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A Guide to an Epic Games Night

12 June 20 words: Hannah Cooke

A few months ago, the thought of joining all your friends on conference call software to partake in a quiz probably would have baffled you, but for most of us it’s now the norm. If the thought of yet ANOTHER Zoom quiz fills you with dread, fear not – as we’ve got the best ideas for hosting a games night during lockdown, without a pub quiz in sight...

Even if you’re isolating alone or in a couple, you can still join in on the fun. There are a whole host of games, quizzes and puzzles available at your fingertips. Starting online you can find just about any quiz, with hundreds of sites dedicated to them. One of our favourites includes Buzzfeed’s quizzes, where you can test your knowledge on anything from iconic TV couches to guessing popular desserts. 

Another favourite is Sporcle, which claims to be the world’s largest quiz site. Here you can try your luck in timed challenges to name all fifty US states or identifying screengrabs of films at the half-hour mark. There is literally something for everyone on Sporcle and, even if there isn’t, you can submit your own quiz. 

Moving on to your TV (if you don’t have a smart TV or HDMI cable, just use your laptop), YouTube has a plethora of games at your disposal. As you’d imagine, they mainly centre around music, from naming theme tunes of sitcoms or Disney films, to guessing eighties hits based on a two-second intro. 

Now one thing you might not have immediately considered for your games night – our good old friend Alexa. She’s not just useful for telling you the weather or setting your egg timer, she can also host a mean quiz night. She has games that cover pretty much every topic: geography, music and even favourites like Trivial Pursuit or Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Although be warned, Alexa can sometimes require a little patience…’sorry, I didn’t quite get that’.

Those of you lucky enough to be isolating with a group, whether it’s housemates, friends or family, round them up! With numbers on your side, it’s the perfect excuse for a games night.

Dust off the board games that haven’t made an appearance since Christmas. Monopoly, Cluedo, Trivial Pursuit – whatever it is, bunker down for a good old-fashioned games night. While playing Monopoly wouldn’t usually be your first choice of how to spend a Saturday night, it’s now the perfect time to reignite your love for financially ruining your loved ones.

Classics like Super Mario Bros, Donkey Kong, Duck Hunt, Street Fighter and Sonic are all just a Google search away, and come with the added bonus of being packed full with nostalgia

It’s also the perfect time to pick up another classic: the humble pack of cards. From Rummy to Go Fish, a simple pack of cards can provide hours of fun. If you don’t already own a pack, or are struggling to get some online, most corner and convenience shops sell them. And if you’re by yourself, there are tons of YouTube tutorials to help you learn card tricks. By the time this is all over you might just find yourself appearing on the next season of Fool Us.

If these suggestions are a little tame by your standards, you can always ramp things up by adding alcohol into the mix. Reminisce your uni days with some drinking games, like Ring of Fire, or a game of Most Likely: ask a question such as ‘who is most likely to get arrested?’ or ‘who is most likely to become Prime Minister?’ and the person with the most votes has to – you guessed it – drink. You can also adapt any board game, quiz or card game into a drinking game: get sent directly to jail without passing Go? Take a shot. Buzzer went off while trying to remove a charlie horse? Finish your pint. You get the picture...

If you’re tired of the repetitive pub quizzes happening every other night (no offence, Jimmy Carr), here are a few more ideas to keep you busy and entertained at home.

If you’ve exhausted CoD, Red Dead II, Fifa and everything else, you can take a trip down memory lane by playing loads of retro video games for free online. Classics like Super Mario Bros, Donkey Kong, Duck Hunt, Street Fighter and Sonic are all just a Google search away, and come with the added bonus of being packed full with nostalgia. 

Bingo – it’s not just a game for your nan. Switch it up by having everyone take their mobile number and remove the 0. Then put the remaining numbers into pairs, like 75/34/02/21/05. Have the Bingo caller select the numbers – you can use an online generator for this – and the first person to call Bingo has to text from that number to the quiz master. No cheating allowed on this one...

Take inspiration from some of the greatest TV game shows for your next games night. Our favourites include The Price is Right: take common household objects and ask your friends to guess the price (you can even ask them to submit their answers via a Google Form if you’re feeling all fancy). Countdown also works well, though you may need some genius friends to crack the maths rounds. You can pose as Carol and host your own version, or use an online generator if you want to keep things simple.

You should now have enough ideas to throw the ultimate games night, but if you really must host a pub quiz (and there’s nothing wrong with that) then try jazzing it up by having different people host different rounds, focus on specific themes, or ask people to donate prizes for winners. May the best man win. 

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