There is no place like home for entertainment and the game room is the place to go for activities, fun, and entertainment. If you plan to enhance the quality of life in your home, have more engaging parties, and keep healthy entertainment within arms reach, creating a gaming area in your home may interest you.
Once you have designated a room in your home for nothing but fun and games, it is time to choose some entertaining and highly rewarding activities. In the following article, we will take a look at the top 10 games that are commonly played with friends at home. If you prefer outdoor games, take a look at our article about the best spikeball set to learn a little about the equipment concerning this fast-paced game.
Ping Pong / Table Tennis
There is just so much to love about ping pong that it is a must-have item for all homes with adults and teenagers. But, even younger kids can engage in this competitive and engaging sport. This game is great for two, three, or four players. You can even play by yourself with a table tennis robot or against the folded table.
Related: The Best High End Ping Pong Tables
The ping pong table is available at all price ranges, so you are sure to find a good option that will more than pay for itself in good times. Your Ping Pong table will need a good deal of room to set up but can be folded against the wall to make room for other activities when not in use. For your health, entertainment, competitive edge, and potential for limitless improvement: Ping Pong Tables!
Pool / Billiards
Pool is another great table game that can bring hours of fun and loads of sophistication to your gaming and game room. You are sure to invite a steady stream of visitors to your home to practice this fun sport that can take a lifetime to master. On the downside, your pool table is going to take up considerable space (see our picks for the best pool tables for small spaces) in your game room so it is wise to plan ahead. You will also find that a good quality pool table can be a considerable investment. But, there are also second-hand pool tables available that can be bought at a reduced price.
Furthermore, if you aren’t a stickler about the convention, you can buy smaller pool tables (see Best Pool Tables for Home) that are still plenty of fun and won’t take up a large amount of your gaming space.
If you have a house of rowdy kids (or adults that act like kids), an air hockey table is great for burning off energy and appeasing hostilities that can flare up in the most peaceful home. Air hockey is a high-energy, fast-moving sport that all can enjoy and is sure to attract a crowd and a loyal following of competitors.
The good news is that air hockey tables are available in all sizes and the smaller tables can be as engaging as their larger counterparts (see Best Air Hockey Tables for Adults). But, air hockey tables are also costly, large (see our Air Hockey Table Sizes and Dimensions article for more), and heavy, and it is easy to tell when you are using a subpar model.
If you are hard strapped for cash and are looking for a timeless and engaging game that will keep the entire team focused and sharp, darts is a fan favorite. This game is also great because there are so many different ways to play and the more people to a team the more interesting the game gets. You can play alone, with a partner, or even make teams up to four to a side – a great option for parties, gaming events, and a wide variety of other events.
The advantages of a dartboard are many. Individually, hand-eye coordination will be improved. You will also find the same level of engagement and competition as you can in a ping pong or pool table in a much smaller piece of equipment. Furthermore, you can spend a little more on getting it set up you really want and still not spend as much as a pool table or a ping pong table.
On the downside, there is always the risk of damaging your home and potentially injuring another human, so precautions will go a long way. For those looking to play it safe, and not fill their walls with pockmarks, there are magnetic and Velcro dart boards which are loads of fun, even if they lack the style and prestige of a real dartboard with pointed darts.
Once rarely found outside of cruise ships or bars, shuffleboard is now a popular game for the home. You can choose to build traditional shuffleboard in your yard or introduce a table variety into your indoor game room.
Shuffleboard is an engaging and relaxing game that pits your skills of patience and restraint against your opponent. It may look simple to the uninitiated, but shuffleboard is no joke. This would be a good option for the highly competitive group of friends looking for a low-energy engagement.
Downsides? The cost is the first limitation. Whether you choose the outdoor or indoor option you may be looking at a serious investment. But, because you really only need a smooth surface and the right pucks and brooms, you could just mark the floor you have, linoleum is actually especially good for playing impromptu games.
The competition will reach an all-time high as challengers face off over a foosball table. You will need some room (see Best Foosball Tables for Home), but less than you would need for a pool or ping pong table and a little more than air hockey – depending on the size of the table. Watch out on all sides when a game is in progress as elbows, arms, legs and even a hard white ball can be flung in all directions at high speeds — watch out!
This game is good for 2 to 6 players depending on the foosball table you choose. Some people find that playing two-on-two is the most exciting option so this would be a good choice for larger groups of friends.
The addition of a pinball machine to your game room is not going to do much to encourage group play, although maintaining a high-level competition in between individual players will be at an all-time high.
Of course, if you are often in your game room alone and looking to kick back at the end of the day, there is nothing quite like a pinball table to relax and take the edge off. New pinball machines are going to cost you a pretty penny, but they are certainly worth it. Alternatively, you can buy a used option from many online suppliers and second-hand dealers– like Craigslist.
A good reason to choose this option is that it will hook right up to your TV and entertainment system, take no room and provide a literally limitless selection of games to choose from. Car racing, sports of all kinds, and many more games packed with adventure, intrigue, and action are available to suit anyone’s tastes. Play alone, in teams of two or head-to-head, there is always something fun and exciting in the world of video games. A good size screen will be an important addition to video gaming and a sound system will change the experience entirely.
If you are looking to add some fun and variety to your game room, an arcade-style basketball hoop is fun, entertaining and a great activity for all kinds of situations. This is another fast-paced game that can be played alone, head-to-head, or in teams. Despite giving taller folks an unfair advantage, youngsters of all sizes can easily make the shot and this can be a fun activity for families and friends alike.
Comfy Gaming Table
Finally, never neglect the billions of other games and activities that just require a comfy sitting room and an area of operations. Friends will love getting together for a regular game of poker, backgammon, or canasta. Families have never tired of the Game of Life, Clue, Monopoly, and good ol’ Snakes and Ladders. If you have a good-sized table, break out a 5,000 piece puzzle and make some memories. If you have nothing else but a comfy table, you can still play 20 Questions, Grandma’s Trunk, and other words games – just, get creative.
Final Notes on Games to Play with Friends at Home
These ideas mentioned here represent a small sliver of the many ideas and activities that can keep the scene alive and active in your game room. Don’t forget other options such as a karaoke machine, a deck of playing cards, and dice. Furthermore, there are plenty of DIY options for enjoying many of the games mentioned here without having to break your budget on expensive equipment and gaming consoles. Remember to keep the needs and interests of your family and friends in mind when choosing the games and activities for your game room.