In the game Codenames, two teams are led by “spymasters,” who must help their teammates identify all of the secret agents on their team out of 25 possible codenames. Spymasters give one-word clues about those agents’ codenames, but here’s the tricky part: you want to choose clues that can point to multiple words. You can use this free online version of Codenames to play with friends no matter where you are, though you’ll want to set up a FaceTime or Zoom call so you can hear the spymasters’ clues.
Have you ever played Pictionary? The free online game Skribbl allows you to play with up to 12 of your friends in a private room, where players take turns drawing pictures based on words or phrases for everyone else to guess. You also have the option to generate all of the words and phrases yourself, so you can make them specific to your class of friends.
This classic four-player tile-based game is a little tricky to teach virtually, but once you learn the rules, you can easily play with this online version of American Mah Jongg, which allows the option of playing with the 2019 or 2020 card. You’ll need to order a Mah Jongg card from the National Mah Jongg League to get started, and creating an account with the site costs $5.99/month, but there is a 14-day free trial available so you can check it out first.
The hilarious “party game for horrible people,” Cards Against Humanity, involves completing fill-in-the-blank statements using risqué words or phrases, with players taking turns selecting their favorite response. Even if you’re not familiar with this card game, the online version of Cards Against Humanity, called Remote Insensitivity, is easy to learn and allows for up to six people to play.
In Scattergories, players are given categories and challenged to come up with as many answers as they can to fit that category. What makes this one challenging is that all of those answers have to begin with the letter rolled on the die. This online version of Scattergories allows you to select your categories, send out a link, and allow everyone to brainstorm individually. The person with the most answers wins!
This online version of Settlers of Catan, called Colonist, is just like the popular board game, where players compete to build their civilization and expand their territory. The base game (which enables you to play with up to three of your friends) is free, but you can choose to buy expansion packs that allow you to play with up to 10 people, as well as packs that involve fun variations of the base game.
This deck-building card game is similar to Settlers of Catan, as Dominion challenges players to build their empire and take over as much unclaimed land as possible. The online version of Dominion is just as fun as the real card game, and the four-player base game is available to play for free. You can also opt to buy expansion packs for different variations and larger games.
Dominoes may appear simple, but this tile-based game involves more strategizing than you would think. This game is all about scoring the most points by putting your tiles down in the most advantageous way, and the online version of Dominoes allows you to play a virtual game with up to four people.
Inspired by the games Werewolf and Mafia, the online game Town of Salem is a strategy game where players are secretly assigned roles and must try to figure out who’s a Town member (i.e. a good guy) and who’s a villain. The game is designed for seven to 15 players, and the browser version is totally free to play.