These Clever Social Games Are Keeping People Connected
Online social games made it effortless to connect with friends and loved ones over the last year
On the last day of February 2020, I directed everybody in my team to go into remote work and to work from home. We started gradually, first people commuting with public transportation, then we didn't allow for two-person offices, and by mid-March, we went into government mandatory lockdown.
Countries all over the world went into lockdown, some being more strict than others. My friends and I all over the world were now under lockdown with social distancing guidelines in place. My friends are located in the United Arab Emirates, France, Canada, USA, Egypt, Jerusalem, and Jordan, while I am in Germany.
In the early lockdown days, my friends and I were only communicating through Whatsapp groups sending memes and funny videos to each other. All of a sudden, the entirety of our social interactions outside of work were limited to texts throughout smartphones.
After binge-watching the 10th Netflix series in a month or so, one of our friends suggested downloading an app called Jawaker to play cards together.
Jawaker is a mobile app that allows you to play cards with others across the globe. The app is tailored towards the Arabic audience, and it includes all card games popular with Arabs and others in the MENA region.
During the lockdown, Jawaker allowed voice chat for all members (previously, it was only available for paid members). However, the voice chat quality is not excellent, and the game sounds override the voice chat. We decided to video call each other on Zoom and to play cards on Jawaker.
A maximum of four people can play together on Jawaker. In the beginning, we were just a group of 4–6 people interested in playing cards. However, our digital lockdown parties were becoming very popular among our friends and their friends as well. Somedays, we got up to 15 people in our Zoom calls, thus playing cards in smaller groups was not an option anymore.
A friend purchased The Jackbox Party Pack to play with his kids at home. With small modifications and outside-the-box thinking, we were able to play over Zoom as well.
It was easy to set-up, with one player needing to share their computer screen with the other players, and everybody can join the virtual room from their smartphone using a link.
The games are pretty sweet and fun to play. It is intended as a couch co-op type game with everyone in front of the TV screen when you have friends over. But the lockdown edition now is over internet video hangouts.
Our friend purchased the party pack, including Fibbage, Draweful, Quiplash (our favorite), and many others. We played the following three games extensively:
- Fibbage: This game is easy. All players receive a question, and they need to answer this question with a lie. Afterward, the right answer and all the lies are presented on the screen, and the players are asked to choose what they believe is the correct answer. The player gets points for finding the right answer and for every other player tricked by their lie.
- Drawful: Each player gets a prompt, and they need to draw the prompt on their phone screen. The prompts are weird and straightforward in a way, and it’s entertaining to see people’s artistic side. Then each drawing will be shown to all the players, and they have to guess the prompt and write it down. Like Fibbage, the players eventually see the correct prompt and all the other answers, and they have to guess the right one and gather points to win the battle.
- Quiplash: When the round starts, players will get two random questions on their screen, which they need to answer in a humorous way. Each question will pop up only for two players (The players’ identities have to remain a secret), and therefore, each question will get two funny answers. After answering all the questions, each question is presented on the screen with two answers, and the other players need to vote for the better answer of the two. The answer with more votes wins the round.
Investing in The Jackbox Party Pack was a fantastic decision. The loud laughs and funny answers were priceless (not always accompanied by alcohol).
One day, we read an article online about a new online version of the popular adult card game Cards against Humanity — we had to give it a try.
If you are not familiar, Cards Against Humanity is an adult card game in which one player picks a question card, and all others need to submit their answers by choosing cards from their deck. The player with the question chooses then the funniest or crudest answer. The player with the chosen answer gets the point for this round, and then a different player chooses the next question card. The game can get very crude and dark — be advised that you will most probably be offended by a specific question/answer combo.
A website called All Bad Cards lets you create a virtual session of the popular card game. Players can play easily from their phones, tablets, or laptops. All Bad Cards also offers a family-friendly version if you don’t like crude or dark humor.
One does not need to be in a video or a voice chat room to enjoy the game. However, laughs are meant to be shared with others in 2020.
These three social online games kept me sane during the lockdown. The games do not require gaming skills and are easily enjoyable by anyone.
When we talk about gaming in general, we tend to forget about social video games intended to substitute for common couch or board games. The idea to play an online version of Monopoly, Cards Against Humanity or even Charades never crossed my mind before 2020. However, I’m thankful that such games existed for me to connect with my friends from all over the world.
The lockdown measures are now not as strict as they used to be in mid-2020. My friends and I still enjoy our social online gatherings and online games from time to time, thus having created a new tradition.
What online social games do you play?