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12 Games you can play with family and friends over video calls


Shutterstock | fotyma

Theresa Civantos Barber - published on 06/25/20

Quarantine doesn't mean an end to game night! These options are perfect for playing with others from afar.

Board games and card games have a surprisingly ancient history — nearly as old as civilization itself. There’s a reason they’ve stood the test of time: A friendly competition of wits is an irresistible diversion when the hours seem to drag. Perhaps that’s why board games are surging in popularity recently, as so many people are living various degrees of sheltering in place.

If physical distancing is interfering with your usual game night, here’s some good news: Plenty of games are suited to playing over video call! It’s a great way to have fun with friends and family without leaving home; you might want to challenge Dad to a socially-distanced match today! These 12 games are particularly well-suited to long-distance play.

Two tips to keep in mind …

First, when it comes to choosing a board game for playing over video call, look for games that don’t have a lot of hidden information or anything that requires watching the board very closely. Cooperative games work much better.

Second, there are three ways to play a board game over video call: Each house has the board game, or one has the game and narrates/moves pieces for the other players, or you play online. If a game you like isn’t on this list, you might look into Board Game Arena or Tabletop Simulator, which offer virtual versions of physical games.

Board game options …

Battleship: You’ll each need a game board, but once you’ve got that, this two-player game is absolutely ideal for playing over a video chat.

Settlers of Catan: Great news for fans of this beloved game: There’s a Catan app that makes playing long-distance a breeze!

Ticket to Ride: Similar to Catan, Ticket to Ride is available to play online, which is fantastic news for this strategic geography game’s many fans.

Pandemic: This award-winning (and all too timely) game is available to play online. As a co-operative strategy game, it’s great for playing with a physical board as well.

Clue: “I accuse Professor Plum with the wrench in the library …” This mystery game is always a blast, and comes in an app for easy long-distance play.

Risk: This global domination game is available as an app

ScrabbleThe classic letter scramble game is available as an app and can be played with a physical board if all players have the game at home.

Trivia Games options …

CharadesThis classic game doesn’t even require a board, but is uproarious fun as you take turns guessing what others are acting out.

Trivial Pursuit: Trivia games are a great fit for playing over video call, and Trivial Pursuit is the one that started it all!

… I should have known that!: Since only one person reads the questions on the cards, this game is easy for a group to play long-distance, and the questions are broad enough that players of all ages can compete.

Pub Quiz: Who doesn’t love a good pub trivia night? This game works well either one-on-one or with teams and a host asking the questions.

Sporcle: For a virtual twist on trivia night, check out the world’s largest trivia quiz website. There are several ways to use this site for games: Race to finish a quiz first, take turns answering questions and tally points, compete for the highest score within a set time limit, or any other competition you and your friends can imagine!


Read more:
Beyond board games: 6 boredom busters for kids of all ages


Read more:
Fun family games that require no set up or equipment

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