The Brief: Just because you're staying quarantined or practicing social isolation doesn't mean you can't have fun and play games with friends through these video chat-friendly games.

Bluesquiggle
DEEP DIVE

COVID-19-related social isolation and quarantines mean that game nights, meetups, and other gatherings are being canceled around the world. Luckily, with the internet, social media, and video chat software, it’s possible to replicate most aspects of these interactions all while staying safe and mitigating the spread of Coronavirus. Here are some ideas on how to play games virtually with friends and family during these difficult times.

Virtual Games

Many of your favorite board games, party games, and card games are already available to play online, with either strangers or people you know IRL. Play Monopoly, Chess, Yahtzee, Go Fish, Uno, Cards Against Humanity, and more on sites like pogo.com and playingcards.io. Also, be sure to check The App Store and the Google Play Store for app versions of analog games. For more, check out our list of the best virtual games to play over video chat and their IRL equivalents.

JackBox Games allows users to play virtual party games remotely on a variety of platforms. In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, they’re making their game Drawful 2 free for three weeks.

https://twitter.com/TravisABenson/status/1241553692517642240

Traditional Games & Board Games

Analog board games can creatively be adapted for virtual gameplay. If all players have their own board, they can play by mirroring each other’s actions on their separate boards. This could work for games like Apples To Apples, LIFE, Monopoly, and Clue. In some cases, even if only one player has the actual game, they can share via video chat to include other players.

Video Games

Through Discord and in-game chat functions, video games like Overwatch, Fortnite, and League of Legends can be played collaboratively and remotely between friends. This quarantine may be the perfect time to learn a new game, reinstall an old favorite, or convince your friends to start playing. If your friends aren’t available, maybe it’s time to get back into Club Penguin, Runescape, or WoW.

Houseparty

This app is specifically designed for virtual social games. Created by Fortnite makers Epic Games, Houseparty allows multiple players to participate in games including Heads Up! and Chips & Guac.

Get Creative

If you’re finding yourself with more free time on your hands or getting antsy during quarantine, don’t be afraid to invent new Zoom-friendly games and adapt games to work virtually. Take advantage of pre-existing apps and software to try out new ways to have fun and interact socially (but not physically) while under quarantine.

Other Video Chat-Friendly Funtivities

In addition to traditional games, there are near-infinite ways to have fun while chatting on FaceTime, Zoom, Google Hangouts, or 8×8. Add some fun backgrounds on Zoom, use YouTube for Karaoke, have a virtual open mic night with your friends, cook dinner together or host a remote cocktail hour. Use the  Netflix Party Chrome extension to simultaneously watch your favorite shows and movies with your friends from the comfort of your individual homes.

The crowdsourced social media reality show Love Is Quarantine demonstrated how creativity, drive, and a desire for interaction could fuel a massive online community overnight. If you don’t make it onto the actual “show,” maybe you should set up a phone call with that Tinder match you’ve been chatting with. You could even try the New York Times’ “36 questions that lead to love” and see if you hit it off.


Social distancing is key to flatten the curve and slow the spread of Coronavirus, but it doesn’t have to be as anti-social as it sounds. While we avoid physical contact and proximity with people, virtual games, video chats, social media, and even old fashioned phone calls are key to maintaining relationships and keeping spirits up during this pandemic.