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The Ultimate Guide to Hosting an Alcohol-Free Game Night

Spark a Little Friendly Competition With This Guide to Hosting the Ultimate Game Night

There's a reason game night is such a crowd-pleaser: some friendly competition can break the ice between just about any group of people, from your cousins you haven't seen IRL in years to friends who've never met each other before. Even if your guests don't have much in common, they'll at least be able to laugh at that ridiculous charades guess or bond over a winning board-game strategy.

Another reason to love game night? It's an ideal opportunity for some good clean fun — without drinking alcohol. In fact, your guests will probably be so focused on the next trivia question or roll of the dice, they won't even notice you don't have booze set out. Consider this your guide to hosting the ultimate booze-free game night. After all, not every game has to be a drinking game.

Crowdsource Game Options From Your Guests

Don't worry, you don't need a full library of games to host game night. Instead, ask each of your guests to bring a game so you can crowdsource a wide variety of options. Once everyone has arrived, lay out all the games and pick out two or three to play tournament-style. To maximize your playing options, keep the guest list between four and eight people — that suits most games.

Serve Finger Foods For Dinner

All that competition will definitely work up an appetite, so plan to serve a variety of beloved finger foods. A casual grazing table full of pizza bites, mini quesadillas, seven-layer dip, and more tasty bites will keep your friends satisfied without interrupting the flow of play, unlike a sitdown meal. If you're craving something refreshing, consider Heineken 0.0, the alcohol-free version of the tasty beer you know and love. Plus, it's only 69 calories!

Rotate Between Active and Relaxed Games

Sitting on the couch all night long can get a little monotonous. Break up the more stationary games with one or two active options. After you've wrapped up the first board or card game, switch to something focused on acting out clues, like charades. Or, if you'd rather do something even more active, set up indoor bowling with a small inflatable ball and stacks of plastic cups for pins.

Present Real Prizes to the Winners

You can't have a game night without some kind of prize for the winners — after all, this is the generation who grew up receiving participation trophies for just about everything. Before the party, buy two low-stakes prizes for the winner and the runner-up. Think: bedazzled plastic crowns, tiny succulents, bags of your favorite gummy candy, or just about anything from the dollar store. Presenting the champions with their winnings will end the night on a fun note.

Must be 21+ to purchase; please drink responsibly.

Illustrations: Natalia Agatte