Whether you’re gearing up for a heavy euro, or sitting down for some fun party games, snacks make everything better. I love board games and I also love food, so I feel like that makes me qualified to guide you through the Top 6 Game Night Snacks.
Chips and Dip
This classic is perfect for game nights; it’s simple, it’s convenient, and there’s something for everyone. It gives players a low commitment option to graze on in between turns. Chips and dip are also incredibly versatile and can accommodate vegans, people with celiac, or just plain picky eaters. Some great options include corn chips and salsa and/or guacamole, kettle cooked chips with tzatziki or hummus, or the classic: rippled chips and french onion dip. For a healthier option, you can also add some raw vegetables in with your chips, but they probably won’t be eaten as fast.
Now, maybe you think I’m a maniac. Perhaps at this very moment you’re picturing that dreadful moment when the dip falls from the chip onto your otherwise pristine game. But here’s the thing: I love chips and dip, so it’s not a snack I’m willing to give up. To avoid any accidental spills, I implement a simple solution: two servings. For a 4-player game, place one bowl of chips and one bowl of dip on each side of the table in between players. This makes sure no one has to reach over the game to get their snack on. Also, just to be safe put out some napkins so you don’t get grease marks on your game components. If you have more players, add more bowls! It’s simple really. One final note, to be extra safe avoid Doritos and Cheetos; they aren’t even dippable anyway. Speaking of dipping, I’ve included my famous salsa recipe at the end of this article, just for you.
A Charcuterie Board
Anything that can be eaten with a toothpick is pro-board gaming. Put together a nice platter of your favourite cheeses, meats, olives and pickles then set it up with some toothpicks and you’re good to go. Not only will you get to be super fancy with your snack options, your games with be protected from greasy fingers. All that your guests will touch is the toothpick.
I feel like you can put pretty much anything on a nice wooden platter and call it charcuterie, but here are some tried and true ideas. For cheeses, go with brie, a smoked cheddar or gouda, and something local. Add some sliced baguette or crackers on the side if you want to throw in something more crumbly like goat cheese or Boursin. For meats, stay away from lunch meats like plain ham; this isn’t some low-brow deli platter, it’s charcuterie. It’s fancy, it’s French. For some good meats, pick anything that appears to have too many syllables and seemingly extra letters (i.e. prosciutto). Now onto the olives. Please for the love of god, don’t include anything that comes from a can. Stick to fancy jars and olive bars. Garlic stuffed green olives are always a crowd-pleaser, and you can pair them with spiced kalamatas for some colour and variety.
The one main concern here is the oil from the olives. If you’re not a big fan, just cut them out. If you’re like me and you love them, place your charcuterie board on a surface away from the table and provide small plates. This will ensure that your guests use the plates, as they simply can’t reach over to get a snack. Personally, I know that my laziness would take over and I would pick making a nice little plate once over constantly getting up for more. I’m betting your guests would too.
Fruit sometimes takes a backseat in the world of snacks. A lot of people view it as a “healthy snack”, which it is, but it’s also a tasty snack! You’ll be surprised by how pleased your friends will be by a fruit platter. My personal favourites are grapes, sliced apples, and strawberries. Grapes are great because they can be eaten in one bite, don’t stain when they’re dropped, and of course, they’re delicious. Slicing up a few apples is also a great board game snack.There is something about a sliced apple that is significantly superior to a whole apple. Pick your favourite type of apple and cut it into nice wedges for your friends. You can even go as far as cutting those wedges in half so that the apples pieces are one bite snacks!
Finally, of all the berries you could pick, strawberries are probably the most board game friendly. They aren’t as coloured as blueberries or raspberries, but they are equally as tasty. Leave them whole, only removing the green part from the top. Your friends can decide if the strawberry is a one bite snack or something to be savoured. If you really want to be thematic with your snacks, try pairing your platter with a quick game of Fruit Ninja: Combo Party.
Not all fruit is created equal, especially when it comes to board game friendly snacks. Avoid citrus. Even if you’ve peeled and sliced them nicely, there is always the chance of the dreaded citrus squirt when someone picks up or bites down. I would also stay away from watermelon because it’s just so juicy. If you need melon in your life, go with cantaloupe or honeydew. They are less exciting, but also less messy. Bananas are a no, because let’s be honest: no one likes a sliced banana.
