One of the best ways to bring a group together is with a healthy dose of competitiveness. “When a bunch of successful men sit down to play poker or dominoes, their manhoods want to take the other guys’ money,” says actor Boris Kodjoe, one of the stars of the new spoof show The Real Husbands of Hollywood on BET. “Well, in our case, I’d take Kevin Hart’s money because Nick Cannon’s money really is Mariah’s money, and Robin Thicke’s money is his dad’s 30-year-old royalties from Growing Pains,” he adds, clowning his castmates.”

Game night can bring out some pretty cutthroat spirits; so before things get aggressive, make sure everyone’s on the same page. That can include designating someone to explain instructions and deciding upon often-disputed rules in advance. “I’m the rule changer,” says Kodjoe. “If I don’t like the parameters of a game, I simply change them, usually without informing the people I play with, thereby creating an element of surprise that always works in my favor.” If one of your friends is like co-star Robin Thicke, however, rules aren’t the issue; it’s the friendly—or not so friendly—banter across the table. “I don’t talk shit unless someone starts with me,” says the singer, who usually is the subject of jokes among the other guys on the show, all of whom are Black. Once the clowning begins, Thicke says anything is bound to happen. “I might black out and wake up in a Tijuana prison,” he adds in jest.

Jokes aside, with just a little planning, throwing a guys’ game night can be both fun and fuss-free. For good guy grub, decide on an easy one-pot wonder such as Turkey Mole Chili (check out page 80 of the March issue for the recipe). On the day of the party, dust off the card table for gaming and set up a chili bar on the dining room table. Tray tables make handy perches, so have them nearby, just in case. For the chili bar, fill the table with an array of tasty toppings, from the traditional, such as jalapeños and Cheddar, to the unexpected, such as bacon and dark chocolate. Minimize damage from spills with big napkins or dish towels. Add some heat to the meal by offering a variety of hot sauces such as Red Rooster and Cholula.

Take your cues from the Real Husbands. With these tips, you'll score at your next party. Let the games begin!