Looking for some fun games to play on your next Zoom meeting with your coworkers and build more team culture? Look no further. Here are some of the best virtual games (both free and for a fee) that you can play with your virtual group.
Zoom is currently claiming to have over 300 million daily users. Google Meet and Microsoft Teams each claim over 100 million daily users. That means that each day, as many as 1/2 a billion people are still meeting virtually. Unfortunately… Most of these virtual meetings are really, really, really boring. We want to change that.
Back when Covid first hit in 2020, the virus scared many team members. They were also nervous about their business future. Moral plummeted worldwide. And many teams had to learn on the fly how to do their normal business via Zoom call or video call. Well, I’d like to say that our team was way in front of the crowd at attempting to a “new normal.” I’d like to say that. I mean, we did have a couple of distinct advantages.
First, our company was a virtual company before we ever had a corporate office. In fact, in the first 15 years of our existence, we were entirely a virtual office. So, when Covid hit, we already had a lot of structure in place to perform well virtually.
The other advantage that we had was that we have a whole team of professional speakers who perform well in virtual meetings. So, again, that was a great advantage.
However, the changes that came about with the Covid Pandemic had never been seen before. So even though we had a couple of advantages, we still had a tough time adapting. (Just like everyone else.)
Before Deciding on a Zoom Game, Understand the Basics About Virtual Meetings.
Most people see Zoom meetings as being a one-way monologue from the organizer to the group. Because of this, many will show up with their microphones and video turned off. A simple heads up ahead of time can help your team be more willing to participate in the virtual meeting.
Realize that Most People HATE Virtual Meetings. They Would Prefer to Not Participate.
Human nature is what it is. Most people hate meetings. More people hate virtual meetings. So organizing a great game is a fun way to get your team to want to participate in the meeting. This only works though if you choose a simple game that is neither cheesy nor juvenile. Just adding something fun to the meeting may get you a negative result.
For instance, one of the games I have seen shared all over the internet is a virtual scavenger hunt at home. I’m sure that there are a few really effective and talented speakers on Zoom who could pull a game like that off. I personally am not one of them. What would be the actual purpose of the hunt? How would you tie the scavenger hunt into the agenda of the rest of your meeting? It might be fun, but it would just be an odd addition that doesn’t fit very well.
Anytime your team members feel uncomfortable participating, you will have the opposite effect of building teamwork. You may actually build resistance to attending other virtual meetings.
Alternatively, let’s say that you are onboarding new team members and want to introduce them to your current team. Well, any type of “getting to know you game” will work very well. The game actually fits the purpose of the meeting, so it will be more welcomed.
Ask Your Team to Show Up to the Virtual Meeting with Microphone and Camera On.
Quite often, a simple warning can get your group to be more interactive. Since most people attend Zoom meetings with cameras and video off, they will often assume that this is the norm and it is okay. If you don’t warn them ahead of time, they may be uncomfortable turning on their camera. The home office may be messy or they may have a pet that craves attention. Here is a message that we often include in our interactive virtual team building invitations.
[NAME] has invited you to an interactive virtual team-building activity! Our main goal is to have a little fun and build solid teamwork. To participate, you will get the best results by logging in on a computer or laptop versus mobile devices. Also, since the activity is interactive, you will need to turn on your camera and microphone to participate. See you there!
A simple heads-up like this will help your virtual team game start off on the right foot!
Use Breakout Rooms to Get a Higher Quality of Interaction.
When Zoom added breakout rooms to their platform, it was a game-changer in online meetings. This simple technology improvement has been a God-send for virtual games. When you play a fun game virtually, the bigger the group, the less likely anyone will actually participate. For instance, let’s say you have 100 people on a video chat platform and decide to play trivia games. With large groups like this, without breakout rooms, you will have limited options. You could ask a question then wait for responses in chat. With 100 people competing, though, keeping score would be very challenging.
However, with breakout rooms, you could create teams of six to eight people. Each group could have the same 10 trivia questions. Send all the teams to a private room with each other. Teams may choose a team leader to do a screen share to answer the trivia questions as a group.
Then, once the teams complete all 10 questions, have them quickly leave their breakout room to see who won. The first team to complete the challenge will return to the main session with only the organizer there. Then the second team will arrive shortly after the first. And so on and so on until all the teams complete the challenge. Depending on the culture of your team, the groups may Raz the second-place and third-place teams as they arrive.
“You guys were a close second, we have only been finished for about… 12 minutes.”
You can get really creating using the breakout rooms as a way to increase discussion, share ideas, and just get team members to interact better.
