Virtual Game Night: Tips, Ideas & Platforms

Hosting virtual game nights is a fantastic way to stay connected with friends and loved ones, especially those who live far away. Looking back, I realize there were missed opportunities to host virtual baby showers or spend Saturday nights playing games online with friends instead of just watching TV shows. Moving forward, I plan to make use of virtual options to create memorable experiences and strengthen relationships. Virtual game nights can be a fun and interactive way to engage with others, no matter where they are located.

So, gather your friends, pick a platform, choose a fun game or classic board game, form teams, and get ready for a night of laughter, playing, and friendly competition!

By the way, don’t forget that hosting a virtual game night is still hosting. Check out my guide to the six roles of hosting to ensure you aren’t making work for yourself than necessary.

Understanding Virtual Game Nights

Engaging in shared activities is a more impactful way to spend time with friends, coworkers, or family than just scheduling calls or Facetime dates. Virtual game nights are a great option for connecting with loved ones, whether it’s for a special occasion like a birthday or holiday party, or just a casual get-together with college friends. Consider making virtual game nights a regular occurrence to strengthen bonds and create lasting memories together.

Additional creative reasons to host a virtual game night include:

  • Reaching out to friends with new babies, caring responsibilities, or health challenges to stay connected despite distance or limitations
  • Spontaneously plan a last-minute game night for friends far away, allowing everyone to relax in comfort
  • Connect with family during holidays by adding some online games or bingo to the festivities.
  • For those working remotely, consider scheduling a monthly lunch game to break the monotony and foster team bonding. A quick game during team meetings can also lighten the mood before diving into work discussions.
  • Celebrate bridal showers or baby showers for loved ones who live far away
  • Working remotely? Schedule a monthly lunch game. I know that seems silly, but working remotely makes it hard to connect with co-workers about anything besides work. If a lunchtime game of Exploding Kittens doesn’t sound like it will be a winner with your team, consider playing a virtual game on a team meeting everyone in a while. Start playing 15 minutes of catchphrase with guests and players to lighten the mood before diving into your Monday Stand-up.
  • Plan a ladies’ night or reconnect with old friends. We hosted a “college roomie virtual game night, “ and it was a fun way to see friends spread worldwide.
  • Celebrate a long-distance friendship with a round of virtual bar trivia so no one misses out on the celebration due to distance.
  • Get together with your online friends! Just because you make virtual connections in forums or on social media doesn’t mean you can’t plan a night to get together.

Planning Your Virtual Game Night

Essentials Needed

To ensure a successful virtual game night, there are a few essential elements that all players and guests should have to start.

  1. Stable Internet Connection: A reliable internet connection is crucial for a smooth gaming experience. Encourage participants to test their connection beforehand to minimize lag and disruptions during the game night.
  2. Devices with Webcams and Microphones: Each participant should have a device (computer, tablet, or smartphone) equipped with a webcam and microphone. This allows everyone to see and hear each other, enhancing the social aspect of the virtual game night.
  3. Video Conferencing Platform: Choose a video conferencing platform that supports screen sharing and can accommodate the number of participants. Some popular options include Zoom, Google Meet, and Skype. Make sure the platform is user-friendly and accessible to all participants.

Choosing a Platform

When selecting a video conferencing platform for your virtual game night, consider the following factors:

  • Zoom: Zoom is a popular choice, but it has a 40-minute time limit for free accounts hosting meetings with three or more participants. If you plan on a longer game night, you may need to upgrade to a paid account or choose an alternative platform.
  • FaceTime: If all participants have Apple devices, FaceTime can be a convenient option. However, it may not be suitable for larger groups or those with non-Apple devices.
  • Google Meet: Google Meet is a user-friendly platform that can accommodate large groups without time limits. It integrates well with other Google services, making it a solid choice for many.
  • Facebook Messenger: Facebook Messenger has recently made improvements to its video chat capabilities, making it a viable option for those who already use the platform.
  • Other Options: Skype and WhatsApp are additional platforms to consider based on your group’s preferences and familiarity.

Ultimately, choose the platform that is easiest for your group to use and ensures that everyone can participate without interruptions.

Picking a Game or Game App

When selecting an online games to play with friends for your virtual game night, keep the following in mind:

  1. Player Limit: Consider the number of participants in your group. Most virtual games accommodate 2-8 players, but some escape room games allow for larger groups to compete against each other. Choose a game that fits your group size.
  2. Screen Sharing: Some games require the host to share their screen for gameplay. Make sure your chosen video conferencing platform supports screen sharing and that the host is comfortable with this feature. The host can mute their device used for screen sharing and use a second device to participate in the game.
  3. Breakout Rooms: If you have a larger group, consider using a platform like Zoom that offers breakout rooms. This feature allows you to split participants into smaller groups, similar to how you might break off into separate conversations at an in-person party. The host will need to manage the breakout rooms, but it can enhance the social dynamics of the virtual game night.
  4. Game Variety: There are numerous online games available, catering to different interests and skill levels. Some popular options include trivia games, virtual escape rooms, and online versions of classic board games. Choose a game that appeals to your group and aligns with the purpose of your virtual game night (e.g., team building, social bonding, etc.).

Now that you’ve got the lowdown on picking the perfect game app for your virtual game night, it’s time to explore some seriously fun options! If you’re looking for inspiration, I’ve got you covered with my top recommendations for free online games to play with friends. From the hilarious antics of Cards Against Humanity to the fast-paced excitement of Catchphrase, there’s something for every crew. Want to solve a murder mystery, go on a virtual scavenger hunt, or test your trivia skills? I’ve got all the deets in my post, “Online Games to Play with Friends.” Trust me, these games will have you and your pals laughing, strategizing, and bonding all night. So, what are you waiting for?

Consider a Virtual Escape Room

If you’re looking for a unique and exciting option for your virtual game night, a virtual escape room might be just the thing! These immersive experiences bring the thrill of a physical escape room right to your screen. You and your friends will work together to solve puzzles, uncover clues, and ultimately “escape” the virtual room, all while connected through a video call.

Virtual escape rooms are a fantastic choice for game nights because they encourage teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills. They’re also incredibly versatile, with themes ranging from mystery and adventure to horror and fantasy. Plus, with no physical limitations, virtual escape rooms can take you to far-off places and immerse you in captivating storylines, all from the comfort of your own home. So, if you want to add a little extra excitement and challenge to your virtual game night, consider embarking on a virtual escape room adventure with your crew!

Enhancing Your Virtual Game Night with Themes and Shared Experiences

While a basic virtual game night can be a blast on its own, adding a little extra flair through themes or shared experiences can take your event to the next level. These additional elements serve as conversation starters and can keep the good times rolling even after the games are over. For example, you could encourage everyone to share what they’re snacking on during the game night and swap recipes. Who knows, you might discover your new favorite go-to party dish!

Consider creating shared experiences to make your virtual hangout feel more connected and engaging, such as:

  • Give the virtual game night a theme, whether dressing up, team names, or theme amongst the games you will play that night.
  • Send out a recipe for a signature cocktail or mocktail that everyone can make and enjoy together.
  • Encourage everyone to cook something similar.
  • If you’re feeling extra fancy, you could even suggest a “wine of the night” for your crew to sip on while playing
  • Create a shared playlist that everyone can jam out to in the background

By incorporating these tangible elements that activate your senses, you’ll create a sense of togetherness and shared experience, even when you’re physically apart.

Virtual Game Night Ideas & Activities

For Small Groups

If you’re planning a virtual game night, keep in mind that smaller groups can make things a lot more manageable and flexible. With just a handful of friends, you can easily switch up games on the fly, bounce between chatting and playing, and even have those little side conversations that make game nights so much fun. Plus, you can get creative and add some extra flair with themes, like having everyone dress up or make themed snacks.

For Large Groups

Alright, if you’re hosting a virtual game night for a big crew (we’re talking eight or more people), you need to step up and take charge! Trust me, a little leadership goes a long way in keeping things running smoothly. Here are some tried-and-true guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Mute, mute, mute! If you’re having a side convo or there’s some background noise, be a pal and hit that mute button. Your fellow players will thank you!
  • Instead of clapping and accidentally deafening everyone, try giving some silent “spirit hands” to show your excitement. It’s like a virtual high-five!
  • Got something to say that’s not relevant to the whole group? Use the chatbox for those side conversations. It’s like passing notes in class, but without the risk of getting caught!
  • Sharing a game link or giving instructions? Do everyone a solid and type it out in the chatbox. No need to make people strain their ears or play a game of telephone.
  • Last but not least, be sure to mute any other notifications on your computer. We don’t need to hear your group chat blowing up every two minutes!

Remember, as the host, you’re the leader, and keeping everyone organized is important, but so is setting a light and enjoyable mood.

How to Host a Successful Virtual Game Night

Sending the Invite

Alright, let’s talk about getting this virtual game night party started! First things first, you gotta send out those invites. Don’t leave your pals hanging – give them plenty of notice so they can clear their schedules. Make sure to include all the important details: the date, time, and video chat link. Oh, and don’t forget to let them know what games you plan to play (or at least give them a few options). It’s also a good idea to give your friends a little heads up on how to join the virtual hangout and if they need to do anything beforehand, like downloading a specific app or brushing up on their trivia skills. And hey, since this is all virtual, remind your crew that it’s totally cool if they can only pop in for a round or two, or even to say hi. The more the merrier, right?

During Virtual Game Night

Setting the Stage

To kick off your virtual game night on the right foot, give everyone a warm welcome and introduce the games you’ll be playing. Double-check that all your pals have the necessary materials or links for the games. If any discussions pop up during gameplay, make sure to keep the communication flowing smoothly by using features like chat functions or having people raise their virtual hands for questions.

Check-In Time

Before diving into the games, give everyone a chance to catch up and connect. Go around the virtual room and have each person share how they’re doing, what’s new in their life, or any exciting announcements they have. It’s like passing a virtual talking stick, making sure everyone feels included and heard.

Designating a Game Host

To ensure your virtual game night is a smashing success, someone needs to step up and be the online game host. Whether that’s you or another friend in the group, having a designated leader is key. The host’s job is to help friends get set up, keep things moving, and make sure everyone has time to connect and have fun.

Troubleshooting and Questions

As your friends join the virtual game night, they might need a little help getting everything set up. They might have questions about how to share their screen, get their lighting just right, or navigate the game itself. Make sure to set aside some time before jumping into the games to address any questions or technical difficulties.

Enjoy the Experience as the Host

As the host of the virtual game night, it’s important to make sure everyone is having a great time, including yourself. Don’t get so caught up in running the event that you forget to relax and enjoy the games!

If you start to feel overwhelmed or unable to fully engage in the fun, don’t hesitate to ask for assistance. Delegate tasks to your friends, such as keeping score, managing the chat, or even co-hosting. By sharing the responsibilities, you can ensure that everyone, including yourself, gets to participate and have a good time.

Remember, the main goal of a virtual game night is to have a blast and stay connected with your friends, even if you can’t be together in person. While it may not be the same as being in the same room, it’s still a great way to bond! Embrace the laughs, the friendly competition, and the shared moments. You’re making memories, strengthening relationships, and enjoying quality time with your loved ones. So, dive into the games, relax, and savor every moment of this virtual hangout!

Wrapping Up and Sharing Memories

After an unforgettable virtual game night, don’t forget to thank everyone for joining in on the fun! Share some of the hilarious moments or epic plays from the night by posting photos or videos. It’s a great way to create lasting memories of your virtual hangout. And hey, if you want to make your next game night even better, ask your friends for feedback about their experience. That way, you can work out any technical kinks and make sure everyone has a blast!

5 Tips for a Successful Virtual Game Night

  1. Choose the right platform and games: Select a video conferencing platform that’s easy to use and supports features like screen sharing and breakout rooms. Pick games that suit your group size and interests, ensuring everyone can participate and have a great time.
  2. Send out clear invitations: Give your friends plenty of notice and include all the essential details in the invite, such as the date, time, video chat link, and game choices. Encourage them to test their tech setup beforehand and remind them that it’s okay to join for just a portion of the event if needed.
  3. Set the stage and break the ice: Kick off your virtual game night with a warm welcome and introduce the games you’ll be playing. Use icebreakers or check-in sessions to help everyone feel included and connected before diving into the games.
  4. Designate a game host: Having a designated host can help keep things running smoothly. The host’s responsibilities include helping friends with tech issues, keeping the games moving, and ensuring everyone has a chance to participate and have fun.
  5. Enjoy the experience and ask for help when needed: As the host, it’s crucial that you enjoy the virtual game night too! If you feel overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to delegate tasks to your friends, such as keeping score or managing the chat. Remember, the goal is for everyone to have a fantastic time together, even if you can’t be in the same room.

Final Thoughts

Hosting a virtual game night is a fantastic way to stay connected with friends, family, and coworkers, no matter the distance. By following these tips and tricks, you’ll be well on your way to creating an unforgettable online game night experience that everyone will enjoy.

Remember, the key to a successful virtual game night is to keep things fun, flexible, and inclusive. Encourage laughter, friendly competition, and shared moments that will strengthen your bonds and create lasting memories. Don’t be afraid to get creative with themes, shared experiences, and game choices to keep things fresh and exciting.

So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your epic virtual game night today! With a little preparation and a lot of enthusiasm, you’ll be ready to host an online gaming extravaganza that your friends and family will be talking about for weeks to come. Happy gaming!

Frequently Asked Questions

Popular platforms for hosting virtual game nights include Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, and Discord. These platforms offer features like screen sharing, breakout rooms, and chat functions that enhance the gaming experience and facilitate smooth communication among players.

How do I ensure a successful virtual game night as a host?

To ensure a successful virtual game night as a host, it’s important to set yourself up for success by testing the platform and game app beforehand. Sending out clear instructions to your guests will help everyone be on the same page. Don’t be afraid to ask friends for help, even if you’re the host – teamwork makes the dream work! Remember to keep things light and fun, and most importantly, enjoy the time spent with your friends. At the end of the night, that’s what truly matters.

Are there classic board games you can play online?

I believe that everyone has their own definition of classic board games. If you’re looking to play some online, there are a few options to choose from. Some popular choices include Monopoly, Settlers of Catan, Uno, Scattegories, Chess, and Risk. These games can be easily accessed online and enjoyed with friends and family. So, whether you’re a fan of strategic gameplay or prefer something more luck-based, there’s a classic board game out there for everyone to enjoy virtually.

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Hi! I'm Alex.

I am just a person who has spent an extraordinary amount of time trying to understand some of the relationships that I hold most dear. I invite you to join in on the conversation below in the comments section below.

Ask questions, leave comments, share critiques or give advice. All are welcome.

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Hi. I'm Alex.

I'm just a gal who cares deeply about community + friendship. Why? Well, I didn't have a healthy support system growing up.

So I built one... out of friends. I believe a healthy support system is the ultimate self-care.

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