As we settle into day number who-knows-what of self-quarantine, finding ways to keep video calls interesting has become a necessity. If you’re looking for virtual happy hour games to play over Zoom, welcome. I have just the entertainment you seek.
Lest you think you’re alone in getting bored with your virtual happy hours, fear not: we are all slowly losing it. Even the richest, most famous, and most Madonna of us are trying to find ways to keep isolation interesting. January Jones is wearing an LED facemask on Instagram. Madonna is making Weird Al-style parodies of her own hits on Twitter, turning “Vogue” into a song about fried fish. If you want to spice up your Zoom call with a drinking game, now’s as good as time as any.
Lest you think you’re alone in getting bored with your virtual happy hours, fear not: we are all losing it at this point and looking for ways to entertain ourselves. The rich and famous have kept quarantine interesting with home entertainment like Gal Gadot’s cringey rendition of the song “Imagine” to sparking internet challenges like Meg The Stallion’s “Body” dance-off. And while many of us are still figuring out how to keep up with the last viral challenge, it’s safe to say these interesting outbursts have definitely kept us entertained.
You can start with a website entirely dedicated to drinking alone together: Drink Virtually has eight different classic party games from Ride the Bus to F*ck the Dealer that you can easily play over video chat. Have one person run the game and share their screen, perhaps add some virtual party tunes, and enjoy.
If you have a favorite dice game, you’re in luck: a virtual dice roller exists because of course, it does. It’s 2021. While we may have turned to analog activities like jigsaw puzzles and sourdough starters, we still have access to the internet. Thus, we have access to an endless supply of social boredom cure-alls. And if you’re looking for fun games that don’t involve drinking, classic games like Bingo, Trivia, Charades, and Scattergories have all been adapted to fit our virtual lifestyles.
Here are 25 happy hour games you can play on your next Zoom call.
As seen on the HBO series “RUN”, this drinking game is relatively simple. Have all participants pour a few shots of different clear alcohol like vodka, tequila, gin, sambuca, plus one shot of water. Each round, one person chooses a glass and takes a shot. Then, the player either says “water” or “not water.” Finally, the other players have to guess whether or not the person is lying or telling the truth. It’s a game of trust (no cheating!) and seeing how strong your shot-face is.
2. Two Truths And A Lie
Make this classic ice breaker game where you share two facts and one made-up “fact” about yourself quarantine specific. Have your friends figure out whether or not you’ve actually been tending to a sourdough starter or if you’ve hit 20 hours of screentime on your phone.
3. I Spy
Turn this children’s book series into a virtual happy hour game. Each person takes a turn to find something in someone else’s Zoom background. They then give clues about the object like “I spy something pink” or “I spy something fluffy” or “I spy something embarrassing.” Make the clues as direct or abstract as you see fit. Whoever guesses the object correctly wins and gets to go next. Everyone else drinks.
4. Fashion Show
Have each person model what they’re wearing for the Zoom call. They can describe their lewk or another person can give them a pageant-style voiceover. (e.g. “Mary is sporting some three-day-old sweatpants and a t-shirt from a college she didn’t go to. This outfit was inspired by the concept of exhaustion.”)
Pair off with someone else on the call. (Platforms like Zoom favor the audio of whoever’s the loudest so it might work best if only one person is guessing at a time.) Use this game word generator from The Game Gal if you don’t want to come up with words/phrases to guess on your own. That generator also has varying levels so you can start off on easy and work your way up to “really hard.”
6. Wikipedia Races
Pick a Wikipedia page for everyone to start on. It can be anything: the page for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, the page about tomato soup, the page about the French Revolution. Then, pick a Wikipedia page that everyone has to get to. Again, it can be anything: the page for menstrual cups, the page for manicures, the page for the 2008 Olympics. You have to click links to navigate through Wikipedia. No hitting “back.” No using ctrl-f to find certain words. No typing whatsoever. Whoever is able to get to the goal page first (again, only using Wikipedia’s hyperlinks) wins.
7. Never Have I Ever: Quarantine Edition
Turn this classic sleepover game into an admission of your true self-isolation. Start with five fingers up and go around the call saying “Never have I ever…” revealing things that you haven’t yet done in quarantine. (e.g. “Never have I ever, during quarantine, stayed in my pajamas all day” or “Never have I ever (since self-isolation started) watched a full season of a show straight through.”) When someone puts a finger down, they have to drink. The first one to put all five fingers down as to finish their drink.
