Fun board games you can play on Zoom


Teddy Amenabar

THE WASHINGTON POST – With enough time and resources, almost any board or party game can be played over video conferencing. But for the purposes of this guide, we’ll focus on the ones that are easy to set up and fun. The games below are ranked from least complex to most complex, with the latter requiring a little more planning, resources, and/or ingenuity, such as screen sharing or video streaming a tabletop game.

HEADS UP!
A quick guessing game with a multitude of categories. (Two two players to infinity)

Heads up! is a fast-paced charades game in which each player must guess a person, place, or thing with the help of the audience.

To play remotely, everyone must download the Heads Up! app on their phone. Players then select a set of cards from a certain category, such as movies, celebrities, or brand names.

At the start of each round, one person holds a phone to their forehead that displays the answer, showing the answer to the audience, but leaving the phone holder in the dark. Zoom allows users to hide their own reflected video display. Otherwise, you will be able to see the answer written just above your forehead.

You can play Heads Up! as a team or individually. The fun comes from thinking of witty tips to help the phone holder say the correct name. When they guess correctly, they flip the phone down and score points. The goal is to correctly guess as many terms as possible in one minute.

ABOVE AND BELOW: Among Us; and Quiplash. PHOTOS: INNERSLOTH & JACKBOX GAMES, INC.

BATTLESHIP
What you need to play: any video calling app and two Battleship boards; or paper and a writing instrument. (two players)

The objective of Battleship is to find and sink all ships on your opponent’s board before they destroy yours. The catch is that neither of you knows where the other has placed their battleships. It’s a guessing game with a bit of strategy in the final rounds.

Battleship is for two players, and both will need a version of the game. If you’re feeling smart, all you need is a ruler, paper, and markers. The game’s “battle stations” are laid out on grids, and at the start of each game, players place their five ships in various locations on the grid. Each turn, both players guess where their opponents’ boats are – like Go Fish but with imaginary ships and torpedoes.

The first player to sink all of their enemy’s ships wins. All around it’s pretty simple
war game.

EXPLOSION
Family Feud but it’s on Zoom instead of ABC. Four to 10 players

We asked Twitter users to share the games they play remotely and found Outburst, a timed board game from Hasbro that requires you to quickly name the top ten terms in a particular category, such as “the tasks that parents ask their children to do”. “There’s a lot of screaming in this game, so you’ll want to mute your Zoom.

The game divides players into two teams that switch places each round between judging and guessing the answers. The more terms you name correctly, the more points your team scores.

It’s a simple game, and if you have someone playing as Steve Harvey the whole time, you just have to buy a game of the game to play.

QUIPLASH
For people who like Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity. Three to eight players.

Quiplash is a Mad Libs board game where players respond to prompts with the wittiest answers they can find. The whole group then votes on the best answers, and players receive points for winning every round out of three.

Up to eight players can play the fill-in-the-blank game. Like Apples to Apples, the game requires you to play in front of your audience, but there’s no limit or indication of which direction you can take a prompt. When playing with friends, feel free to reference or use a joke that only your group of friends would understand.

Quiplash is a title from Jackbox Games, a developer that publishes board games for groups to play together. The game is designed to be played with all participants looking at a single screen.

To play Quiplash remotely, the fastest solution will be to buy the game on Steam and play it from your computer and then share it on Zoom, Google Hangouts, Twitch, Discord or any service that allows you to communicate and share his screen.

If you’re playing Quiplash on PlayStation or Xbox, screen sharing gets a bit trickier. You’ll need to stream your gameplay from your TV to Twitch or YouTube and have everyone tune in to the stream on FaceTime or another video conferencing app.

DRAWBAR 2
Like Pictionary, a game for those more art-inclined. Three to eight players.

Drawful 2 challenges players to use their fingers and a little imagination to create art. The game comes from the company behind Quiplash and follows a similar format: players must draw a given prompt and then guess what each artwork is supposed to represent.

Players can use their phones, tablets, or computers to sketch responses to prompts, such as “tree surgeon” and “death hoop.”

Drawful 2 and Quiplash have the same complication – if you’re playing on a game console, like PlayStation or Xbox, you’ll need to stream gameplay to Twitch or YouTube.

The easiest solution for Zoom is to buy the game on Steam and play it from your computer.

AMONG US
An interstellar murder mystery that requires teamwork (and backstabbing). Four to ten players.

In Among Us, teammates aboard a starship must work together to uncover the impostor(s) sabotaging their ship and murdering their teammates. The game is a live rendition of Clue. And, in many ways, Among Us has become the game of the pandemic.

The title was first released in 2018, but gained popularity in 2020 after big names in Steam on Twitch and YouTube started playing the game for millions of fans.

At the start of each round, players are privately told if they are an average teammate or an impostor. The crew then sets out to complete a series of tasks, and the impostors must melt into the monotony, waiting to strike at the right moment. The crew can call meetings by a show of hands when they find a corpse or by returning to the starting point in the cafeteria to hit a buzzer. All players, including the impostor(s), then deliberate to decide who they want to vote for the spaceship to save everyone else. The crew wins when they eject all imposters. The Imposters win if they manage to cause chaos and kill most of the crew.

The game can be played in different ways depending on the agreed rules and your settings. Among Us works on all platforms on PC, tablets and smartphones as well as game consoles like Nintendo Switch, PlayStation and Xbox. All you need to do is set up a Zoom, Skype, or Discord team where everyone can discuss suspected impostors during crew meetings.

CODE NAMES
A guessing game that requires creative thinking. Four to ten players.

In Codenames, two teams – red and blue – compete to correctly guess all the cards assigned to them in a grid of 25.

Each card has a code word/name, such as “ghost”, and each team elects a master spy who will provide one-word clues to their teammates to guess which words/code names belong to their team. For example, a spymaster might say “ghost” to imply to his team that “ghost” is actually an allied agent. If your team correctly guesses a card, you can continue playing. The round ends when your team finds all of your agents, lands on a card belonging to the other team, or finds a neutral card, nicknamed a “spectator”. Spymasters can pair a number with their clue word to try and get their teammates to select more cards in one turn, increasing the difficulty but allowing for a greater reward.

The entire game is a tabletop version of a minefield. Spymasters provide clues that are usually synonymous with in-game codenames, but it can be easy to wonder if a clue refers to two or three different cards. Maybe the hint is “city”, but Paris, Berlin and Moscow are all on the table. On top of all that, there’s a card that’s designated as the assassin, and if you select it, your team automatically loses.

Earlier in the pandemic, a codename game on Zoom required an additional camera to display the board of cards to the whole group, like this. You can still try this alternative, but you no longer need a fancy rig with a webcam or a broom and a phone with tape.

The game’s developer, Czech Games Edition, has released a web version of Codenames to play with friends. Spying just got a whole lot easier. Simply create a room and send the URL to whoever wants to play.


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