What Are The Best Board Games To Play Over Zoom?

What Are The Best Board Games To Play Over Zoom?
Photo: Curtis LaMalfa

The screens, they are unavoidable right now. Our kids were probably already getting plenty of screen time before the pandemic swept the world, but now, they’re not just using screens for entertainment. They’re using them to connect with their teachers, to complete their schoolwork and to talk to family and friends.

My nine-year-old son has been having regular hang-out sessions over Zoom with a couple of his friends. They’ve spent most of the time playing Minecraft or a multiplayer dinosaur war game called Jurassic Monster World. It’s been fine, he gets to see his friends, and I’m in favour of just about anything that provides him with some connection right now, even if they do spend more time staring at their tablets than each other.

If you’ve got Ticket to Ride and they’ve got Ticket to Ride, you can all play Ticket to Ride. (Photo: Kelly Carr)

But the longer this “shelter in place” business goes on, the nicer it would be to also find a way to incorporate a bit more traditional game-playing into the routine.

I realise that many classic board and card games have online versions that people are now taking advantage of during their Physical Distancing Happy Hours. But for kids, there is something special about shaking actual dice in their hands and clomping game pieces unnecessarily hard around a real-life board. A throwback activity to a simpler time.

Since my son is, you know, HOME WITH ME, I figured I might as well as him what games he’d like to try playing with his friends over Zoom, Google Hangouts, FaceTime or Duo.

“Definitely not a card game,” he says, “Maybe Sorry? Yeah, Sorry would be a good one.”

He makes a good point—I can’t imagine how something like Uno or Go Fish could realistically work over video chat. But classic board games like Sorry, Trouble, Monopoly, or Chutes and Ladders? Those should work, as long as 1. both parties have the same game and 2. the kids are old enough to follow what the other player is doing in order to move their opponent’s pieces or 3. there is a parent nearby to help with that part.

A friend of mine recently busted out Ticket to Ride to play with her six-year-old son and their buddies across the country (pictured above). Other ideas might include Candy Land, Clue, Connect Four, and Battleship, which you could even play pretty easily over the phone. But is Twister only fun if everyone is physically tangled up together?

Let’s make a list in the comments. What games have your kids tried playing over video chat? Do you have any tips for improving the flow of the game? Was a good time had by all, or was it more trouble than it was worth?

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