You’ve found our list of online team building games for remote employees.
Online team building games are any games that you play online to help foster collaboration and team spirit with employees. Example of these online games include Spreadsheet Wars, Online Office Games and Virtual Charades.
This list includes:
- online games for remote teams
- fun online team building games
- free online team building games
- virtual group games
- virtual happy hour games
- video conference games
- virtual games to play with coworkers
And other games to play virtually 🙂
The online games on this list aim to create connection and engagement for remote workers through friendly competition and cutthroat collaboration. They are also just really damn fun.
So, check out the list!
List of Online Team Building Games
Below is a started list of online team building games. From Bingo to Lightning Scavenger Hunts to The Ground is Lava, you will find games that are fun, free and easy to play with remote teams.
1. Online Team Building Bingo
One of the best starter online games for teams is Online Team Building Bingo. Bingo, a game played across retirement homes and summer camps everywhere, is familiar, fun, and works extremely well in the online format.
Here is an Online Team Building Bingo board you can start with:
You can “Right Click + Save As” to download the Bingo board.
You can freely distribute and use this virtual bingo board for any non-commercial use, which means you CAN use it during your team meetings, but cannot sell it. If you post this Bingo board on your website, please link back to this page.
To play Online Team Building Bingo:
- Distribute the board to your team
- Establish rules and a timeline to play
- Track the results and award prizes
Pro tip: Amazon gift cards and bragging rights are usually sufficient prizes for great online team building games.
2. Online Office Games
Online Offices Games is a facilitated series of online games and challenges for remote teams. You can learn more about the various games includes on our page for Online Office Games.
The challenges are specifically designed for remote teams and to help develop the essential skills for working from home. For example, each event starts with virtual icebreaker questions, then pub-style trivia and games like “Can Your Hear Me Now”, which is a game that emphasizes the precision of communication you need for working remotely.
3. Spreadsheet Wars
Spreadsheet Wars may be my favorite of all the fun virtual games to play with coworkers. Like other online games on the list, Spreadsheet Wars is a combination of fun and skill-building, which makes it perfect for remote teams and offices.
To play, use a collaborative spreadsheet program like Google Sheets and select a theme like “choose your own adventure” or “scrappy recipe generator.” Each team then has up to 30 minutes to build a tool that matches the theme. The best tool wins, and really everyone wins because you are getting better at using one of the most powerful free tools on the internet.
4. Multiplayer Battleship
If you grew up in the late eighties and early nineties then you will likely remember the energetic proclamation “you sunk my battleship!”
Over 20+ years later, it turns out that Battleship has a perfect format for games you can play virtually. You can also play the game multiplayer, with three to 10 players or more if you are feeling audacious.
To play Multiplayer Battleship, each player needs two things: a game board and the placement of ships. You can use graph paper labelled with letters and numbers for the game board, and either randomly assign battleship placement or let each player choose where to place the ships.
Multiplayer Battleship game mechanics are a little like Go Fish. On each player’s turn, that player chooses another player and names a square on the grid like A-5 or C-10. The receiving player says, “you missed”, “you hit” or “you sunk my battleship!” depending on what happened. The next player then goes in sequence, which could be in order of age or geographic location.
Continue playing until only one player has ships remaining.
5. Lexulous “Scrabble” Style Game
Lexulous is a free online team building game that is modelled after Scrabble. The main difference is that Lexulous has eight tiles in play at a time, and the value assigned to each letter is a little different.
The main similarities are that Lexulous looks pretty darn like Scrabble, and like me and my brothers: my mom loves them all equally.
You can easily include Lexulous in your options for virtual games to play with coworkers. You can keep track of points and total scores over a month, and award a Lexulous champion at the end.
6. “Can Your Hear Me Now?”
“Can You Hear Me Now” is one of the most popular games we play as part of Online Office Games. You can play this game 100% online, and as part of a virtual conference call.
To play, name one person as the Describer and the other players as Artists. The Describer must explain to the Artists how to draw an item like a sunflower, kite or calculator using only geometric terms.
For example, you could say “draw a large square” and then “add a line at a 45 degree angle from the top”, but not “draw the letter E.”
You can play each round for as long as you like, and three minutes is usually sufficient. At the end of each round, the Describer gets one point for each Artist that guesses the object correctly, and each Artist that guesses correctly also gets one point. Tally up points and award cool prizes to the winner.
7. Five Clicks Away
Five Clicks Away is a logic game for online team building. To play, you select a starting topic and an ending topic, which you can decide on your own or randomly generate. For example, the starting point could be Blackbeard the Pirate and the end point could be grilled cheese sandwiches.
Each player must start on the Wikipedia page for the starting point, and in no-more than five clicks reach the end point. The idea is that Wikipedia has so many internal links that you should be able to follow a chain to reach the end point in less than five clicks.
Five Clicks Away is difficult to get started with, but as you start to understand Wikipedia’s structure the game becomes easier. Like “Can You Hear Me Now?” the game is also a proxy for learning a useful remote work skill, which in this case is obscure research.
8. Chair Up!
Chair Up! is both my favorite pun-inspired name for a chair store, and also a fun and easy game you can play with remote teams.
The game is played over email, messenger or conference call, and is specifically meant to counter the doom and gloom that sometimes guides conversations. Whenever someone calls out “chair up!”, everyone must stand up and do something cheerful. For example, you could do yoga sun-salutations, clap your hands, laugh or have a small dance party.
Chair Up! is silly, fun, and an easy way to get started with online team building games for remote teams.
9. Water Shots 💦
When you work from home, taking care of your health and fitness is especially important. You can do squats and eat well, and also make sure you drink enough water.
Water Shots is a game meant to fortify your team around healthy hydration. To play, you first choose a trigger, which could be “every time a pet comes on screen in a video call” or “any time someone says mute.” When the trigger happens, all participants must drink a shot of water, which could be a literal shot or a sip.
Team building games that focus on building healthy habits are a great way to support company culture and development with remote teams.
10. The Channel Closing Game
If your team members are on Slack or another messaging platform then starting to practice channel hygiene is important. Closing channels is a good way to avoid “Slack hovering”, which will increase productivity.
Once per month, post a challenge for team members to close out channels they are no longer participating in. We automate this message using Zapier, and include a prompt that you can copy and paste “/leave” to quickly leave channels.
You could keep track of how many channels each player leaves, and award points of prizes, but The Channel Closing Game is really one where everyone that participates wins. Closing down your excess channels is like the Slack equivalent of inbox zero. It just feels good.
Warning: The Channel Closing Game is kind of a productivity hack for remote teams that is masquerading in a list of ideas for great online team building games. I love it, and at least one of your team members will love it, but don’t pitch it too hard on the fun factor.
11. Virtual Charades
Charades is one of those games that nearly everyone plays at school or home while growing up. With this proliferation of Charades, Virtual Charades has the advantages of being fairly familiar while also being moderately fun.
To play Virtual Charades with remote teams, prepare a set of links that go to Google Image pages or use a random image generator. On each player’s turn, that player must act out what they see in the image and the player’s teammates can guess each one to earn points. Rinse and repeat until you are all out of fun.
Here are some frustrating office words you can use as prompts for your game:
- jammed printer
- dry pen
- empty stapler
- squeaky door
- full refrigerator
- broken heater
- company firewall
You can use other words too, but frustrating office words are a good reminder of why working from home is fun.
12. Pub-style Trivia
You don’t need a pub to play pub-style trivia, and beer and peanuts are also optional. Instead, you can play with at least two teams, a series of trivia questions, and positive attitudes.
Playing pub-style trivia online is similar to the in-the-pub version, with one crucial different: you need an easy way for people to communicate. Instead of mumbling across a table, we recommend using virtual breakout rooms so that each team can discuss the answers openly. Each team can then submit the answers via a web-form and the host can award points as needed.
Pro tip: Playing virtual happy hour games like pub-style trivia give you a unique opportunity to include wildly different clues in the game. For example, instead of “guess that tune”, you could have players guess the tune, find it on YouTube and identify a clue at a specific time stamp. The internet is your virtual game oyster.
13. Virtual Werewolf
Werewolf is a game of cunning deceit and tactful manipulation, and the online version is much of the same. The game relies primarily on the spoken word, which makes is perfect for remote teams.
To play, nominate one person as the narrator and then randomly distribute the following roles to players:
- Werewolf: a werewolf has two jobs: eat villagers, and survive to eat more villagers.
- Villagers: these are the common folks in the game who have no special powers, but desperately hope to survive the night.
- Medic: the medic can save up to one villager each round.
- Seer: a seer can peer into the depths of another players soul to reveal whether that player is a werewolf or not.
- Hunter: when the hunter dies, the hunter can point a finger at any other player and take that person down with them.
You can play versions of werewolf that have different roles like a little child that can peek to discover the werewolf, and star-crossed lovers that live and die together, but the above set is more than enough to start with.
To play, first distribute the roles. If you are playing online or via a virtual conference room then you can share the roles via private message or email the players in advance. For a game with five people, you should have 1 werewolf, 1 medic and 3 villagers. For each additional five people add 1 werewolf, 1 special role, and 3 villagers. The ratios are flexible, so can modify them to suit your needs.
To start the game, the narrator declares that “night has fallen” and all players must close their eyes and tap their knees or keyboards to create a pitter-patter sound. After a few seconds the narrator says “werewolves wake up”, and any players with the werewolf role must awake and choose a single victim. If you have multiple werewolves then all werewolves must agree on one victim before moving on.
The narrator then puts the werewolves back to sleep and has the medic and seer wake up in sequence. During the medic’s turn to be awake, the medic can point to one player to save that player from the jaws of the werewolf. If the medic selects the same player as the werewolf, then nobody dies during the night. When the seer points to a player, the narrator can answer yes or no to whether that player is a werewolf. The hunter does not wake during the night.
Pro tip: An online modification to help the game run smoothly is that the werewolf, medic and seer can send a private message to the narrator with the name of the person they select. This mechanic helps avoid mistakes in pointing out people in a virtual conference room that may display differently for each player.
After all special roles act, the narrator declares that “the sun is coming up” and either the name of the player that the werewolves ate or that no-one was eaten if the medic chose correctly. All players can open their eyes, and then debate on who the werewolf might be. To end the round, all players vote on one player to eliminate from the game or can pass and wait until the next round. Any player that is eliminated either by the werewolves or by vote becomes a friendly ghost that is not aloud to speak for the rest of the game but may observe it in quiet frustration.
Repeat until the only remaining players are werewolves or villagers.
14. We Didn’t Start the Fire 🔥
We Didn’t Start the Fire is an online team building game inspired by Billy Joel’s song of the same name. To play, divide the attendees of your virtual conference call into groups of four or five people and then give the groups 15 minutes of prep time. During those 15 minutes, each team writes a verse of lyrics that follow the general melody of We Didn’t Start the Fire.
After the 15 minute breakout session, bring everyone back to the main virtual meeting and have the teams present their creation. Vote on the best one with thumbs up and cheers.
15. Typing Speed Race
One of my favorite online team building games is a Typing Speed Race with friendly competition. For the Typing Speed Race you can use a free tool like typingtest.com and have each of your team members do a one minute challenge. Then, have each of your people post the results of their test to Slack, email or another platform you can for communication with your remote team.
The Typing Speed Race is a great way to encourage friendly competition with remote teams. You can make the experience more collaborative by doing a Typing Speed Relay, which requires forming your people into teams and then adding the cumulative score from each person to create a team total.
With the Typing Speed Race, everyone wins because typing quickly is an important still for remote work.
16. A World of Risk
Growing up, one of my favorite games to play was Risk, the game of global domination that meshes perfectly with my own aspirations. Risk is a game of cutthroat collaboration, friendly competition, resource management and other strategic dynamics that make it perfect for online team building games.
The most flexible way to play a Risk-like game online is to use one of the many clones, for example Conquer Club, which provides a free browser based online game that works for remote teams.
17. Sudoku Throw-down
In the early 2000s, Sudoku took the world by storm; inspiring nerds everywhere to complete numerical logic games instead of the daily crossword. Today, you can play a version of Sudoku for virtual team building called Sudoku Throw-down.
Here is how it works:
- Send everyone on your team a free game board from a site like Web Sudoku.
- Challenge each player to complete the game board as quickly as possible.
- The first player to complete the game board with 100% accuracy is the winner.
For Sudoku Throw-down, you can easily up the competitive spirit by including prizes for the top three finishers. I recommend nerd-friendly prizes like more Sudoku puzzles, science kits and white boards.
18. Something in Common
Something in common is a connection game you can play during virtual happy hours, video conference calls and similar. To play, first organize your attendees into manageable sized groups of four or five people and gently push them into breakout rooms. Each group has the goal of finding three similarities they have in common with other members of that group. For example, “we all have cats, no-one was born in Chicago and we loved Hamilton.”
