What Are Your Rules for Game Night?

As of right now, I have exactly one rule on my game room whiteboard: “No cell phones at game night, please!” I like to keep it simple. Who wants a long list of rules when we’re just trying to have fun?

Well, as it so happens, gamers love rules! So I decided to compile some of the unwritten rules of my game night. I have a feeling a few are missing, so I’m curious to hear your thoughts.

Also, please note that some of these are distinctly unique to my game night, and they’re different than the list of preferences I recently posted. For example, while I love to play games with people who help with setup and cleanup, it isn’t a hard and fast rule.

  1. No cell phones (except to take the occasional photo). I like to be fully immersed in the game with the other players, and even if someone keeps their phone nearby and only glances at incoming messages on occasion, it completely breaks the “magic circle.” The one exception I’ve found that doesn’t bother me is if someone takes a photo of the game, because the message they’re communicating is, “I’m having so much fun that I want to remember this.”
  2. Don’t touch my desk. We play games in my home office, and I’ve found that I really don’t like people putting stuff on my desk or leaning on it. Every other surface and space in my office is fair game, but not my desk. That’s where I work.
  3. Be nice to my cats (even if they’re not nice to you). Biddy gets really feisty at game night, as he wants everyone to feed him constantly. I wish he wasn’t like this, but this is his home, and a bunch of people are invading it on a weekly basis–I can kind of understand his plight. So despite his poor attitude, I expect my guests to treat Biddy and Walter with kindness.
  4. Be nice to other people (even if they’re not nice to you). This delves pretty close to the “preferences” I said I wasn’t going to mention here, but really, if there’s anything that would cause me to ask someone not to return to game night, this is it. We all may have moments when we’re not at our best, but there’s no excuse to be cruel or demeaning to anyone.
  5. Use cupholders and side tables for drinks and food. I’m not OCD about food and drinks, but I just want to prevent the hassle and destruction of a big spill on the table.
  6. Feel free to eat and drink anything in my kitchen…except for the last bite. Sometimes I have a little bit of food or drink remaining in my fridge or pantry, and in the back of my head I’m looking forward to finishing it off. So if I look for it the next day and found that someone ate or drank it, it’s an unpleasant surprise. Anything else is fair game, though, and I like it when people serve themselves as they wish.

What are some of your unwritten (or written/vocalized) rules whenever you host a game night?

One Response to “What Are Your Rules for Game Night?”

  1. Joseph E. Pilkus III says:


    Admittedly, I’m quite OCD about food. While I have a wonderful Game Room on the first floor of my townhouse, friends and I tend to gravitate to the kitchen/dining room as the dining area-cum-game room has huge windows and on a Saturday afternoon, the shades are pulled up and it’s glorious to bask in the warmth of the sun (even if it’s the dead of winter). As it’s right near the kitchen, I lay out all of the food on the island and people are free to graze and drink…at the island.

    As to cell phones, my game group is a bit older, so we’re not so inclined to grab the phone for a selfie, though I do like to take pics of Game Nights. Interestingly, my daughter (home with me for the next week from college) rarely, if ever, grabs her cell phone when she joins us for games. Instead, it’s one of my friends who is the mother of a daughter who now is a mother herself so there have definitely been calls at the table…what can you say, life goes on.

    In short, I guess I have few rules…but admittedly, after more than two decades in the military and having lived with rules all around me in my professional life, I enjoy the game environment which is focused on playing and relaxing and not worrying about rules.


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