John-Michael Gariepy

Game Night – Take 2!

This article was originally posted at

Game Night is an ongoing series of articles about getting together a group of people to play games on a predesignated night. Yeah, I know the title isn’t original… but it gets the point across. Okay, yeah, ‘Dangerous John’s Threateningly Long Title for a Game Night Article’ may have been a good title too. Mmhmm… yeah… listen, if you have that much input, maybe you should write the article yourself? No? Alright then.

Anyhow, in the previous article I explained that in order to have a game night, you would first need games (duh!), then a place to play those games (double duh!). Within this segment of ‘Game Night’ I’m going to reveal another shocker: In order to play most table top games, you will need friends. In the previous article, I pontificated that there were 5 steps involved. In no particular order, I shall continue the article with step 3.

Step 3.: Get your friends to play with your games.

If you are reading this article it’s likely that your friends either: A. Don’t like games, B. Have scheduling problems, or C. Don’t like you. Making friends and influencing people is outside the scope of this article. Except to warn you against reading that book. That thing is Snoozeville, Population: Zzz. For now, let’s just assume you have friends. Okay, buddy?

Step 3, Part Horse: But my friends don’t like games!

While some people are secretly robots waiting for the Robotapocolution, non-traitors to the human race enjoy games. When someone says “I don’t like games”, what they mean is “I disapprove of having fun”. That is a lie, which I will prove with this Diagram:

Your friends enjoy playing games. This does not mean that your friends enjoy playing the games you are offering to play. If your friends’ idea of a fun game is foosball or poker, it may be difficult to involve them in The Battle of Bull Run. Try something more physical and interactive like Tumblin’ Dice, or a game that rewards their ability to predict odds and take tricks like Wizard.

More likely, you have to find a game for opposing personalities to enjoy. Here, you should aim for a game that fires on all cylinders and plays to everyone’s tastes. Battlestar Galactica, Knights of the Round Table, Cranium, Ticket to Ride, Island of Dr. Necreux, Settlers of Cataan, heck, even Dungeons and Dragons with pregenerated characters and a published campaign.

Did you notice anything interesting about that list? Most of those games have elements of teamwork and interactivity in them. That isn’t a coincidence: The easiest games to learn and be involved in are games where someone is invested in your success. Remember this factoid when choosing how you play your games as well. Are you trying to introduce a friend to Magic: the Gathering? Play two-headed giant: a format where two players share one life total. Is someone learning Dominion for the first time with three experienced players? Why not pair up into teams? The team with the most victory points at the end wins. That way, you can help the new player out, instead of watching them flounder while you win the game.

Time! Time! Time! See what you've done to me!

Step 3, Part Carriage: But my friends have these crazy schedules!Your friends have more interesting lives than you do. Whenever you ask someone to come play a game, they are always working / skiing / not in the same state as you / celebrating an in-law’s birthday party / driving wildly expensive sports cars down moonlit expanses / experimenting with recreational drugs / asleep / spending ‘quality time’ with their significant other or any combination of these activities. You are never doing any of these things while you are trying to convince your friends to play games. Quod Erat Demostrandum.

If I were Napolean, where would I go?

This conceit is malarkey, but it’s amazing how often we fall for it. Your friends also have times when they want to do something but you are working / hunting wild turkey / showing off your pumpkin at the state fair / visiting ‘The Waterloo’ from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventures. A lot of times they don’t bother to call you because they know it won’t work. You don’t see that part, do you? No, you can only witness the times you paced around and around your kitchen table staring at your copy of Endeavor wondering if you can teach the dog how to play.Don’t be silly. Dogs can’t play Endeavor. You’re going to need human friends to make time, and this is how you do it:

Step 3, Part Carriage, Bullet Point 1.: Ask your friends when a good day and time is.

Many times when writing this article, I had to ask Captain Obvious from the League of Trivialities how I should proceed. He gave me this little gem then saluted me with a smug smile. That guy can be a real jerk.

Step 3, Part Carriage, Bullet Point 2.: If you can’t all agree with a date and time, then choose one and stick with it.

You want to aim for consistency here. Trying to maneuver around two friend’s alternating schedules will destroy your game faster than a spilled two liter bottle of Fanta. In the long run, Bruce will be happier that he sometimes plays in your game that he didn’t jam down the weed whacker of his crazy schedule.

Step 3, Part Carriage, Bullet Point 3.: Avoid Sunday.

But Sunday is the day that everyone has off! Everyone is resting, and no one has definite plans! This is true. This is also the reason that weddings, birthday parties, school plays, holidays, vacations and military coup d’etats all fall on a Sunday.

Do everyone a favor and use Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. The only competition you have on these days is television, laziness and wives that insist that their husbands don’t get a freaking day off from his family so that he can spend some spare time with his friends. I mean, one day a week. Just one free-hawking day a week, and she’s all like “When the baby is all grown up we won’t have this time again” and “You come home smelling of smoke!” It’s not my fault Gregg is a living humidor!

When the third part of Game Night comes out, there will be a link [here]. If you just caught up with us with the second article, and the third article has yet to be posted, it’s cool. The people who were here first will begrudgingly accept you as part of the in-crowd. But that’s only because the people who first heard about Game Night by reading the third article are total posers.


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2 thoughts on “Game Night – Take 2!

  1. Pingback: Game Night, Part 1: Getting Your Game On! « John-Michael Gariepy

  2. Pingback: Game Night, Part 3: The Quest for Vengeance « John-Michael Gariepy

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