In the world of board games there are so many different themed games! With a seemingly endless choices, there are some common themes with many games to choose from. Within these categories players can select a theme that resonates with them and their friends, and create a fun evening for all!

Why Have a Themed Game Night?

The simple answer is it is fun! If you find several games in your collection with a similar theme the time might be right to plan a game night with a theme. We have also noticed that collaborating among a few families expands the game options as well as a cost savings since there are just so many games out in the market! Since there are games with virtually every possible theme there are endless theme night options. You can even work backwards and think of a theme and then try and come up with games to match the theme. Another resource to consider for getting games is to check out your local library. More and more libraries are building collections of board games you can check out.

How to Plan a Themed Game Night

Getting an idea and organizing that idea can be the most challenging part of planning. Once you have a theme you want to work with as well as a group that will enjoy the theme the rest falls into place more easily. There are a few simple steps to aid in the planning of a themed game night.

  1. Come up with a broad theme that appeals to you and your fellow gamers. Some themes have a huge list of games to choose from. The themes can be as broad or narrow as you wish.
  2. Consider the player counts of the games, and how many players can each game accomodate. Keep in mind, you likely only need two or three games to fill out the night unless there will be games being played simultaneously.
  3. Find games that are the right weight (difficulty) and duration of play to match your game group. Not everyone wants to play a two hour game, or that may be exactly what the players are hankering to do. The game choices really depend on the dynamic of the players in your group.
  4. Connect other aspects of the gathering to the game themes where you can. This can be with food or drink, music, scent (with candles or essential oils), or clothing.

Examples of a Themed Game Night


Foodie games can be any game including food. There is quite a diverse array of food themed games out on the market. Depending on the games you choose the theme could even be more specific. For example, there are multiple games with a pizza theme. If you are doing a game night for adults only there are also multiple games featuring adult beverages.

Setting the Mood you can choose a food from one or more of the games and feature it as part of the gathering. The food can be an opportunity to choose one kind of cuisine or an array for the players to sample.

Games that fit the theme


Nature can encompass so many different sub-themes. It can be animals, environments, plants, etc. Nature is such a popular theme there are so many different sub-themes you can delve into. There are also games that have nature woven into the game even if it is indirect.

Setting the mood can include having a candle or diffuser burning/going that has an scent reminiscent of the outdoors. The setting of the game day can be taken outside if the weather and space permit. You definitely need a calm day without wind for most games to be played outside if there are cards or small components involved.

Games that fit the theme

Saving the world/succeeding together

The world is in danger or the mission is at risk. Talking on the role of the savior is an exciting challenge whether the game is cooperative or competitive. There are so many variations on this theme, from escaping a sinking island in Forbidden Island, to Indiana Jones Sands of Adventure where you are trying to defeat the bad guys.

Setting the Mood you can have a soundtrack of suspenseful music. Another option would be dressing as the theme. For example if you are playing zombie theme games that might be the chance to get out your shirt with a zombie on it. Or for those who really want to go full into the theme, dress in a zombie costume.

Games that fit the theme

Monsters and Dragons

Monsters and dragons are a perennial favorite as a theme. As a huge fan of the dragon theme myself, that theme draws me in every time. Like so many of the other themes, there is such a huge range of the focus of each game. If you want a sweet game collecting dragons, then you can play Dragonkeepers, but if you want to battle classic monsters you may choose Horrified.

Setting the mood can include having a soundtrack of dramatic or fantasy musics. Just like the previous theme, you can dress in costumes or with themed clothing.

Dragon Games that Fit the Theme

Contents of King of Tokyo

Monster Games that Fit the Theme

Whether it is one of these themes or something that resonates more with you, you can find a collection of games to create a themed game night. Let your creativity spark all kinds of ideas and then get your family game on!

By Linda Wrobel

Managing Editor: Board Games Mother, Educator, and Board Game Editor.

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