How to Play Board Games with Friends via Zoom

Rea Martin

A lot of things have changed since last year. Social physical distancing and the quarantine challenged how we interact, socialize and maintain communication with work, family and friends. With this, online video chatting platforms has been very useful. Should you miss the fun of playing board games with friends, there’s no need to worry, Zoom got you.

Here’s how to play board games on Zoom

Set up  a Zoom call

You can start a Zoom call easily through the Zoom web client. You don’t need to download any plug-in or install any software on your PC. However, if you need to access Zoom through a mobile device, you need to download the mobile app for Android or IOS device. While you can run Zoom in a browser, Zoom for PC is available with some extra features.

If you will be hosting, you need to sign-in on Zoom. For those who will be joining via the web, they do not need to be signed in. They simply need the link to join via a browser. For privacy purposes, the host can also require authentication.

Once an account is set, you are ready to host a game night.  

First, select New Meeting to initiate a video call

You will be prompted with the option whether you want to join and share your computer audio. Set it all up and share the meeting ID or personal link to those who you want to invite.

Joiners will only need to go to the Zoom website, click on Join a Meeting and enter the link you provided.

When everyone’s in, you (the host) can choose Share Screen from the bar at the bottom of your screen.

Then select a desktop window you want to share that has the game board (depending on what game you want to play).

Playing Physical Board Games and Charades

You can also play regular board games like Chess, with the board having its own camera and shared as a separate video screen. The other player will tell you their move/s and you will move the pieces for them physically.

You can do this for other boardgames like Snakes & Ladders and such.  However, other board games like Monopoly or card games might not be played effectively through this method.

For charades, you can use an online idea generator for categories that can be on the Shared Screen. Afterwards, those who will be the one to draw will be sharing their screen.

You can also try other games like Heads Up. For this one, have everyone download the app through their Android or IOS device. Use a generator to choose a category and take chances of holding the phone up and guessing the words.

Playing Virtual Boardgames

There are virtual board games that you can download online. Some of them are paid but you can also find free apps as well. Each player should get the app on their device to join a game.

While playing, one of the players can share their screen via Zoom so everyone can have a general view of the game while talking over Zoom. Here are some games you can check out:

Risk

Image result for Risk Hasbro virtual

Risk lets you and 5 more friends play a quest towards world domination through its Play Friends Online option. Developed by Hasbro, Risk is available for Android and IOS devices for free.

Monopoly

You can still play the classic Monopoly board game with friends virtually through the mobile app developed by Marmalade Game Studio. The app is available for Android and IOS devices and it allows you to create a private multiplayer game session online for you and your friends.

Playing on Online Board Game Platforms

You can also try online board game platforms which offer various types of games you can enjoy. These sites will let you play with people across the world or with your friends too. Some great sites you can try are:

Playing Cards

PlayingCards.io is a free online one-on-one game platform that you and your friends can use through a browser. It offers classic board games like Chess, Checkers and Backgammon that is ready-to-play with no signing in required. You can open the website, choose and start a game and share the link that will appear on your screen to your friend. You can also share your screen via Zoom, so both of you can see the board even while chatting.

Board Game Arena

Board Game Arena offers hundreds of games for you to choose from. It includes adventures, board games, strategy games as well as child-friendly educational games. Just have your friend sign-in on the using their Facebook or Google account, agree on a game and get playing, then talk over Zoom to strategize or just brag when you win.  

Tabletopia

Tabletopia offers 1500+ board games, some of which are free while others require paid memberships. Just simply sign up and log in on the website and choose a game you want to play. It will allow you to play with other random people for free.  To play with friends, one should be a host, subscribed to the platform. To have a game session via Zoom, you can play through your web browser and share your screen or you may also opt on accessing Tabletopia using your Android or IOS device.

Zoom Time Limit

Unfortunately, hosting Zoom meetings is only free for 40 minutes. So if you are playing games that might take hours, you can subscribe for a paid account to avoid interruptions.

However, if it’s not that crucial, when you hit the 40-minute mark, sometimes you can still click the original link to jump-start the meeting again. If that does not work, have the host ready to create another link as soon as the meeting ends. If you are the host, start a new meeting and send out links again to continue the free Zoom meeting and carry on with your game night.