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How to Play Games Online with Friends and Family

See recent posts by Courtney Elko

Yes, you can play board games and card games with extended family and friends, even while socially distancing! Board game simulators, apps, video chat services and more are some of the available options for playing games online.

1. Video Chat

The easiest way to play games online is via video chat. Call grandmom or grandpop on FaceTime, Skype or Zoom and play a game together. Choose a game that both parties have at home, such as Guess Who, Uno or Battleship. Each player or group can set up their side of the game and play over the video chat. Or one side of the video chat can “host” the game by rolling the dice, picking cards and moving pieces around the board for games like Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders or Scattergories. Card games like Go Fish, with some improvisation, might also work over video chat.

Related: Best Family Board Games

2. Houseparty

Houseparty (not to be confused with the Sims-like video game House Party) is a video chat app where friends and family can hang out and chat, similar to Zoom and Skype, but with an added gaming feature. Once your friends join your party, you can all play interactive quizzes and games during the video call. The games inside Houseparty include Heads Up!, Trivia, Chips and Guac and Quick Draw. Everyone must download the free Houseparty app in order to play, and you can then invite your contacts to a party. The one downside to Houseparty is that only eight people can be in a group chat or party at a time.  

3. Gaming Systems

A Hasbro Family Fun Pack is available for purchase to play on video gaming systems like Playstation and XBox. This four-pack of games features fun, family classics for all ages. Monopoly, Boggle, Trivial Pursuit and Risk are all included in the price, which is currently listed at 70 percent off in the Playstation Store. Because the board games are played within the video gaming systems, it’s easy to connect with friends and family around the world and play (as long as everyone has the gaming system).

4. Tabletop Simulator

For video game– and tech-savvy families, Tabletop Simulator is a fun online game option. The game is exactly as its name implies—it streams games online as if you were sitting around a table playing with friends. Tabletop Simulator is not free and everyone who wants to play must pay for the video live stream and then chat on a voice call. The base game comes with classics like chess, poker, puzzles, dominoes and Mahjong. For additional, per game/per player fees, more involved games like Deck Quest, Wizard’s Academy and hundreds more are available for purchase. Tabletopia is another live streaming option that is very similar to Tabletop Simulator.

Related: Best Puzzles for Kids and Families to Create Together

5. Game Apps

While this online game option doesn’t give you a video or voice connection, it still connects you with friends and family. Apps such as Words With Friends, Ticket to Ride or Mario Kart Tour are just a few of the games that offer multi-player (as well as solo play) options, so you can connect with friends around the world.

Related: Best Family Card Games

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