure everyone is playing by the same rules. You don't want to get involved in a game only to realize that someone isn't playing according to the rules. It's important to go over the rules before starting the game to make sure everyone is on board. This will also ensure that no fists are thrown midway through the game.

4. Mix it up with alcohol. Whether your game night party is BYOB or you're offering open access to your liquor cabinet doesn't matter. What matters is these things are always more interesting when alcohol is added to the mix. Unless, of course, Aunt Judy gets a little out of control with her Monopoly money. (Note: Twister is especially fun while under the influence.)

5. Add incentive. OK, so you can't offer someone a cruise around the world if they win that coveted pie piece in Trivial Pursuit, but you can hand out fun, quirky gag gifts throughout the night. If you're playing Clue, for example, bestow upon the winner a jar of mustard, in honor of Colonel Mustard himself. Playing Scrabble? How about a mini-dictionary as a prize. Get creative. Your friends won't care what they win, just that they win!

There is nothing more all-American than a game night party. "I got 50 poi-nts!!!"

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