Virtual Bingo Game With Friends

Chapter 4: How to Host a Virtual Bingo Night

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Life is crazy at the best of times but 2020 has taken things to another level—the icing on an utterly bizarre cake. With all the uncertainty, there’s a good chance many of you will have sacrificed your usual weekend amusements for an evening spent watching TV, eating fast food, and arguing with your cat.

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But just because you’re stuck at home, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself with friends.

Virtual bingo nights are a great way to have some fun with your nearest and dearest. They’re cheap, they’re easy, and any adults (18+) can get involved. More importantly, you don’t need to leave the house and can simulate all the joys of a bingo hall over a live connection.

A virtual bingo night works just like the real thing. You get your friends together, create some tickets, and then someone assumes the role of the bingo caller. It’s as easy as that, and in just 4 steps you could be hosting your very own event.

At a glance..

1st Step: Video Conferencing

The first step is to find a place for your friends to gather—the virtual equivalent of the bingo hall.Video conferencing software is tailormade for moments like this and unless your friends are technophobes using CRT TVs and brick phones from the early 2000s, they have everything they need.

The following video conferencing programs can be accessed on your phone, desktop, and even your TV. All participants will need a webcam and/or microphone, but there are no subscription charges or other fees to worry about, although some of these apps will limit your call time if you are not a fee-paying customer.

We're writing this guide assuming you have unlimited data on a wifi connection. If you don't, do be careful with the following apps as they may use large quantities of your data allowance.

Zoom (Limited options for free)

Zoom has become the conferencing software of choice during 2020, with daily user numbers rising from 10 million to 300 million in just 3 months.

Favoured by companies and remote workers alike, Zoom was even used by the UK government!

You can add up to 100 users in a single call and Zoom works on most devices and platforms. It’s free to use (albeit with call limits) and you can even create custom backgrounds!

Skype (Limited options for free)

As popular as Zoom is, Skype remains the tool of choice for most non-business users. It’s free, it’s easy to use, and it’s available on most devices (including Smart TVs, phones, tablets, and Xbox).

There’s a good chance you and your friends already have Skype accounts, which is ideal if you’re inviting people who are scared of change or technology in general (there’s always one!).

You can add up to 50 users per call and with Skype for Web, you don’t even need to download the software.

Houseparty (Totally Free)

Houseparty is a conferencing program that’s also available as a browser extension and a macOS app. You can invite up to 8 people into a single room and its Facebook and Snapchat integration makes it easy to add friends from existing social networks.

Although it’s relatively new, Houseparty is owned by Epic Games, an established and respected company responsible for a few smash-hit video games.

Facetime (Totally Free)

iPhone and Mac users have a built-in tool that’s perfect for video conferencing: Facetime. Just click the “+” symbol to invite friends and you can create a 32-person group that doesn’t have a time limit or a charge.

Of course, you will be excluding Android and Windows users, so make sure your friends can join before choosing this option.

Facebook Messenger Rooms (Totally Free)

Facebook Messenger’s video chat options were a little problematic when they first launched, with many users complaining of broken connections and lag. Groups were also limited to just 8 users. But then Facebook Messenger Rooms came along and changed the game.

Often touted as a free and more accessible version of Zoom, Facebook Messenger Rooms lets you add up to 50 users and is available completely free of charge.

Google Hangouts (Totally Free)

If you have a Gmail account, you already have access to Hangouts. This free-to-use conferencing software works through Chrome or Android and can be used to connect with up to 25 users.

Hangouts has full HD calls and conferencing and also has built-in screen sharing functions. It’s a great option for forgetful friends, as it will automatically add the event to a user’s calendar app.

Uberconference (Limited options for free)

A simple service with a great free plan, Uberconference has HD streams and audio, screen sharing functions, and it can be accessed on mobile and desktop. Just create a room, invite your friends, and they’ll be given a link and a phone number, allowing them to connect via webcam or phone.

2nd Step: Create the Tickets

Every participant in your virtual bingo night needs a bingo ticket. Firstly, you should choose how many numbers to play, with most bingo games opting for a range of 1 to 75 or 1 to 90. You can then use random number generators to create tickets for each user.

For a fully customised experience, you can do this yourself, creating a random set of numbers off the top of your head or using a random number generator. 5 numbers will suffice if you want a simple game but the tickets can be as big as you want them to be

We recommend creating lots of tickets beforehand and then taking snapshots of each of them. You can send them to players before a game begins and once that game ends, you can repeat the process with another set of tickets.

There are multiple apps and websites that can help you to create and print bingo tickets, including this one and this one.

Downloadable Bingo Cards and Caller Grid

We've included direct access to some freely available, downloadable bingo cards from MyFreeBingoCards.com to get you started, the PDF also includes a bingo callers grid (90 ball).

3rd Step: Choose a Bingo Caller/Software

Automated bingo calling apps are available in both the Google Play Store and the iOS App Store. But these can suck the life out of the game. If you want to create a virtual bingo night to remember, we recommend one of the following, alternative options:

  • Take Turns: Every game, one of the players is assigned to the role of bingo caller. They do not participate in that game and pass the buck when it is over. Random number generators (RNGs) can be used to randomise the numbers. We suggest you use Google's random number generator, set the 'min' to 2 and the 'max' to 90, for 90 ball bingo!
  • Winner Stays On: The winner of each game becomes the caller for the next, which means they can’t win consecutive gamers, thus giving everyone else a chance. The first game can be called by the last person to join, or by any other method you choose!
  • Funny and Trustworthy: Choose the funniest and most trustworthy person to call the numbers for each game, letting them participate while they call.
  • Video: Youtube is full of bingo videos. Search for the term “bingo caller” followed by the number of balls you’re using and ask all players to watch the video.

Screen sharing is a very useful feature here. It allows one player to share his or her screen with everyone else in the room. If that player is the bingo caller, they can share their screen to show the numbers and prove they are playing fair. They can also host a bingo caller video and show this to every other player—pausing, stopping, and playing as needed.

How to avoid calling the same numbers?

If the bingo caller is not using an app which ensures no repetition of calls, we suggest they create a grid containing all of the numbers in the game i.e. 1 - 90 for 90 ball bingo. The caller can then mark the numbers on the grid to avoid repetition as he calls.

The method above is particularly useful if using an RNG which may produce already called numbers from time to time.

4th Step: Play!

Once you have chosen the conferencing software, prepared the tickets, and invited your friends, there’s only one thing left to do: Play!

Schedule a time that suits everyone, send reminders, and start playing.

The bingo caller simply calls a number and if a player has a matching number on their card, they mark it. When all numbers have been marked, that player shouts “Bingo!” and once their card is checked, they are declared the winner.

Congratulate them, give them a prize (optional), and, if you have time, move onto the next game!

Here are a few tips to ensure each game runs smoothly:

  1. Make sure everyone can hear the caller.
  2. Don’t call the numbers too quickly.
  3. Periodically check that no one has disconnected.
  4. Remember to keep track of all called numbers, as these will be needed to confirm the result.
  5. Provide a specific timeframe for your virtual bingo night, so that everyone knows when it will end.
  6. Account for time zone differences if you’re playing with friends who live overseas.

What About Prizes?

A virtual bingo night is a great way to bring friends together and that should be enough of an incentive. However, if you’re going up against frequent bingo players, you may need to incentivise them, and that’s where the prizes come in.

Here are a few ideas for virtual bingo night prizes:

  1. Charities and Fundraisers

Virtual bingo nights are a great way to raise some money for a good cause. Simply charge your players a fee for each ticket they buy and make sure the proceeds go to charity. They’ll have an incentive to play and they can do so safe in the knowledge that the proceeds will go to a good cause!

You can’t collect cash with a virtual bingo night, but many online payment methods are just as quick and easy. Simply provide each player with the payment details, reserve some cash for the prize, and give the rest to your chosen charity:

  • PayPal: There are over 325 million PayPal accounts worldwide, a large number of which are registered here in the UK. Many of your friends will already have accounts and the ones that don’t can sign-up for free. PayPal is safe, secure, fast, and easy-to-use. Once you have a PayPal account, you can transfer money to another user with a debit/credit card or bank account. That money can then be transferred from wallet to wallet and most charities accept PayPal donations.
  • Apple Pay: A handy way to send money through Mac computers and devices. You’ll need access to iMessage and can send money quickly and without charge. However, it’s not available for Android and Windows users, so make sure your friends are hooked into the Apple ecosystem before you choose this option.
  • Monzo: A digital UK bank that makes it easy to send money to friends. With Monzo, you can create pots that other users can contribute to, making this an ideal choice for your virtual bingo night.
  • Barclays Pingit: Although Pingit is a Barclays service, you don’t need to bank with this provider to use it. As long as you have a mobile number and the Pingit app, you can send and receive money.
  • Skrill/Neteller: Often seen as “PayPal alternatives”, these UK-based services are worthy payment solutions in their own right. These days they are both owned by the same company and offer many of the same features and benefits as PayPal.

2. Forfeits and Favours

Add some spice to your bingo night by asking the losers to do favours for the winner. They can promise to mow the winner’s lawn, clean their house/car, drive them to the airport, etc.

You’re essentially giving each player carte blanche to state what they want the others to do when they win. It adds an extra dimension to the game and should make the night more tense and exciting.

