People organize makeshift game nights using video chat, online games and cameras hanging from the chandelier

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Even people who rarely play games online now use them to relax and connect with friends and family across town or country.

“In this strange time that we all live in with physical distancing, there has never been a better time,” said Tami Bhaumik, head of marketing and digital civility at game creation platform Roblox.

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I have received emails from people asking me how to make their regularly scheduled poker nights virtual and how to play chess against friends. One person even went so far as to hang an iPod Touch from a chandelier to snap a photo of a Trivial Pursuit set for a Zoom game night.

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Here are a few other ways people log into games during social distancing.

The stars of poker

Make it a virtual poker night with Poker Stars, a website that allows you to host private games with friends. Just sign up and share an invite code with friends and they can join your table for some “fun money” action.

Viewer John Wilson from Long Beach told me the site was working for him. “We’re a bunch of older guys… who have been playing a game of weekly poker for over 40 years now,” Wilson said in an email. He even invited me to his game.

Roblox

Roblox is popular with children ages 9 to 12.

“We are really seeing some of our highest numbers,” Bhaumik said in a Skype interview.

The platform hosts digital games created by other people (mostly children). Parents can control who children can chat with.

“We have thousands of moderators reviewing and for every video, audio, text uploaded, so it’s a very, very safe experience,” Bhaumik explained.

Not content with chatting in the game, kids play side-by-side, virtually – using FaceTime to hang out and chat over audio while they play.

Cards Against Humanity

For adults, Cards Against Humanity is a popular board game with empty questions that produce hilarious answers.

You can recreate the online experience with friends through a website called PlayingCards.io. There they have a similar game called Ranged Insensitivity.

If you’ve never played before, just be prepared for some, shall we say, interesting answers …

House party

Houseparty is a group video chat app that also has several built-in games.

There’s a word association game called Chips and Guac, a Pictionary-like game called Quick Draw, and a Heads-Up game – you know, the one you see Ellen playing and everyone lining up at Disneyland (ie. was the time).

Mario Kart Tour

Nintendo’s Mario Kart Tour racing game lets you race with up to 7 friends located anywhere in the world.

Scrabble Go

Personally, I have played a new app called Scrabble Go. Think Words with Friends, but officially licensed. It’s a nifty take on the classic board game that lets you play against random online opponents or real friends.

Other recommendations

Word Games with Friends, Jackbox, Song Pop 2, Chess and Pictionary.

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