While we’re not exactly sure how long the COVID-19 period will last, many companies and studios have risen to the task of providing some quality entertainment and all-around good vibes to help the world cope with the current circumstances. Games have no doubt been at the forefront of this crusade, be it video games or straight up digital board games, as their interactive nature makes for some much-needed proactive connection in a time where many are forced to literally sit on their touches and wait for the pandemic to subside.
As such, we’ve put together a simple list of some of the best free-to-play online games that many will no doubt have a blast with, in the comfort of their own homes, be it with friends or family.
What’s interesting is that most of these games are essentially board games or party games that typically require some form of interpersonal interaction, such as face-to-face communication, hand-shaking, or using facial expressions. Thankfully, the mechanics of the following games or apps allow for the physical aspect to be translated to fit a digital platform quite seamlessly.
And of course, they’re 100% free, so there’s really no reason for you not to try at least one entry out.Codenames Online
Players: 2 – 8Platform: Web browser
Those who’ve played the original tabletop game would be very familiar with this one, because it plays exactly the same! For those who haven’t, this game is super easy to play, and made much easier (and cheaper obviously) with the fact that there is no shuffling of cards involved.
Players are split into two teams – Red and Blue – with one player on each team being a spymaster who provides the clues to the words they want their respective teams to figure out. Spymasters can’t give teammates the exact word that’s on the screen, but they can provide one-word synonyms or clues. Correct guesses mean that the team gets to guess more words, until they win or until they guess incorrectly. Just make sure not to guess the black card, though, as that spells an instant loss!Houseparty
Players: dua – 8Platform: Web browser, Android/iOS
With most people working from home on their laptops or desktops, it’s only natural that a game that can be played on those devices or mobile is available. Lo and behold, the existence of Houseparty. This app lets groups of friends hang out in front of the camera while playing a slew of in-app games to shake up your regular teleconference. Simply invite a friend or up to 7 others over, pick a game, and start playing.
There are a host of games one can play on Houseparty, such as the popular game by Ellen DeGeneres, Heads Up!, the Pictionary-esque game Quick Draw!, and the quiz-based Trivia!. The options, while limited, are endless sources of fun for you and your friends during this period.Skribbl.io
Players: dua – 8Platform: Web browser
If any of your friends don’t have access to a webcam for some reason, perhaps Skribbl.io might be a great alternative. This browser-based game is, simply put, another drawing-based guessing game, but what this does better than the one seen in Houseparty is that it comes with a ton of more options for players to make sketches with. And if you have something like a Wacom while playing this game, you’re definitely at an advantage.Secret Hitler
Players: 5 – 10Platform: Web browser
Ah, yes, the quintessential social deduction game of recent years. If you’ve enjoyed Secret Hitler at the tabletop, then you’d be relieved to know that it also exists online, and that it plays identical to the original. In this game, players will be split into two teams, Liberals and Fascists, and one person among the Fascists is Hitler. Despite being the majority, Liberals don’t actually know who their teammates are. Fascists, on the other hand, do, with the exception of Hitler, who’s just as clueless as to who his team is. The goal of the Liberals is to ensure they enact five Libera Policies, or assassinate Hitler. The Fascists’ goal is to enact six Fascist Policies, or successfully appoint Hitler as Chancellor.
Each round, a government must be formed via an election, in which the chosen candidates will enact a new Policy, as well as an Executive Action. Players must then communicate to one another and convince others why they should be elected, and why not others, and so forth. Once the votes have been passed, a government has been formed, after which Executive Actions can be performed, such as revealing another player’s role, or even executing them. It’s arguably one of the most cutthroat games in this list, but it’s also what makes this game so good. Just make sure to hug and kiss (virtually, of course) once you’re done with it, as it will test friendships!Spyfall
Players: 3 – 12Platform: Web browser
Another social deduction game that has a tabletop version, Spyfall is slightly less complex in the sense that there isn’t much negotiation involved. In this game, each player’s aim is to try to deduce what the roles and locations of other players are, while avoiding trying to get caught themselves. This can be done by asking other players simple questions such as “does this role involve cooking?” or something along that line. It’s that simple; just don’t get caught.
What separates this game from Secret Hitler is that it’s every person for themselves, meaning you need not worry about anyone accidentally giving away your position with a poorly-timed quip. Not that it’s their fault, anyway, but sometimes it’s always better to go at it yourself… right?Werewolf Telegram
Players: lima – unlimited (or at least as much as Telegram allows)Platform: Just about any device that uses Telegram (which itself is free)
Arguably one of the most cost-effective games to play on this list, Werewolf on Telegram will probably give you the most bang for your buck, simply because it allows the most number of people to join. What makes this game so much more streamlined than the traditional tabletop version is that there’s a bot that acts as the moderator, which performs actions such as role assignment instantly, instead of having a human moderator do it. Everything else, of course, is identical, which is a good thing in this case.
To play, simply download the Telegram app, type @werewolfbot on the search bar, and you can begin a game with friends by adding the above-mentioned user to your group. The Werewolf Bot will then private DM you with your specific role, as well as options to lynch specific players after every night. Everything else, of course, hinges on you and your fellow players to deduce who among you is the werewolf, and whether or not the villagers all survive.Psych!
Players: 2 – unlimitedPlatform: Android, iOS
Another recent classic that just has to be part of this list is none other than Psych! The app-only game is not only free, but has excellent online connectivity as well, which is great for this period. If you haven’t heard of Psych! yet, it’s a trivia game that includes topics from just about anywhere and any period in time, in the form of multiple-choice questions. The catch here is that there will only be one correct answer in a sea of false answers that have been made up by all the players.
Players that guess the correct answer will earn points. However, players whose false answers get picked will also get points, which adds a lot of fun to the mix. The onus is then on you to come up with the most creative and correct-sounding answers while trying to get your own answer right at the same time.
And that’s our list of some of the best games to play online for free during this period. While many will argue that the physical versions of some of these games are superior (and yes, we will agree with you to some extent), there is no denying that these games provide the same amount of fun, without compromising on quality. After all, what choice do we have, given that many of our countries are on lockdown or the equivalent of such?
Maybe if these games just aren’t your thing, perhaps try catching a new TV series, or starting on a book series, all for free.
Passion and love mean little to the Baroness. No man can ever be her master. Where there’s terror to be sown and coin earned, that’s where she will be with guns akimbo.Drop a Facebook comment below!