It’s a rare person these days that hasn’t heard of Zoom. With in-person interactions at a minimum, online meetings are the norm, and Zoom is by far and away the most popular platform. While it’s used for meetings, work, and business, Zoom is also the perfect platform for socializing. Countless people use it every day to video chat with friends, family, and workmates.
Chatting via Zoom is fine, but that can get stale pretty quickly. The novelty of seeing friends and family can wear off and you might find yourself floundering. Fortunately, there are plenty of family games to play on Zoom to break the ice and keep things fresh.
The good news is that there are plenty of online family games to play over Zoom. A quick scroll through a mobile app store boasts dozens of multiplayer games that a Zoom group chat can log into separately, while staying onscreen in a separate device. This means that everyone’s playing together. It’s almost like playing a board game, but online and more fun.
We’re just going to discuss a couple of personal favorites. The beauty of these games is that they’re either very cheap or have free options. Not everyone has the time or money to organize expensive and complicated Zoom games. Fortunately, some of the best, all-time favorites are very simple. They’re quick, easy to play, and most are designed to played by groups in separate locations.
1. Among Us
Chances are, you’ve already heard of this online game. Its popularity has boomed recently, and its easy gameplay and quick rounds have made it a firm favorite. The setting is simple: each player is either a “Crewmate” or an “Imposter” on board a spaceship. They all look the same; adorable, multicolored little astronauts. The Crewmates innocently go about completing simple yet satisfying puzzles, but the Imposter’s task is to sabotage the ship and, one by one, bump off their crewmates.
The game is all about detection. After each round, in which the Crewmates will try to accomplish their tasks, and the Imposter will try and sabotage their efforts, the players get together and discuss who the imposter could be. Everyone has a vote, and the unlucky crewmate gets thrown off the ship.
As family Zoom games go, this is suitable for virtually everyone. It’s easy to play, every game is different, and it’s somewhat addictive! If you don’t mind sitting through some ads, it’s free. Each game is reasonably short, ending with either the Imposter successfully sabotaging the ship, or the Crewmates completing their tasks or ejecting the Imposter. For an extra layer of difficulty, you can adjust the settings, number of tasks the Crewmates receive, or even have two Imposters.
With a maximum of ten players and a minimum of four, it’s a great game for friends or family. Everyone can play on their separate devices, and use the Zoom video chat for discussing who the Imposter could be.
Psych is a perfect party icebreaker, and ideal for Zoom family games. Again, this is a game everyone can play on their separate mobile devices while on the Zoom video chat.
The game was released back in 2015 by Ellen DeGeneres, and it’s quickly become a fan favorite during these socially-distant times. There are a variety of different games available, depending on whether you’re willing to pay or just use the free version. The game host gets a code, which each player types into their individual device.
Similar to Quip-Lash (also a good family game to play on Zoom!) one popular Psych game uses simple yet hilarious wordplay games. Following a prompt, each player submits a funny word or phrase, with the end goal of “psyching”, or convincing the other players that their answer is the correct one. Whoever has the wackiest answer, psyching the others, wins! You can easily play round after round of this hilarious game. It’s a great way of keeping Zoom get-togethers fresh and fun.
If you’re looking for fun family games to play on Zoom, you really can’t do better than Jackbox. The only downside is that you’ll need to pay for a game package. However, once one person has bought a game package, they can invite friends and family to play as often as they like.
The host signs in, and gets a code to pass on to all the players. Just like Psych, everyone uses their own mobile device to play.
There are currently seven Party Packages to choose from, as well as various game bundles and even individual games. There are word games (including games like Quiplash), trivia games, drawing games, and more. Each game is fun and unique, designed to prod your creativity and have the whole Zoom video chat in stitches.
Because the games are reasonably simple and short, playing Jackbox games doesn’t get boring. They’re ideal as party game icebreakers. If do you decide to buy a Party Package, you can be sure you’ll get your money’s worth.
You can’t beat the classics. Playingcards.io allows a group of people to play some of the old favorite tabletop games together. Just like the other multiplayer gaming apps, the game host provides the other players with a room code.
You can play games like chess, Go Fish, dominoes, checkers, and more. It’s good for family Zoom games, as it’s suitable for all ages – even Grandma and Grandpa can play!
Would any conversation about Zoom family games be complete without talking about quizzes? Kahoot! is an easy quiz generator. You can choose your topic, and adjust the settings to suit your preferences.
