Everyone loves a good Game Night! On the one hand, there is no need to complicate things: 1. Grab a bunch of games. 2. Gather the snacks. 3. Throw on some music and hang out.
On the other hand, sometimes you want to take it to the next level, so here are a few things to help plan that next game night:
1. Trivia Night. It can be complicated to put together a Trivia Night...making up questions, checking answers, etc., but one way I have found to make that a little easier is a site we have featured before: DownloadYouthMinistry.com. There are quite a few games on DYM that are basically themed trivia questions. At about $4 per round, you can have the entire night planned with powerpoints and more in very little time. One time we used this method, we grabbed a Christmas, a Lumberjack, Siri-oke (where they had Siri read back lyrics to songs and they had to guess what song it was), and others. Fairly simple and great variety.
2. Board Games...beyond Monopoly. There are certainly some classics that are fun, but sometimes its good to look beyond what we personally know. Have your students bring in their favorite board game. Some of my favorites for a Youth Group Game Night are Catch Phrase, Quelf (its crazy fun), Mario Kart, Heads Up (Can actually pick this one up on your Smartphone), Apples to Apples, Dominoes, & Code Names. There are two that are great in groups that you may want to look through the cards to edit which ones are there for your level of students: What do you Meme? & The Catholic Card Game (just to note, it is not that the Catholic Card Game has super inappropriate cards, just that it is designed to be fun and entertaining for adults and some of the cards could cause scandal in someone that is at the level of most middle or high school without some interesting conversation).
I also love strategy games. Sometimes they are a little harder to pull off on a "game night" per se, but I always like to have one out there because some students just really groove on them. Some great ones are Catan (of course), Dominion, Splendor, Azul, and in the realm of cooperative games (meaning you are on the same 'team' against the game), check out Pandemic, Flashpoint, or Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle.
3. Screen Games There is a game that can be purchased on Apple TV or some video consoles called JackBox. It is pretty cool in that anyone with a smart phone can join in (some games can have more than 30 people participating in some way). It will be imperative to play the games yourself to evaluate the individual games, as some of the games have some elements that would not be appropriate for some age groups. DYM also has other fun screen games to look at.
As I said at the beginning, game nights are usually best when we don't over think them, just gather a few games, snacks and have a great time with those that show up.