Hosting A Virtual Game Night

Hey friends! It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, but I wanted to enjoy the last little bit of summer before Matt’s school started up again. However, I’ve been busy recently creating new content! If you aren’t following me on Instagram, now is the time! I’m doing daily video stories for the month of August called A Day in the Life, where I talk about a variety of topics from marriage to med school and how I keep myself busy. On one of the stories I talked about my five favorite games, which inspired today’s post.

At the risk of sounding a tad arrogant, I like to think of myself as The Game Queen. I LOVE playing games with people because not only is it entertaining, but you can find out a lot about someone by playing a game with them. And it provides an outlet for my competitive side 🙂 When everything first shut down back in March, one of my first thoughts was, “HOW am I going to have game nights with people if I can’t have anyone over?!” Don’t worry, I figured it out, and today I’m sharing with you all my suggestions for hosting a virtual game night! Just because we don’t know how much longer we’ll have to stay at home doesn’t mean we can’t have a good time right?

Choosing the Right Program

I’ve tested out a few programs for virtual game night, and I have two suggestions depending on your technology.

Facetime: This is helpful if you don’t have to use your phone to play a game and if you’re calling by yourself. If you are calling with someone else, it’s a little challenging to fit two people on the screen. But it is really convenient.

WebEx: The great thing about WebEx is it’s free, doesn’t require an account for other people to access, and it’s easy to share your screen. We used this for a family game night with about 20 people, and it worked really well. My favorite part is that if you’re sharing your screen, you can still see up to 3 other people’s videos.

If you don’t like either of these suggestions, Google hangouts or Microsoft Teams are worth a try. Basically anything that allows you to see others and share your screen will work!

Free Games

Codenames
If you’re a fan of the board game Codenames, you’ll probably like the web version just as much! There’s a feature where you can “like” a certain card to show your team members that you want to guess that card. It’s a little tricky to click the exact spot in the upper right corner to actually guess a card, but other than that it’s a really fun game to play. I’d recommend playing with 4-8 people. Games are usually about 15 minutes long. For this game, you’ll need to hide your screen rather than share it.

Presidents
Presidents is a virtual card game that can be played with 3-7 players and takes about 30 minutes to complete. The thing I like about this site is that you can customize the game a bit to account for different variations. You’ll likely want to play this on your computer and use your phone for the video part, as you don’t want to show everyone what cards you have.

Houseparty
This app can be downloaded on your phone and computer, and is used for both video calling and group games. Current games offered are Uno, Word Racers, Heads Up!, Trivia, Chips and Guac, Quick Draw!, and Magic 8 Ball. You can have up to 8 people in the room to play games.

Word Generator
This site is a word generator for several games, including charades, Pictionary, and Catchphrase. It’s really easy to just send out the link to people and tell them what game to play – there’s no logins to certain rooms or anything. The other great thing is that you can choose the level of difficulty on the words from easy to super hard. You can play with 4 or more people, and the length depends on what game you play.

Icebreaker Games
This link is perfect for adding some fun to your work team meetings because it’s a lot of get-to-know-you games. It’s easy to set up with a simple link you send out, and has a variety of games, including Would You Rather, Spot the Lie, Trivia, and others!

Party Mafia
This was the newest game find, and while it’s somewhat annoying that it’s only offered as a phone app, the design and gameplay make up for it. It’s free to download, but if you want to play with more than 5 people you’ll need to buy extra roles. I love this game because I played the card version all the time growing up, and now it’s easy to play with friends and family on this app!

Secret Hitler
This is one of my favorite games to play because it’s all about social deduction. Depending on your team, you will try to play either liberal or facist policies, all while avoiding suspicion. I will say that it takes a few practice rounds to get the hang of it, but once you do it provides endless entertainment. This can be played on your computer or phone, but you’ll want to hide your screen rather than share it. It’s for 5-8 people, and games typically take 15-30 minutes.

One Night Ultimate Werewolf
This is another social deduction game, and the gameplay is very similar to the physical version. The goal is to figure out who the werewolves are, or if you’re a werewolf, to cast doubt on other players. What I like about this game is that not only are there a variety of roles, but your role can change throughout the game. The game can be played with as few as 3 to as many as 13 I believe. Rounds are about 12 minutes long.

Spyfall
Last but not least, Spyfall is another social deduction game (sensing a theme here?) where you prove to other players that you’re not the spy based on answers you give to questions, or if you’re the spy avoiding being found out! The game is played best with 5-10 people, and rounds are only 8 minutes long.

Paid Games

Jackbox
Jackbox games are by far my favorite ones to play for virtual game nights. They are really easy to use and have a great variety of games. Games can be bought individually or in party packs, and can be hosted on a computer or gaming system. In my opinion, the most fun games are Quiplash, Trivia Murder Party, and Fibbage. I have Jackbox Party Pack 3, but honestly all of them are fun. Most games can be played with up to 8 people, although some games can have up to 10. You’ll need to be able to share your screen, and all game players will need to play on a phone or computer to input their answers. For $30 or less you get 5-6 games in the party packs, which is a great deal. They are often on sale, too!

Other Tips

So you have the program and the games, now what? By now I’m sure you’ve all experienced the frustrations that come with video calling, not to mention trying to coordinate a bunch of people to do the same thing from different places. Here are some tips to help your game night go smoothly!

  • Send the link or invitation out in advance. If you send it out right before the game, you’ll likely have delays as people figure out how to long on.
  • Include any links, codes, or download instructions they might need in your invitation.
  • Recommend that people download the program or app ahead of time.
  • Log on early to set up any games that you need to. Test the sound and make sure to include audio when sharing your screen.
  • Plan on having delays the first 10-15 minutes as people join and figure out how to set up their games.
  • Post any links, codes, or instructions in the chat, if that’s a feature you have.
  • Make sure to speak clearly when going over instructions.
  • Remind people to mute themselves when appropriate.
  • If you want to make your game night extra fun, give a virtual prize to the winner of the most games!

I hope you learned about some great games to play for your next virtual game night! If you’ve never hosted a game night before, now is the perfect time to try it out – what else do you have to do? I’d love to know what your favorite virtual games are that I need to try! Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram for more content. Have a great week!

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