Best Zoom Board Games

Ellen Grant
• Saturday, 19 December, 2020
• 19 min read

“A lot of board gamers are having to get creative to get their weekly fix in these socially distant times,” says board game designer Rob Sparks, like organizing Zoom get-togethers, Skype calls, or FaceTime hangouts. Our experts agree that roll-and-write-style games, where players typically roll dice and mark results on a score sheet, tend to work best, but there are other, more in-depth board games that can also be easily adapted.

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To find out what works best for virtual play, we asked Sparks and four other board -game experts for their favorites, including games for groups as small as two and as big as 100. A quick note on setup: If you are playing the part of the host, board game enthusiast and Cartamundi tabletop games ambassador Sean Amdisen-Cooke suggests building a makeshift tripod out of boxes and books to hold your phone, with the camera aimed at the tabletop from above, for all the players to see what is happening during gameplay.

This game has players take on the role of architects attempting to build the perfect town in the 1950s America. There are many ways to score points, and players must figure out their preferred strategy to put them in the lead, he adds.

George Georges of Onto Games is also a huge fan and says it’s a great choice to play with a ton of people. To play online, one person must own the game to display the cards and everyone else just needs a pencil and a score sheet, which they can download and print for free here or download a free app onto their phones for a digital version, says Georges.

According to Sparks, Boggle is perfect for an evening wordsmith with friends,” and it’s one of the simplest games to play virtually. Another classic game that easily translates on Zoom is Dictionary, which Sparks call “simple to teach and loads of fun.” While you will have to forgo the board to play this online, “it’s still a hilariously creative game to sink a few evenings into,” he says.

Each player will need a timer and either a digital drawing board like Microsoft Paint, Photoshop, Zoom’s Whiteboard feature, or just a pen and paper. The main objective is to choose from six different colored dice for chain-scoring opportunities on your scoreboard to earn points.

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Patchwork Doodle is a Tetris -style game that builds on We Rosenberg’s two-player smash hit Patchwork, says Amdisen-Cooke, adding that it’s “good fun for the whole family.” For online play, one player has to own a copy of the game and everyone else needs a sheet of graph paper on hand to draw. If all the cards have been played or all the players have been eliminated, then the person who has filled their grid with the fewest gaps wins.

The game only requires that each player has a sheet of graph paper, with the host revealing the cards to the camera. Players aim to connect as many exits on their boards as possible, with the dice rolls determining what they can build, he adds.

Just like with Second Chance, players only need a sheet of graph paper, with the host revealing the cards to the camera. “Make sure the host’s webcam is showing the board, ” adds Sparks.

As long as everyone can print the score sheets at home, only one player needs to own the physical game. That person will announce the scoring rules for that game and show the cards as they’re flipped each turn.

If you get tired of the original, there are also several expansion pads that introduce new themes (Halloween, Winter Wonderland, Zombie Outbreak, Nuclear Doomsday) and small rule tweaks to keep the playing experience fresh. The trivia questions are hard but not so obscure that you’re just guessing wildly, and the betting aspect (deciding whether to risk providing more than one answer) turns out to be very entertaining for everybody.

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Playing Half Truth over Zoom would be as simple as any virtual trivia game. The owner of the game flips the card over to reveal the correct answer while each player shows their chosen responses.

Each character in Villainous is the bad guy from a different Disney movie (Captain Hook, Afar, Maleficent, etc.) With a unique deck of cards, board, and objective to win the game.

The new Marvel Villainous game probably wouldn’t work as well over Zoom given its increased interaction between players, but I’m sure you could figure out a workaround if you’re really determined to play as Thanos. In each round, one player draws a card with a three-digit code corresponding to those numbered words.

That player gives one-word clues to try and get their teammates to guess the code on their card. The catch is that the other team can write down those clues each round and try to guess the four secret words via deduction.

Code names has already gotten the Zoom treatment, with multiple sites dedicated to producing card tableaux for players to share on their screens … but I can speak from experience and say that you can go even more low-tech than that as long as one person owns the game. The number corresponds to how many cards on the grid the Spymaster thinks relate, in some way, to the clue word.

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The team may then guess words on the grid, up to the number the Spymaster gave plus one. I laid out the card grid and sent a picture to the rest of the players, who could then see the 25 words and check them off on their phones while playing.

(I don’t necessarily agree that the sequel is twice as clever as the first game, but it’s definitely more difficult to figure out.) There’s also a third game in the series coming soon, with the German title Clever Foch Era, which makes the scoring even more arcane.

