Level Up Your Zoom Call With One of These Games

Bianca Rodriguez
·9 min read
Photo credit: Delmaine Donson - Getty Images
Photo credit: Delmaine Donson - Getty Images

From Marie Claire

Zoom has probably become your most-used app—besides Netflix and Hulu, of course—over the past year. Whether it's a meeting for work, a catch-up call with family, or a happy hour with your BFFs, we've all been using the video chatting service during coronavirus quarantine.

If you're like me, you have a specific night of the week you set aside for some one-on-one time with the people you care about the most. Sure, those first few minutes are probably great for catching up—but after some back-and-forth, the conversation dies down, and you and your Zoom backgrounds are left to look at each other. Therefore, to pass the time and so my friends don't have to hear me go on and on about The Queen's Gambit anymore, here are 21 games sure to inject some fun into your next virtual hangout.

Games You Can Easily Play Online

"Codenames"

Channel, your inner spy with this game, which has a nifty online version for virtual play. Here's how it works: There are 25 secret agents who can only be identified by their codenames, and you have to identify and make contact with your agents before the other team does, using clues given by the "spymasters." The rounds go by quickly, so it's great for quick video calls with friends.

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"Scattergories"

It's everything you love about the game Categories, but online! Set up your game by choosing from topics like TV shows, things that can found in a desk, or even pizza toppings (can you tell I'm hungry?). Create the game and send a link to all the players to join. If you're the last person standing with words to add to the category, you win! No need to share your screen for this one since everything's located on the website.

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Online Bingo

Matthew McConaughey might not be calling out the numbers, but don't let that stop you from playing. Using the website Bingo Maker, create a virtual game with as many players as you please. They all just have to have the password from you to log into the game. Best part? You can enjoy the game from any device, so if your laptop charger magically went missing before your call, don't sweat it.

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"Quiz Up"

Give trivia night a facelift with Quiz Up. The app has a ton of categories to choose from, like Disney, sports, Harry Potter, or video games. Play with anyone worldwide or set up a round with one of your best friends and see who comes out on top. You technically don't need Zoom for this since the magic happens on your phone, but we know the best kind of bragging always happens IRL.

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"Tabletop Simulator"

Always wanted to create your board game but never had the tools? Same. Meet Tabletop Simulator, which boasts a library of classic thrills like Chess, Poker, Jigsaw Puzzles, and Dominoes while also giving you the option to create your game through its workshop tool. Just choose a game from their library, or come with your own and invite friends virtually using a handy-dandy link. All the fun happens on the site, so don't stress if your connection is lacking.

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"Jackbox Games"

Purchase one of their party packs (some are on sale right now!) and enjoy a selection of games, ranging from ones that will test your artistic abilities to one that requires you to fill in the blanks. It's a lot of fun, and the games can quickly transfer to other gaming devices, like your Playstation or Nintendo Switch. Now all you have to do is make the hard decision of what game to play.

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"Mafia"

If you have a larger group, Mafia might be the game for you. Developed by Russian psychology students, it's a complicated game that involves a high level of social deduction—but that's the fun of it. You split into two groups, the villagers and the werewolves (so, not the Mafia at all, confusingly), and each player is secretly affiliated with one of the two teams. Head on over to the site to get started.

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"Quiplash"

Growing up, I spent hours filling out Mad Libs to recite to my mother in a fit of giggles. Now, thanks to JackBox Games, my childhood memories have grown up. Quiplash asks players to respond to prompts with the wittiest answers they can come up with; the group then votes on the best response. Up to eight players can play, but one person needs to own the online game so they can share the fun.

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Guess Who?

This is a great family game because it's fun for people of all ages. Basically, you're assigned a character, and others have to guess who you are—the rules can differ a little depending on the size of the group and your preferences—using a series of "yes" or "no" questions. This is one that always leaves everyone laughing. Make sure no screens are shared, so it's fair gameplay.

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Playing Cards

Classic games like Checkers, Go Fish, Crazy Eights, etc. are all available at the click of a mouse on PlayingGames.io. The website allows you to select a card game, invite as many people as you please to your link, and get ready to play. Best of all, it's free and requires no spotty screen sharing.

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"Taboo"

Divide your Zoom party into two teams, take turns sharing screens, and choose someone each round to be clue-giver. This person will help their team guess the main word using one word at a time or by picking two words total from the list. Just make sure you don't say anything over Zoom except the words on your list!

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"Psych"

Get everyone in your online party to download Psych, and let the fun begin. Each player makes up fake answers to real trivia questions, and it's your job to find out the real answer. It's from the same creators of Heads Up!, so you get an idea of what fun is in store. You'll be able to play over your phone for this one, so don't worry if your Zoom connection is lacking.

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"Skribbl"

Your 5th-grade art skills are put to the test in the free multiplayer game Skribbl. Create a private room with your party, choose a word from their list, and try your best to create a masterpiece in 80 seconds. As you sketch, players will type what they think you're drawing into the chat. The quicker a person guesses correctly, the more points they get.

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"Overcooked! 2"

Up to four players can try to serve diners in this virtual cooking game. It's a lot likeDiner Dash, where you seat customers, wait on, cook, and serve all kinds of guests but with weird twists. It's chaotic, fun, and will fill the void where dinner parties once stood.

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"Wordscatter"

Consider this the online version of the word game Boggle. Players have two to three minutes to find as many words as they can from a selection of 25 words. Whoever ends up with the most words at the end of the game wins! Be careful, though, because if you submit a word that's not in their database, you'll lose 10 points.

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The Alphabet Challenge

If you ever went on a long road trip as a kid, odds are you probably played this game. Choose a category like celebrities or fiction books and try to name something for each letter in a certain amount of time. You can easily make this into a drinking game and have whoever can't name something take a drink.

Games You'll Need to Own (But Can Still Totally Work Over Zoom)

Pictionary

The classic party game, Pictionary is perfect for a long-distance dinner party or night in with friends. With Zoom's whiteboard feature, you can play virtually—Bustle has instructions here—or you could play separately and hold up your drawings for the other team.

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"TableTopics"

Sometimes an ice-breaker game is necessary. To avoid discussing the weather for the millionth time or what everyone is binging on Netflix, grab a box of TableTopics. It's a card game with 135 questions where the owner of the card game can read off prompts like "What's your favorite song to play in your car?" to thought-provoking questions like "Would you rather be the best player on a losing team, or the worst player on a winning team?" It's a sweet reminder of how amazing human interaction (no shame to our furry friends, though).

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"Trophies"

This simple word game takes seconds to learn and delivers some serious laughs. Have "the judge" in this case the owner of the game, pick up a card, read the topic, and show the group a random letter. Two members from opposing teams then have to try to be the first to say a word that matches the topic and letter. If the judge likes what you're saying, you get a trophy! Whoever gets the most by the end goes home or leaves the virtual call a winner.

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"5 Second Rule"

In this fast-paced game, the host, or should I say game-owner, will pick a card, read the topic, then start the timer. The player will then have five-seconds to blurt out three things that fit the topic. Prompts include naming celebrities who definitely shouldn't be famous to what tricks you'd teach a dog. It's the perfect game for a not-so-long Zoom call.

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"Outburst"

Think of it as Family Feud, but without Steve Harvey and his mustache. Split all the players on your call into two teams and pick a host. This timed board game's objective is to write as many items down that apply to a certain category, like "Things in a Home." The more you have that are on the game host's list, the more points you get! You'll want to use Zoom's whiteboard feature again for this game.

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