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How to meet neighbors over a game night

If you're looking to bond with your neighbors, you may want to try hosting a game night. By following a few simple guidelines, you can better ensure that a good time is had by all.

Before moving, you may want to make a point of packing any games that you have somewhere within easy access. They're not just a good form of entertainment on long car rides; activities are also a great way of getting to know your new neighbors.

While you may have said hello and even had a yard​-side chat with the people who live around you, eventually you may want to get to know them a little better. Sharing a meal or having a conversation over cocktails can be fun. Yet, not everyone drinks, and sometimes people are hard-pressed for topics with people they've just met. Games are a way to remove some of that pressure, giving everyone a chance to cut back and relax. However, if you're going to host a game night, there are some rules you may want to follow to ensure a successful evening. 

Serve food and drink

Even if you're hosting a game night after people normally eat, you still want to provide snacks and beverages. Not only does it help keep the party going, food is also a good way to encourage sociability. Also, there may be downtime in between games or points when you're waiting for people to arrive. Eating and drinking gives people something to do with their hands while sitting around, not to mention it's a good conversation starter.

Aim for casual

It's best not bring out your favorite game if it has a complex board, a small tome for an instruction booklet and a long running time. While your last neighbors may have been up for an all-night extravaganza, your address change means new personalities who may get bored or become easily frustrated by such an involved game. More casual options, such as charades or Pictionary, give people an opportunity to talk. It also allows them to step outside for a phone call or check on their kids without causing any sort of major disruption to the flow of the evening. 

The one caveat to this rule, of course, is if your neighbor or neighbors have shown a fervent desire in learning how to play that complex game. Then, go for it.

Avoid boards

This rule is related to the last, in that some of the best games for hosting don't have a board that requires setting up or learning. Those that get people up and moving - even if just to draw a picture - already provide some energy to a party, and often allow for plenty of conversation in between rounds. Card games - from spades to Apples to Apples - are good alternatives to the board.

Minimize competition

Rivalries and the desire to win can be helpful in achieving success, but when it comes to meeting new people, you don't want to upset anyone by rousing people's competitive natures, including your own. Not only is competitiveness not fun for some, it can ruin a night if tempers flare. For that reason, it's usually a good idea to avoid games of high stakes, such as poker. The last thing you want is to create money problems among new neighbors. 

Mix up teams

When your party consists of couples, it may seem that you already have teams naturally chosen. However, you can get to know people a lot better by pitting partner against partner, and pairing up with people you've never met. It will also help people break out of their old routines if they're forced to cooperate with someone new.

Be inclusive

Lastly, never avoid inviting a neighbor just so you can keep teams even, or meet the maximum number of players for a game. Your party is about getting to know the people in your community, and so the type of game should come second to the people involved.

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