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The best online games to play with friends during quarantine



One of the hardest parts of coronavirus locks and field orders for many people is the inability to see family and friends socially as you normally would. Fortunately, there are a number of online games that you can play with others, even remotely.

Whether you're looking for old-school favorites, party games, escape rooms or hard-core board games, there's probably a virtual option for you as people have turned to technology for creative socializing during social distance. (Watching movies and shows together through extensions like Netflix Party and Airtime for YouTube have also become popular ways to hang out virtually.) Here are some of the best online gaming options that be available whatever experience you are looking for.

Read more: Video games we play during the coronavirus lock

Jackbox

To me, Jackbox Games is the holy grail of social distance games: the party games are incredibly easy to learn, but still very much entertaining, and it's also easy to stream or share games from one device to a group. Everyone plays on their phones via a web browser, so no apps or consoles are required. You can even mirror your Android or iOS device to your TV.

Here's how it works: One person must purchase one of six Jackbox Party Packs or one or more separate games on Steam (for PC, Mac and Linux). The packs include five games and usually cost $ 25 each, but are currently on sale for $ 12. The packs are also available on PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and other devices.

After the purchase, you can start a video chat via Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts or wherever you want, start the game on your laptop and use the screen sharing option so that all other players in conversation can see the screen as well. As mentioned, everyone on their mobile device plays along using a browser and going to Jackbox.tv where you are asked to enter a room code.

Other options include using Steam Remote Play Together, sharing Discord screens, sharing through your game console, or setting up a webcam for your TV. Jackbox also provides information on how to stream its games.

Each pack contains a variety of different games that can ask you to answer trivia questions, draw weird doodles or write the best joke. The games are light and humorous and have clear instructions, so that they are easy to pick up for the most novice players.

Read more: 11 things to quarantine if you've already made 3 loaves of banana bread

The Escape Game

Test your puzzle skills with a virtual escape room. Try to solve all the puzzles and follow the directions to escape from the computer room before time runs out, as you would in the real world version.

An option for ages 12 and up is TEG Unlocked: The Heist from The Escape Game. In the two-part game for one to four players, you work as a secret agent trying to thwart a suspected art thief. Each part costs $ 10 or $ 17 for the bundle.

If you're looking for a more kid-friendly choice, there's a free Harry Potter-themed escape room, created by Peters Township Public Library in McMurray, Pennsylvania, with Google Docs.

Read more: Dating during coronavirus: 7 ideas for virtual dates with social distance

Tabletopia / Screenshot by Alison DeNisco Rayome / CNET

If you want to play traditional board games online, go to Tabletopia, which calls itself an "online arena" for playing over 900 board games the same way you would in the real life. You can play on a desktop browser for Mac or Windows, or download the platform on Steam, the App Store or the Google Play Store.

You'll find classics like chess and Texas Hold'em, or more in-depth options like Scythe and Clans of Caledonia. Start your own game with friends or join a game with open seats.

You can play some games for free with the bronze package, or upgrade to the silver ($ 4.99 per month) or gold ($ 9.99 per month) package to access premium games.

Another similar option is Tabletop Simulator, which includes basic games such as chess, poker, dominoes, Mahjong and jigsaw puzzles. Create your own original games on the platform and play games created by others.

You see some well-known titles here, but note that most of them are made by other users, unlike real game developers. You can buy Tabletop Simulator on Steam for Windows and Mac for $ 20, and share your screen to play with friends.

Angela Lang / CNET

Houseparty is a video chat app from Fortnite developer Epic Games that allows you to play popular games like trivia and Heads Up online with friends. While the app is free to download, some games require you to pay, usually $ 1- $ 3. Up to eight people can join a video chat room and play games together at the same time.

Just a word of warning: There are rumors that the app has enabled Netflix account hacks with loose security protocols. However, the company said it had not been breached or no data had been revealed, and offered a $ 1 million reward as evidence of the problem, as it was more likely associated with reusing credentials and passwords.

Houseparty is available for iOS, Android, MacOS and Chrome.

Epic Games

You may already be familiar with popular mobile games that you can always play with friends. Fortnite, Words with Friends 2, Scrabble, Uno & Friends and Draw Something are all great options for simple games that can keep you in touch and sneak in a turn if you have all day.

If you mainly play solo, you may want to subscribe to mobile games. Apple Arcade has a library of over 100 original games, including nostalgic favorites Pac-Man Party Royale and Frogger in Toytown, along with new hits like Crossy Road Castle and Ultimate Rivals: The Rink. For $ 4.99 per month, you can play on iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Mac and Apple TV devices.

For Android users, Google Play Pass provides access to over 350 games, including Monument Valley, Risk and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, also for $ 4.99 per month.

Read more: Best game subscription services: this is how you choose

Of course there is always the possibility to go as classic as possible in your virtual gaming: you can find free online versions of some classics like Battleship. You can also work on a crossword puzzle with friends through the Washington Post. Tabletop Simulator, mentioned above, also includes games like chess, poker, dominoes and jigsaw puzzles that you can play with friends if you both buy the platform.

Need more quarantine-friendly entertainment? Check out the best services for cooking, working, and entertaining yourself at home free entertainment to help you survive social distance and 15 quarantined educational video games that are still fun .


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