Heellloooo, Gamers! So, like probably a bunch of you, I've been doing a bunch of remote gaming over the past few weeks to stay connected with people and give some of my peeps something fun to do together since we're all going a little stir-crazy.
While better days seem to be just ahead, I still wanted to compile a list of the games that work best virtually because, hey, you never know when you might need them! All of these can be played with only 1 person owning the game, and providing the other players with scans/photos of scoresheets, or the players using dry erase boards, paper and pencil, or touch screen devices.
Let me know what you've found worked best over video chats, because I'd love to have more ideas handy!
Theme - Romance; Love; Match-Making
Mechanics - Betting; Deduction; Role-Playing; Voting
I ranked this one the lowest because not only is it harder to find nowadays, but I'm also aware it's a very niche kind of game that's not for everyone. But hey! No game is for everyone, so don't discount the validity of this list based on this start, haha! This one works so well because it's easy for the player who owns it to lay out the 3 boy cards and the personality cards, and everyone just needs a piece of paper to write down their guesses! Don't want to choose your 80s male heartthrob? Just replace the pictures with women, celebrities, superheroes, animals to adopt, board games to buy, or whatever else you want! It's an easily adaptable game and easy and fun to play over video chat!
9. Wits & Wagers
Theme - N/A
Mechanics - Trivia; Party Game; Betting; Bluffing
For this one, whoever owns the game can assign everyone a color. Then, ask the question and give everyone time to write down their answers. Once everyone shares their answers, the game owner writes them all down on the dry erase boards, and arranges them as normal. Players then just have to state which answer they are betting on and the owner keeps track of everyone's chips throughout the game (I like to set up pawns of different colors to help remind me of everyone playing and keep their points in front of them). Overall, the game plays pretty smoothly and easily even when you're not together.
8. Welcome To ...
Theme - City Building
Mechanics - Flip and Write; Simultaneous Play
Depending on how much space you have that can easily be seen on screen, I'd recommend sending a picture to everyone playing of the score cards, so they can easily reference them, and just making sure everyone announces if they finish one so that the owner knows to flip it over. Then, the owner of the game just needs to flip the cards each turn. Simultaneous play, and lack of player interaction (i.e. not being able to affect what others are doing) makes this easy and awesome for video chat gaming!
Theme - Spys
Mechanics - Deduction; Party Game; Limited Communication; Push Your Luck; Memory
I recommend the owner of the game be one of the spymasters giving the clues, since they are setting up the game, and then send a picture of the key card to the other spymaster. As long as everyone can see the board, and the owner can mark the clues with the respective tiles, you're good to go! The biggest difference, of course, is that players can't touch the cards to confirm their guesses. So, once players on a team have decided on a guess, they should agree on how to confirm the guess with maybe "final answer" or just a thumbs up.
6. Harvest Dice
Theme - Gardening; Growing Vegetables
Mechanics - Roll and Write; Pattern Building; Set Collection; Drafting
This one works great because the owner of the game just needs to roll the dice and show them to the camera, then remove them from view as players choose them. Since the main mechanic is the draft, and everything else is up to the players to take care of on their boards, it is easy to do! Again, I like to set up meeples of some sort to keep track of the other players, making it easier to keep track of the rotating first player.
5. Deadly Doodles
Themes - Adventuring; Dungeon Crawling
Mechanics - Flip and Write; Hidden Movement (a little)
This one is perfect because normally in the game you don't want to be able to see your opponents' player boards because of the traps, and that's even easier when playing virtually! The owner of the game just needs to reveal the cards each round and check in with players to make sure they have enough time to draw them. The game plays pretty normally, so it's a great choice if you want to get a few friends together.
Theme - N/A; Numbers?
Mechanics - Roll and Write
Roll/Flip and Writes have definitely been the stars of this list, because there are just so many that work so well! Like the others, for Qwixx, the owner of the game just needs to make sure everyone can see the dice, and keep track of the active player so everyone knows when they can take the white versus colored dice, and if they need to take penalties. Plays really smoothly and easy to do a few times in a night.
3. Tattoo Stories
2. Just One
Theme - N/A; Words?
Mechanics - Cooperative Play; Party Game; Communication Limits; Guessing
This game was basically made with long-distance play in mind, because it's so perfect for it! (It was very, very close to being my #1 choice). Just make sure the active player (the guesser) looks away, shuts their eyes, or maybe gets up and gets a snack while the other players show the word to give clues for, and show each other their clues to check for eliminated answers. Since you can't discuss clues or show them before everyone has written them anyway, it works basically exactly the same way and is perfect for a wide range of player counts! It's one of my favorite party games, and one of my favorite virtual game night games too!
1. Dungeons & Dragons
Theme - Fantasy; Adventuring
Mechanics - Dice Rolling; Role Playing
Like my first entry, I know RPGs aren't for everyone, but they were my top pick for this list because they work so smoothly. There's very little players need to see besides their own character sheets, so it works over voice or video chat as long as everyone can clearly hear the Game Master. If you're not into Dungeons & Dragons specifically, there are various options out there too from Feast of Legends, to the Millennium Blades RPG, and more! You just have to find a theme and set up that works well for you. Additionally, if you don't have dice, you can use Google very easily, or a number of other websites/apps that roll dice for you. Overall, definitely the most accessible of these, if you're interested in this type of game.