How to Throw a Deluxe Board Game Night

How to Throw a Deluxe Board Game Night
There are few things more fun than the hilarity and competition of playing board games. Shouts of joy over securing Boardwalk in Monopoly, fist-pumping when the Longest Road is secured in Settlers of Catan, the relief of knowing you've connected all your destinations on Ticket to Ride -- they're all part of an experience that not only builds relationships but enhances mental agility and builds thinking strategies.

Rather than being obliterated by the popularity of video games, board games are enjoying a resurgence. According to the New York Times, board game sales are up 15 to 20 percent from last year, and Kickstarter, the crowdfunding service, reported that funding raised for tabletop games exceeded that for video games by nearly 7 million dollars.

Choose Your Weapons (Er, Games)

While there's still a market for lengthy board games such as Axis and Allies, Monopoly, and The Farming Game, it's the faster paced games that are winning over a new generation of board game fans.
Planning a board game night with that in mind can be a lot of fun. Choose games that are open to multiple players such as Sorry, Clue, Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, or the very cheeky Cards Against Humanity. Set up a card table for each game so no one has to compete for space, and arrange comfortable chairs so numb backsides don't distract from an evening of fun. Make sure there's excellent lighting so everyone can easily read cards, instructions, and details on the game board.

Plan Your Menu

When planning a menu for a board game night, go with items that won't leave hands sticky or messy. Choose finger foods topped with toothpicks, bite-sized nibbles that can be eaten easily and neatly without messing up the game boards.
Instead of potato or tortilla chips that can leave fingers (and game pieces!) greasy, supply bowls of pretzels and a savory dip such as Roasted Garlic Yogurt. Thread cubes of specialty cheeses, olives, and good quality farmer's sausage onto some toothpicks, and cubes of Feta with sun-dried tomatoes on others.

Roasted Hazelnuts with Paprika and Rosemary are scrumptious things to nosh on while plotting your next move, but instead of scrabbling through a bowl of them, portion the nuts into individual cupcake liners to keep fingers clean and bellies full. And Curried Eggs are a protein-rich option that taste great and don't make a mess.
For dessert, try chocolate-dipped dried or fresh fruits that can be easily eaten with toothpicks, or take a break from game playing to tuck into something truly decadent and luxurious.

Roasted Garlic Dip for Pretzels

  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • squeeze of lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Place garlic head on baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes until cloves are soft.
Remove from oven and place on cutting board. Using rolling pin, flatten head of garlic until roasted garlic comes out. Remove any bits of garlic paper and throw away.
In medium bowl, thoroughly mix roasted garlic, yogurt, sea salt, lemon juice, and fresh parsley.
Chill until ready to serve. Goes well with pretzels, flat breads, crackers, or potato chips.

Roasted Hazelnuts with Paprika and Rosemary

  • 2 cups raw hazelnuts
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (or hazelnut oil)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 sprig rosemary, needles removed and roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 375 F. Cover baking sheet with baking paper and set aside.
In medium bowl, combine all ingredients and toss well with spatula until nuts are evenly coated.
Pour nuts onto baking sheet in single layer. Place in oven and roast 20-25 minutes until nuts begin to split and turn golden brown.
Cool at least ten minutes and serve.

Curried Eggs

  • 6 large eggs, boiled, cooled, and peeled
  • sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • mayonnaise

Halve eggs and gently scoop out egg yolk into small bowl. Place egg whites on platter, cut half facing up.
Mix egg yolks, sea salt, and curry powder with enough mayonnaise to make a smooth paste.
Using a small spoon, place a tall scoop of yolk mixture into the hollow of each egg white. Dust with curry powder and chill until ready to serve.

All photos are courtesy of the author.

Krista Bjorn

Canadian born Krista Bjorn has been traveling and exploring for over 20 years and loves every crazy, embarrassing, and wonderful moment. She's lived in Russia and Portugal and now makes her home in beautiful Queensland, Australia, saving her pennies for her next trip. Her food, photography and travel blog is Rambling Tart.
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