To create a quiz, a player will need to be registered on the game platform. Once they’re registered, they can invite other players to login via a personal code. Creating quizzes, especially for large groups of friends, can be a lot of work. Kahoot! is a great app to provide fun quizzes with minimal work.
Using a quiz generator is good idea for a “themed” Zoom get-together. You can choose your topic (Disney and Pixar movies, as a random example…) based on the group’s strengths and weakness.
If Kahoot! isn’t your app of choice, there are other ways of setting up Zoom quizzes, which we’ll discuss later.
DIY or Classic Zoom Games
Online multiplayer games are great to play over Zoom, but they might not be to everyone’s taste. You might prefer a more classic game, or something with more face to face (or screen to face) interaction. Some of these games require a little more preparation, but the set-up can be just as fun for you as the actual game.
Sometimes, simpler is better.
Family games to play on Zoom are hugely popular, and there are literally hundreds of suggestions online. You might be surprised at how many of regular party favorites can be adapted to work on Zoom, with a few small adjustments.
If your group wants to make Zoom Games Night a regular arrangement, why not take turns organizing the games? Then everyone gets a turn to play their favorite game, as well as keeping gameplay fresh and exciting.
1. Murder Mystery Games
Crafting a Murder Mystery is possibly one of the most intricate games to organize via Zoom, but is definitely one of the most rewarding.
There are pre-made Murder Mysteries available to buy, which come with clues, scripts, character bios, and more. Each player is privately sent their character’s information, either by WhatsApp or email. Some of these need to be played in person, but more often than not, the games can be easily adapted to work on Zoom.
A good Murder Mystery always has a theme, whether it’s 1920s, Steampunk, Star Wars, or even Shakespeare. This means dressing up! A Murder Mystery is a fresh new way to play on Zoom, and it’s something the players can really get into.
Whether you’re creating your own Mystery or buying one, you can easily tweak the story to fit into the theme you want. To generate interest for your Mystery on Zoom, you could let some of the players vote on prospective themes.
If buying a pre-made Murder Mystery is a bit too expensive for you, creating your own Mystery can be just as fun as playing it. Some adjustments might need to be made to translate the script onto Zoom video chat, but with a little creativity and imagination, it can work.
Charades is a classic. If you think charades is a stuffy and possibly old-fashioned game, forget that right now. What could possibly be funnier than one of your friends or family jumping up and down wildly onscreen, waving and gesturing in a vain attempt to depict a word, phrase, or film title?
If you’re looking for fun and easy family games to play on Zoom, a game like charades is the best place to start. It’s an easy game to play, and everyone knows how to play it. Vigorously acting out a word or phrase really goes a long way to helping people abandon their self-consciousness.
There are a few different variants of charades, but the idea is very simple. The group decides on a category before the game begins, then each person gets a particular word or phrase. The others have to guess that word or phrase.
The rules are nearly always the same; no talking and no sounds. The player can only act out the word, and they have a set time for the other players to guess the word.
Usually, the categories, topics, and words are picked by pulling words out of a hat or something similar, but via Zoom, it’s probably easier to use a charades word generator.
You can play in teams or individually, whichever suits you best. Charades is supposed to be fun, and there’s a good reason this party game is still popular today.
Most of us will already be familiar with Pictionary. On the same lines as charades, Pictionary involves one player utilizing their outstanding drawing skills to help the other players guess what they’re drawing. The rules are also similar; the player isn’t allowed to speak, make sounds, or write words. They only have a limited time to draw.
You will need some props for this game, namely some paper and a pen or pencil. It’s a good idea to use a Pictionary word generator for the topics. The game host might want to find a suitable word generator and send each player the link. That means that only the player whose turn it is to draw will use the generator on their own device.
If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can use the “Share Screen” function on Zoom. There is a whiteboard option, and you can allow each player to draw on the whiteboard. The other players will all be able to see the whiteboard, and make their guesses. The whiteboard can be cleared for the next player.
4. Two Truths and a Lie
How well do you really know your friends and family? This game can make you rethink all that. This is possibly the easiest Zoom game to organize; all you’ll need to worry about is keeping score.
The game is exactly what it sounds like. Each player comes up with three statements about themselves. Two statements are true, and one is a lie. The other players have to vote on which statements are true and which are false. It’s always fun to choose three equally ridiculous statements, and watch your Zoom group try desperately to figure out which one is the Lie.
It’s a great icebreaker, but it also works well with close friends and family. If you’re making your own DIY quiz, Two Truths and a Lie is a fun game to throw into the mix as one of the rounds.
