March 20, 2020

Best online games for friends during a pandemic

At the time of writing, we're about one-week into this world of "social distancing". There's many downsides, but one upside is that your non-gamer friends may just be bored enough to play an online game with you! Here's a set of games that will give you the best shot at rallying the troops!

Party Games

The Jackbox Series

Price: $12.49 - $20.99

Platform: Pretty much everything

This one without a doubt tops the list. Each "Jackbox Party Pack" contains five individual games. Each player plays using a smartphone/tablet/computer and the main game is displayed on a separate screen. It's easy to jump into, and in my experience, it's always a hit with both the gamer/non-gamer types!

Typically these games are played locally on one TV, however as long as one person owns the game, they can share their screen through something like Google Hangouts (or stream through Twitch using software like OBS).

Price: Free

Platform: Browser

My group of friends used to play this game online a decade ago. I was delighted to log-in and see that the community was still rolling! If you've played Pictionary, you pretty much know how this one works.

More "game"ey options


Price: Free

Platform: Browser

You're a ball, on a team of balls. Grab the other team's flag to win! It's simple but yet oddly addictive.

Golf With Friends

Price: $8.99 (per player)

Platform: Steam

Mini golf, with friends! I'm incredibly bad at this game, but I think that may be the point? Regardless, We never play this game without laughing.

Local multiplayer games with "Steam remote play together"

Price: Free (you just need to own the game)

Platform: Steam

Steam has a super cool (new-to-me) feature where you can play local-multiplayer games online with friends. You can search for games that support the Remote play feature.

Some of my favorites include

Board Games

Tabletop Simulator

Price: $21.99 (per player)

Platform: Steam

With Tabletop Simulator, you can play pretty much any tabletop game that you can think of. You can even flip the table if things aren't going your way! (Results may vary)

Catan Universe

Price: Free (ish)

Platform: Browser / Mac / Windows

With the base free game, you can play with up to two other friends. There are also expansions available for purchase.

Have any favorites that I'm missing?

If I'm missing your favorites, I'd love to hear from you!

I hope this list helps you and your fellow social-distancers get through this next stretch! Have fun!