Throw a cheap dinner party with a host of fun games.

Looking for some easy to host, cheap get together ideas? Perhaps a cheap night in that allows you to entertain multiple guests without much hassle or breaking the bank? Look no further than hosting a potluck dinner party featuring good food, good friends, and good board games.

 An evening of board game fun provides an inexpensive means by which to entertain multiple people with very little effort on your part. Board games allow diverse groups of people to comfortably get together and joke with one another while at play. This helps loosen the mood of the evening much more than the usual inconsequential or stilted small talk that all too often takes place over cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at social functions. Combine your board game-playing with a potluck dinner party where every guest brings a small dish, and you have the perfect recipe for a night of good eats and good fun.

 Plan an evening where you ask everyone to bring their favorite snack and game. Some common types of games that are guaranteed to be a smash hit at your next party might include board, word, and strategy games. Outlined below are many favorites I own and have found to be a smash hit at dinner parties:


Classic board games: Let’s start with the good ol’ fashioned staples. Classics like Monopoly and Scrabble have been around since before the 1950’s and never go out of fashion. Your guests will enjoy sitting around the table and playing these well-loved classics. Usually, little explanation or teaching is required on your part since many people already know how to play these games.


Word games: With these games, players generally attempt to build sentences or guess words fitting certain definitions or criteria. One popular title is Scattegories, a timed game where players try to fill lists by thinking up words that start with a certain letter (e.g. “think of a historical character’s name, an animal, etc. that all start with the letter ‘b.’”)

Another good title is You’ve been Sentenced, a game where the object is to build clever sentences using only ten pentagonally-shaped cards. The more creative the sentence, the higher the score it can get, but also the more likely it is to be nonsensical and thus voted down by other players!

Finally, there is the game of Taboo. Here, players give hints to their teammates to try and get them to guess a certain word. However, they can’t give hints that use words deemed to be “taboo,” which are generally words closely related to the one the teammate is trying to guess (e.g. if the word to be guessed is “theater,” a possible taboo word might be “popcorn”).

Word games are good for almost any dinner party because people get creative and humorous as they think of definitions and sentences under pressure. They are a definite must to have in your evening game menu!


Good board games TabooCredit:

Strategy games: This style of game often requires players to think several turns ahead, collaborate with one another, and engage their critical thinking skills to accomplish anything from territorial conquests to the completion of quests. Some of the more popular titles include chess, Risk, and Stratego. For more multiplayer alternatives, consider looking into games made by the Days of Wonder company.

Titles such as their Shadows Over Camelot often take a little while longer for players to learn given the complexity of the game and the skills required to play them effectively. Therefore, it’s best for at least one person to be familiar with the game’s rules before trying them out on your party’s guests. Once everyone learns the game, however, strategy games can be a very rewarding playing experience for the thoughtful player.


Bottom line: there are hundreds, if not thousands, of games you can readily acquire on the cheap and feature in your next get-together. Particularly in this down economy, it makes perfect sense for people to get together spending as little money as possible doing so. Good board games provide perfect entertainment for your next cheap night in while reminding us that we don’t need expensive outings or other gimmicks to enjoy a quality evening with friends and family.