What do you do if you live far away from your friends or you’re social distancing and cannot have a game night? How about a have a virtual game night!! Today I’m going to share how to have a virtual game night including what games you can play over zoom (or other video conferencing software) and share about different virtual games for game night (and of course a few recipes for game night!)
I’ve been talking to a lot of my friends and a few of them are doing some really fun things during this time of social distancing, so I wanted to put together a post and share everything in one place.
Personally, I’m a fan of Google Hangouts, but I know a lot of people have been using Zoom. Unless you have a Zoom professional account, you have a 40 minute time limit (if you have more than 3 people) and I heard they’ve been getting hacked lately – oh no! Regardless, there are a lot of great tools to get everyone online at the same time. A few quick notes about tools you can use are below!
- Zoom has quickly become the most popular software to use during social distancing and work from home time. I talk about it above and it’s always a bonus if someone in your group has a pro account. If you don’t have that person, you can gather up to 100 guests for $15.
- You can use Google Hangouts for free for up to 10 guests. We all know Google has great products and this is just another on the list. I use this one all the time for meetings/calls.
- The only thing I don’t love is that the person who is talking is big on the screen and the others are small icons, I wish the screen could be divided among the people in attendance.
- You can use Houseparty for free for up to 8 people. It’s a free app to download. People also use it for happy hour, they have built in games – (like the one where you put a piece of paper on your forehead and it has a word on it and others have to describe it and you have to guess the word).
- We tried using it via the desktop app and it was fun, but only one person saw the game, and it kept crashing (this was on a Saturday night so they may have been inundated with users.
- This one I’ve heard has a little bit more of a learning curve, but you can do screen sharing and chat and voice, I know someone who does a movie night and said he had 12 people participating in it because he streamed the movie and then shared his screen and others chatted along, how cool is that?
- If you’re an Apple-user, you’re certainly familiar with Facetime. This free option allows for up to 32 people, but everyone must have an Apple product to use it.
- I had to do a little research on this because I’ve only used it with a few people, but you can use a group video chat option in Facebook Messenger for up to 50 people. Your screen only allows for 6 people to be seen, but others can listen in if you choose to use this option.
Now onto the games!
Depending on how in depth you want to get with planning and preparation, certain games may be a better choice for you. The thing I’ve found most useful is that you set one household (person/couple) to be the host. That person/couple picks the game for that week and does any necessary preparation.
One other note – these games are mostly geared toward adults, so they’re often played after kids are in bed. I have a few kid-friendly ideas, but those of you with kids know how hard a Zoom meetup can be with kiddos (my son – the second we try to do a Zoom call or a Facetime call, he runs into the other room or hides under a blanket, same with a few other mom friends lol)!
- Ok, each person/group playing needs a white board and markers (this one comes with a tripod so you don’t have to worry about where to hang it). When my friend was telling me about her family playing, they played men vs. women. So it was the husbands against the wives. Each household had to have a white board and markers or some paper and markers (just use what you have if you’re just trying it out!. The next item each household needs is access to a random word generator website; we used this one.
- There are slightly more technologically advanced ways to do this (for example, Zoom has a “whiteboard” function), but I love doing it this way because a lot of the fun is being able to see the other people. It’s fun to watch people struggle to know what to draw, etc. That sounds mean, but I hope you know what I mean!
- To prepare to play Jeopardy, you need a large piece of poster board (we just got a big pack of 25 so we have them on hand), white board – or any surface that can serve as your Jeopardy board. You will also need Post-Its and a marker. The Post-Its will be the dollar amounts (write various dollar amount on each Post-It – anyone else love post its? I love love love sticky notes). The reason for this is that when a player selects their category and dollar amount, you want to be able to remove it.
- For this one, someone needs to choose to be the host. My friend’s husband’s name is Tyler so he was Tyler Trebeck and hosted their Jeopardy game – haha! The host actually has some hard work to do. They are in charge of researching questions. It’s much easier to find regular trivia questions, but if you feel especially energized, you can find regular trivia questions and adjust the wording to be the answers so you follow true Jeopardy format and give the answer to the player and answers are given in the “What Is” format.
