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How to Host a Virtual Game Night in California
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How to Host a Virtual Game Night in California

Virtual game night ideas are always a crowd-pleaser. Want to plan the ultimate online game night? Check out how to do it now.

California.com

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5 min read

April 25, 2021

What’s an easy way to have fun with friends without having to move from your couch? That’s right, we’re talking about hosting a virtual game night. Forget about whipping out your board games, it’s all digital now. Whether it’s Bingo, Battleship, or Pictionary, all you need is a computer and a strong Internet connection for non-stop fun.  

Want to plan the ultimate virtual game night? This is how you do it.

A well-organized virtual game night can quickly turn into a weekly routine. Here's how to plan the best one yet.

Everything You Need to Know About Virtual Game Nights

Whether you want to get together with friends or plan an unusual at-home date, virtual game night ideas are always a crowd-pleaser. Since we’re all pros now when it comes to Zoom calls, why not use the video chat platform for an online game night with friends? The best part about it is that you don’t have to give up your favorite games—you can easily play the online versions. 

With little preparation and zero effort, you’ll earn the title of an awesome virtual game night host.

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Where to play 

It’s easy to get lost in the ocean of video chat platforms. There’s Zoom, Google Meet, Skype, and many other options to choose from. Pick a platform that’s best for your event based on the length of your online game night. 

If you’re planning to have a virtual trivia marathon, Skype is your best option. With a four-hour limit, you’ll have plenty of time to cover as many topics as possible. When hosting a Zoom murder mystery party, keep in mind that the free video chat service cuts off after 40 minutes. As for hosting a virtual board game night on Google Meet, you have an hour to make the most of your event. Most importantly, get all your guests to agree on using one platform—something that works for everyone.  

Houseparty is another social video chatting service for hosting a virtual family game night. The San Francisco-based service has a plethora of built-in online games like UNO, Heads Up, and Quick Draw. While some of the features are paid, you have plenty of free games to choose from.

Snacks makes everything better. Whether it's just chips or a yummy deep-dish pizza, even a sore loser will end up happy.

No snacks mean no party

Whoever said that you don’t need snacks when hosting virtual game nights clearly doesn’t know how to have fun. To make it feel like your friends are physically with you, exchange recipes to recreate their meals. There’s always that one friend who makes delicious cookies, and then there’s the friend who can’t be bothered to cook much—five-ingredient recipes are their go-to’s.  

If you want to become the best host ever, share your favorite theme park food recipes with your guests beforehand. But, if your virtual game night is a last-minute plan, simply purchase your favorite California-made healthy snacks and call it a day. 

Are you a dungeons and dragons kind of person or do you prefer card games? The good news is, there's plenty of options for everyone.

What to play

With the technical part out of your way, it’s time to decide what you’re going to play. Do you usually get together for trivia night? Or is UNO your card game of choice? Give your favorite games a virtual makeover and play them online all night. Go for classics or pick a game you haven’t played before to try something new. 

If you’re playing Monopoly, at least you know that none of your guests will flip the board and leave dramatically.  

Explain abstract concepts when playing online charades. You're probably going to lose that round, but it's going to be hilarious.

Charades

Which game needs minimal action and no props? Charades. Everyone knows how to play, and who doesn’t like charades? Divide your crew into two teams, use a charades idea generator to come up with words and phrases, then mute yourself, and act it out. Unless your video starts glitching, this classic game easily translates to video chat platforms.  

Pictionary

Got drawing skills you’d like to show off on your virtual game night? Get everyone to play Pictionary and see if your guests agree. This game can be played in two ways—using actual paper to draw on or opting for an online version.

Split into two teams, use a Pictionary word generator, and do your best to draw during the one-minute time limit. For each correct guess, your team gets a point. Some people aren’t as good when it comes to drawing online, so you’ll be having a lot of laughs when playing Pictionary with your friends. 

Online or not, scavenger hunts are always fun. Keep an eye out on cheaters, though. We like a fair game.

Scavenger Hunt

A scavenger hunt is always a great idea. While some of you might think it’s impossible to do it online, we’re here to prove you wrong. To plan the ultimate virtual family game night, you have to first decide on the theme and how long it’ll take to complete. Then, write out the clues for your family members to find and send out the instructions. Whoever finds them first wins. Game on.

Playing scrabble can go two ways: learn new words with your friends or create new enemies for the next round this game night.

Scrabble

If you’re always arguing over words when playing Scrabble, you don’t have to anymore—the online version tells you which words you can use without having to go back and forth to check. Instead of insisting that “YOLO” is a valid Scrabble word, think harder about words that’ll actually get you more points. Get your friends together for this classic virtual game night idea and show off your vocabulary—we promise it’s going to be enjoyable (21 points for me). 

That face you make after becoming the reigning queen of UNO! Win every round of UNO and show your friends how the game is played.

UNO

We admit—physically playing UNO is a lot more fun because there’s nothing like seeing the face of a person that just got served a Wild Draw Four card. But, we guarantee that playing UNO online for your virtual game night is just as memorable. Turn your friends into enemies by getting them to constantly draw cards from the deck. Keep in mind that the online version of this classic game has set rules, so you won’t get to hear your guests enforcing their own rules. May the best (wo)man win.  

Zoom Murder Mystery Party 

A Zoom murder mystery party is the new and improved way to host virtual celebrations. Do your best to guess which of your guests is the killer. Work together to improve your problem-solving skills and remember to have fun. Hosting a Zoom murder mystery party? Immediately accuse your sibling of being the killer (it’s all about that sibling rivalry).

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