Distills a heavy, two-hour game (La Granja) into this dice-rolling format with a lot of specific rules on how you can fill out each of the paper’s five sections. The designer of That’s Pretty Clever is also behind this social deduction game with a cooperative mode that would work especially well for players who are all on Zoom.

In our hot/cold example, the Psychic could say “coffee” to indicate that the marker is closer to the right (hot) side of the device. You would probably need two players at the site with the physical game since it wouldn’t really be fair for the Psychic to move the dial, but everyone else can be remote.

The players then compare all of their clues and eliminate any words that more than one person wrote down, presenting whatever remains to the guesser. The guesser would just have to avert their eyes (and/or ears) while other players learn the key word, and again while the clue-givers compare their clues to eliminate any duplicates.

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Simply pick a judge, make a list of common household items, and get started. You can spice things up by dividing the players into different teams and setting up time limits which shall increase the stakes to keep you all entertained.

Categories is the classic board game that has survived the ages thanks to its compelling gameplay and wacky nature. Werewolf is a game of deception and bluffing where you have to keep your intentions hidden while trying to find the culprit in the process.

Werewolf is mostly a game for adults that has a slightly steep learning curve during the initial phase, but once you are all on board, it turns into a lot of fun for all of your friends. You get over 50 cards with the Werewolf deck, which means as many as 35 players can play the gamer, and even two simultaneous games.

Guess Who is a fun game that will help you and your friends gel together while learning new things about each other in the process. The selected judge then starts by picking a truth from the pool and random while everyone gets a single chance to guess who the person is in question.

Each correct answer earns the player one point until the game finishes, and you run of truths for each other. You can spice things up by adding false truths in the bowl to throw people off as well.

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The Pass On game is a simple and fun math adventure that requires you to be spontaneous and witty at the same time. Keep in mind that the last member of your group will be the first one in the next round and will most likely decide on the next random number, so it is probably a good idea to help them along the way.

You can use the tons of available math riddles on the internet to create an interesting game for yourself. Simply start by creating a pool of uncomfortable questions for your friends that they will be inclined to avoid answering in a public setting.

Once you have a pool setup you all simply start by pulling out random questions to answer. If any of you does not wish to divulge and answer the uncomfortable question then you can opt to solve the math riddle instead.

You can time the math riddle in order to add an extra layer of competition to the game. On the other hand, if you are all adults and of drinking age, then you can simply replace the pool of questions with alcohol.

Requirements : A pair of dies, Zoom free account, Even number of participants Sudoku is a great math game that requires you to have mental calculation skills along with hand-eye coordination.

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Simply have everyone print out the same Sudoku sheet and start filling numbers in one by one using erasable markers or pencil. In the end, the score will be tallied and the person who has the most correct placements wins the game.

The host can keep a common sheet with a track of all the new placements so that it is easier for everyone to view the progress. Alternatively, you can also opt for online Sudoku puzzles that can be screened shared with your Zoom meeting members.

Okay so this one is technically not a dedicated math game, but it requires a hefty amount of calculation and luck. The host can start off by being the dealer while the rest of the players can place bets using money or gift cards, whatever you are comfortable with.

The host will need a detachable webcam in order to share a full view of the blackjack table with everyone over Zoom. You start by sitting in a circle, or in this case deciding the drinking order among your friends on Zoom.

You then start the order by mentioning something that you have never done in your life, if one of your friends has committed that act in the past, then he/she will have to take a sip from their drink. Never have I ever is a fun game that does not require any setup and can help reveal things about your friends that you did not know before.

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Simply choose from the list of racy true and false questions below, create a Zoom meeting and share the screen with your friends! You can then use the Zoom whiteboard annotations to keep track of everybody’s score and the player with the most correct answers at the end of each round wins the game.

True & False is a fun battle of wits that does not require many resources but still helps you learn new things in the process. Netflix allows you to create a private room for you and your friends where you can watch TV shows and movies together.

Netflix Party will get you and your friends drunk in no time while helping you discover new and interesting shows and movies to watch together. You call out different places on the grid in an attempt to sink one of the 4 ships that range from sizes 1 to 4 blocks.

One of the players can run the game on their desktop and then share the screen with all the Zoom meeting members. Players can download the accompanying guide in .pdf form from the official ‘ Keep talking and nobody explodes website to help you defuse the bomb.

Okay, this is an easy and fun version of the classic board game ludo that is available for all mobile devices. This gives you the ability to play a game with your friends without the need for a high-powered PC or a fast network.