- Here is a quick picture of my friend’s Jeopardy board and her husband dressed up as Tyler Trebeck (with gym sorts on the bottom!) And, don’t worry, on the side is their score board and yes, it says “Boyz and Chix” – this is a silly little joke she has with her family.
- You can get creative with points and categories. When we played, we did two different rounds. Each round had 5 categories and 5 questions per category. Teams (or individuals) select a category and dollar amount – “Things that start with the letter R for 300.”
- You could always use this Friends episode (that I love!) as inspiration.
- Do you guys know about this game? It is so fun! And created by Ellen Degeneres, who I think is great. All you need to do to prepare is have one person per household download the Heads Up app on their phone and each household playing needs a blindfold of sorts (or you can trust that they close their eyes when they’re supposed to – that’s up to you!)
- After each household has the app, let the games begin! There are a number of categories in Heads Up, so start at the beginning and work your way through them. Again, we played boys vs. girls/men vs. women. For the first turn, the girl in the household would put on her blindfold and hold the phone up to the camera on her computer. All of the other women would then describe and she would guess. After the had their turn, simply stay with the same category, but hand the phone to the man in the house. Once one household is done, switch categories and move to the next household.
A few things we learned while playing:
- This game is a little more challenging than the others I’ve mentioned because it’s all about speed and there is a bit of an audio delay. But once you get used to it, it’s so fun!
- It’s easier to have the other half (the husband or wife) hold the phone and do the tipping (rather than the person guessing)
- It’s also easier to have the other half say yes or no if a question is correct because there is a little bit of a sound delay so this helps to move things along.
- This is an easy one. We all know how to play Bingo, so the host will need to find Bingo boards for everyone – they could be fun, unusual ones or just a standard Bingo game card. I even found that you can create your own Bingo card, which I think would be so cool to do! This website even gives you instructions on how to play virtual Bingo.
- So, for this one, I suggest following along on the website linked about for a super fun Bingo game night
- To be honest, I haven’t tried this one yet, but again, a friend suggested it to me and it sounds so fun and hilarious. All you do here is the host couple/person has a list of random items you might find in a house. The host says the item and the person/couple who can run in their house, grab the item and hold it up to the camera first wins.
- So, for example, “find a white shoe” – people run to their shoe closet, grab a white shoe and race back. I imagine this being hilarious if the timing gets extra close and people are like skidding into the finish line (the camera).
You really can get creative with almost any game and find a way to play it virtually. A few other games that I have not yet played, but I am planning to play in future weeks, since, again our shelter in place is now extended for another month (also includes some fun ones you or someone could buy and then play as a group):
- Wheel of Fortune
- Battle of the Sexes
- Foodie Fight Trivia Game
- Trivia or I Should Have Known That
If you have kids at home and want to include them in the game night, you could do
- Cooking Show – you’ve obviously seen that Ben loves to be in the kitchen with me and I know plenty of other kids that enjoy the same. So, it could be fun to host a virtual cooking show with the kids. Like one person hosts and picks what everyone is making then judge based on appearance.
- Blind Painting/Drawing – Everyone except the host wears a blindfold. Then, the host will describe an item and give directions on how to draw/paint it. While this is happening, the blindfolded person/people attempt to draw this item. At the end, everyone turns their drawing around to see how close they got and how funny each painting looks! This is also easy enough to change into an adult activity.
A few other fun tips to make your Zoom game night as fun as it can be:
- It makes it extra fun if you get dressed up! The host can dress up like Vana White or you can all wear funny hats.
- Do a virtual cheers to start the night off! As a host, you can even send a recipe for a themed cocktail for everyone to make (we just keep it simple with a Wisconsin Brandy Old Fashioned Sour
- Zoom allows you to make virtual backgrounds, so you can always have some fun with that too.
We also used XBox games do something called Jackbox Tv, you then go to Jackbox and enter the ‘room code’ and everyone can play on their phone/computer. It was super fun (we played a game called Quiplash and it was too funny, I laughed so hard I cried at certain parts, especially the part where people had to make up answers for ‘what’s the worst part about sharing a sleeping bag with Phi’ and one of the answers (that won) involved 5 Ingredients (my friends clearly know me so well).
RECIPES FOR GAME NIGHT