Games to play on video calls
Fun and creative games to play on skype, zoom or any video call app
The Coronavirus pandemic has brought about an instant cultural shift where our primary method of face-to-face communication must be done via video chat. Zoom meetings and Skype calls are the central hub for all things social - for friends to catchup, for youth groups to meet, for churches to congregate and for families to stay in touch. But does this mean we've lost games night? Definitely not!
Playing games on a video call may be a very new thing for most of us, but it's actually really well suited to a good number of easy and fun games. We've collected some of our favourites here.
Meeting with friends and family via video chat shouldn't stop us from having fun by playing games. In fact, if we get creative enough, it actually may open us up to a whole new world of interactive gaming - which we can all participate in from the comfort of our own couch.
Essentially a mega mash-up of pictionary, sculptionary and charades, Creationary is the perfect game for video chats with your friends and family during Coronavirus isolation. Create teams and then play one at a time to restrict cheating and so it'll be easy to hear guesses, or let two players have a go at the same time and submit guesses using a text chat thread on the side.
Pictionary and more
Straight-up pictionary is a great game to get started with and is a perfect game to play on zoom or skype. Divide into teams and then get one player to point their camera at a piece of paper or whiteboard they can use to draw. Some video chat apps like Zoom also have a "whiteboard mode" that could be used instead. Then once the drawer begins, the other players on their team can guess by shouting out or by typing in their guesses in the text chat.
Once you've got the standard version of pictionary working well - try a variant like Play Dough Pictionary, Feet Pictionary or Creationary.
Oh, and if you need you can buy pictionary here or use an online pictionary word generator.
Take the next step up from the classic game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. This version involves shaping your hand into another random object and then debating against the opposition player to prove that the object you described would win the battle. Other players can watch and then vote on who they think wins the challenge. Why not play as a round robin and then a grand final match-up to find the ultimate winner!
A super funny game you can play throughout a normal skype catch-up with friends. Each person get given a "sneaky phase" (or two!) that no one else knows. Then they need to sneak the phrase into normal conversation without anyone busting them for saying the sneaky phrase.
An all-time favourite for families and friends all over the world. Charades fits perfectly for the video call environment. One player gets given a random word or thing to act out (without using words) to their teammates who are trying to guess what it is as quickly as possible. If charades has been flying under the radar for a while, I suspect there is about to be a massive revival for this game on skype group chats all over the world.
This game makes the most of the visual medium. There are a number of ways to play - but essentially, one player would stand in front of the camera, then walk off screen, and then come back having changed one thing about themselves. The other players have to guess what's different. It could be done with objects on a tray or with a dance routine - endless posibilities.
You'll need to be creative with the way you decide how you play this over Zoom or Skype, but it's definitely a concept that will work well. Celebrity Heads typically involves placing the name of a celebrity on the forehead of a person, who then has to ask "yes or no" questions to others while trying to figure out who they are. The less questions they ask, the better they go! Playing over a video chat may mean you can't actually play their celebrity name on their forehead, but you could message it to other members of the video call instead, so everyone knows how to answer. Give it go!
This is a rip off of the old Australian television show Mr. Squiggle. This game will work best on Zoom, or another video chat app which enables you to draw on the same whiteboard. It's as simple as one player drawing a few random shapes on a screen, and then passing over to another player to turn the random shapes into an interesting drawing. For inspiration - definitely check out some youtube clips of the original show!
This game can be played as individuals or in teams. Each player (or team) will need a piece of paper and a pen or pencil to write with.
Players must divide their paper into 6 columns. At the top of each column, they'll need to write the six categories that are...
Instead of drawing pictures on paper, why not use playdough to sculpt the words?! This creates an extra level of difficulty and can provide a few extra laughs too. Obviously, all players will need their own separate set of playdough available to use at their home.
What better time to get to know your friends and family better! Share two truths and a lie with one another and see how well the other players really know you!
Another alternative version of the classic pictionary game, Feet Pictionary sets players to draw with their feet instead of their hands. Just point your video chat webcam at some paper on the ground and your feet. Maybe that's the only possible negative of this game... everyone will be watching a close-up of your feet. If you're up for a good laugh, then this game is for you.
Take it in turns to do everything you can to make the other video call participants laugh, without laughing yourself. The more people you get to laugh, the more points you get, but if you laugh yourself - no points are awarded. A great video call game idea that requires no prep, just people!
Articulate or Taboo
Two really popular board games that are simple to play and work great for all kinds of group video chats. Both games involve one player explaining a word, without saying the word, to other players who have to guess what word they're talking about. As with pictionary, to save confusion with audio (depending on the quality), it might be wise to get the guessing players to just write their answers on the chat thread rather than saying them out loud. Grab the board games here: Articulate and Taboo
A quick and easy fun video call game, "State the Cheese" requires everyone playing to have access to a slice of cheese. Someone picks a state (or country or object) and then everyone gets a minute to bite the cheese slice into that shape. Once the time is up - share the cheese creations amoungst the group call and vote on the best one!
Take turns asking quiz questions to other players and tally up your scores. Make it easy by looking up pre-written questions online or make up your own based on topics of your choosing.
Dig up your collection of board games and card games and choose one that you think might work well over video chat. You'll definitely need to be creative with how you play it and ideally it would be a game that you have in common with the person or people you're skyping. If you both have a copy of the game, you can synchronise the movements of the board game pieces and draw games from alternate piles. Or if only one person has a copy of the game, it would likely need to be a game where players don't keep their own hands of cards... because that won't work. As we said - it's best to pick a game and then see if you can come up with ways to make it work.
Role Playing Games
Dungeons and Dragons fans rejoice! A video call is a great medium to continue your fantasty adventures. Need we say more? Go for it!