Whether you’re having a couple of friends over for an evening of playing board games, or you’re hosting an all-day board game marathon, mess-free snacks are a must. The challenge is avoiding the curse of greasy hands and spilled drinks that damage game pieces. In this post, we are going to give you three tips for how to overcome this challenge, thereby saving your personal game collection as well as endear you to your gaming friends.
Tip #1: Create a variety of snacks in bite-sized portions that fingers never touch.
Metal, plastic, or wood skewers are the ultimate secret for keeping everything tidy. If your guests never have to touch the food they will never get their hands dirty and inadvertently transfer grease or crumbs to your game pieces. Here are some easy-to-make ideas.
If you want to bring the experience to the next level, you can try your hand at theming your snacks to match the game(s) you have chosen to play. For instance, Ahi tuna snacks are a perfect complement to Sushi Go!, Takenoko, or Tokaido; meatballs would be a clever pairing for Carcassonne or Lords of Waterdeep. You get the picture.
Tip #2: Physically separate snacks and beverages from the game playing space.
No matter what you do, there is always the possibility of a spill. Speaking from experience, even something as simple as water can devastate a playing card– one of my 7 Wonders cards was accidentally set in a drop of water and bubbled. To keep the game safe, I provide side tables to place food and drinks on. This way there is extra space on the table for the game and a lower likelihood of making a mess.
Tip #3: Plan ahead to avoid last-minute greasy snack purchases.
If you wait until right before your guest arrive to think about snacks, your choices will likely be reduced to the greasy options found in the chip aisle of your local market. There is no getting around it– clean snacking requires preparation. When preparing snacks from scratch, I have found that when I double the types of snacks I’m making, it takes about 3x as long to prepare (e.g. 1 snack = 10min, 2 snacks = 30min, 4-5 snacks = 1.5hrs, 8-10 snacks = 3hrs, etc.). On the other hand, doubling the amount of any one snack you are preparing adds around 50% more time to that snack (1 snack = 10 min, 100% more of that snack = 15 mins). With this in mind, I tend to prepare 3 – 5 items for a game night and increase the volume depending on the number of attendees.
Follow these tips and everybody wins: your board games stay safe, your guests leave happy, and clean-up is a breeze. If you are looking for more board game night snack ideas check out these books and the recipes below: