Hello! You found our list of virtual game night ideas.
Virtual game night ideas encompass competitions that are playable via the internet, and tips that help make virtual game night go more smoothly. Examples of virtual game night activities include digital scavenger hunts, virtual werewolf, and online board games. The purpose of these ideas is to facilitate human connection and team bonding through fun and simple online games.
Specifically, this list includes:
- ideas for virtual game night
- virtual games to play on Zoom
- virtual game night apps
Let’s get into it!
List of virtual game night ideas
From puzzles that test your brain to challenges that expand your creativity, here is a list of games to play your next virtual game night.
1. Online Office Games
Online Office Games is a 90 minute virtual team competition. Like all good game shows, a host emcees and leads teams through challenges. Players work together to complete mini-games like scavenger hunts, trivia, and “can you hear me now?” The team with the most points at the end of the hour and a half wins the event along with bragging rights. Though geared toward remote workplaces, Online Office Games is also fun for community or student groups, and friends and family.
Learn more about Online Office Games.
2. Online Murder Mystery Party
Murder mystery parties are role playing games, where groups of players try to determine who the “murderer” is. An Online Murder Mystery Party is the virtual version, and is played using a video conference service.
Because this game includes a premise, clues, and character backstories, Online Murder Mystery Parties requires a lot of planning. However, if you are nervous about coming up with all these aspects yourself, you can either download a free game online or hire a facilitator who will host the party for you.
Learn about online murder mysteries.
3. Digital Scavenger Hunt
Digital Scavenger Hunt is a virtual game to play on Zoom, where you compile a list of objects or challenges for people to complete. To play, create a scavenger hunt list and set a time limit. When deciding what objects to put on the list, consider your players’ lifestyles and likely possessions. Then, call everyone into a virtual meeting room, and distribute the scavenger hunt list. The winner is the person who collects as many items as possible by the end of the time period.
For more sample scavenger hunt lists for a variety of players, check out our digital scavenger hunt guide.
4. Virtual Escape Room
Traditionally, escape rooms are in-person events, where players solve puzzles to unlock a physical room within a time limit. Virtual Escape Rooms follow the same idea by giving participants a time period to decipher a series of challenges, with the “escape” of a room as the final reward. To make the experience analogous to the in-person version, create lock opening graphics that can play during the video call to symbolize successful problem solving. If a team solves all of the puzzles before the deadline, then release a celebratory graphic. Your team will appreciate all the extra touches.
Here is a list of the best virtual escape rooms for teams.
5. Virtual Pub-like Trivia
Virtual Pub-like Trivia is a virtual game night idea where players try to answer as many trivia questions correctly as possible. To play this game, collect a list of trivia questions and answers. Then, divide your team into groups, and assign them breakout rooms in Zoom. Read each question, and send the groups into their rooms. The first team to return with the correct answer wins the round, and the group that scores the most rounds wins the game.
Here is a guide to hosting trivia online, including sample questions.
Codenames is originally an in-person card game, where a spymaster gives clues to words for the rest of their team to guess. The virtual version works the same way, except that the cards are hosted on a website that players can screen share to others. The website even sorts your group into teams. To win the game, a team races to guess all cards that match their color first.
Play Codenames online.
7. Virtual Werewolf
Virtual Werewolf is the online iteration of the traditional deception game. To play, assign each player roles over Zoom’s private chat. These roles include a werewolf, medic, hunter, and seer, with all other players as villagers.
Once players are clear on roles, declare that night has fallen, and tell everyone to close their eyes.
During each round
- The werewolf eats someone
- The medic attempts to save someone
- The seer tries to guess who the werewolf is.
These actions should be submitted through private chat.
Once all players have had a turn, announce that day has broken and specify whether the werewolf successfully killed anyone. Then, let everyone debate and vote on who they suspect the werewolf is. If the villagers can determine who the werewolf is before they are all murdered, then they win. If the werewolf survives until the end, then the werewolf wins.
For a detailed description, here is a step-by-step guide to playing Werewolf online.
8. Among Us
You may have heard recently that Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar played Among Us as part of their voter outreach campaign. Among Us is an online multiplayer game set in outer space, where players try to find the imposter among them before the imposter kills them, while also completing tasks on the spaceship. Because of this simple premise, everyone can join in on the fun, making Among Us a great idea for virtual game night.
9. Online D&D One Shot
For creative teams, Online D&D One Shots may be the way to go. While most Dungeons and Dragons campaigns take months to complete, a one shot is a much truncated version that can be accomplished in a single session. Similar to D&D, players create roles for themselves and a dungeon master weaves a story where rolls of the dice determine event outcomes. Because of their self-contained nature, one shots are an awesome way to introduce players to D&D. Since players imagine everything that happens, playing a D&D one shot online is a natural transition.
10. Catan Universe
Based on the popular board game, Catan Universe is the online version of the game. Players trade resources and build settlements in an effort to become ruler of the kingdom of Catan. Accessible by browser or mobile app, Catan Universe lets you play with friends or people around the world, as you determine your strategy to earn the points that you need to win.
Play Catan online.
11. Trial by Trolley
TrA game for three to eight players, Trial by Trolley uses cards to reenact the classic utilitarian trolley problem. After placing cards on the board, each team needs to debate the other to convince the “conductor” why the people symbolized by the other side’s cards should be run over by the trolley and die. Trial by Trolley exercises your team’s powers of persuasion and unique problem solving skills, while also teaching them valuable utilitarian lessons, making this game a fantastic virtual game night app.
Check out Trial by Trolley.
12. Heads Up! on Houseparty
Initially created by the Ellen Degeneres Show, Heads Up! was originally an in-person party game. However, after partnering with Houseparty, a group video chat service, the game made the transition online. To play, one player has to guess words, while everyone else gives that person hints to help them. The person who can guess the most words correctly wins.
13. Virtual Charades
Virtual Charades is the online version of the classic game, where a player receives a word from a random word generator and acts out the word for others to guess. When playing over the internet, stay within your webcam’s frame. Since the player acting out the word is not allowed to speak, use Zoom’s mute feature to ensure that the player cannot give themselves away.
Spyfall is a virtual game night app, where players attempt to find the enemy spy within their ranks. To play, every player except for one is given a location card that has the same location on it. The player that does not receive a location card instead gets a card naming them as the spy. The FBI detective, the person who starts the game, then questions the players about the location. Based on their answers, the detective narrows down who the spy is before the time limit is up.
Become a spy with Spyfall.
15. Exploding Kittens
A game based on chance, Exploding Kittens is a virtual game night app. Players must diffuse exploding kittens or be kicked out of the game. The last player left unexploded wins the game. Since this game does not rely on strategy and is easy to understand, most playersExploding Kittens’s low barrier to entry means that anyone can learn it quickly.
Play Exploding Kittens.
Scattergories is a vocabulary game playable online. To play, a participant chooses a topic and rolls a dice to determine a letter. Then, players try to fill in as many words that match the topic and start with the letter. Participants earn points for every word they come up with that are unique to their list. Because of this easy gameplay, Scattergories was also adapted into an online version.
Start a Scattergories game.
How to organize a Zoom virtual game night
Game nights are traditionally a great way to get friends together and play board games. Thus, it may seem a bit strange to organize a virtual game night. However, with internet and video conferencing, Zoom virtual game night is totally doable, and an excellent alternative for playing with family, friends, or colleagues who may live too far away to get together in person.
Here is how to organize a virtual game night:
Step #1: Set a date and time
First, find out everyone’s availability and set a date and time. If your attendees live in different time zones, then consider what time of day they will be in when deciding when to hold game night. It may turn out that game night does not take place at night at all, if you have friends, family, or coworkers who live on the opposite side of the globe!
Step #2: Send out invites
Once you have determined everyone’s schedules, send out an invite. You can accomplish this either through an online invitation, such as through services like Paperless Post or Evite, or via a simple Google Calendar invite, which notifies guests when virtual game night approaches.
These invitations convey important information about your event, such as the time, virtual meeting room link, and what to expect, and let invitees feel special and excited about what is to come. If you are using a password to secure your Zoom room, then the invitation is where you should include it! It is usually best to send the invite at least a week in advance of the event.
Step #3: Choose your games
Depending on how long you would like your Zoom virtual game night to go on for, choose a game or a few games that you would like to play. Knowing ahead of time what you may play helps cut down on wait time for attendees, and gives you an opportunity to test out games on your device and internet connection prior to the event.
Step #4: Send a reminder
The day before, send a reminder about virtual game night. People might get busy, and if they do not note down the time and date of your event, then it is possible that game night will slip their minds. A quick email reminder with the Zoom link will suffice.
Step #5: Test your tech
Before the event begins, test your laptop, mic, video conferencing service, and internet connection. Testing ahead of time reduces potential frustration, and lets attendees focus on playing games, rather than fixing tech issues.
Step #6: Let everyone in and play!
Once your tech is in order, let your guests in from the Zoom waiting room. In your browser, cue up the first game, ready for you to share with invitees once the opening small talk and introductions die down. Then, have fun!
5 Virtual game night tips
If you are putting on a virtual game night for the first time, then these tips will help make your virtual game night go more smoothly. Not only will attendees feel that you are a considerate host, but these ideas will add to their enjoyment of the event.
Idea #1: Choose a free video conferencing software
When holding a fun event, cost shouldn’t prevent people from participating. To help keep expenses down, choose a free video conferencing service. While Zoom is a ubiquitous service, keep in mind that Zoom only allows for 40-minute meetings if your attendees number more than three. For this reason, try out other video meeting services, like Google Meet, which allows for meetings with up to 250 attendees for free, or Jitsi Meet, an open source option.
Check out our full list of the best virtual meeting software.
Idea #2: Excite your guests with a virtual invitation
Invitations generate feelings of exclusivity and excitement. Help build hype for your virtual game night by sending along an online invitation to personally invite guests to participate. Sites such as Paperless Post, Evite, and Canva are great for creating beautiful designs and are intuitive to use, even if you do not have a graphic design background.
This guide to creating virtual holiday invitations gives great tips for creating attention-grabbing evites.
Idea #3: Decide what games you will play ahead of time
To cut down on guests milling around, decide what games you will play ahead of time. Nothing is more awkward than being stuck on a video call with nothing to do, so if you know what you are playing and can just get started, invitees will feel much better about their experience. To help make your decision, send out a survey in advance asking participants to nominate games they would like to play.
Here are some of the best board games for teams, many of which are playable online.
Idea #4: Let guests know if they need to download anything
If you know what games you will play, then you have the added benefit of letting guests know if they need to download any apps. Some virtual game night apps are browser-friendly, while others require an app downloaded to people’s phones. Notifying invitees what apps to download ahead of time is another way to reduce wait time and technical difficulties during the event.
Idea #5: Reimburse guests for snacks or drinks
You can control costs and show guests that you care by reimbursing them for snacks or a drink. While it is a small gesture, it helps raise spirits and shows that you appreciate your guests’ participation.
Game nights are a fun way to bring people together and build friendships. Thus, having the ability to convert this event into an online one is important, especially if you have family or friends abroad or work with a dispersed team. With the ideas in this guide, you gain a headstart on hosting a virtual game night that everyone will enjoy.
FAQ: FAQ: Virtual game night ideas
Here are some frequently asked questions about ideas for virtual game night.
What are virtual games to play on Zoom?
Virtual games to play on Zoom are challenges or competitions that players can participate in via the ubiquitous video conferencing app. These games take advantage of Zoom’s features, and have the goal of bringing people together despite the distance.
What are some virtual game night apps?
Some virtual game night apps are Codenames, Among Us, Catan Universe, Trial by Trolley, Heads Up!, Spyfall, Exploding Kittens, and Scattergories.
What are some free games to play on Zoom?
Some free games to play on Zoom are Digital Scavenger Hunt, Virtual Pub-like Trivia, Codenames, Online D&D One Shot, and Virtual Charades.
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