8. Would You Rather: Quarantine Edition
Taking a game everyone’s familiar with and adding a theme (e.g. “quarantine”) can help keep it interesting. Take turns asking people if they’d rather be stuck in isolation with seven dogs or one baby. Ask if people would rather only eat beans for the rest of quarantine or only eat sourdough bread.
One person starts by asking a simple either/or question: chocolate or vanilla, Coke or Pepsi, Netflix or Hulu. Everyone takes turns answering, no explanation required. Whoever is in the minority has to drink. If it’s a tie, everyone drinks.
10. Power Hour
11. Netflix Party Drinking Game
Pick a movie for everyone to watch together using Netflix Party. Establish rules beforehand (e.g. drink when you first meet the love interest, drink when the first person dies in the horror movie, drink when they say the title of the movie).
Play Scattegories online using Swellgarfo’s list generator. Have one person share their screen so you’re all looking at the same list. After two minutes, everyone shares their answers. If you give an alliterative answer (e.g. “Marilyn Monroe” for celebrities that start with M) you get an extra point. If someone else has the same answer as you, you both cross that item off.
13. Most Likely To
Come up with your own list of superlatives or use this list of over 500 “most likely to” ideas. On the count of three, everyone shares their answer in the chat.
14. Zoom-specific Game
Set the rules at the beginning of the Zoom call and carry on your call as per usual. For example, when someone isn’t paying attention or has to say “what?” They drink. When someone’s dog barks or child screams, they drink. If Zoom freezes, everyone drinks.
15. Drunk Pirate
Have someone share their screen and set up a game of Drunk Pirate. Click “next card” on each person’s turn and have that person do whatever the card says. If a card requires you to be physically present to do it, get a new card or say everyone has to drink.
16. Hyper-Specific Trivia
Miss doing trivia nights with your friends? Conduct a trivia night using an online trivia generator. You could also make your own themed trivia quiz that better suits your friend group. Have a Bob’s Burgers trivia night. Have a sports-specific trivia night. Have a trivia night dedicated to facts about your friend group.
Pair off with someone else on the call. Again, if you’re on a platform like Zoom, it might be easier only having one person guessing at a time given audio level restrictions. Use The Game Gal’s game word generator if you don’t want to come up with words/phrases to draw on your own.
18. Imaginary Hide-and-seek
This is like 20 questions with no question limit and even more abstract. One person secretly picks a place to “hide.” It can be anywhere: the top of the Empire State building, in the hair Lindsay Lohan gets cut off in “The Parent Trap,” in the cupboard of someone else on the Zoom call. Everyone takes turns asking yes/no questions to try to guess the location.
19. Heads Up
If you trust your camera quality, play Heads Up! as you typically would, holding the phone up to your partner who gives you clues to guess the word/phrase. You could also just have each person look at their own phone and give out clues to their partner.
Using a virtual deck of cards, take turns guessing what color the next card will be. If you’re wrong, you drink.
Picolo lets you enter players’ names and then generates random questions and commands like “Drink if you’re a football fan” or “Have each person burp on command. Rate their performance on a scale of one to five.” You can find Picolo on both the App Store and Google Play.
You know that feeling when a person’s name is on the tip of your tongue? This is a game dedicated to that. One person says the name of a well-known person (an actor, a composer, a prime minister, etc.). Then, they pick one person in the group they think will recognize the name but not be able to identify how they know that person. For example, if I say “Shawn Johnson” and that name is familiar but you can’t place it, you drink. If I say “Venus Williams” and you’re like “duh everyone knows her as she is a tennis legend,” I drink. If I say “Mrs. Andmunson” and you’re like “I have literally never heard that name,” I drink. You want to pick a name that will be familiar but not obvious, something obscure but not too unknown. Most people are going to know who Venus Wiliams is. Not enough people know Mrs. Andmunson, who was my first-grade teacher.
23. Say The Same Word
Also called “Mind Meld” this game... is exactly what it sounds like. Two people start saying whatever word comes to mind. It can be literally any word; it just has to be one word. Then, one of those people and a new person have to say a word they think applies to both those words. (e.g. if the first pair of words is “banana” and “hedgehog”, a joining word could be “nature”) Keep going until two people say the same word.
24. Read My Lips
Turn off your microphone and say a phrase. Everyone has to take turns guessing what they think the phrase is.
25. Scavenger Hunt
One person says an item and everyone else on the call has to go find that item in their house. The last one back has to drink.
If all else fails, you can always play the classic quarantine game, “Where would you rather be right now?”
Additional reporting by Lauren Grant.
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