3. Drinks and Food

Friends eat and drink together, so why not have the losers buy the winner free drinks and/or food? You can play multiple games and state that the overall winner is owed a slap-up meal by the losers. Alternatively, you can reward a drink for every game.

Not only can this inject some extra thrills into the night itself, but it’ll also give you an excuse to meet-up as a group and start cashing-in those rewards!

4. Secret (Bingo) Santa

No one really likes a workplace Secret Santa, let’s be honest, but with a group of friends and a modest spending allowance, it can yield some hilarious and brilliant results. So, instead of building a cash prize or offering drinks, food, and forfeits, ask everyone to contribute a prize.

The winner can collect their prize the next time everyone meets or it can be delivered digitally in the form of gift cards and subscriptions.

5. A Trophy

Turn your virtual bingo night into a memorable occasion by commissioning a small trophy. As outlandish and over-the-top as this sounds, it’s actually very easy and relatively cheap to purchase a custom trophy.

For less than £10 you can purchase a simple bingo trophy inscribed with a custom message. It’s a great incentive to make your virtual bingo night a regular occurrence, as the trophy can move from winner to winner, giving them something to display on their mantelpiece, as well as a week’s worth of bragging rights.

A trophy can be used with one of the aforementioned prizes but it’s also a worthy prize on its own.

The Legality of Virtual Bingo Nights

There are a few rules governing virtual bingo nights in the UK, and they get pretty strict when money is exchanged -our advice is to simply avoid using money! However, if you do wish to involve money, it’s important to understand these rules before hosting such an event:

  • Participation cannot exceed £8 per person per event/day.
  • Prizes must not exceed £600 total.
  • Proceeds must not be used for private gain and must be given to a good cause.
  • The event must be hosted in a private home.

Visit this page for more information about the legalities of hosting a bingo night.

FAQs

Virtual bingo nights are easy to arrange and can provide hours of fun for you and your friends! Thanks to this Bingo Games guide, you now have all the info you need to arrange one of these nights for yourself, but if you still have a few questions about this game and these nights, take a look at our FAQs below.

IsVideo Conferencing Safe?

Video conferencing apps have come under a lot of scrutiny in recent months, with suggestions that they may not be as safe as people think. However, if you stick with the main providers (outlined in this guide) and follow their safety protocols to the letter, you shouldn’t have any issues.

How Much Should I Charge?

It’s entirely up to you - we suggest you don't play for money. Whatever you do, just make sure you stay within the legal guidelines mentioned above.

This game should be about having fun and letting loose, and if there’s money on the line, that light-hearted fun could be replaced by frustration and anxiety.

How Long Does the Average Bingo Game Take?

It takes just 10 minutes, on average, to complete a game of virtual bingo. However, it all depends on how many players there are, how many balls are being drawn, and what the conditions of victory are.

Generally, if you have an hour allotted for the event, you should plan for 4 to 5 games, with the extra time spent on chatting, arranging, and checking.

How Should I Dress for Virtual Bingo

Bingo hall dress codes are not as strict as those found in upmarket casinos and it’s even less strict if you’re hosting a virtual bingo night with friends.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t create your own dress code!

If some of your friends are not that familiar with one another, put them at ease with a strict pyjama-only dress code, or host a 80s/90s themed night. The choice is yours!

How Can You Make Virtual Bingo Fun?

Bingo is a fun game, and it’s even better when you’re playing it with friends. Throw a charity fundraiser, some jokes, and a prize or two into the mix and you have all the makings of a fantastic night that no one will forget in a hurry!

How Can I Make Bingo More Interesting?

Bingo is more than capable of keeping your friends interested throughout the night, but if you’re planning a long evening with non-bingo players, consider beefing-up the schedule with some trivia. You can’t go wrong with a short pub quiz between rounds of bingo.

What do you Shout at Bingo?

Traditionally, you shout, “Bingo!”, but with virtual bingo nights, you create the rules and you can shout whatever you want. Why not add a little twist to the proceedings by insisting that players shout something weird, taboo, long-winded, or hard to remember? If nothing else, it will make for some hilariously hesitant moments as the game climaxes.

You found our list of the best online team building games for remote teams.

Online team building is the intentional creation of relationships via online platforms. Online team building games are any games that you play online to help foster collaboration and team spirit with employees. Examples of these online games include Spreadsheet Wars, Online Office Games and Virtual Charades.

These games are similar to virtual team building activities and are effective for remote team engagement.

This list includes:

  • online games for remote teams
  • fun online team building games
  • free online team building activities
  • online group games
  • virtual games to play with coworkers

And other games to play virtually 🙂

So, check out the list!