These Are Our Best Zoom Games for Remote Teams. (No Cheesy Games Allowed!)
Just as a reminder, even great games to play on Zoom that aren’t tied into the purpose of the meeting can fall flat. So, the most important thing to keep in mind when you play a virtual game is to make sure the game has a purpose in the regular meeting. If you just play a fun game, the group may appreciate that you are doing something different. However, many will see it as a waste of time if it isn’t tied to the purpose of the meeting.
For instance, if you are doing an onboarding meeting, then a game that gets the group to know each other better (like “Getting to Know You”) can easily be tied into the theme of the meeting.
If your meeting is to report sales numbers or project reports and the results are competitive, then a competitive game can be easily inserted. You will find it easy to tie the competitive game to the competitive reports. Regardless, stay away from just inserting random games just to add fun. Most of the time, if the meetings themselves aren’t really fun, the games won’t be either.
Getting to Know You.
“Getting to Know You” is a simple interactive activity that you can insert into virtual happy hours. The game is designed to get the team to interact in small groups and talk to each other.
Start by introducing the game and the rules.
Let’s start with a short exercise to help you get to know each other a little better. In chat, I’m pasting a list of items to ask one of your new coworkers. In a moment, I will partner you with a random coworker in a breakout room. You will have four minutes to ask your new partner this list of questions. Your goal is to create a dialogue. So make sure if your partner is asking you questions, that you ask questions back of your partner. Otherwise, the conversation will be very one-sided.
Any questions will do. However, if you pick questions from different categories, the group is more likely to find something out that they didn’t already know. Here are a few options.
- What industry have you worked in that was entirely different from this one?
- How did you get into this industry?
- What do you enjoy most about your job?
- What is something that you have done recently that you are proud of?
Divide the team into two-person breakout rooms. Give them four minutes to chat. Once the time limit expires, have everyone return to the main session. Ask a couple of questions to spot-check participation. Ex. “Did anyone find out something surprising about a coworker?”
Next, combine the groups into bigger teams.
I’m going to partner your team up with another group. This time, you will introduce your partner to your new group. You can ONLY use information that you acquired from your partner in the last four minutes.
Codenames: A Fun Game to Play on Zoom If You Have a Small Group.
If you have at least four team members and fewer than, say 30 or so, Codenames is a fun and competitive virtual game. Codenames is a free app that allows two different teams to compete to be a spy champion. It is an adaptation of a classic card game and one of the best online games that can be easily adapted to Zoom.
Here is a quick overview. The group is divided into two teams — red and blue. 25 cards (agents) are laid out on the screen in a five-by-five format. Each agent has a codename listed on the front of the card. One of the 25 agents is designated an “assassin.” If either team picks that card, they lose automatically.
Nine agents are spies for the “blue” team and nine are agents for the “red” team. The remaining agents are neutral. The goal is for each team to “contact” their agents by their codenames before the other team contacts their agents.
Each team elects a spymaster. The spymasters will be able to see which cards are colored and what color they are. So, each spymaster wants to give clues to their team to help the team pick their own cards without picking the other team’s cards or the assassin.
Spymasters must give clues that contain a single word and a number. The number corresponds to the number of cards that the clue applies to. For instance, the Blue Spymaster could say “2-hospital” since two of the blue cards are medical-related (doctor and patient.) Spymasters can also give the number zero to eliminate cards. So, the Red spymaster could say “0-hospital” to eliminate those cards.
Each team takes turns until they make contact with all of their agents or they get assassinated.
Guess Who? Classic Board Games Made for Zoom Meetings.
The more young-at-heart your team, the more fun this one will be for them. Years ago, Hasbro created an easy game that is fairly competitive for two players called “Guess Who?” Unlike Monopoly or Clue, Guess Who? can be played in less than five minutes versus hours. And unlike Connect-Four or Tick-tack-toe, someone wins each game. It also takes a little strategy.
The game starts with a series of 24 cartoon figures appearing on the screen. All of the images have some things in common. However, none of them has everything in common.
For instance, half are male and half are female. Some have glasses and some have bandanas, etc. Each team chooses one character. Teams then take turns asking questions to eliminate figures in order to find out which character their opponent chose. For instance, the first question might be, “Is the character male?” If the answer is “Yes,” you can eliminate all females. If the answer is “No,” you can eliminate all males.
So how do we turn this into a fun Zoom game? Well, it does take a little setup. First, create two teams in two breakout rooms. Instruct each to create a team name and select a team captain. Go into room one and give the team captain a link to the the Guess Who App. Make sure the team captain shares his/her screen. Have the captain hit the Internet image to create a secure room. Name the room and create a simple password.
Then, go to room two. Give them the same link. When they click the Internet link, team one’s name will appear. Have them click the link and enter the password.
The rest is pretty easy. They just follow the instructions during the game and work as a team to find the character.
Other Free Games to Play on Zoom with Coworkers to Build Teamwork
By the way, this website has a huge list of games to choose from. So, if you don’t like “Guess Who?” there are a bunch of other virtual play apps on the site. You can also find classic card games online as well as tons of games to play with your group. All you need to do is tie the outcome of the game to the regular meeting agenda to make it worthwhile!
Larger Group Best Games to Play on Zoom or Video Conferencing.
As your group gets larger, investing in a more fool-proof virtual game or activity is a good idea. The good news is that the price of these activities has come way down since Covid hit. In addition, the quality of the programs has increased dramatically as well. Any of the earlier games will work for teams of 10 people or 20 people. However, keeping everyone involved is much more challenging once you get into 40 person, 70 person, or 200 person groups. We suggest hiring a professional team-building company to lead events of this size.
These companies specialize in keeping big groups of people entertained and having fun. Plus, for most of these team building companies, this is all that they do. So, they conduct hundreds or thousands of events like this every year. If you are organizing a game for your team, you most likely only do this once or twice a year. A good analogy to this would be hiring an accountant to do your taxes. Sure, you can try to do it on your own and it might turn out all right. However, the bigger your company grows, the riskier it is to have a non-accountant do your taxes. The same is true with online meetings. If you have a small group, any game will do. But the larger the group gets, the more value an expert will be to the positive outcome.
Poseidon’s Plunder Virtual Treasure Hunt
This virtual treasure hunt for team building will make your next Zoom meeting a big hit! This is NOT a typical escape room. In fact, it is just the opposite. It is a virtual vacation filled with swashbuckling, exotic locations, and a little bit of detective work.
Your team sets sail from a virtual yacht in the Port of Miami. Then, they have to follow clues left over 300 years ago by one of the most famous pirates of all time (Blackbear.) Uncover all the clues in this virtual treasure hunt, and your team will find a chest of gold!
This is absolutely one of the most fun games to play on Zoom because for much of the activity, the group is… well away from Zoom! Teams have to work together to decipher clues from Google map coordinates in exotic places like Jamaica and The Bahamas. This historically accurate puzzle may lead your team to make an impromptu trip to see if the buried treasure is actually in the spot they uncover.
Optimal group size: 20-200+ people..Details about a Zoom Treasure Hunt
My Rich Uncle Virtual Escape Room
When we set out to create our first virtual escape room, we did a BUNCH of research. These are the things that we found. The concept of an escape room is fantastic. However, most escape rooms really… well suck. Most are designed for about five people. And in most cases, the game is designed for the participants to lose.
The really big problem, though, is the way that they work. You start locked in a room with a puzzle. You solve the puzzle and earn another puzzle. Then, you get another. Basically, there are no mile markers.
So, when we created the My Rich Uncle virtual escape room, we wanted to make sure it had a few important things.
- First, we wanted to make sure that dozens or even hundreds of people could participate all at the same time.
- We wanted to make sure that there was a winning team and everyone who didn’t win knew how much more they had to complete to win.
- There had to be a specific goal outlined upfront so that teams could create a strategy.
- And finally, there had to be a fantastic storyline to keep the participants engaged throughout.
So, when we created the My Rich Uncle Zoom game to play with your coworkers, we made sure the activity had all of these things. Unfortunately, your incredibly wealthy rich uncle passed away at the age of 114. However, before he died, he liquidated his entire estate and locked the proceeds in his briefcase. He left clues in his personal documents to the combination of the safe. If you can uncover the six-digit combination, you inherit the entire estate!
Optimal group size: 20-200+ people..Details about this Virtual Escape Room
The Charade Zoom Murder Mystery Game.
If your group likes to cut up and have fun, then this is one of the best games to play on Zoom! Prior to the murder mystery, we schedule a Zoom call with six of your participants. One of the six will be a murder victim and the other five are the suspects. We walk them through the activity and give them each a script.
When the meeting starts, it looks like any other Zoom meeting. That is until one of your executives dies on camera and everyone on the call is either a witness or a suspect.
Teams are organized. Then, we send each suspect to each team’s breakout room where they get to interrogate the suspect. Each team must harness their inner CSI to uncover all the clues and figure out which suspects are lying and about what are they lying.
This online game is hilarious! Your team will be laughing and pointing fingers all the way to the end.
Optimal group size: 20-200+ people..Details about the Team Murder Mystery