Column: A list of virtual party games to spice up quarantine

%22Game+Night%22+by+Randy+Son+Of+Robert+is+licensed+with+CC+BY+2.0.+To+view+a+copy+of+this+license%2C+visit+https%3A%2F%2Fcreativecommons.org%2Flicenses%2Fby%2F2.0%2F%0A%0A%22Settlers+of+Catan%22+is+one+of+many+party+games+that+can+be+played+virtually

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“Game Night” by Randy Son Of Robert is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ “Settlers of Catan” is one of many party games that can be played virtually

Grace Comer, news staff

With COVID-19 safety restrictions back in full force on Northeastern’s campus, many students are once again searching for new ways to connect with each other. One way to meet new people and reconnect with old friends is by playing virtual games. With dozens of free or inexpensive group games out there, here is a list of a few top hits:

“Among Us” 

A much-tweeted-about classic and played by everyone from dedicated YouTube streamers to U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, “Among Us” is an easy way to connect with friends. Available as a free mobile or tablet app, or a $5 computer download, the game locks a group of four to 10 players in a spaceship with anywhere from one to three unknown murderous imposters.

“Among Us” is a fusion of the classic tabletop game “Clue” and the parlour game “Mafia.” In this game, the group must detect the imposters before the imposters kill them. Although it can be played entirely remotely through an in-game chat feature, “Among Us” is best played over a voice or video call with your friends, in order to truly flex your skills of deception and identification. You can also play online with a set of random strangers — and maybe make a new friend. 

“Codewords”

The digital version of the tabletop game “Codenames,” “Codewords” splits players into two teams of spy-themed field operatives, along with a team leader in the form of a spymaster. The spymasters use one-word clues, along with a number to identify the number of cards that the clue is used to reference, to help the field operatives identify the correct cards for their team from a random assortment of 25 words. 

Similar to Among Us, Codewords can be played digitally through the chat feature, but team deliberation is easiest with a voice or video call. It is available for free on the web and is not currently available for download on the app store or online. 

Jackbox Games 

Offering large bundles of games and stand-alone titles with prices starting at $5.49, Jackbox Games has something for everyone. Games are designed to be simple and intuitive, and with themes ranging from a horror-themed escape room to a fill-in-the-blank comedy like “Cards Against Humanity,” it can offer hours of fun. 

Its games use the host’s computer as the main display, with each player participating from their own phone or tablet. In a virtual setting, this means that the host must set up a video sharing call, so that other players can see the instructions screens. Best of all, only one person has to purchase a game in order for everyone to play. 

Skribbl.io

“Skribbl.io” is an individual version of Pictionary, with rooms of up to 12 players at a time. Each player is given three words to choose that are inputted by players upon opening the room. Players must pick one to draw. The other players then use the chat feature to guess the word based on the drawing. 

“Skribbl.io” is playable on the phone, tablet and computer, but each device has its own benefits. On the computer, you can type fastest and get the most points if you guess correctly first. But on the phone or tablet, drawing is easier, and you get more points for more people guessing your drawing. “Skribbl.io” is completely free on any device. 

“Catan Online”

Another classic tabletop game adapted for a digital platform, “Catan Online” is available for download on all devices through the app store or digital gaming store Steam, as well as through a computer browser. After making a free account, players can add their friends to play with them or play alone for practice. Just like classic “Catan,” players place their settlements, take turns rolling die and offer trades for valuable resources. 

While “Settlers of Catan” is as divisive as pineapple on pizza for how interesting it is, it is still a great game for longer calls with smaller groups of friends. 

Despite the social isolation that comes with COVID-19 and quarantining, the internet has provided new ways for friends to continue to connect virtually. While this is by no means an exhaustive list of the myriad free and inexpensive party games available, they are a few of the most popular choices for safely engaging with friends.