Great games for ZOOM calls

About a month ago we here at Custom Camps had to make a HARD pivot from in person team building to virtual team building. We now host and run Virtual Recesses for teams of 10 to 300 people using ZOOM as our platform. We work with companies like Google and Nickelodeon, and have had practice with many different types of games.

These are some that work well. We know that many people from community groups to schools, clubs and organizations are struggling to find ways to connect and engage in this difficult time, and we are excited to share the following games as a resource to help foster that connection.

The Games

Many games where cameras are turned off work best if all participants activate “turn off all non-video participants,” which can be found by clicking on the “ . . .” over a turned off screen.

Pass It On
In a public chat, one person writes another person’s name and then turns off their camera. The person who just had their name written writes someone else’s name (who’s camera is on) and then turns off their camera. This continues until there is one person left who writes down the first person’s name. The result is a round robin where everyone has someone who they have chosen and someone who has chosen them. The first person then does a gesture and we see how fast we can go through everyone. To increase the difficulty, create a new order and pass two gestures at the same time.


House of Mirrors (This is also great after playing Pass It On so it’s a round robin)
Everyone chooses someone else on the call. On a starting command, the only rule of the game is to mirror the person they chose. Things start chill, but get weird fast. The game ends on the facilitators command.


If You Really Knew Me
Players are sent into random pairs. Once there they each must share everything that they can about themselves in one minute. Every line must start with, “If you really knew me . . .” and if players can’t think of what to say, they just keep saying that until they have something. After each player has shared they are moved to a different partner.


Everyone starts holding up one finger. They can use private or public chat to find someone to play RPS with. If they win they put up an additional finger. If they lose, they take a finger away (players with only one finger continue to keep up one finger). Players can only play RPS with someone holding up the same amount of fingers. Players have a set amount of time to get to the highest level of fingers possible.


In Common
Players are grouped in pairs and tasked with finding as much that they have in common as possible. They are then grouped with more people and the same challenge. Groupings continue to grow, making it harder to find things that everyone has in common. The game ends with everyone in their final group (great for Color Teams) and someone sharing with the whole team, what they all had in common in their group.


I love my Neighbor . . .
One player starts by saying, “I love my neighbor who . . .” and finishes with something about themselves that you can’t tell by looking at them. Everyone who that is also true for them keeps their camera on, while anyone who that is not true for, turns their camera off. The player gets to see who they share this commonality with and choose someone from that group to go next. 


Line of Silence
This game requires the facilitator to get information ahead of time. With players muted and private chats disabled, players are challenged to create a list (To be entered in public chats) of all players, in order, based on specific challenges like birthday, distance from office, etc. Once the list is submitted, players are unmuted and it is compared to the true results.


Pandemic (obviously you can come up with a different premise . . . I just have a sick sense of humor)
One person is the CDC and someone else has the “virus”. The person with the virus must “pass it” to someone else by doing the same gesture at the same time. They know to do that by private chatting each other. Every 5 seconds the CDC can ask anyone if they have the virus and the game ends when the CDC is right.  


Sound Effects
Participants turn off their cameras and change their Zoom names to a “Code Name” that makes them anonymous. One person is selected and they turn their camera on. Their job is to identify other members of their team. They can ask people by their code names to make a sound effect (dog bark, lion roar, car start, door creek, etc.). Based on that sound effect they have two guesses to guess who that person is. If a player is identified, they turn on their camera. This game can be played until everyone is identified, where the competition is to see how few effects are used to do so, or each round can switch with the first person identified becoming the new guesser.


Guess Who
One person is selected as a “Captain” and one person is selected as the “Who.” The Captain has to figure out who the “Who” is. They do this by asking yes or no questions to the facilitator like, “does the Who have long hair?” or “Is the Who a man?” Based on the facilitators answer, everyone who is not the Who, turns off their camera (The Who is instructed through private chat to never turn off their camera even if the answer is ambiguous). The goal is to find the Who with as few questions as possible.


Everyone is broken into pairs. They are challenged to observe their partner and their surroundings. Players are then prompted to turn off their cameras and change three things about their appearance or surroundings. Players are then prompted to turn their cameras back on and figure out what their partner changed.


Two Truths and a Lie
One person shares two things that are true and one thing that is a lie. Players then say which they think is the lie.
This can be done with a link to a google form so that there is an active pie chart showing people’s votes.

As Color Olympics it can be done where one person from each team gives a “two truths and a lie” and then in their teams they have to determine which of each is the lie.


Story Story Die
Players make up a story together where each round is a new chapter. In this game only the person in speaker view can talk and they are not allowed to stop talking until they are no longer in speaker view. If a person in speaker view stutters or can’t think of anything to say, everyone shouts out, “Die!” and they have to act out an elaborate death and we start a new round/chapter.


Giants, Wizards and Elves
Facilitator teaches the gesture and sounds for the game:

Giants -- Stand tall with hands over heads shouting “Aaargh!”

Wizards -- Points finger directly at the camera shouting “Zap!”

Elves -- Crouch down with hands as ears shouting “Wheee!!!”


Giants beat Elves

Elves beat Wizards

Wizards beat Giants

Break the group into two teams. In breakout groups teams must choose their mode of attack and have a backup in case it’s a tie. They then come back to the main room to compete. Both teams show Giants, Elves or Wizards and points are given to the winning team. 


Basic rules of Werewolf. When it’s lights out, everyone turns off their cameras and villagers are selected to be killed through private chat.


Combination Lock
This ZOOM call is a combination lock and the combination must be discovered to get to the next activity. The combination is the order that players need to speak in which the facilitator is following. PLayers take turns saying, “Me?” and the facilitator says yes or no. Players must work together to unlock the combination by everyone saying me in the correct order to unlock the game.


Heads or Tails
Everyone chooses heads or tails by giving a thumbs up or a thumbs down. The facilitator flips a coin and announces the result. Everyone who was wrong turns off their camera and everyone who was right does a victory dance. Keep playing until there is one camera left on.


Choose a volunteer and have them turn off their sound. Decide a challenge for them to do involving their actual physical space (“they have to take a book from their book shelf and put it on the table,” “they have to open their closet and put on an article of clothing”, etc.). Signal to them that they can turn back on their sound. Now they must do the challenge. The rest of the group can’t tell them what it is; all they can do is cheer the closer they get and boo the farther away they are. When they successfully complete the challenge everyone shouts BING!


RPS Tournament
Create a bracket and have that be on speaker view. Everyone turns off their cameras and the facilitator calls out pairs to turn on their camera and play RPS. Everyone watches the matches and follows the bracket until there is a champion.


Predator // Protector
Everyone picks one person to be their predator. On a starting command, whenever your predator’s camera is on, you have to turn yours off. If your predator’s camera is off, you turn your’s on. The game ends on the facilitators command. An addition that can be made is to also pick a protector. As long as your protector’s camera is on, you are safe, even if the predator is present. Another addition to keep things moving is that players can only have their cameras on for 10 seconds at a time before briefly turning it off.