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The best games to play on Zoom

There’s nothing better than playing games with friends, though it’s not always possible to get a group together physically to play. If you’re interested in playing remotely, here are the best games to play over Zoom.

Although there are a lot of excellent co-op and multiplayer games available, we focused this list of games that are inexpensive and easy to learn, focusing primarily on tabletop games and tabletop-like experiences. In short, you don’t need a gaming computer to get started with our picks.

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Jackbox

Jackbox games are unintentionally perfect for Zoom. Instead of separate game instances for all of your Zoom friends, Jackbox only needs one copy running. Once your group has chosen a game, everyone will receive a URL and code. From there, your friends can use their phones to play, and you can stream your screen to them.

As for which Jackbox game to play, take your pick. You can go for the $100 bundle that includes nearly everything or pick up one of the tailored Party Packs for around $25. Although some games are better than others, there are no truly bad Jackbox games. If you’re a newbie, we recommend sticking with one of the You Don’t Know Jack games, as well as Quiplash and Drawful.

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

Steel Crate Games

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is a VR superstar that just so happens to work great over Zoom. One player will take the role of the bomb defuser, while the others are experts. Experts read from a bomb defusal manual, instructing the defuser on what to do next. The key is that the experts can’t see the bomb.

In practice, this setup is perfect for Zoom. One player owns Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, while the others read the bomb defusal manual online. If anything, playing over Zoom enhances the experience, as your group of experts struggles to communicate how to disarm the bomb in time.

Overcooked

Overcooked is a cute cooking game that’s all about teamwork. You and three other players play as chefs who must put out high-quality food under increasingly strenuous conditions. The majority of the game revolves around “taking this there” and “putting that over there.” As the difficulty ramps up, though, you’ll have to find out how to traverse the kitchen effectively, put out fires, and deal with the demands of customers.

It’s not a very demanding game, so most computers can run it (it’s available on console, too). However, everyone will need to own a copy to get in on the fun. Overcooked is a great choice if your Zoom group is already on board with buying games and playing their own local instance. If not, stick with one of the above options.

Tabletop Simulator

When it comes to value for your dollar, it doesn’t get better than Tabletop Simulator. It’s a virtual tabletop that allows you to build any game you want. The base package comes with 15 games, including puzzles, poker, chess, and dominoes. However, you can play different games either by creating them yourself or finding a mod online.

If you normally run a game night, Tabletop Simulator is a must-own. Because of its open-ended nature, you’re free to add your own house rules and play whatever game you want in the way your group sees fit. There’s a long list of official expansions, too, that add games like Zombicide, Scythe, and The Captain is Dead.

Besiege

Besiege has been around for a long time, though it was only officially released earlier this year. It’s a physics-based building game where your job is to construct the deadliest medieval siege vessel that you can. You spend some time building your weapon of destruction, then unleash it on the map to cause the most mayhem possible.

There’s a single-player campaign, but Besiege is best played with friends. There are two ways you can approach your Zoom call. The first is to load or create a level and see who can rack up the most points. The second, and our favorite, is to pit two players against each other, having the siege vehicles duke it out in an open arena.

Mysterium

Mysterium is Clue for the 21st century. Although it’s normally a tabletop game, there’s a Steam version for only $7, while the tabletop version goes for around $50. Like Clue, players will need to uncover the details of a murder, namely the identity of the murderer, the weapon they used, and the location.

However, one player assumes the role of a ghost, who must guide the psychic investigators towards the correct answer. The ghost can’t speak, though, simply offering clues to other players in the form of Vision Cards. These abstract pieces of art can provide hints, but it’s up to the investigator to uncover the truth.

Scythe: Digital Edition

Scythe is an excellent tabletop game, but it’s not easy to pick up and play. If Catan is too much for your group to handle, Scythe will be a nightmare. Still, if you and your group are up for learning the rules and spending $20 for the Steam port, it’s one of the best games to play over Zoom.

It’s a strategy game that’s all about territory control. You play as the leader of one of five factions in Europa, a 1920s version of Europe that was ravaged after World War I. You’ll control fierce mechs as you battle for resources and control over critical game spaces. Be careful, though; being aggressive isn’t always the best route to victory.

Mindnight

Mindnight is a secret-role game like One Night Werewolf. You can play with between five and eight players, so it’s perfect for large Zoom calls. It’s also free-to-play, and the rules are dead simple, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble getting your group on board.

At the beginning of a round, each player is randomly assigned a role, either a Hacker or an Agent. There are five nodes, and your job is to secure or hack a node based on your role. Whichever team makes it to three first wins. However, the team leader for whatever round you’re in, which rotates each round, chooses only three players to secure or hack a node, forcing hackers to keep their identity a secret as they can.

Cards Against Humanity

Although we’re including Cards Against Humanity, this entry is really a shout out to playingcards.io. The site has a range of games, including crazy eights, checkers, and go fish. However, it recently launched Remote Insensitivity, which is an adaptation of Cards Against Humanity for your browser.

It’s dead simple to get set up on Zoom, too. The leader goes to the site and starts a game. Once they do, they’ll receive a room code to share with the other players. They go to the site, enter the code, and you’re off to the races.

Human Fall Flat

Human Fall Flat is the perfect game for hanging out with your friends digitally. It has some loose goals — “solve the puzzle, reach the exit” type — but it’s mostly a physics sandbox for you and your friends to play around in.

The fact that Human Fall Flat is physics-based is what sells the experience. You can interact with everything in the environment, allowing you to solve puzzles and traverse the landscape in any way your group sees fit. Maybe you’ll get thrown into a catapult and launch across the map, or use boxes and barrels to construct an excuse for a bridge. Funny and charming in equal measures, Human Fall Flat is an easy-going game to play over Zoom.

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