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In fact, only one of you needs to be accessing the game from a system while the others can simply join in on their mobile devices using the Zoom meeting invite. If you are the host, you will need to download an Android emulator to run the game and share the screen with your Zoom meeting.

We recommend Blue stacks as it is easy to use and set up and does not require any tweaking to work right out of the box. Monopoly mobile is available for iOS and Android which virtually gives you the ability to join the game for anywhere you want to.

You get to enjoy quirky animations and excellent graphics while trying to climb to the top and beating your friends. The best part about the mobile Monopoly is that you do not need someone to act as the bank and nor do you need to worry about your best friend sneaking away extra money.

To get started, simply get an Android emulator on your PC, install Monopoly and share the screen to a Zoom meeting and invite your friends. 1v1.lol is another action shooter on our list that fortunately does not require you to have a dedicated graphics card and a lot of RAM.

1v1.lol gives you the ability to create private rooms and battle against your friends in different game modes. You also get the ability to create complex structures just like Fortnite and even compete in leaderboard matches in a bid to become the best player.

Tip: If you are experiencing lags or frame rate drops then make sure hardware acceleration is enabled for your browser. We recommend using Chrome as it offers you the ability to turn hardware acceleration manually off or on.

You have the option to choose from popular categories or simply use an online tool to help you generate trivia questions quickly. Simply design some simple bingo tickets using grids in your favorite photo editor and send them out to your friends.

If you have a bingo set at your home you can use its existing chips to call out numbers at random. On the other hand, if you don’t have bingo chips then you can simply write down numbers on paper cards and shuffle them to call them out at random.

It will then display random characters and events based on the category you chose along with a timer. This will be visible to your friends on Zoom who can then try and help you guess the term or character in question by passing you hints.

You can choose from a wide variety of categories including movies, celebrities, popular trends, songs, artists and more. Charades is a fairly easy and simple game to play on Zoom which can be enhanced by muting the person whose turn it is to act out.

You can even keep track of time in order to up the ante and pitch in to create a prize pool. Tip: Considering that most of us should not be venturing outside our homes at this time while reducing social contact, it might be a good idea to keep something digital as the prize for the winner.

Simply decide a time limit, pick a recipe from YouTube and share the screen with your friends on Zoom. You can even create online polls for your friends so that they can judge the presentation of your food item.

Dr awful 2 is another Dictionary alternative that gives you the ability to create specific game rooms and have your friends join in from their respective devices. You can share the applications window with your friends who can then collectively help guess the picture being drawn by you.

Once your turn is over, the next person can use their device to draw while the others can look at the Zoom Screen share and help guess the item at hand. The objective is quite simple, to bluff, avoid the lies of your friends and find the underlying truth.

The host in your friend group can run the game on their PC or Mac and then share the screen using Zoom. The premise of the game is quite simple, you take turns filling in the blanks with any word that you like while the other players come up with their own ideas.

Just like other Jack box games, you get the ability to create a room ID that you can share with your friends which allows them to use their devices as a controller. You can then stream your screen to all your friends on Zoom which will allow you to play Word Spud in a cohesive manner.

The game requires you to simply complete the sentences and answer funny prompts that are randomly displayed on your screen. Each player is given compartmentalized instructions on their smartphones which then needs to be collectively assembled by you in order to solve the puzzle and defuse the bomb.

Follow this guide to share a Zoom whiteboard with your friends in order to get started with Dictionary. Step 1: Start a Zoom meeting and invite all your friends that you want to play Dictionary with.

Step 2: Once everybody shows up, click on the ‘ Share screen button in the calling bar at the bottom of your Zoom meeting window. You can use instant messaging services to share your answers or simply say them out loud if you are all video conferencing with each other.

A good example of easy to find daily crossword puzzles is the Webster dictionary website. You get access to tons of different crossword puzzles along with hints that make it easier for you and your friends to solve them.

The goal of the game is to come up with a name, place animal and thing from the letter your judge picks at a random as fast as you can. You can play till you have run out of all 26 letters and then switch to make the winner the judge this time.

The goal of the game is to converse only in questions that make sense depending on the context at hand. You can increase or decrease the timer required to come up with a question depending on the abilities of your friends to keep the game fun and interesting.

This will require a bit more of a complicated setup but if you have an extra web camera then you can surely play Dungeons and Dragons together. Just like Monopoly on our list, even UNO has a digital version that you can download on your smartphones using this link.

To play via Zoom, the host will need to download an Android emulator and run the game on their desktop. You can use Blue stacks as it is easy to set up and runs right out of the box without the need for any configuration or special tweaks.

