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How to Win in Every Game Night

After a long week of stress, all you really want to do is decompress. Nothing can do that better than spending quality time with friends and family over the weekend. Trips to the beach, hiking in the woods, or binge-watching a series at home are all great choices.

However, the humble game night's charm and bonding experience with family and friends are unparalleled. Snacks, drinks, your favorite board or tabletop games, and the prospect of ruined friendships–what is not to love?

Contrary to what you might things, the competitive spirit brings people closer to one another. There is something special about how a little tension can add spice to life.

Since no one wants to lose, expect everyone will use slick tactics to win any game. Surprisingly, most classic tabletop and board games have their own METAs that can guarantee a win every time.

If you're at a loss for some cheats or clever tricks to ensure victory, read on.

What is META?

META, in this context, has nothing to do with self-awareness or self-reflection. For those unfamiliar with the term, META is the acronym for "most effective tactics available." Pro-players consider these tactics the most optimal and efficient way to win their respective games.

Typically, METAs are for competitive video and online games derived from the combined knowledge of game analysts and pro-players. Over the years, METAs have shaped and influenced the industry so intensely that they have set the standard for players worldwide.

Do not worry; this guide will not focus on the complex analytics of METAs. Instead, it will focus on the more casual and popular tabletop and board game METAs.

Here is a list of popular games you will likely play with your friends and family. The strategies you can use will help you win every single time.


Contrary to the typical end-game strategy of most players, do not build a hotel in Monopoly. The ideal approach is to build three houses as quickly as possible on each owned property.

You also want to ensure you do this with only one color group for each side of the board. The only time to break this rule is when you need to block another player from completing a color group.

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Please do not waste your money on utilities unless you can purchase them at a lower price. Focus more on acquiring railroads and completing color groups to establish three houses. This strategy is currently the optimal choice using your money.

Most players will avoid the "Go-to Jail" space like the plague and will not be wrong early in the game. In the late game, however, it might be an advantage.

Say, for example, that you finish building three houses for your color groups and control 50% of the railroads. Chances are, your rivals have already put up houses and hotels if you failed to block their color groups.

At this point in the game, the safest place is in the In Jail space. When you are in the In Jail space, you are safe for three turns unless you roll doubles. You can still make money off other players who land on your spaces.

Winning in Monopoly does not hinge purely on dice rolls and greed. Conditions for victory come from understanding suitable spaces for investment and knowing when to quit buying when you are ahead.


Unless you have a dictionary or an unscrambler neurologically implanted into your brain, Scrabble can be tricky without clever tactics. The ideal way to win in Scrabble without assistance is by incorporating the following steps:

  • Effectively use double and triple squares – You do not always have to come up with long, complicated words to win. Using simpler and shorter words can often achieve the same effect when used correctly with double and triple squares.
  • Memorize as many Scrabble two and three-letter words. There are over a hundred letter combinations for these short words. Some of these contain high-point letters like Z, X, and Q. If you can memorize even half of these combinations, it gives you a distinct advantage.
  • Creating hook words – A great example of exploiting this tactic is adding S to an existing word to make it plural. After that, you can then build a new word using that same letter.

One last aspect of this strategy is never to exchange letters. Exchanging letters only wastes a turn and is useless for the strategy you will be employing.

Hungry Hungry Hippo

This particular strategy is a straightforward one. While the other three players are aimlessly mashing their levers, keep your hippo's mouth propped open. When you do this, stray balls will simply roll into your hippo's open mouth, securing the most number of balls.

At the end of the day, game night is about bonding with your loved ones, so just have fun. However, if you are hell-bent on winning, just follow these strategies, and you cannot lose.

© 2022 Andrej Kovacevic

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