It’s easy to eat with one hand, doesn’t make a mess, and requires no utensils. What more could you want? Whether you’re a fan of the classic American cheddar on white bread, or like the more adventurous combinations, there’s something for everyone.
Grilled cheese sandwiches have one slight problem. In all their glory, they may leave your guests with greasy fingers. Assuming your friends aren’t cave people, they will politely wipe their hands with napkins or paper towels when provided. Just give them one when you give them the sandwich and the problem should be solved. If that’s not enough, you can pretend you’re a fast food joint and wrap the sandwich in a nice little wax paper sleeve. That’s right, sleeves aren’t just for cards! This should stop even your messiest friend from leaving their greasy prints on your games.
But what about people who can’t eat cheese or bread? The great thing about plant-based and gluten-free being fad diets is that there are options everywhere. While it may require some extra ingredients, like gluten-free bread and vegan cheese, I assure you it can be done.
This is may be the easiest snack to put together. Head down to your local bulk store, buy a few different varieties of candies, put them in some nice bowls, and you’re good to go. If you haven’t heard, candy is also classy now. People have candy bars at their weddings; it’s all the rage. Don’t you want to jump on that bandwagon?
While many of the snack ideas above cause the worry of greasy fingers, candy creates an objectively worse possibility: sticky fingers! To play it safe, avoid candies that will melt in your hand or are covered in sugar. Some good options include M&M’s (melts in your mouth, not in your hand™), Swedish Berries (delicious and vegan-friendly), and Starbursts (their individual wrappers add an extra layer of game-protecting goodness).
Jalapeño Poppers or Other Baked Bite-Sized Snacks
If you’re feeling a little fancy and you want to impress your friends, try your hand at making some jalapeño poppers. While there are plenty of recipes out there, I’ve never found the need to follow one. I just halve some jalapenos, deseed them, and fill them with cream cheese. So long as you don’t have vegetarians in the mix, wrap them in bacon before you pop them in the oven at 400 degrees. Once the bacon crisps up, they’re done! This is literally always a crowd-pleaser. If you have any lactose intolerant or vegan friends, switch out the cream cheese for avocado. It’s not as good, but it gets the job done. These do require a little bit of prep work, that’s why they’re last on the list.
If spicy isn’t your thing, there are lots of other fancy little appetizers you can make in your oven with just a few ingredients. There’s bruschetta, mini baked potatoes, and baked brie bites to name a few. If you’re feeling lazy, there are endless options in the freezer section of your grocery store, but that will significantly decrease your class level. Pro-tip: stay away from chicken wings, they’re basically the glitter of appetizers.
If you’re like me, you often put a lot of thought into each turn you take. Why not focus some of that AP causing brain power on levelling up your snack game? Keep it simple or class it up with one of these six options. No matter what you choose, your friends will be pleased and you can snack peacefully knowing that your games are safe from messy fingers and accidental spills.
Bonus: Kathleen’s Famous Salsa
Anyone can open a jar of salsa. Why not wow your guests by making some yourself? Once upon a time, I really wanted corn chips and salsa. I had no salsa but I did have some canned tomatoes. This is how a legend was born.
What you need:
- 2 large cans of diced tomatoes (unseasoned)
- 1 medium onion
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 whole jalapeño
- the juice of ½ a lime (or a whole one if you really like lime, like me!)
- 1 tsp cayenne
- ½ tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- cilantro (if you’re into that)
- a food processor
- a big old bowl
- some nice jars (this will make almost 2 litres of salsa)
Put one can of tomatoes and the onion (peeled and cut into quarters) into the food processor. Give it a few good pulses so the onion is nice and diced but still chunky. Pour this into your big bowl.
Put the second can of tomatoes and the remaining ingredients into your now empty food processor. Turn it on and wait until it looks like everything is nice and mixed/chopped. Pour this into your big bowl, and give it a mix. Finally put your creation into the jars and store
it in your fridge overnight. This is important! The salsa needs time to mingle. If you eat it right away it will be far too oniony. It’s edible on day one, but it’s great on day two.