5. DIY Quizzes
If not all the players have access to a quiz-creation app, the game host might consider making up their own quiz, old-school.
This obviously takes more work, but it can be great because it allows you a lot more creative freedom. You can choose whatever topics and whatever questions you like, and you can make the quiz as long or short as you want.
A popular idea is to make a few different rounds in the quiz, including games like Two Truths and a Lie, Pictionary, charades, Guess That Tune, or more. This breaks up the game and adds a few extra fun elements.
If the idea of creating an entire quiz isn’t to your taste, you can always delegate. That means that each player is tasked with coming up with three to ten questions on a topic of their choice. If you’re looking for variety in your quiz, this is the way to get it!
Let’s face it, Zoom can get awkward. Whether you’re meeting new people, or seeing family and friends you haven’t seen in a while, conversation can flag. Wobbly internet signal or audio lagging just a split second behind the video can lead to stress and frustration, and that’s the opposite of what we want on a nice, relaxing video chat. Socializing is important during these difficult times.
It’s good to have a few quick party games lined up to thaw the awkwardness. While games like Two Truths and a Lie and Pictionary are firm favorites, there are some other games you’ll probably love!
1. 20 Questions
Everyone knows how to play this one. You don’t need any props, any real preparation, and it’s a great way to get to know new people. However, if you’re starting with strangers or people you barely know, it’s probably a good idea not to let the questions get too personal.
The game couldn’t be simpler. The other players ask a combined 20 questions to one player in particular. You can ask basic questions, or get creative – it’s up to you.
If you’re playing with a group of old friends or your family, you can make the questions a little more difficult. You could even incorporate the old favorite, Two Truths and a Lie.
We can’t talk about family games to play on Zoom without mentioning Scattergories. While there’s plenty of different kinds of games to play, the basic principle is the same. You’re given a letter, and have to find a word in a variety of different topics, starting with that letter. For example, you might have the word E, and need to come with an animal, a celebrity, and a woman’s name. You could go for Elephant, Elvis, and Evie.
Of course, your Scattergories games are probably going to be a bit more complicated, but you get the idea. Other variations of Scattergories involve a starting letter and a clue as to the specific word. This might take a little more setting up on the part of the game host.
You don’t need to create a game of Scattergories from scratch (unless you want to, of course!). There are plenty of Scattergories generators online, as well as a free app you can download. It does contain in-app purchases, but you can still enjoy a few good games of Scattergories, free of charge.
3. Heads Up
From the creators of Psych, Heads Up is another popular app that’s making a comeback. As long as players have one device for the app and one device to Zoom on, this game is perfect.
In a nutshell, one player selects a Heads Up deck, and holds their device in front of their forehead, facing the Zoom camera. The device will have a word on it, and the rest of the players have to help them guess. If you get the word right, tilt the phone down to pass to the next word. If you want to pass the word, lift your device up and over your head.
The player has sixty seconds, and needs to guess as many words as possible in that time.
This game has a lot of charades-style fun. It’s easy, and you can play for as long as you want. However, be sure to choose the “hide self” option on your Zoom device, otherwise you’ll see your own image – and the secret word – on your screen!
4. I Spy
You might be wondering how on earth a group of people can play I Spy on Zoom. However, if you can set your device to gallery mode, you can see a square of background behind each person. With a little creativity, you can choose something from somebody’s background, and have the other players search for it.
Playing this game on Zoom is definitely harder than you think! It’s best to play with a reasonably sized group of people – not too large, and not too small.
5. Camera Roll
This is less of a traditional game and more of a straightforward icebreaker. It involves each player showing the group the most recent photo on their camera roll, and telling the story behind it – what the picture shows, why they took it, events that happened right before and right after.
This game might not be to everyone’s tastes, but you may hear some interesting stories. It’s a good addition to a multi-game quiz or round of games.
At the moment, times are hard, and we need each more than ever. Since face-to-face meetings are virtually impossible (not to mention dangerous) we’re reduced to meeting over video chats. People are social animals, and we need these meetings now more than ever.
Playing light-hearted, fun games like this via Zoom is a great way to connect and release tension. Our lives are stressful right now, but it’s hard to feel anxious when someone’s terrible drawing skills in Pictionary are making you laugh so hard you want to throw up.
A family game on Zoom won’t take away our problems, but it can make us feel better for a little while. Try new things, get creative, and most importantly, have fun.