For the next round, keep the same teams and add a restriction that you can’t mention locations or physical similarities. For the round after that, remove pets and preferences. The goal is to make the game increasingly difficult and encourage your remote workers to deep dive into what they may have in common.
19. Quick Draw
Pictionary is a fun game where some people draw while other people guess what the drawing could be. The game includes elements of improv, creative thinking, competition and more.
You can play an online game for remote teams that is similar to Pictionary:
- Divide your people into breakout rooms.
- Have each person in each room draw three clues. You can use this random word generator do return three nouns.
- Teams accumulate 1 point for each drawing someone on the team guesses correctly. Teams get no points for any clues that players skip or do not guess correctly.
- After 15 minutes, return everyone to the main room and compare scores.
You can play Quick Draw over Zoom, Webex and other virtual conference call platforms. You can also mix up the game and rules by varying the number of clues each person draws, and drawing verbs instead of nouns.
20. Truth or Dare: Remote Work Edition
Truth or Dare is a kind of NSFW game that is a fan favorite of students across Canada, America and other parts of the world. Truth or Date: Remote Work Edition takes those popular game mechanics and optimizes for virtual team building for remote workers.
To play this online game for teams:
- One person starts by naming another player and saying the words, “truth or dare?”
- The receiving person chooses either truth or dare.
- The asking person then prompts the receiver with a question or action.
- The receiving person responds and then prompts another player with the words, “truth or dare?”
Here are examples of prompts you can use:
- Which website do you waste the most time on?
- How many browser tabs do you have open right now?
- How many unread emails in your inbox?
- Make the noise of a dial-up modem from the 90s.
- Show us one object within arms reach of your computer.
The major guidelines for Truth or Dare for remote workers is to keep the questions and prompts friendly. If you follow this guideline then most people will have fun with your online team building games.
21. Guess the Refrigerator
My refrigerator mostly contains fatty pork, 100% dark chocolate and pears. Your refrigerator may be different. A fun game we could play together and with your remote team is Guess the Refrigerator.
Guess the Refrigerator is similar to “Who Da Baby?” and other guessing games. To play, everyone submits a photo of the inside of their refrigerator to one point of contact. That organizer then posts the photos to a channel where all participants can study the contents and make best guesses at which refrigerator belongs to who. The players submit answers to the organizer, who then tallies up the scores and announces a winner.
Sharing an inside view of your refrigerator takes a degree of vulnerability, which is a factor that contributes to the success of great online team building games.
22. Jackbox Games
A year or two ago I played Jackbox Games with Tasia, Ethan and some other close friends. The game prompted me to lie about “how many beers did you have last night?”, and that was game over for “prefers tea” Michael.
Still, Jackbox Games provide options you can use for online team building games for remote employees. The game options include trivia and similar, and the games have some unexpected and creative dynamics. To play, everyone logs into a website via a special URL, so you can organize a game for anyone that has a reliable WiFi connection.
Learn more about Jackbox Games.
23. Lightning Scavenger Hunts ⚡
In the real world, we run scavenger hunts at some of the coolest locations in the world: like the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC and Grand Central Terminal. Scavenger Hunts can be fun way for your people to work together.
Virtual scavenger hunt games are more difficult to find that team spirit with. You might have game mechanics that have your team searching Google, Wikipedia, YouTube and other sites, without really working together.
The solution for successful online scavenger hunts is to throw away the normal and adopt a lightning version instead. For Lightning Scavenger Hunts, fire off a rapid series of clues that have your team members dashing to find objects, solve clues and win points. For example, you could have everyone grab their favorite mug and award points to the best mug story.
The fast paced nature of Lightning Scavenger Hunts is what makes it work for online team building games.
24. Yellow Submarine
When I lived in NYC, two dudes at the metro station would play the same two Beatles’ songs over and over. If the train was late and people were standing on the platform longer, sometimes the two dudes would stop playing for a bit. Neither of those songs was Yellow Submarine.
Yellow Submarine is also an online team building game you can you play with remote teams. To play this game:
- Each of your remote employees needs to craft a submarine. You can use paper, magazine cutouts, or nearly anything else to craft your ship.
- Players get one point every time they show the submarine on a video conference call. You can hide the submarine in the background, have it float up from the bottom of the screen, camouflage it into your outfit, or any other incognito method.
- You get one point each time you show the submarine.
- If someone spots your submarine then you are out. You still get the one point for showing your submarine that time.