Once the game has been set up you can share the screen with your friends via a Zoom meeting and invite everyone in UNO to get started. This will allow you to run the app in full screen while giving you the advantage of covering your cards with a .jpeg so that they can not be seen by your opponents.

Try cardzmania, this free to use website allows you to create private rooms and compete in various card games against your friends. You get access to over 17 different multiplayer games including the likes of rummy, crazy eights, Duran and more.

The host simply needs to screen share his browser to the Zoom meeting while the rest of the players can join in on the private room on cardzmania. If you are having trouble hiding your cards then you can always join the game using a mobile device and the cardzmania room ID.

Simply set up your scrabble board, distribute the letters to your friends via Zoom and get started. Instead of using the in-game money, the bank and players can simply keep a track of their savings using a pen and paper.

This will also help you verify your savings late in the game in case you think you are missing some money. Just like Monopoly, you can use an extra webcam to set up your Game of life board.

The host can download an Android emulator, install the app and share the screen in a dedicated Zoom meeting among your friends. This way you won’t have to use a random online dice roller nor will you have to rely on the host to do your spins for you.

Cards against humanity is a fun adult game that was first popularized in 2012 due to its weird and wacky nature. The game simply requires you to fill in the blanks with the cards that you have at hand to form the most absurd and funny statements and scenarios that you can come up with.

Its free online version on playing cards.Io automates most of the card placement for you which makes the game easier for you to play. The host can then screen share the game to your Zoom meeting which will make it easier for everyone to keep track of the cards and interact with each other.

Try the truth or dare extreme edition using this link and add some spice to your normal Zoom hangout Simply create a new Zoom meeting, invite your friends, grab some stationary and get started.

The way this game works is that each of you takes turns writing down your dislikes and likes on a particular topic. This is a fun game that can help you and your friends gel together and learn more about each other all while discovering each other’s likes and dislikes.

React and act is another fun game on the list that does not require any additional tools. To get this working via Zoom, each of you can email your suggestions to the host who can then create slips and put them into a hat.

This is a fun game for drama enthusiasts and friends that generally like to play charades. There will be one person chosen at random for the first time and later you can continue taking turns in a circle.

You can add the ability to ask for two or a maximum of three hints during the game to keep everything exciting in case you don’t know much about each other. And to add an extra layer of fun, you can even start by taking shots for every wrong guess, The possibilities are endless.

Put on your best suit, turn on a swanky Zoom background, use a deep epic voice and get the talent show started right from the comfort of your choice. You can even share the Zoom meeting URL with family and friends in order to get an audience for the talent show.

You can then use a free poll service like the poll-maker to get your audience to vote on the different talents in a bid to find who is the best among you and your friends for some extra bragging rights. The host can then share a full-screen version of these songs with all the meeting participants and get a poll going among your audience members to find out who is the best.

Zoom even lets you share your computer’s audio output with your meeting participants which ensures that there is little to no latency in your karaoke sessions. For the final showdown, you can even create random picks by the judges that each participant has to perform to win the Lip sync battle.

Here is a handy list of Zoom backgrounds that we compiled earlier that should help you find the right one for you. Just like camping, you can create an eerie atmosphere right from your couch and tell scary stories to have a fun time with your family.

Most of these impromptu recipes are a combination of junk food and household ingredients which will make it easier to replicate them during your Zoom meeting. Unusual food combos is a good way to have dinner with your family while incorporating fun into it.

But this hasn’t held people back from coming up with some great game ideas that can be played via Zoom. You can share your game screen via Zoom to all your meeting members which will make it easier for everyone to be on the same page.

Most Zoom games either require manual effort or a simple screen sharing option that makes it easier for you and your friends to stay on the same page. Follow this guide to learn all the basics of sharing your screen via Zoom which can then be used to play one of the games we have listed below.

Step 4: Click the ‘Share screen’ button in the bottom row of the Meeting window. Step 6: Proceed to share the invitation URL with your friends via your desired instant messaging service.

This will provide all your players with an immersive experience while making sure that none of the other windows on your desktop are visible to your friends. Step 10: The game will now become the active window on your desktop screen with a Zoom overlay in the top right-hand corner that will show you the video feed from all the meeting participants.

Tip: This overlay will only be visible to you and you can resize it and drag it around on your screen for the best viewing experience. Using the control bar at the top of the screen that also shows Meeting ID, and an option to Stop the share.

Step 11: At this point, if your game supports remote play, you can ask your friends to join in on the room for a more cohesive experience. In case you are looking to continue forward, see the link below on how to transfer the host to somebody else and reset the 40-minute timer.

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