There’s only so long you can keep a group of people on Microsoft Teams entertained and engaged, before the small talk gets boring – and, dare we say it, downright awkward. But luckily, there are a ton of virtual games you can play with colleagues that are guaranteed to bring back that Friday feeling.

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So we’ve decided to put together our list of favorite games you can play, from new ideas that require just a bit of imagination, to fully digitalized versions of classic board games that you already know and love.

Enjoy!

1. The virtual scavenger hunt

It’s a classic, so we had to mention it. A scavenger hunt is a really good way to break the ice during a group call, and it actually gets people moving at the same time.

The premise is simple – one person prepares a list of items that might reasonably be found in (or close to) a person’s house and then calls each out in turn. Everybody else on the call must scramble to find each item, and be the first to return to their seat with it, to score the point.

Don’t be afraid to get a bit creative and send people a little further than just their kitchen or their living room. Could you ask for something that might only exist in their garden shed, such as a snow shovel?

2. Truth or dare knockout

We’re willing to bet that you’ve never played this game before, but it’s really fun and all you need is a video conferencing platform like Zoom or Microsoft Teams.

In a game of truth or dare knockout, everybody puts their cameras on, and one person takes the role of “Dare Master”. This person then begins to challenge the rest of the group, either with dares which they must perform, or questions which they must (truthfully!) answer.

Anybody who refuses, or fails, to complete a challenge, must switch their webcam off. This game continues until only one person remains – or until it’s time for bed, depending on how stubbornly brave your players are feeling.

3. Codenames

Codenames is a classic game of communication, played between two rival teams. And while it was originally developed as a tabletop game, there are now plenty of places you can play for free online.

In a game of Codenames, each team will have a “spymaster” who will attempt to communicate secret words to their own team – while preventing the enemy team from cracking the code.

You can learn the rules pretty quickly on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codenames_(board_game)#Rules

Or, if you’re ready to play? Get your friends or colleagues on a Zoom call, then set up a free game of Codenames here.

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4. Virtual escape room

Escape rooms soared in popularity over the last few years, as an excellent way to help teams, and groups of friends, to bond – while working together to solve a complex puzzle; or to beat another team. But when the pandemic hit, escape rooms couldn’t continue to operate – at least not in the traditional sense.

But recently, a number of successful online escape rooms have popped up – which allow you and your friends or colleagues to get your puzzle-solving caps on, and have a couple of hours of fun.

Most of these experiences cost money, but reviews tend to be pretty good. For example, Escape Live offers everything from Casino Heists to Prison Breaks!

5. The big bad imitation game

Caution: This game can get pretty chaotic. So if you’re not a fan of noise, confusion, and bouts of uncontrollable laughter, then move on to something else.

In the big bad imitation game, all you need is a video conferencing platform like Zoom. Then, each player is assigned a different player’s name – at which point, they must then try their best to imitate that person, for as long as it takes for somebody else to guess who they’re trying to be. Of course, everybody is doing this all at once, which can make things very confusing – but also pretty fun.

There are a number of variants of this game – for example, you could win by guessing the most correct imposters; or you could simply score a point by identifying the person pretending to be you. But of course it always helps if everybody on the call knows each other at least enough to do a pretty bad imitation of them.

6. Defy death with a spoon

This is the name some people give to their own adaptations of popular card game “Bucket Of Doom”, which is a hilarious imagination game, where you and your friends attempt to survive various ridiculous situations, using relatively useless tools.

For example, the group might draw a card which says “you’ve just disturbed a nest of killer wasps, and now they’re angry”. Each person must then select an item from one of their own personal “object” cards, and explain how they will use this item to escape the situation.

For instance, if a player uses an object card which says “spoon”, they might explain that they intend to dig themselves a hole in the ground using their spoon, and cover themselves with dirt to evade the swarm of wasps.

To play this game online, you can simply prepare some wacky situations in advance, and then use a random word generator to determine the object cards players will have at their disposal – i.e. the “tools” they will be able to use to escape their various situations. To decide a winner for each scenario, put it to a vote – usually, it’s either the funniest reply, or the most outlandish escape attempt, which ends up winning.

7. The dream team

Similar to “defy death with a spoon”, a game of “the dream team” involves imaginary scenarios, only this time you’re trying to complete some sort of goal – such as robbing a bank, rescuing a hostage, or putting on a Broadway Musical.

To complete your goal, you must make up your fantasy “dream team”, using other people from your team. For example, you might pick the safest driver as your getaway driver in a bank heist – or you might select your best sales person to be a hostage negotiator.

This game is a great way of focusing on the skills and abilities of the different people in your group, while having a bit of fun along the way. The winner is the person who comes up with the best dream team selection and rationalization for each scenario.

8. The Werewolves of Miller’s Hollow

The Werewolves of Miller’s Hollow is a mega game to play with a large group – partly because it caters well for up to 18 people.

In this game, each player takes on a secret role – werewolf, or villager. And as each “night” rolls by, the werewolves will secretly kill villagers – while during each “day”, players will argue and debate as to who they should lynch. It’s a great game of trust, communication, trickery and imagination.

Ordinarily a physical game that you play in person, there’s a great adaptation that you can play for free online at Board Game Arena.

9. Survival of the wittiest

Howard Gardner was well known for proposing a theory of eight intelligences. He suggested that beyond “general” intelligence – i.e. the stuff that we test for in IQ examinations – people can develop specific types of intelligence throughout their life.

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(Stick with us here, we’ll get to the game in a moment!)

These types of intelligence are, in no particular order:

MusicalInterpersonal (social)Intrapersonal (self)LinguisticMathematicalSpacialKinesthetic (body movement)Natural (nature)

There’s no hard and fast way to play survival of the wittiest. But normally, players will pick an intelligence, and represent that intelligence as if they were stranded on a desert island. Players then discuss the scenario, along with a bunch of events that happen while on the island – either spontaneous, or pre-planned – and then have a series of voting rounds where one person gets “kicked off” the island.

Each intelligence must make its case as to why it should remain, and which skills it can provide… and if you want to make this even more realistic, why not get participants to actually take a test to see which of the eight intelligences is their strongest?