8 online game options for distanced-fun with friends

Nov 9 2020, 2:24 pm

Staying at home presents the perfect opportunity to bust out the games for a game night, but effective physical distancing means that nobody is allowed to bring over a six-pack and chips for a game of Monopoly.

What you can do, however, is host a virtual game night. With the right online chat application, you can set up a video call or screen share with friends and play tons of fun games.

Among Us

What is it? By now, you’ve probably seen at least one Among Us meme. The multiplayer game is much like mafia, where one person is the killer and you must work as a team to catch them before everyone is dead.

Is it free? The game is free in the Apple and Android app store, but costs around $5 for the PC.

System requirements: You can play on a phone, tablet, or computer.

Scribbl.io

What is it? The website hosts online Pictionary for up to twelve players. The game is available in multiple languages and uses words suitable for children.

Is it free? Yes.

System requirements: Playing on a computer would be best for this website.

Codenames

What is it? If you’ve got an even number of friends online, codenames is the game for you. Have fun listening to your friends’ train of thoughts as you work together to crack a code and beat the opposite team.

Is it free? Yes.

System requirements: You can play on a phone, tablet, or computer.

Jackbox Games

What is it? Jackbox Games is a cross-platform game bundle where players connect to the host game with their phones by going to jackbox.tv and entering a custom room code. All players can then play a variety of games ranging from word games to telephone-like drawing games.

Is it free? Costs range from $12.49 to $29.99 for different game bundles.

System requirements: Jackbox works on everything from Mac, Xbox, Playstation, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV. Though you will need to use an additional chat system with screen sharing to get the full experience.

Pogo Games 

What is it? Pogo is a website with a variety of games available ranging from mahjong, word games, and bingo. They also have an online version of Monopoly that you can register to play for free, so no one will flip the board or accuse the banker of cheating.

Is it free? Yes.

System requirements: Any web browser will do!

Playing Cards.io

What is it? Playing Cards is just that: playing cards, but online. The free website has checkers, crazy eights, and the perennial party favorite, Cards Against Humanity. Much like Jackbox, players enter a room code to play with their friends. All the card movements are synced on everyone’s screens, and there’s even an option to play a custom card game with a virtual 52 count deck.

Is it free? Yes.

System requirements: Any web browser, including mobile.

Exploding Kittens

What is it? A sometimes grotesque cat-themed card game where players try to avoid drawing the titular exploding kitten. This mobile game is nearly identical to the physical deck, the only changes being some exclusive cards. The online version features a solo mode as well as multiplayer.

Is it free? No, it retails for $2.59 on Android and $1.99 on iOS.

System Requirements: An Android or iOS powered smartphone

Tabletopia

What is it? Tabletopia offers over 800 virtual board games to play, from intense strategy games to simple chess to more unusual titles like Terra Mystica and Anachrony. Titles can be filtered by age, a maximum number of players, maximum playtime, and age recommendations.

Is it free? Yes, but there are some restrictions to the free version. Premium memberships can be purchased for $4.99 or $9.99, depending on the level you want.

System Requirements: Tabletopia can currently be downloaded onto Windows and Mac systems through Steam, and there are some browsers supported currently. You can find the complete list of system requirements here.

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