The “game-night” stage of adult development

It starts when you and your friends are happily remarking that the bar you’re at seems “chill” rather than “insane” or “crazy.”  Next, you’ll start feeling tired around 11.  Then 10.  You’re on the slide toward actually being an adult.  Don’t worry too much, though, there are a few stops in between taking two shots at last call and lamaze classes.  One of those stops is “game-night,” which is a critical stage in adult development.

“Game-night” consists of inviting a few friends over for food, a beer or two, and a board game.  Try it out once.  Then make it a standing date.  Rotate homes.  I do not think I would have made it from a college-age kid to an adult without this critical stage.  Here are a few quick tips for a successful game-night to help ease you into the slide of adulthood:

1. The key to a successful game-night is planning.  If everyone pitches in just a little bit, you end up with an exciting, indulgent night in.  Last night, for example, our guests brought crackers, cheese, wine & chocolate covered strawberries.  I made a quick chicken & biscuits main dish from pinterest.

2. Keep it small: 5-6 is an ideal number for game-night.  Everyone can hear each other.  Everyone can see the board.  But, it’s enough people to keep the game & conversation interesting.

3. Rotate homes and responsibilities.  Have the host cook the main dish for dinner and have everyone else bring a side or bottle of wine.  That way you end up with an interesting mix.  And with most people focusing on only one side-dish, they’ll frequently put a little bit of extra work into it.

4. Eat a quick dinner and catch up before settling down to play a game.

5. Pick an interesting game that really takes some thought.  Currently, we prefer Settlers of Catan.  Although, get a good sense of your audience…Settlers can get intense.  Yikes.

6.  Get interested in something quirky.  And be extreme about it.  Our group became obsessed with olive oil after reading this story detailing the scandal surrounding the label extra-virgin olive oil.  We now do our game-nights with THE BEST OLIVE OIL ever.  You could pick an odd type of cheese, olive, beer, chocolate, anything.  Pick something small, spend twice as much on it as normal, and feel like you’re having a real treat.

Game-nights are my absolute favorite.  When I first got invited, I thought it might be a little bit lame.  But, if you plan ahead and everyone puts in a little work, you end up with really fun appetizers, and a glass of wine or two.  Because it’s all home-cooked, even though you indulged a little bit, the night cost less than going out and ended up being a lot healthier.  When it’s all over, I go to bed feeling happy, like I did something special and fun, but without feeling unhealthy or financially taxed.

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