Virtual family games: Happy family and waving during a video call

Ready to bring everyone together to play games, get competitive, and have fun? A night of virtual family games is the perfect way to spend time together in spite of distance.

But how do you arrange such an event? And what games should you play? Our guide to hosting a virtual family game night gives you all the details you need to plan a virtual event, plus our top picks for family-friendly games.

How To Plan a Virtual Family Game Night

When you’re thinking about hosting a virtual game night for your family and friends, use these steps to plan an experience everyone will enjoy.

Choose a Date and Time

Ask your family members when they’re free to join you for a virtual family game night. Friday or Saturday evenings work for most people, or you could opt for a weekend daytime event instead.

Start a group message to find out everyone’s best times, or ask them to take a simple poll to pick a date. That way, you can plan your game night for when most people are available.

Find the Best App

Once you’ve settled on a date, you need to pick a platform to use.

Zoom, Google Hangouts, and Skype are great ways to connect with family members across different devices. For a more casual get-together, the mobile app Houseparty is another option.

You could also host your virtual family games night through Facebook Messenger or FaceTime, depending on whether your family mostly uses Facebook or are mostly Apple users.

Invite Your Family

Virtual family games: Game night invitation by Greenvelope

Design: Olive and Me

With your date, time, and platform chosen, it’s time to get those virtual game night invitations out to your family members.

Get everyone excited by sending out an online invitation instead of an email. With an online invite, you can personalize your design with all the info they need, plus share a link to where they can join you when it’s time to get your virtual family game night started.

Choose Your Games

Now that the planning is sorted out, you can move on to finding the perfect virtual party games to play together.

Consider the ages of everyone involved, as well as what kind of games they love to play. That’ll help you choose between old favorites and new, contemporary games. It’s also a good idea to think about what devices your family members have and whether something more casual that you can play through a video call might work better.

Our Favorite Virtual Family Games

Excited to build your game list for your virtual family game night? Here are some of our top picks. We’ve included everything from classic board games to competitive video games.

1. Pictionary

Take this traditional drawing guessing game online and play with loved ones no matter where they are. There are lots of different apps and platforms where you can play Pictionary-esque games online, like Drawize and Sketchful. Try these out to find the one that you prefer, then send out your invites.

2. Heads Up

Heads Up is a guessing game where you try to guess the word, character, song, or film that’s shown on the app, held above your head. This fun party game went viral after appearing on “The Ellen Degeneres Show.”

To play this, your family members will each need to download the app to their phone. Everyone then takes turns holding the app to their head and guessing their way to victory. You’ll need to use a video conferencing software that lets you hide your own webcam temporarily for this game, so you don’t spoil the game!

3. Jackbox Games

Jackbox Games are the creators of a series of popular party games, including Drawful and Quiplash. Individual games and party packs can all be played online, making them great for virtual family game nights with adults.

What’s great about these virtual family games is that you can download them across a whole range of platforms, including Steam, Playstation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. As such, you can run your virtual family game night from whichever device is most familiar to you.

4. Mario Kart Tour

Bring your family members together and challenge each other to see who can win the most races on Mario Kart Tour. This fast-paced game is perfect for video games fans, but easily accessible to even the most novice player.

You’ll find Mario Kart Tour on the App Store and Google Play, so make sure your family members download it before your game night to join the fun.

5. Wheel of Fortune

Invite your family members to play a few rounds of the classic TV game show “Wheel of Fortune” from the comfort of their homes. There’s a free mobile app you can download, where you can run multiplayer online games to challenge friends and family members.

6. Catan

Virtual family games: Catan game invitation by Greenvelope

Design: Anna K Design

Settle down for a few rounds of a well-known board game, Catan. This classic has an online multiplayer version called Catan Universe where you can play with others. Family members can join you to play this interactive board game on Windows and Mac devices, plus it’s available on iOS and Android.

7. Scattergories

Challenge your family members to see who can get the most creative with words as you play virtual Scattergories. All you need for this fun word game is a video chat and someone to play host. Make things easy with this Scattergories word generator and have fun!

8. Jeopardy

Bring another game show classic into your home with the virtual version of “Jeopardy!” See who’s the hottest when it comes to trivia questions with this fun game.

Download the mobile app, and you can challenge friends or family members to a head-to-head match and see who scores highest. Pair this with a video call, and you’ll have plenty of good laughs.

9. Codenames

You can now play card game Codenames online in real time thanks to this virtual version of the game.

Gather your family members, create a room, and watch as the two team leaders help their team uncover the correct words. This works best on a computer, but you can also play along on mobile devices.

10. Ticket to Ride

Take another classic board game for a spin, this time with Ticket to Ride. The online multiplayer version of this is perfect for a virtual family games night — with gameplay that’s easy for all to understand.

You can play this game across different devices and challenge up to four people. Team up or play with a small group for the best experience.

11. Bingo

Don’t want to deal with apps and downloads? Go old-school and host a traditional game of bingo for your family members. Send out bingo cards before the virtual family games night, then on the evening, play host and call numbers until someone wins.

12. Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger hunt invitation by Greenvelope

Design: Mint Parcel

For another fun game you can play together across the distance, try a scavenger hunt.

Before the event, create a list of items your family members will probably have lying around at home. Then, reveal the list at your party night and see who can come back with the most items. Make it more challenging by providing your scavenger hunt clues in the form of riddles.

Virtual Family Games for a Fun-Filled Evening

There are so many different games you can play with loved ones, no matter where you are. For the best virtual family games night, choose a mix of classic games and more recent additions to the gaming world. Play both competitive and team games, and add in a few prizes for the winners.

Use this guide to create a virtual family game night your guests will love. Organize an event nobody will want to miss, and build the excitement with a fun, themed digital invitation. Then, wow your guests with the best games you can find.