For all its inexpensive, easy game-watching eats, Finalist #9 really ranked because of its inclusion of creative Big Game party activities. We loved Big Game Commercial Bingo and who can resist the Drink to the Commentator Game?
At Mark's Connecticut house, the Big Game planning starts early, in part to keep the peace. Three weeks before the party he prepares a guest list, double-checking that everyone on the list can co-exist in friendly manner ("Sporting rivals and alcohol may not mix," says Mark). Next he uses Evite.com, or a similar free invite service with Big Game themed e-mail invitations. In the invitation, Mark asks guests to bring a dish to share, and to BYOB. Even craftier, he recommends food items with links to RedPlum for coupons on the item! About two weeks before the party he designs the menu based on what has been submitted and fill in blanks.
THE STAFF: Mark asks some guests to be "staff" in lieu of bringing food. Coveted job titles include: Raffle Ticket Seller, Bartender, Photographer, Parking Attendant, Game Host and Designated Driver (since this is a drinking event).
Chips & Dips
GEEK ENHANCEMENT: A bunch of friends went to another party or too far away? Put a Web cam up on both sides and put them in the Picture-in-Picture screen using your computer and Skype. "Now you can virtually share the game," says Mark.
THE ACTIVITIES: Mark's got loads of game day events to keep guests happy between plays; here are two of our favorites:
Big Game Commercial Bingo: Create a blank Bingo board and pass them out to the guests. Have them fill out the rows and columns with products/companies they think will have commercials during the game. Or, different concepts for commercials (dogs playing poker, horses on the Internet, etc). As the commercials are aired, people get to mark off the boxes on their boards that are correct!
Drink to the Commentator: Write down a bunch of football terms on slips of paper that the commentator might say throughout the game such as "First Down," "Touchdown," "Coach," "Fumble," etc.... Fold up the slips of paper and put them in a bowl for guests to randomly pick when they arrive at the party. Each time the commentator says a phrase on the guest's paper, that guest takes a sip from his or her beverage.
The Other Finalists: