Top 5 Games for Video Calls

It's been a strange year for all! But one thing that I have learnt is this situation does not need to affect my gaming addictions! There are plenty of games that work perfectly over video calls, most where you only need one copy too!

Games over videos calls was not a common phrase a few months back. But not wanting to fall behind the times, we here at WBG decided to test all the best games supposedly suited to this new digital world we are living in!

I had a few criteria that were important.

1. I wanted games that are simple to explain.

2. Cheap to buy.

3. Scale well (as in, multiple people can play with no significant change to play time)

4. And most importnatly, only one copy is needed to play across the group.

 

After months of research, here are our top 5 games to stop you having to do yet another family quiz night ovrer video call!

 

Railroad Ink - Best for train and puzzle fans

Age range - 6 and up

Easy to learn? - Yes

Easy to set up over video call? - Yes. 

Whats needed for other players - A printed out sheet and pen

Player count - One to 100!

Game length - 25 minutes

Railroad Ink is a brilliant game in solo, or up to four, but it also works brilliantly over video call. Only one person needs the game. They simply need to set up a camera to show the other players what they roll with the four or six dice, (depending on if the expansion dice are used). Each other player just needs a printout of the sheet and a pen. That’s it! You can get the sheets needed for other players here. Print a few out and send to your friends if they don’t have a printer, or just the file if they do!

The game is a brilliant puzzle where you are placing the dice faces shown onto the game board. You need to link up roads and railway lines to maximise the scoring options of longest track, longest road, most central spaces used and most connections made. But beware, there are also negative points for any road or track that has a dead end!

In the game there are also two extra expansion dice to add some extra flavour. In the blue version you have Lakes and Rivers. In the red version you have Lava and Meteors. Both games are the same otherwise, so just pick your favourite colour or expansion. But the game works great without them too. So, no need to worry about extra rules just yet.

Next year, there is a green and yellow version coming out with more expansion dice, scoring opportunities and exciting new changes to the gameplay.

So, if you are a fan of trains or spatial puzzles, this could be the one for you! I have played online so many times and it’s always a lot of fun. You need to be able to draw onto the board neatly so this may not suit someone with difficulties holding a pen, but as long as they have someone with them who can help, they can absolutely join in as well.

 

This game works for all, is great fun and due to the nature of everyone drawing their tracks or roads at the same time, would play in the same length with one or 100 people. Other than the witty banter of course! See, video calls can be fun! Oh, and can someone tell Dave he’s on mute?

Welcome To - Best for multiple scoring options.

Age range - 8 and up

Easy to learn? - Mostly

Easy to set up over video call? - Yes. 

Whats needed for other players - A printed out sheet and pen

Player count - One to 100!

Game length - 25 minutes

Welcome to is a beautiful game in the flip and write genre. What this means is you are flipping cards and then writing something on your player sheet. Only one person needs the game and they just need to set up a camera so that they can show the cards drawn each turn to the other players. All the other players need is the players sheets and a pen. They can either get the free app to play along on their phone or tablet, or print off sheets from here.

There are multiple versions of this game. I am going to briefly explain the original and my favourite variant so far, The New Las Vegas. You can pick which ever excites you most!

In Welcome to, you are looking to complete streets to create the perfect neighbourhood. Each card has a number on one side and a power on the other. Each turn you flip three cards of each for people to choose from. You want to fill in each street in ascending order with the numbers you get. A seven comes up, put it in the middle. A one or 13 perhaps, place it near the end. Simple. On each turn, you can also take an extra action for scoring bonuses such as adding pools or creating blocks of houses for various scoring bonuses. There are lots of ways to play this game and score well, it is your choice which one you try each game.

The Las Vegas variant adds affair bit more complexity for those looking for something with a bit more strategy to it, including an awesome mini game where you are driving a limousine around the streets and avenues you are creating.

Its such a fun game, and like Railroad Ink, scales brilliantly from one to 100 and offers some really interesting choices for each player on every turn.

Ripple Rush - Best for fans of number games.

Age range - 7 and up

Easy to learn? - Yes

Easy to set up over video call? - Yes. 

Whats needed for other players - A printed out sheet and pen

Player count - One to 100!

Game length - 10-40 minutes

 

Ripple Rush is like Railroad Ink and Welcome to, in that you are doing something each turn; on this occasion, revealing a card, and then writing something on your player sheet. Another flip n’ write. They are very popular now-a-days!

This time, its numbers being added onto a player board. Like the above games, this scales well and offers a lot of interesting choices for each player to try and maximise their scoring options. Again, only one person needs a copy of the game and other players just need a player sheet and a pen. There are no player sheets on the internet yet as far as I can see, but it’s a pretty easy one for players to draw out themselves. Its just five columns with eight rows and you need to mark the shape for the four scoring columns.

In Ripple Rush, you score from creating lines of sequential numbers. There are four rows, separated with both colours and shapes so this works for people who suffer from colour blind issues brilliantly. For each card flip, you simply add the number shown on the card into the correct box depending on the shape the number is in. If you cannot get to use the number, your opponent can do so instead. So, unlike the above two games, players are not playing simultaneously, but as all they are doing is adding one number to their sheet, or at least trying too, turns move very quickly. Just show the next player the next number, they say if they can add to their board or not, if they can, move on to the next player.

You can place the numbers anywhere on the column, but as you want to run them sequentially, if you got a four first and twelve second, you would probably leave a space or two between these numbers. You score points at the end of the game for the longest running chain of sequential numbers. There is a simple advanced scoring option too whereby each player scores additional points for completing specific rows too.

It’s so simple but surprisingly addictive. I rarely play this just once! Usually as I have done so badly and want to try and do better! But it certainly keeps me coming back for more!

 

The Sherlock Files - Best for aspiring sleuths

Age range - 9 and up

Easy to learn? - Yes

Easy to set up over video call? - Yes, some texting required. 

Whats needed for other players - A seperate phone handy

Player count - One to eight.

Game length - 30-60 minutes

There are a lot of games that use the Sherlock Holmes IP, some incredibly complex and deeply rewarding, others very simple but still giving you the buzz of solving the crime like the great detective himself! The Sherlock Files certainly falls into the simpler column, which is why it works so well over calls.

In the Sherlock Files, you are all dealt three cards and your job is simply to decide if you want to reveal what is on the card to the other players, or give them the minor details you are allowed to share and then discard it. At the end of the game, at least six cards must be discarded to win so you cannot simply keep them all. Once you have revealed or discarded you then draw another card and it’s the next players turn.

Your job is to sort between the relevant facts and trivial matters. But beware, if you get rid of too many key cards, your chances as a group to solve this crime will greatly diminish. At the start of the game, this feels daunting and you will think everything is relevant. But remember, you can still see it yourself no matter what, you may just need to try and remember it if at the end you realise it was important after all!

Once you have gone through all the cards and all players agree they are ready to try and solve the case, you then need to answer ten questions provided for each set of cards. The things you have seen and shared will be crucial as the group comes together to piece the information together.

The way I have done this over video call was to simply photograph and text the pictures of the cards to the other players. They then decided if they wanted to share them with the group or not, in which case I would then read allowed and hold up to the camera. And then send them their next card. It was a little clunky at first, but we all quickly became lost in the mystery we were trying to solve and forgot about the tech being used. This game is good if you want a sprawling conversation with people coming up with all sorts of different theories and ideas. This wont work so well with the more silent gamers. Although, perhaps they may the one who gets all the answers correct at the end.

As each case is very specific, you won’t be playing the game over and over as you will remember the answers needed to win. But in each box, you get three cases, and when you are done, you can always send to another friend to benefit from the fun. But even if you don’t, I would argue three games, each lasting an hour or so, is well worth the money. I would spend far less on a pizza that I would chuck away after 20 minutes!

 

Herd Mentality - Best for a those who still want a bit of a quiz.

Age range - 5 and up

Easy to learn? - Yes

Easy to set up over video call? - Yes. 

Whats needed for other players - Nothing

Player count - Four to ten.

Game length - 20 minutes

 

Herd Mentality is the game in this list for those of you who still fancy a bit of a quiz! But perhaps have got bored of the ones which actually test your knowledge! It’s no fun being asked trivial things you don’t know or care about and to be scored on this against your friends and family! I don’t watch reality TV! Sorry I got all the Love Island and Bake Off questions wrong ok!?

In Herd Mentality, you are simply asked a question such as “What is the most boring sport to watch?” Or, “Would you rather be 4’4” or 7’7”?” Simple things anyone could answer. Your job is to blend into the crowd and think of the answer that most other players will say. Become one of the herd! Answer with the most popular choice and win a point. Stand out and you will get the pink cow! Which makes all your points become worthless until you get rid of it!

Obviously, you cannot pass the squishy cow piece around over calls, but otherwise, this works very smoothly over video. Brilliantly again, only one player needs a copy of the game. They don’t always have to be quiz master and can show the card on the screen for others to read, but regardless, everyone can play even the person reading out the question. There are no answers on the cards of course! It is about predicting what you think the other people playing will say.

You can play to a set points target, or until people get bored, up to you! It’s more a conversation starter over a few drinks. “What do you mean cricket is boring to watch?” Some questions need to be slightly tweaked for younger players, but there are hundreds in the box, so it is simple to either just ignore ones not suitable or too difficult, or adjust the question yourself. Perhaps “Name a film staring Jennifer Lawrence” Becomes “Name a Disney movie.” Outrageously, not every under child has seen American Hustle yet! I know!

 

Bored of quizzes? Time for a proper game!

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