Millions of people are turning to Zoom and other free video conferencing apps for work meetings that could have just as easily been emails. As we’ve noted elsewhere, you can make those meetings a lot more enjoyable by taking advantage of the amazing geeky virtual backgrounds now available for the app.
However, backgrounds aren’t the only way to have fun with Zoom. It’s actually possible to host your next game night over the virtual conference app. While Zoom doesn’t offer official games for you and your friends to play, it turns out that some of the best party games in the world are playable through Zoom so long as you’re willing to get a little creative.
Here is just a small selection of the best (and easiest) party games to play with your friends during a Zoom conference:
Cards Against Humanity (Kind of)
Cards Against Humanity‘s raunchy humor and clever premise has made it a staple of many adult party nights. Since parties aren’t really an option in the age of social distancing, this also means the end of traditional Cards Against Humanity games.
Thankfully, there is an alternative. By going to this website, you can set up an unofficial Zoom game of Cards Against Humanity known as Remote Insensitivity. This website allows you to share a room URL with other players and hide your cards from everyone else, so it’s really the perfect way to play Cards Against Humanity (kind of) with your Zoom friends.
Scattergories is a classic party game of wordplay and creative thinking that has survived over the years due to the openness of the format. In other words, a creative group of players can really get quite a lot out of this game.
Thankfully, playing Scattergories over Zoom is remarkably easy, thanks to this website. You just need to create a new game and send the link to all of the participants. While the Zoom integration is rather light, seeing other people’s reactions to each round is still an essential part of the Scattergories experience.
Do you miss bar trivia nights? Does the prospect of another mid-week day without beers, a witty MC, and difficult trivia questions fill you with dread? Thankfully, there is a Zoom-friendly alternative to bar trivia nights that is here to help.
To start, just head over to this random trivia generator website. You can then choose a category and receive a scrolling list of possible questions (with available answers). You’ll just need one Zoom participant (preferably the host) to serve as the quizmaster and keep track of the score. You can even rotate between quizmasters or have everyone guess the answer and then just wait to reveal it via the website.
Granted, this is more of an activity than a game, but it’s such an enjoyable way to pass some time with friends that we feel obliged to mention it. Karaoke over Zoom is about as simple as it gets. You can simply take turns looking up karaoke videos and watching as your friends stumble through them.
Alternatively, you can use Zoom’s screen share to queue up videos for your friends and make them sing whatever you pick. There are quite a few ways to go, but as long as you’ve got friends, music, and possibly drinks, there’s really no wrong choice.
Much like Scattergories, the somewhat open-ended nature of Pictionary has helped it survive over the years. If you’ve got a fun group of friends, you’ll never tire of watching them draw a monstrosity that is supposed to be a walrus.
Fortunately, it’s incredibly easy to play Pictionary over Zoom. By going to this website, you can generate any number of topics to share with the Zoom group. From there, you can either draw the prompts using the shared Zoom whiteboard or just have every participant bring their own materials. Either way, this is one of the more natural (and enjoyable) party games for the Zoom age.
Is Pictionary not quite Zoom-friendly enough for you? Do you want to watch your friends struggle to recreate a prompt without being able to draw it? Charades is the perfect Zoom game for you.
This website will generate as many Charade prompts as you could ever need. You just need to start a group call and assign topics to participants as you normally would. Because you only really need a webcam and microphones to play Charades over Zoom, this is one of the best 1:1 recreations of a party game through web conference.
Word games offer the dual benefit of being incredibly fun and at least somewhat educational. That’s especially true of Boggle, a classic party game that has players use a selection of letters to form as many words as possible.
This website allows you to easily set up a Boggle room and share the ID with other players. While the Zoom elements of this one are mostly limited to social interactions and sharing results, it’s easy and fun to use the service to get a game together.
Before we move on to more modern and creative Zoom games, let’s talk about one of the easiest classic titles to enjoy on the app. You probably already know how to play Bingo, but you may not know that Bingo is remarkably easy to play via Zoom. All you need to do is use a site like this to hand out digital Bingo cards and then head over here in order to start the drawing.
The Jackbox collections feature some of the best party games ever made. From Drawful to Fibbage, we’d recommend Jackbox for your next party night regardless of what games you’re typically into.
Jackbox collections also happen to have some of the best Zoom games available today. Because only one person needs to own Jackbox games in order to host them (and because you only need a phone to play the game), you can just broadcast your favorite Jackbox titles over your Zoom feed. The Jackbox team even made a video explaining how to play over Google Hangouts and most of those instructions translate to Zoom
Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is a chaotic and hilarious game of bomb defusal. Each round sees one player analyze an on-screen bomb while another player consults an online bomb defusal manual and sends the first player instructions based on what they describe.
Because this game revolves around only one person being able to see the bomb at any given time, you can easily play it over Zoom, even if you only have one copy. Best of all, you get to play one of the most creative and enjoyable co-op experiences released to date.
The fairly recent surge in popularity of boardgame has led to the rise of a party game called Codenames. Essentially an expanded version of Password, Codenames requires two teams to look at a shared board of words, guess which words their teammate is trying to point them to, and be the first team to guess all their codewords.
You usually need a board to play Codenames, but this website manages to recreate the Codenames experience with relatively few sacrifices. As long as everyone adheres to a basic honor system, you can easily bring Codenames gameplay to Zoom or your preferred video messaging service.
For those who have never played it, Head’s Up is a very simple game that sees one player hold a card to their head while every other player tries to describe the word to them so they can guess it. It’s a simple and family-friendly game that is also incredibly easy to play over Zoom.
Because the mobile app version of Head’s Up uses your phone instead of cards, you can play it with others through Zoom. You could probably even create a makeshift version of the game without the app with one of the random phrase generators we outlined above.
The #ZoomJam competition is a recent effort designed to encourage creators to come up with fun game ideas that can be played over Zoom. Obviously, it’s pretty much perfect for our purposes.
While some of the games submitted so far are, admittedly, kind of basic, there are actually some pretty clever ideas as well that could prove to be a perfect fit for your next Zoom game night. It’s worth keeping up with the contest just to see what’s new.
Dungeons and Dragons
This is one of the best games to play on Zoom. In fact, if you don’t already have a Dungeons and Dragons group, we can hardly think of a better time to get your friends together on Zoom and learn to play D&D together.
Granted, you won’t be able to easily use any physical components during a Zoom D&D session, but unless you have an elaborate D&D set up that you’ve come to rely on, it should be incredibly easy to play Dungeons and Dragons (or your favorite tabletop RPG) during a Zoom conference call.
There are many variations of Werewolf, but the basic idea remains the same. A group of players all assume different roles, and at least one of them is the deadly werewolf (or your thematic equivalent). It’s up to the werewolf to be the last one standing while everyone else tries to guess who among them is the beast.
While there are versions of these games available wherever popular party games are sold that use cards and other physical components, you actually don’t need all of that to play a version of these social deduction games on Zoom. This website offers a simple way to set up and play a game of Werewolf with few modifications.