What’s the Best Game Night Food for Messy Players? | Rollacrit

Let’s talk about the most important part of game night—and no, I’m not talking about meeting up with your friends and playing an awesome campaign. I’m talking about food.

There seems to be an unwritten rule about game nights, at least with my fellow campaigners, and that rule is: you’re going to get fed. When I first started hosting our ritual game nights, I did the usual—pizza, chips and guac, queso, and other standard party food—because it was easy. I was fortunate to avoid the major blunders (unlike my friend Karen who spilled an entire two-liter of Mountain Due on her Cards Against Humanity deck), though there was the horrible Queso Flood of 2014. However, my Catan pieces proved to be surprisingly resilient and only ever developed a slight yellow tinge.

But even with precautions and a copious number of napkins, I started noticing some rather unnerving side effects to my card decks and board game pieces: grease stains. That’s right, dear explorers, my game was becoming tainted and messy. And it was all my fault.

So, rather than spend twice the money buying two of every tabletop game and expansion, I decided to rethink my game night food options. After all, I still wanted to feed my friends (and myself, of course), but I also wanted to protect my games. My only choice was to go on the hunt for foods that wouldn’t be as hard on my game pieces (especially with my messier friends).

My goal was simple: identify foods that left little residue on the fingers whether that be grease or delicious sugar. And because I strongly feel like this is a struggle for all of us, I’ve decided to share my ideas here with all of you. I only hope these suggestions can help protect your game pieces before it’s too late.

Game Night-Approved Foods

Cheese Cubes and Deli Meats
You don’t have to be hosting a fancy wine party to bring out the cheese cubes and meat trays. When couples with toothpicks, these don’t even have to touch the fingers. And no contact with fingers means your game pieces stay safe.

Candies with a Hard Shell
Let’s not get too healthy with our food options. Candies with a shell are great because they don’t usually leave a sticky outer coating on your fingertips. That means no more cards sticking together.

Assorted Nuts
When lightly salted, nuts can be relatively clean (and even somewhat healthy if that matters). You can even throw in some candies with a shell to liven things up.

Finger Foods
If you can eat it in one bite, you generally don’t have to worry about there being a mess. Just make sure to supply some forks. Or spoons. Or sporks.

Veggie Trays, Fruit Trays… Anything in a Tray
For the most part, vegetables and some fruits are pretty easy on your game pieces, but things can get dicey when dipping sauce gets involved. (I won’t apologize for tabletop puns.)


Foods to Avoid

Anything With Grease
No pizza. No buffalo wings. No eggrolls. Leave these foods for a set meal before the game. Your precious board pieces won’t stand a chance against grease.

Anything That Requires Condiments
Though hot dogs may seem like a safe food (you have a bun to protect your fingers from grease, ketchup, and mustard), I’ve noticed that sometimes condiments can, for lack of a better term, EXPLODE ON THE TABLE. If you’re not playing as the Condiment King in the Batman: The Animated Series board game, then you probably shouldn’t serve anything with condiments while you’re playing.

Anything With Sauce
This is just common sense. All of love deep-fried food smothered in chocolate, but not next to expensive game pieces. Accidents will happen and I have the personal grudges to prove it.


This list is not exhaustive, but it should give you some idea of what to serve (and not to serve) at your next game night, especially if your friends are as messy as mine. Hopefully, your pieces stay safe and greaseless!

Look, I know you’ve figured it out by now—it’s me. I’m the problem. Don’t get me wrong, I know how to use napkins and how to wash my hands, but I get really into my game sessions and sometimes I forget, okay? Just let me do what normal people do and blame others for my problems.


About the Author:

Michael Baker is the main content writer at Rollacrit with a flair for haiku. He previously wrote for ThinkGeek (and a bunch of other places). In his spare time, he enjoys playing tabletop games, writing about comics and pop culture, and cultivating his dog’s Instagram presence.


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