List of Online Team Building Games

Below is a list of online team building games. From Bingo to Lightning Scavenger Hunts to The Ground is Lava, you will find games that are fun, free and easy to play with remote teams.

1. Online Team Building Bingo (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)

One of the best starter online games for teams is Online Team Building Bingo. Bingo, a game played across retirement homes and summer camps everywhere, is familiar, fun, and works extremely well in the online format.

Here is an Online Team Building Bingo board you can start with:

You can “Right Click + Save As” to download the Bingo board.

You can freely distribute and use this virtual bingo board for internal use 🙂

To play Online Team Building Bingo:

  1. Distribute the board to your team
  2. Establish rules and a timeline to play
  3. Track the results and award prizes

Pro tip: Amazon gift cards and bragging rights are usually sufficient prizes for successful online team building games.

Learn more about Online Team Building Bingo.

2. Online Office Games (Most Popular)

Online Offices Games is a facilitated series of online games and challenges for remote teams. You can learn more about the various games included on our page for Online Office Games.

The challenges are specifically designed for remote teams and to help develop the essential skills for working from home. For example, each event starts with virtual icebreaker questions, then pub-style trivia and games like “Can Your Hear Me Now”, which is a game that emphasizes the precision of communication you need for working remotely.

It’s fun 🙂

Learn more about Online Office Games.

3. Murder in Ancient Egypt (Collaborative)

One of our most popular online team building games is Murder in Ancient Egypt. This game uses mechanics of escape rooms, puzzles and problem solving and so encourages your team to work together. This murder mystery also has an interesting twist; the murder is actually a real mystery from ancient Egypt, and after your teams make their guess, our master storytelling will share the big reveal.

How To Play Virtual Bingo Online With Friends

Murder in Ancient Egypt is a 90 minute, fully-facilitated event. We provide an energetic host to keep your team engaged, and a co-host that manages the technical aspects. The event is fun, challenging and perfect for groups that want to work both collaboratively and competitively.

Learn more about Murder in Ancient Egypt.

4. War of the Wizards (RPG Game)

War of the Wizards is a collaborative storytelling game of wisdom and magic. The story start that a group of wizards have been at war since ages past, and no-one even quite remembers why. Your people become the wizards’ minions, working together to collect magic items, cast spells and overcome obstacles. For example, you may develop a strategy to leap over a wide chasm, or challenge an ogre to a battle of wits.

War of the Wizards is a little nerdy, and a whole lot of fun. You don’t have to be a Dungeons & Dragons master either; the game is simple to follow and fun to participate for all skill levels. The game lasts for 90 minutes, and is facilitated over video conference by our talented host.

Learn more about War of the Wizards.

5. Spreadsheet Battleship (Nostalgic)

If you grew up in the late eighties and early nineties then you will likely remember the energetic proclamation “you sunk my battleship!”

Over 20+ years later, it turns out that Battleship has a perfect format for online games. You can also play the game multiplayer, with three to 10 players or more if you are feeling audacious.

To play Spreadsheet Battleship, each player needs two things: a game board and the placement of ships. You can use graph paper labelled with letters and numbers for the game board, and either randomly assign battleship placement or let each player choose where to place the ships.

Here is a Google Sheets game board you can use.

Spreadsheet Battleship game mechanics are a little like Go Fish. On each player’s turn, that player chooses another player and names a square on the grid like A-5 or C-10. The receiving player says, “you missed”, “you hit” or “you sunk my battleship!” depending on what happened. The next player then goes in sequence, which could be in order of age or geographic location.

Continue playing until only one player has ships remaining.

6. Lightning Scavenger Hunts ⚡ (Fast)

In the real world, we run scavenger hunts at some of the coolest locations in the world: like the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC and Grand Central Terminal. Scavenger Hunts can be a fun way for your people to work together.

Virtual scavenger hunts are more difficult to find that team spirit with. You might have game mechanics that have your team searching Google, Wikipedia, YouTube and other sites, without really working together.

The solution for successful online scavenger hunts is to throw away the normal and adopt a lightning version instead. For Lightning Scavenger Hunts, fire off a rapid series of clues that have your team members dashing to find objects, solve clues and win points. For example, you could have everyone grab their favorite mug and award points to the best mug story.

The fast paced nature of Lightning Scavenger Hunts is what makes it work for online team building games.

Here are more virtual scavenger hunt templates.

7. Lexulous “Scrabble” Style Game (Free)

Lexulous is a free online game that is mode led after Scrabble. The main difference is that Lexulous has eight tiles in play at a time, and the value assigned to each letter is a little different.

How To Do Virtual Bingo With Friends

The main similarities are that Lexulous looks pretty darn like Scrabble, and like me and my brothers: my mom loves them all equally.

