It started out as an innocent little suggestion. “Hey, let’s all get together for a game night!” A little wine, a few snacks, a clear table, and five happy couples all gathered around for an evening of fun and amusement.
It…did not end that way.
So here are five games to keep clear of — or plan your evening around, depending how much you like your friends.
White Elephant Gift Exchange
Also known as Yankee swap, this game never fails to rapidly devolve into a social litmus test. Players bring gifts and take turns choosing an unwrapped gift or stealing one already open. It seems like a simple enough concept for a group who don’t know each other that well, but that’s just what the game wants you to think.
First, there are the rules. Does everyone choose a gift before opening? Can you open and steal? Can you steal back what’s been stolen from you? What about trading? Price limit?
Then, there are the gifts. You get a bottle of locally made hot sauce, how neat! The next player gets two bottles of wine. The next player gets a complete barbecue set. One of these things is not like the other. One of these things stuck to the price limit. Inevitably, something will become the dud gift. If it’s that thing you carefully picked out and put thought into, then your evening sucks just as much as that unlucky soul who got the hot sauce.
Then, there’s the stealing…
You open a gift, and it’s a lovely box of chocolates! Oh, but there’s something more too. It’s…$5 worth of scratch cards! Um, thanks? That’s basically just $5 less of a gift than all the rest. But then that gift gets stolen, “for the chocolates.” Ha ha, sure, I bet. And then I–I mean you–spend the rest of the evening wondering if you’ve just had $1,000 dollars snatched out of your life forever. Sneaky jerk.
Or there was the time with the tacky gift exchange when the 12 year old got to join the adults from the office opening their gag gifts, and got one of those ice cream punch toys, which was totally super cool and clearly the best gift there! And then the 12 year old had that gift stolen by some 40 year old who totally wasn’t going to play with it or anything, and the game wasn’t fun any more. What? I’ve clearly gotten over it. Read more