Games night greatness: The best online games to play with your Cambridge friends over video call
Needless to say, things can get *very* personal
It’s the end of term and everyone wants to let off some steam, especially now that we all finally have the time to properly hang out with friends. The only problem? You can’t actually meet up with them in person. Bit of a fundamental issue there. Some are halfway across the country, some halfway across the world, and some may be living next door but currently self-isolating – so they might as well be halfway across the world too. Sad times.
Then someone on the group chat suggests a video call. I know what you’re thinking – a video call is nice, isn’t it? Oh no. You shudder, remembering all the video call mishaps of the last eight weeks of online term: running around the house in a frenzy five minutes before a meeting trying to find a spot where the Wi-Fi works; “Can you hear me?” repeatedly shouted at the camera, rivalled in frequency only by the number of Toope-related Camfesses; and the occasional gut-wrenching mid-supo cry. You can’t video call – Zoom is haunted by mishaps you’d rather forget.
But fear not! It doesn’t have to be this way! Online games night is here to the rescue. To save you from the breakout room silence, The Tab has rated nine games you can play over video call with your friends to make the most of games night. And who knows? You might even forget you’re on a video call in the first place.
The detailed steps to our very serious study:
Step one: Gather a focus group (also known as friends)
Step two: Play games – all available as apps or online
Step three: Rank the games
The NatScis in the group were particularly excited as this is the only in-person practical they’ve had all year. You’re welcome 🙂
Respondents were asked to rank the games in order of how much they enjoyed them, with the results used to give each game a ranking out of 10 (we’re professionals, we know):
Here is what we found out:
In the top spot is Psych. This app is all about outwitting the other players by writing creative answers to questions and voting on the best one. Questions range from making up definitions to fake words in an attempt to fool your friends, to making up answers about said friends. Needless to say, things can get *very* personal.
Pro: Opportunity to really roast your friends.
Con: You might get roasted in turn – but hey, some of our supervisors have prepared us enough for that by now.
2. Photo Roulette
This one is a killer – the app selects random photos from everyone’s camera rolls and players have to guess whose phone they are from. Yes, the thought of relinquishing control of your camera roll to the app is stomach churning, but the hilarity of the game makes it worth it. Plus, it’s a great bonding exercise: there are aspects of someone’s personality only the memes on their phones can reveal.
Pro: You get to see some very embarrassing photos of the other players.
Con: Thought those questionable mugshots your friends took of you in year 8 would never again see the light of day? Think again.
This game’s a bit like Pictionary. Each player takes it in turn to draw a word given to them and the others have to guess. You earn points for how fast you guess and the quality of your drawings. Let’s just say that none of us are winning the Turner Prize any time soon.
Pro: Very easy to get into, lots of laughs.
Con: There’s always that one friend with an Art A-Level that ends up drawing a Picasso-like masterpiece, making you a little ashamed of the stick person you just drew. Of course, if you are that friend then the opportunity to flex your superior art skills is really more of a pro than a con.
3. Cards Against Humanity
Everyone is dealt a few cards with certain phrases on them. Each player in turn becomes the ‘Card Czar’ by picking an extra card which contains a sentence such as ‘Instead of coal, Father Christmas now gives bad children ___’. The other players have to select one of their cards containing the phrase that they think fills in the blank in the funniest way. The Card Czar then reads them out and picks the winner of the round.
Flashbacks to year nine anyone? Playing this game during lunch made you the epitome of badass.
Pro: Everyone’s sense of humour has a bit of a weird side and this game’s great at revealing it to the world.
Con: Let’s just say some of the phrases on the cards can be somewhat unsavoury, so probably not the best idea to play this if you’ve got very young siblings running in and out your room.
One player is given the role of spy. Everyone else is given a card with a secret location. In turn, players ask each other questions about the location, which are easy enough to answer unless you are the spy, in which case you need to make it up. The other players have to try guess who the spy is and the spy has to try to avoid being caught.
Pro: You need to be quick thinking! The game can also last quite long (15-30 minutes, depending on how many players there are), which makes for a wholesome evening. Why not make a themed night out of it with fancy dress, fake moustaches and the James Bond theme tune in the background?
Con: You better not have any qualms about lying – otherwise your moral compass will go haywire.
Classic card game… need I say more?
Pro: Takes you back to chill family nights in. You can spice it up by changing the rules a bit. For example, for every ‘draw two’ card, you now have to draw twice the number on the last card played… oof what a curveball.
Con: Don’t even suggest there are any cons to this universally loved game, capeesh?
Okay, in all honesty, Uno probably came 5th only because it doesn’t require the same level of wit, or result in the same level of embarrassment as the previous games.
Invite your friends to join your scattergories server. The server will generate a random letter and a list of categories. All you have to do is write the first thing that pops into your head from each category, beginning with the random letter. Try to be as fast as possible as there is a strict time limit – and think creatively so you don’t have the same answers as anyone else! You can make the game more competitive by awarding points to players that gave unique answers.
Pro: Very easy to turn this into a drinking game. Matched answers with a friend? Time for a Jagerbomb. Before you know it, scattergories will be filling the place of sit-down Cindies (RIP) in your heart.
Con: A little basic – so not exactly the height of academic rigour. But maybe that’s just what you need after the last eight weeks.
Essentially a quiz game with lots of categories from which to choose, ranging from food to languages. You can make it even better by creating your own Kahoot with Cambridge-themed questions, or questions about your friends – which would make for a great bonding exercise.
Pro: Very accessible. After trying my hand at the *very difficult* Intercollegiate Quiz this year, it was comforting to finally play a game in which I could answer a respectable number of questions. I mean, with multiple choice you always have a 25% chance of success, right?
Con: If, like me, 80% of your cover teachers at school used Kahoot instead of a lesson plan, you may have already had your fill of this game for a lifetime.
8. Heads Up
Time to get your creative juices flowing…
A player holds up a card (or their phones, in this case) on their head. The card shows a words, which they can’t see. Everyone else has to give either a verbal description or act out the word shown on the card. The person holding the card has to guess the word, then move onto the next one. The player that guesses the most words in the end wins.
Pro: Fast-paced and fun, everyone can get involved.
Con: Might be difficult to play if the internet of the person trying to guess the word is lagging as the game requires a quick reaction.
So there you have it: all the top-quality Tab analysis of online games. Yes, you might not be celebrating end of term with the same gusto as you would have done a year ago, but these games show that a wholesome, enjoyable and surprising night is still very much possible.