You can easily include Lexulous in your options for online games to play with coworkers. You can keep track of points and total scores over a month, and award a Lexulous champion at the end.

8. Guess the Refrigerator (Quirky)

My refrigerator mostly contains fatty pork, 100% dark chocolate and pears. Your refrigerator may be different. A fun game we could play together is Guess the Refrigerator.

Guess the Refrigerator is similar to “Who Da Baby?” and other guessing games. To play, everyone submits a photo of the inside of their refrigerator to one point of contact. That organizer then posts the photos to a channel where all participants can study the contents and make best guesses at which refrigerator belongs to who. The players submit answers to the organizer, who then tallies up the scores and announces a winner.

Sharing an inside view of your refrigerator takes a degree of vulnerability, which is a factor that contributes to the success of great online team building games.

9. “Can Your Hear Me Now?”

“Can You Hear Me Now” is one of the most popular games we play as part of Online Office Games. You can play this game 100% online, and as part of a virtual conference call.

To play, name one person as the Describer and the other players as Artists. The Describer must explain to the Artists how to draw an item like a sunflower, kite or calculator using only geometric terms.

For example, you could say “draw a large square” and then “add a line at a 45 degree angle from the top”, but not “draw the letter E.”

You can play each round for as long as you like, and three minutes is usually sufficient. At the end of each round, the Describer gets one point for each Artist that guesses the object correctly, and each Artist that guesses correctly also gets one point. Tally up points and award cool prizes to the winner.

10. Five Clicks Away

Five Clicks Away is a logic game for online team building. To play, you select a starting topic and an ending topic, which you can decide on your own or randomly generate. For example, the starting point could be Blackbeard the Pirate and the endpoint could be grilled cheese sandwiches.

Each player must start on the Wikipedia page for the starting point, and in no-more than five clicks reach the end point. The idea is that Wikipedia has so many internal links that you should be able to follow a chain to reach the end point in less than five clicks.

Five Clicks Away is difficult to get started with, but as you start to understand Wikipedia’s structure the game becomes easier. Like “Can You Hear Me Now?”, the game is also a proxy for learning a useful remote work skill, which in this case is obscure research.

11. Typing Speed Race (Competitive)

One of my favorite online team building games is a Typing Speed Race with friendly competition. For the Typing Speed Race, you can use a free tool like typingtest.com and have each of your team members do a one minute challenge. Then, each person posts their test results to Slack, email or another platform.

The Typing Speed Race is a great way to encourage friendly competition with remote teams. You can make the experience more collaborative by doing a Typing Speed Relay, which requires forming your people into teams and then adding the cumulative score from each person to create a team total.

With the Typing Speed Race, everyone wins because typing quickly is an important skill for remote work.

12. Chair Up! (Positive Powerup 🙂)

Chair Up! is both my favorite pun-inspired name for a chair store, and also a fun and easy game for video conference calls.

The game is played over email, messenger or conference call, and is specifically meant to counter the doom and gloom that sometimes guides conversations. Whenever someone calls out “chair up!”, everyone must stand up and do something cheerful. For example, you could do yoga sun-salutations, clap your hands, laugh or have a small dance party.

Chair Up! is silly, fun, and an easy way to get started with online team building.

13. Water Shots 💦

When you work from home, taking care of your health and fitness is especially important. You can do squats and eat well, and also make sure you drink enough water.

Water Shots is a game meant to fortify your team around healthy hydration. To play, you first choose a trigger, which could be “every time a pet comes on screen in a video call” or “any time someone says mute.” When the trigger happens, all participants must drink a shot of water, which could be a literal shot or a sip.

Team building games that focus on building healthy habits are a great way to support company culture and development with remote teams.

14. Virtual Charades

Charades is one of those games that nearly everyone plays at school or home while growing up. With this proliferation of Charades, Virtual Charades has the advantages of being fairly familiar while also being moderately fun.

To play Virtual Charades, prepare a set of links that go to Google Image pages or use a random image generator. On each player’s turn, that player must act out what they see in the image and the player’s teammates can guess each one to earn points. Rinse and repeat until you are all out of fun.

Here are some frustrating office words you can use as prompts for your game:

  • jammed printer
  • dry pen
  • empty stapler
  • squeaky door
  • full refrigerator
  • broken heater
  • company firewall

You can use other words too, but frustrating office words are a good reminder of why working from home is fun.

15. Pub-style Trivia

You don’t need a pub to play pub-style trivia, and beer and peanuts are also optional. Instead, you can play with at least two teams, a series of trivia questions, and positive attitudes.

Playing pub-style trivia online is similar to the in-the-pub version, with one crucial difference: you need an easy way for people to communicate. Instead of mumbling across a table, we recommend using vivirtual breakout rooms so that each team can discuss the answers openly. Each team can then submit the answers via a web-form and the host can award points as needed.

Here are more instructions on how to play virtual happy hour trivia.

Pro tip: Playing virtual happy hour games like pub-style trivia give you a unique opportunity to include wildly different clues in the game. For example, instead of “guess that tune”, you could have players guess the tune, find it on YouTube and identify a clue at a specific time stamp. The internet is your virtual game oyster.

16. Virtual Werewolf (Team Favorite 🏆)

Werewolf is a game of cunning deceit and tactful manipulation, and the online version is much of the same. The game relies primarily on the spoken word, which makes it perfect for remote teams.

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To play, nominate one person as the narrator and then randomly distribute the following roles to players:

  • Werewolf: a werewolf has two jobs: eat villagers, and survive to eat more villagers.
  • Villagers: these are the common folks in the game who have no special powers, but desperately hope to survive the night.
  • Medic: the medic can save up to one villager each round.
  • Seer: a seer can peer into the depths of another players soul to reveal whether that player is a werewolf or not.
  • Hunter: when the hunter dies, the hunter can point a finger at any other player and take that person down with them.

To play, first distribute the roles via private message or email the players in advance. For a game with five people, you should have 1 werewolf, 1 medic and 3 villagers. For each additional five people add 1 werewolf, 1 special role, and 3 villagers. The ratios are flexible, so can modify them to suit your needs.

To start the game, the narrator declares that “night has fallen” and all players must close their eyes and tap their knees or keyboards to create a pitter-patter sound. After a few seconds the narrator says “werewolves wake up”, and any players with the werewolf role must awake and choose a single victim via private message.

Virtual Bingo Game With Friends Cheat

The narrator then puts the werewolves back to sleep and has the medic and seer wake up in sequence. During the medic’s turn to be awake, the medic can point to one player to save that player from the jaws of the werewolf. If the medic selects the same player as the werewolf, then nobody dies during the night. When the seer points to a player, the narrator can answer yes or no to whether that player is a werewolf.

After all special roles act, the narrator declares “the sun is coming up” and either the name of the player that the werewolves ate or that no-one was eaten if the medic chose correctly. All players can open their eyes, and then debate on who the werewolf might be. To end the round, all players vote on one player to eliminate from the game or can pass and wait until the next round. Any player that is eliminated either by the werewolves or by vote becomes a friendly ghost that is not allowed to speak for the rest of the game but may observe it in quiet frustration.

Repeat until the only remaining players are werewolves or villagers.

17. We Didn’t Start the Fire 🔥

We Didn’t Start the Fire is an online team building game inspired by Billy Joel’s song of the same name. To play, divide the attendees of your virtual conference call into groups of four or five people and then give the groups 15 minutes of prep time. During those 15 minutes, each team writes a verse of lyrics that follow the general melody of We Didn’t Start the Fire.

After the 15 minute breakout session, bring everyone back to the main virtual meeting and have the teams present their creation. Vote on the best one with thumbs up and cheers.

18. Spreadsheet Wars (Challenging)

Spreadsheet Wars may be my favorite game to play with coworkers. Like other games on this list, Spreadsheet Wars is a combination of fun and skill-building, which makes it perfect for remote teams and offices.

To play, use a collaborative spreadsheet program like Google Sheets and select a theme like “choose your own adventure” or “scrappy recipe generator.” Each team then has up to 30 minutes to build a tool that matches the theme. The best tool wins, and really everyone wins because you are getting better at using one of the most powerful free tools on the internet.

Because Spreadsheet Wars doesn’t rely on any specific video conferencing platform, you can use it for games on Webex, Slack games, Hangouts and other platforms.

19. A World of Risk

Growing up, one of my favorite games to play was Risk, the game of global domination that meshes perfectly with my own aspirations. Risk is a game of cutthroat collaboration, friendly competition, resource management and other strategic dynamics that make it perfect for online team building.

The most flexible way to play a Risk-like game online is to use one of the many clones, for example Conquer Club, which provides a free browser based game.

20. Sudoku Throw-down

In the early 2000s, Sudoku took the world by storm; inspiring nerds everywhere to complete numerical logic games instead of the daily crossword. Today, you can play a version of Sudoku for online team building called Sudoku Throw-down.

Here is how it works:

  • Send everyone on your team a free game board from a site like Web Sudoku.
  • Challenge each player to complete the game board as quickly as possible.
  • The first player to complete the game board with 100% accuracy is the winner.

For Sudoku Throw-down, you can easily up the competitive spirit by including prizes for the top three finishers. I recommend nerd-friendly prizes like more Sudoku puzzles, science kits and white boards.

