Chaotic Considerations: Size Matters

Chaos here!

Confetti and I love getting together with our friends, and while we try to keep our time with friends fresh and interesting, not too surprisingly, general hangouts and board game nights are regular occurrences.  Shocker, I know.  

Now, some of you may be able to relate, but as we get a tad older, it can be tougher to schedule these get-togethers. There are just so many factors to consider: work, children, social obligations, health, family, holidays, traveling, sleep, etc., etc., etc.  

Since our windows of opportunity are limited, we often opt for hangout sessions that involve as many of our friends as possible.  For us, our regular squad of friends that can join us for festivities usually puts our group around 8-12 people.  That’s a pretty awesome collection of buddies.  The more the merrier, right?  Maybe.  

I want to take a second to look at the positives and negatives of calling together different sized groups of friends for board game nights specifically.

(and if any of our friends are reading, please know that we love every hangout we get with you.  Last weekend’s game/movie night was a blast and we look forward to the convention this weekend).


As I already said, we tend to openly invite our group of closest friends to all our game nights.  I don’t really see that changing any time soon, but it’s still good to reflect every once in a while on the things we do.

The Pros:

The immediate and obvious plus is that inviting more people means you get to see more people.  This allows for a packed concentration of awesomeness and the chance to hangout with a lot of friends you like.  This also takes a little pressure off everyone since the responsibility of being on and social is spread out amongst everyone.  Nobody needs to be on all night (though introverts may find large groups off putting anyway).

More people means you also get to play those games that require larger groups.  Usually that means large party games, but we shouldn’t forget social deduction games such as Feed the Kraken, which takes up to 11 players, or getting a full 8 player game of Captain Sonar going.  You can’t play those games alone, so take advantage of having the right number of people over. 

Many good gaming sessions involve food.  Large groups mean more mouths to feed, but there tends to be less pressure on what is served.  Ordering pizza and providing snacks, or doing something that scales easily like pasta is generally more acceptable for a large group of people.  No one should be expecting a five course meal for a group of 10+ people.

Flexibility is a bit better for large groups as well.  While nobody should leave in the middle of a game they are playing (that’s just rude), guests can feel a bit more free to arrive and depart as they want without much pressure since they’re not the only ones there.

The Cons:

Once you’ve amassed a large group, it can be tough to split up into smaller games.  My group at least tends to want to stick together, so we either get locked into large player-count games, or we end up socializing more than gaming (which isn’t always a bad thing).  I think splitting up can be hard because nobody wants to miss out on time with each other and even if you end up with a cool game, there can be that feeling of not getting to play the other neat game going on.  

Timing games can also be difficult.  The different games rarely finish at the same time.  Should the faster group wait around for the slower ones?  Should they start a new game, which will then still not end at the same time?  Have we locked ourselves into parallel but separate hangouts? 

Finally, the large group setting can make it tough to truly hangout with everyone.  With time and attention divided, you’ll never get to really catch up with everyone the way you hope.  


Despite our tendency towards larger gatherings, we are no strangers to smaller guest lists either.  We’ve done plenty of sessions that involve only two or three more people than ourselves.  Sometimes fewer friends are available, and sometimes we purposefully hangout with just another couple or household.   

The Pros:

Smaller groups find it easier to play games meant for smaller player counts without feeling like anyone is being left out.  We all can admit too that just because a game can hold a bigger number of people, that doesn’t mean it plays best at that number.  Few people also means that it might be easier to decide on games that fit everyone’s tastes instead of finding a happy medium.    

Many games run quicker with a smaller number of players, so your more exclusive group might also be able to play more, or at the very least, each individual gets more hands on time instead of waiting for others to take their turns.

More intimate gatherings also allow for more quality time spent with those who are around.  With less attention to divide on a bunch of personalities.  This hopefully equates to deeper conversations, more interactions, and greater bonding.   

Working with several schedules instead of a dozen should be more manageable as well.  Time and availability are still limited but alignment should be more simple.  

The Cons:

I know I shouldn’t but I often feel guilty about smaller groups because I worry others will feel left out or unwanted because they didn’t get an invite too.  

If your time is limited like ours, spending time with one set of friends can cause larger gaps between gatherings with other friends.

Since the people present are there to see you, that does create the feeling of needing to be on and mentally present all night.  Friends can be understanding, but you still want to show them a good time.


At the end of the day, there really isn’t a right or wrong way to hang out with friends as long as you and they are enjoying yourselves.  Do what’s best for your group, but also don’t be afraid to shake things up if you things are feeling a bit stale. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: