After this year, COVID-19 has taught all of us to be a little more resourceful with our video calls. Trying to spice things up weekly with your friends catching up is a must, especially seeing how everyone is living through the same thing with not much new news to talk about. Sometimes it’s better to just jump online, launch a game and play with your friends instead. However, it can be difficult finding a new game to play that’s unique, fun and easy to play for all levels - that’s why I’ve created a list of games that I have enjoyed over the last few months which I think are great for that weekly catch-up.

Let’s Roam

Let’s Roam is the world’s #1 scavenger hunt company; it allows you to transform your home into an interactive playground. In response to COVID-19, Let’s Roam brought adventure indoors, where every hunt includes a variety of interactive photo, video and trivia challenges, having you compete against your friends or family who are in other households.


There is no software to download - however, it does require a membership (at a rather steep $19.99 a month) - but if you just want to give it a try, there is a seven-day free trial offer, granting you unlimited fun and 15+ game styles where you can play with up to 15 players. Let’s Roam has their very own video-chat integrated into the gameplay, so you won’t have to open multiple tabs to play with friends.

7/10 Bish points
This game is so much fun and is excellent for keeping things fresh, but I’m not sure if a membership is justifiable, especially for younger audiences.


Codenames

Set up in 2016, Codenames is the current second-highest ranked party game. It will be perfect for any board game fan, as the game initially started as a physical card game but has been adapted to be played online in private rooms with your friends or family. 

Codenames can be played with two to eight players and works best with two teams of four, but you can play it with any sort of team configuration. Both teams compete by each containing a “Spymaster” who gives one-word clues that point to multiple words on the board. The teams have to guess the words that the “Spymaster” is hinting towards without hitting any of the other team’s words.

You will find yourself shouting at the “Spymaster” with sheer desperation as you try to race the other team to the finish line. It also comes with many versions including Harry Potter and Disney, so if you’re not feeling James Bond, you can try something else a little more to your tastes. This game works well over Zoom, Discord, Skype or FaceTime.

7/10 Bish Points
This game is a great laugh, and I can see why it is so popular, but for me, there are just better games that suit my tastes. It does change things up by encouraging people to play in teams rather than individually.


Cards Against Humanity

The well-known card game, Cards Against Humanity, has an elected person who starts as the "Card Czar" and plays a black card face up. The “Card Czar” then reads the question or the ‘fill-in-the-blanks’ phrase on that card out loud, where other players have to answer the question or fill in the blanks by each passing one white card, face down, to the “Card Czar”. The “Card Czar” shuffles all the answers and shares each card combination with the group and then picks the funniest play. Whoever submitted it, wins the black card. After the round, a new player becomes the “Card Czar”, and everyone draws back up to 10 white cards.


Just like Codenames, Cards Against Humanity is free to play online; you just create a room and send a link to up to six of your friends or family. This game works well over Zoom, Discord, Skype or FaceTime.

8/10 Bish Points
Cards Against Humanity is a classic and a great throwback to playing in my Sixth Form free periods, although sometimes the cards are a bit naff and lead to a few rounds falling flat. 


Among Us

If you haven’t heard of Among Us then you have been living under a rock! This game has taken the world by storm and has already won at the 2020 Golden Joystick Awards as the best breakthrough title of the year, and just knocked down another award at The Game Awards for Best Multiplayer Game of 2020.

Designed to be played with a group of four to ten people locally or online, you each play a Crewmate (who you can customise) with tasks to complete in the form of mini-games across the ship. However, one of you is the Imposter, where your only goal is to wreak havoc and kill everybody without being caught. The Imposter wins when he has killed all but one of the Crewmates, but can also lose by being ‘ejected’ from the spaceship. The Crewmates, who were either suspicious of someone or know who the Imposter is, can vote to have someone ejected from the ship.

This game can ruin lifelong friendships due to distrust and manipulation, or forge the mightiest of unlikely friendships out of fear and comradery. Among Us works best when played in conjunction with Discord because you’ll be playing for longer than the allotted 40 minutes on Zoom.

1000/10 Bish Points
I can’t rave enough about this game; it’s so funny and leads to a rollercoaster of an experience where you feel betrayed, mischievous and paranoid all in the same sitting. You should also check out some Fanimations on YouTube of the game; they’re brilliant!


Psych!

From the creators of ‘Heads Up’ and Ellen DeGeneres, Psych! Is a mixture of Trivia and Cards Against Humanity, where players have to create fake answers to real trivia questions. If you’re successful in outwitting your friends into choosing your fake answer, you’ll bluff your way to the finish line. This game not only tests your abilities to chat sh*t but also tests your abilities to comb through the nuisance.

