Social distancing makes me miss my friends. With schoolwork dominating my days, finding time and excuses to bask in their virtual presence has grown especially difficult. We can’t kick it like we used to, but it is still possible to have a good time via weekly game nights on Zoom. Here are a few of our favorites for you and your friends to play during self-isolation.
1. “Chess” (Two or four players; computer, mobile)
The godliest strategy game. Chess may appear to be an intimidating intellectual’s passtime, but once you learn the function of each piece you can conquer the world. Just kidding. (But chess does tend to be used symbolically for wars.) With a free account, members have access to daily puzzles, progress reports, and exciting variations of chess games that challenge creativity. For example, the four-person chess variation is quite chaotic. The website also allows you to change game lengths, an incredible feature that allows players to pick between short study breaks or long games that thicken with tension with time. I love watching the night pass by, playing mind and body chess with friends over Zoom, a mode where one player in a team selects a type of piece and another player moves the piece with no communication in between.
2. “Clash Royale” (Two or four players; mobile)
A card game developed by Supercell, where players create decks of cards — characters with various powers and stats — to destroy towers within a time frame. Winners receive chests with cards, and collecting multiples of the same cards allows an upgrade. I love spontaneously calling my friends to battle (but only when players are level eight) and if we are in the same clan, we can participate in 2 vs. 2 battles with two other friends. This app is always updating so there are often new events and features that keep the game interesting. One of my favorite updates is the cute emotes, which my friends and I like to use to mock enemies — the dabbing wizard is my frequent choice.
3. “The World of Magic” (no player limit; computer, mobile)
An adorable role-playing game where you can start off as a warrior, ranger, or magician. Start off by fighting monsters and completing quests. Players can also trade, chat, or join guilds to player vs. player (PVP) with enemies. My sisters and I enjoy racing with our guildmates in the Philippines to find rare items like scrolls or weapons. This game also updates often, creating exciting events and features that make it borderline addictive.
4. “Sketchful.io” (up to 64 players; computer)
A pictionary game in which players take turns drawing pictures and other players guess the word. The faster players guess the word correctly, the more points they receive. A pleasant ice breaker with a simple concept — everyone is capable of drawing. This website allows for customizable words and rooms, perfect for game nights, especially for large groups over Zoom. It can be quite difficult to draw on a computer compared to a phone or tablet, but the results draw laughter regardless.
5. “Bananagrams” (up to eight players; computer)
A “Scramble”-like game, in which players make their own crosswords out of the same amount of letters. The first one to use up their pieces forces everyone to draw another letter. Players can also dump their letter for three more letters. This game is perfect to play with children, and looking up words online to check if they’re real can be a good learning experience even if you are not a child. I used to play this game at church with friends, but due to the quarantine, we’ve shifted to this online platform to play with each other long distance.