A play party is a (usually) private party for people into the BDSM lifestyle where the primary purpose of the event is to allow people to scene (play) in public. Play parties are often held in private houses and will have one or more rooms set aside as Dungeons. There are a number of suppliers that will rent larger items of equipment to individuals for this purpose. Dungeon space can also be rented by groups of people to use as a venue for a play party.
Play parties offer a very different dynamic from more publicly accessible clubs. The numbers of people attending are much smaller, anything from 4 to 40, compared to a club which might have 200 to 2000 people. Because they are private affairs, there are many fewer restictions on what can take place during the event. Typically the play will have a much stronger sexual edge to it with fewer restictions on nudity and sex. The small size of play parties and the fact the the people attending are usually known to the organisers often provides a safer and more confidence-building environment to play in. Some people are also concerned that clubs, who generally do not vet their clubbers, might let in tabloid journalists and other undesirables and this acts as an inhibitor on their play.
Play parties can accommodate a range of interaction between the people attending, from couples who are stictly monogamous but have an exhibitionist streak and enjoy other people watching their play, to couples that enjoy swapping partners and who could be considered swingers.