21. Something in Common (Icebreaker)

Something in common is an icebreaker game that works on video conference calls and similar. To play, first organize your attendees into manageable sized groups of four or five people and gently push them into breakout rooms. Each group has the goal of finding three similarities they have in common with other members of that group. For example, “we all have cats, no-one was born in Chicago and we loved Hamilton.”

For the next round, keep the same teams and add a restriction that you can’t mention locations or physical similarities. For the round after that, remove pets and preferences. The goal is to make the game increasingly difficult and encourage your remote team to deep dive into what they may have in common.

Check out our list of icebreaker games for large groups for more ideas.

22. Quick Draw

Pictionary is a fun game where some people draw while other people guess what the drawing could be. The game includes elements of improv, creative thinking, competition and more.

You can play an online game that is similar to Pictionary:

  1. Divide your people into breakout rooms.
  2. Have each person in each room draw three clues. You can use this random word generator do return three nouns.
  3. Teams accumulate 1 point for each drawing someone on the team guesses correctly. Teams get no points for any clues that players skip or do not guess correctly.
  4. After 15 minutes, return everyone to the main room and compare scores.

You can play Quick Draw over Zoom, Webex and other virtual conference call platforms. You can also mix up the game and rules by varying the number of clues each person draws, and drawing verbs instead of nouns.

23. Truth or Dare: Remote Work Edition

Truth or Dare is a kind of NSFW game that is a fan favorite of students across Canada, America and other parts of the world. Truth or Dare: Remote Work Edition takes those popular game mechanics and optimizes for team building online.

Instructions:

  1. One person starts by naming another player and saying the words, “truth or dare?”
  2. The receiving person chooses either truth or dare.
  3. The asking person then prompts the receiver with a question or action.
  4. The receiving person responds and then prompts another player with the words, “truth or dare?”

Here are examples of prompts you can use:

  • Which website do you waste the most time on?
  • How many browser tabs do you have open right now?
  • How many unread emails in your inbox?
  • Make the noise of a dial-up modem from the 90s.
  • Show us one object within arms reach of your computer.

The major guideline for Truth or Dare is to keep the questions and prompts friendly.

Here is a list with more question games.

24. Jackbox Games

A year or two ago I played Jackbox Games with Tasia, Ethan and some other close friends. The game prompted me to lie about “how many beers did you have last night?”, and that was game over for Michael “prefers tea” Alexis.

Still, Jackbox Games provides options you can use for online team building. The game options include trivia and similar, and the games have some unexpected and creative dynamics. To play, everyone logs into a website via a special URL.

Learn more about Jackbox Games.

25. Yellow Submarine (Unique)

When I lived in NYC, two dudes at the metro station would play the same two Beatles’ songs over and over. If the train was late and people were standing on the platform longer, sometimes the two dudes would stop playing for a bit. Neither of those songs was Yellow Submarine.

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Yellow Submarine is also an online team building game you can play with remote teams. Here is how:

  1. Each of your remote employees needs to craft a submarine. You can use paper, magazine cutouts, or nearly anything else to craft your ship.
  2. Players get one point every time they show the submarine on a video conference call. You can hide the submarine in the background, have it float up from the bottom of the screen, camouflage it into your outfit, or any other incognito method.
  3. You get one point each time you show the submarine.
  4. If someone spots your submarine then you are out. You still get the one point for showing your submarine that time.
  5. Continue playing until everyone is out, and then tally up the points and name a Yellow Submarine Captain.

The game mechanics work because the incentive is for each player to show their submarine as many times as they can. If you wait it out, then you may be one of the last players in the game but you will also need to catch-up on points.

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26. Nintendo Game Night

A few years ago, video game cafes took the world by storm. The idea of going to play Mario Kart or Goldeneye 007 while someone delivers you nachos and beer was a strong pull.

You can host a Nintendo Game Night for your team by using an emulator. The emulator allows you to play team building games online via most modern web browsers. Choose a game like Excitebike, Popeye or Ice Hockey and host a tournament to see who gets the most points. You should probably make the game night “bring your own nachos.”

Learn more at Emulator.online and start planning your online team building games.

27. Ten Strikes (Quick & Easy)

Ten Strikes is a fun icebreaker game, so it’s a good way to get to know new team members, or to build deeper relationships with existing teams.

Here is how to play:

  1. All participants hold up 10 fingers.
  2. The youngest person on the call goes first, and shares one true statement about themselves. For example, “I have a pen pal.”
  3. Anyone that the statement is true for gets to keep their fingers up, while anyone that the statement is not true for puts one finger down.
  4. If all of a player’s fingers are down then they are out of the game.
  5. Play until only one player remains.

