Social distancing means that we’re physically apart, but with sophisticated technology at our fingertips, we don’t have to forego quality time together. Dust off your hosting skills by putting together a virtual game night for any group, from large crowds and young families to a memorable girls’ night! With these tips, you’ll easily spread the fun from your living room across the miles.
Virtual Party Setup
For any kind of gathering, the setup is important – and a virtual game night is no different! Set the stage by sending a virtual invitation from sites like Punchbowl. There’s space on the invitation to communicate the technology needs to all the guests so that they’re ready ahead of time with any accounts or app downloads. For most games, it’s easiest if each household/group has at least two devices: one to log onto Zoom or video chat so that everyone can hear and see the fun, and another to interact with the game. And just because it’s virtual doesn’t mean you should skimp on the theme and party treats – send out a suggested menu with your invitation so that everyone can enjoy the same snacks, and put up a festive background, so your Zoom square looks fun!
Big Group of Friends/Families
If you have a big crowd to host, then the Party Pack from JackBox Games is one of the best options. You’ll get 5-7 games for an entire night of fun with your large group of friends or other families (teens+; many parts of games have some risqué and/or violent mentions). For help playing these games virtually (rather than all in one room together), check out the ideas here. The benefit to JackBox Games is that only one person needs to own the game – everyone else just logs into the right spot via their web browser! With a large group, things can get hectic, so it helps to send out a tentative schedule of events along with the party invitation. That way, everyone knows when their favourite game is coming up, and no one asks for the hundredth time whose turn is next!
Couples Game Night
Do you miss going out with other couple friends? Easily transition your game nights to a virtual version with these favourites. If you’re the crowd that used to complete every new Escape Room, then try Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes (info for playing remotely here). A fast-paced strategy and communication game, you’re sure to end up shrieking in frustrating fun! The only catch here is that both households need to own a copy of the game for the best experience. If you want something more laid-back, Most Likely To will leave everyone laughing as you predict who among you is the most likely to do a variety of zany things – the online version is free!
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Families with Younger Kids
Groups with younger kids can make game nights easiest by playing familiar games, just virtually! The UNO! Apps offer team play as well as larger groups. You can start a Fun Room to have the whole (distanced) family together for the game. Since the app offers customizations for rules and gameplay, you can make sure that even the youngest kids get in on the action; just remember that it’s easiest to play these app games when you have multiple devices available. For a virtual game night that doesn’t require as much device use, try a distanced version of long-time favourites like Bingo or Hedbanz/Heads Up. Just set up your Zoom call and take turns as you would in person! To tailor a game like Bingo or Hedbanz to your party’s theme (or even just what your kids enjoy!), take a look at these fun Bingo card ideas and tips for making your own forehead game to print at home.
For the ultimate girls’ game night, the Houseparty app is an all-in-one solution. As a socializing app with embedded gameplay, Houseparty means that you don’t have to log onto two different devices to get the most from a virtual game night. Once two members start a chat, a room opens up, and others can join in – then choose your favourite game and make sure to screenshot the hilarity! Add some fun by deciding on a signature cocktail ahead of time; send your girls the recipe, and everyone can sip along together!
No matter what crowd you’re gathering for your next virtual game night, your hosting skills will shine through with these great options!