Ever been in a situation where everyone seemed awkward, and you know that if only the right magic wand could be waved, everything would change and people would get on really well? For example, dinner parties can be like this: the hosts invite all their interesting friends, knowing they normally can be relied upon to be entertaining but then nobody speaks. Or what conversation there is lacks energy. It is polite, but guarded. Boring, even.
Well next time you find yourself in such a situation, there's a conversation technique that gets everyone's energy levels up -- use games to introduce the element of fun.
Anyone who has ever been at a party where a game has been played will have noticed that the participants become livelier after; levels of formality drop considerably, and it's as if everyone were old friends.