It’s a great laugh and will surely make your friends slap their foreheads when they get the wrong answer that they could’ve sworn felt right. Like all games, it gets to a certain point where you have to make in-app purchases for it to stop being repetitive, but for a short (and free) amount of time, this game is a good laugh. There is no video chat feature integrated, so you will have to use  Zoom, Discord, Skype or FaceTime.

5/10 Bish Points
This game is alright; it doesn’t necessarily have the wow factor or the same bang as some of the other games - like Heads Up!  But it's not awful. It’s a laugh for a short while, but it gets boring unless you pay a little extra.


Skribbl.io

Skribbl is the online version of Pictionary, which is a free multiplayer game where players have to guess what someone is drawing. The whole game can be customised to include the number of rounds you wish to play, and you can add any words that you like. Every match, a player has to draw their chosen word, while the other players race to guess the correct answer to gain points. At the end of the game, the player with the most points wins.

This game is so funny, and with the option for other players to vote out their friends as a joke, it can often lead to your friends rage quitting. The drawing ability of the group will usually send you into a fit of laughter. Skribbl can generally last for quite some time depending on the number of players and rounds chosen, so it’s probably best to play it over Discord, Skype or FaceTime.

9/10 Bish Points
This game is classic and hilarious; I can’t tell you how much I’ve laughed at either my friends guessing the wrong answer multiple times because they cannot spell or because of how awful some of the drawings are.


Mario Kart Tour

Luckily for us, the OG classic for gaming parties is available to download on the Google Play Store and the App Store. You can race with up to seven players, and you can customise each race to a set of individual rules and game settings. This game is a classic to play with your friends and is an excellent throwback to any Nintendo party.

It does require you to set up an account, and there are some in-app purchases.

However, when it comes to Mario Kart, it’s worth it. It’s probably best to play this game over Discord because you’ll end up playing multiple rounds due to the addictiveness of hitting the track.

9/10 Bish Points
Mario Kart is classic and offers such a vast range of variety in terms of different tracks and customisable settings. No game is the same and will fill you with an overwhelming sense of nostalgia.


PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds

As of 2018, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds allows players to set up custom matches where they can create a private group and invite all of their friends. PUBG is a player-versus-player shooter game where players fight in a battle royale match - a type of 'last man standing deathmatch’ where players fight to remain the last alive. Players can choose to enter the match solo, duo, or with a small team of up to four people. Before you start, you’ll need to download the PUBG Test Server, where you can choose between Normal, Zombie, War or eSports mode. You can set up a private room with a password so nobody can join without permission.

PUBG is a great game for those who love shooters, and it’s also a great laugh with your less-experienced friends due to its colossal map and concept. Soon everyone will be itching for the title of Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner. Unlike other shooter games, you don’t need an elaborate set-up to play PUBG as it’s available to play on mobile too, but it can get addictive, so it’s probably best to avoid Zoom as the mode of voice chat.

10/10 Bish Points
PUBG is incredible - it doesn’t matter how experienced you are, you’ll be hooked from the off-set. Because it’s also available to play on mobile, no one will be left out.


Houseparty App Games

Houseparty is a type of video mobile chat app which you can use to talk to your friends. You can choose to leave your room locked or unlocked to either keep people out or mix things up, like Omegle. The great thing about this app is that you can play the games within the video call without having to flip between your mobile and laptop. The best six games to play within Houseparty are; Heads Up (Animals Gone Wild, Act it Out and #Trending), Finish the Song Lyric, Quick Draw and Chips and Guac.

All Heads Up games require one player not to see the card they’ve been assigned and through hints, sounds or actions from the other players, they have to guess the card. It can be a laugh but also frustrating when you’re giving some of the best clues to your friend who just doesn’t get it. 

Finish The Song Lyric is a gem of a game, where the bonus is that your friends are made to sing. This will definitely bring out your inner Cher!

Chips and Guac is Houseparty’s answer to Cards Against Humanity; this game uses word association. One of you puts down a card and others must place down a card they think matches. It can get quite heated!

7/10 Bish Points
This app is brilliant, and the in-app games allow for a more relaxed play with less organisation. Make sure that you have good wifi, as you’ll often find that a mate will be kicked or frozen out.


Well, there you are, a list of ultimate games perfect for playing over video chat! Here we’ve tried to include a wide range of games that aren’t limited to PC’s, so if you have a mobile phone, you won’t be experiencing any FOMO (fear of missing out) on the Zoom parties with your buddies. These games are also great for people who aren’t massive gamers and want to enjoy a more relaxed session which is more about the social side of gaming than the competitive side.

Let us know how you get on, and if you have any games that you love to play with your friends over Zoom that we forgot to mention!