Making your game night memorable is not something easy to accomplish. The worst feeling is getting caught in the middle of a game realizing that everyone is bored out of their mind.
The trouble is that more often than not the ‘game’ in ‘game night’ is neglected. Whether it’s because of a big learning curve to grasp rules, or a lack of interest upon actual play, it can be hard to keep focused on the task at hand.
This is where dramatic techniques can help teach, guide, and set a tone for a game night. If the atmosphere of your game space helps gather players attention, it will be easier to teach others how to play the games that are important to you.
It’s also just a whole lot of fun to go all out for dramatic effect. Control the atmosphere, and your game night will be something that your friends will be talking about for years to come.
Do note – these tips could be used for ANY game night, not just RPGs. These tips are most often used by GMs to set-up world atmosphere, but that doesn’t mean you can only use these effectively in RPGs. Explore these techniques in all your games, even if it’s just for a game of cards.
The Music of The (Board Game) Night
Music is, in many ways, the through line of your board game session. It establishes the energy that the night will start and end with. Setting up a playlist of your favourite movie and game soundtracks can be a fantastic way of shifting the energy. Change the song to something more relaxing, and everyone may start building alliances. Play something that is more aggressive and energetic, and everyone may take up the mantle of destruction faster.
If you can get live music involved, it creates a truly immersive experience. Try playing in a public space (respectfully of course) where live music is played, or write your own music to add into the game for specific moments.
Lights, Camera… More Lights
Controlling the light of your gaming space helps control the atmosphere. Adding more light gives the space a jovial attitude. Dim light may offer the feeling of being stealthy, or a grim dark dungeon. You could even play with near total darkness, heightening the sense of eldritch horror or distress.
Natural light is especially effective. Sunlight and moonlight have their own mood connotations, and can lend to a feeling of excitement or mystery. Playing near a window can help you control this kind of lighting and use it to your advantage.
Don’t be afraid to change the lighting set-up of a game even mid-session. Lighting candles or adding special colour lights can change the pace of the game, the tone, everything. Make sure to experiment to find the best possible reaction from your players.
The Myriad of Voices
If you are running games online, a voice changer can be a great tool to help establish your character(s). Whether it is changing your voice for narration, or making your voice higher for a witch’s cackle, voice changers offer you lots of possibility in game play.
Voice changers are also very helpful if you ever want to create non-voice sounds. Playing with the different tonal settings can create the sound of crunching footsteps, a barrelling enemy, or a whistling wind. Don’t think that you are restricted in using a changer to only create voices.
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