The strategy in Ten Strikes is to share facts about yourself that are unique enough that other players will not be able to say it is true of them and will have to put fingers down.

Pro tip: You can also play Five Strikes or Twenty Strikes. Generally the more fingers and toes you start with, the longer the game will go.

28. The Ground is Lava 🌋

Anyone who has either been a five year old or spent time with one has played The Ground is Lava. The entire point of this game is to avoid touching the ground at all costs. You can climb from a chair to the couch, to stepping on a book and similar to get to your destination.

The online team building version of The Ground is Lava for adults is exactly the same as the five year old version. Challenge your team members to hunt for specific objects around the house, like a favorite mug or photograph. Participants can scoot on chairs, beds, throw rugs and other barriers to find the objects and return to the video call. Anyone that touches the ground is disqualified from the competition, but everyone gets to share about the object they brought back.

29. The Question Game

The Question Game is a fun game that requires no prep or special equipment. To start playing, ask someone a question, and that person must respond with a question directed back at you or another participant. If you delay for five seconds then you are out. If you speak without forming a question then you are out too 🙂

Here is an example of how this game might go:

  • Ally: “It’s a beautiful day, don’t you you think Jackie?”
  • Jackie: “What do you think makes it beautiful, Michael?”
  • Michael: “Sorry, I was writing a blog article.”

In this example, I would be 100% out of the game. A more clever Michael would have said, “Sorry, what was that, Jackie?” and kept moving the game forward.

30. The Channel Closing Game

If your team members are on Slack or another messaging platform then starting to practice channel hygiene is important. Closing channels is a good way to avoid “Slack hovering”, which will increase productivity.

Once per month, post a challenge for team members to close out channels they are no longer participating in. We automate this message using Zapier, and include a prompt that you can copy and paste “/leave” to quickly leave channels.

You could keep track of how many channels each player leaves, and award points of prizes, but The Channel Closing Game is really one where everyone that participates wins. Closing down your excess channels is like the Slack equivalent of inbox zero. It just feels good.

Warning: The Channel Closing Game is kind of a productivity hack for managing remote teams that is masquerading in a list of great online team building games. I love it, and at least one of your team members will love it, but don’t pitch it too hard on the fun factor.

31. Online Escape Games

Escape games are a popular group activity in person, and are increasingly popular for online team building too. These virtual escape games provide opportunities for teamwork, collaboration, and developing team building skills. There are dozens of options to choose from, including free or DIY escape rooms, and fully facilitated ones.

Check out this list of online escape rooms for more ideas.

32. Virtual Murder Mysteries

Virtual murder mysteries are similar to online escape rooms, but generally have more theatrical flair. Typically, you either download scripts and choose actors on your team, or hire an outside company to perform the murder mystery for you. These online murder mysteries tend to have fun themes that match holidays, entertainment and other interests.

Here is a list of virtual murder mysteries.

Conclusion

Playing fun team games online is a great way to do team building and create meaningful relationships while working from home.

You can play the online team building games on this list, create your own, or check out other resources for more ideas. Be sure to check out our lists of online games for large groups and offline team building games too.

With online team building, the most important element is that you dedicate some time to games, because all work and no play makes for a pretty dull time.

Next, check out our list of fun games to play on Zoom and this one with virtual game night activities.

FAQ: Online team building games

The following are a few common questions and answers about online team building games for remote employees.

What is online team building?

Online team building is any formation of relationships between team members that occurs via online platforms. For example, you can do icebreakers at the beginning of virtual meetings, or play online team building games.

What are online team building games?

Online team building games are any games that you play online to help foster collaboration and team spirit with employees. Virtual team building games and remote team building games are closely related.

What are the benefits of organizing online team building games?

Organizing online team building games is one way to increase morale and engagement with remote teams. At a basic level, games are a fun way for your people to spend time with each other away from work projects and the requirements of meetings.

What are some fun games to play with virtual teams?

Fun games to play with virtual teams include Virtual Werewolf, Lightning Scavenger Hunts, Water Shots and Chair Up! Of these four games, Werewolf is the best known, and Water Shots is my favorite.

How do you get started with online team building?

An easy way to get started with online team building is to allocate either an entire virtual meeting or at least a portion of one to playing online team games. You can organize some of the games on this list, or create your own to mix up the variety.

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Is online team building location dependent?

No! One of the best features of online team building is that it is completely international. Generally, as long as a participant has an internet enabled device and a reliable WiFi connection they will be able to take part in the games and activities.

So, whether your people are in the US, Canada, Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, South America or anywhere else, online team building can be a great choice for team engagement.

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Author: Michael Alexis

CEO of teambuilding.com. I write about my experience working with and leading remote teams since 2010.

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