- Continue playing until everyone is out, and then tally up the points and name a Yellow Submarine Captain.
The game mechanics work because the incentive is for each player to show their submarine as many times as they can. If you wait it out, then you may be one of the last players in the game but you will also need to catch-up on points.
25. Nintendo Game Night
A few years ago, video game cafes took the world by storm. The idea of going to play Mario Kart or Goldeneye 007 while someone delivers you nachos and beer was a strong pull.
You can host a Nintendo Game Night for online teams by using an emulator. The emulator allows you to play games via most modern web browsers. Choose a game like Excitebike, Popeye or Ice Hockey and host a tournament to see who gets the most points. You should probably make the game night “bring your own nachos.”
Learn more at Emulator.online and start planning your online team building games.
26. Ten Strikes
Ten Strikes is a fun online team building game you can play on virtual conference calls. The mechanics make this an icebreaker game, so a good way to get to know new team members, or to build deeper relationships with existing teams.
Here is how to play:
- All participants hold up 10 fingers.
- The youngest person on the call goes first, and shares one true statement about themselves. For example, “I have a pen pal.”
- Anyone that the statement is true for gets to keep their fingers up, while anyone that the statement is not true for puts one finger down.
- If all of a player’s fingers are down then they are out of the game.
- Play until only one player remains.
The strategy in Ten Strikes is to share facts about yourself that are unique enough that other players will not be able to say it is true of them and will have to put fingers down. Ten Strikes is a fun and creative way to get to know the members of your team and boost engagement for remote employees.
Pro tip: You can also play Five Strikes or Twenty Strikes. Generally the more fingers and toes you start with, the longer the game will go.
27. The Ground is Lava
Anyone who has either been a five year old or spent time with one has played The Ground is Lava. The entire point of this game is to avoid touching the ground at all costs. You can climb from a chair to the couch, to stepping on a book and similar to get to your destination.
The online team building version of The Ground is Lava for adults is exactly the same as the five year old version. Challenge your team members to hunt for specific objects around the house, like a favorite mug or photograph. Participants can scoot on chairs, beds, throw rugs and other barriers to find the objects and return to the video call. Anyone that touches the ground is disqualified from the competition, but everyone gets to share about the object they brought back.
28. The Question Game
The Question Game is a fun game for virtual teams that requires no prep or special equipment. To play the game, ask someone a question, and that person must respond with a question directed back at you or another participant. If you delay for five seconds then you are out. If you speak without forming a question then you are out too 🙂
Here is an example of how this game might go:
- Ally: “It’s a beautiful day, don’t you you think Jackie?”
- Jackie: “What do you think makes it beautiful, Michael?”
- Michael: “Sorry, I was writing a blog article.”
In this example, I would be 100% out of the game. A more clever Michael would have said, “Sorry, what was that, Jackie?” and kept moving the game forward.
More online team building games for remote teams
Playing fun online games with remote workers is a great way to do team building and create meaningful relationships while working from home.
You can play the online team building games on this list, makeup your own, or check out these other resources for more ideas:
- 5 Virtual Happy Hour Games to Play With Coworkers
- 5 Fun Games to Play on Webex
- 53 Unique Virtual Team Building Activities for Remote Teams
- 48 Virtual Team Building Activities & Online Games for Remote Teams
With online team building, the most important element is that you dedicate some time to games, because all work and no play makes for a pretty dull time.
FAQ: Online team building games
The following are a few common questions and answers about online team building games for remote employees.
What are online team building games?
Online team building games are any games that you play online to help foster collaboration and team spirit with employees. Virtual team building games and remote team building games are closely related.
What are the benefits of organizing online team building games?
Organizing online team building games is one way to increase morale and engagement with remote teams. At a basic level, games are a fun way for your people to spend time with each other away from work projects and the requirements of meetings.
What are some fun games to play with virtual teams?
Fun games to play with virtual teams include Virtual Werewolf, Lightning Scavenger Hunts, Water Shots and Chair Up! Of these four games, Werewolf is the best known, and Water Shots is my favorite.
How do you get started with online team building?
An easy way to get started with online team building is to allocate either an entire virtual meeting or at least a portion of one to playing online team games. You can organize some of the games on this list, or create your own to mix up the variety.
written with 💖️ by Michael Alexis
P.S: Any feedback on this article? Write a quick comment to share your thoughts so I know we reached you.
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