Online team building games are interesting and engaging virtual activities that help remote team members to remain connected. These activities include free or paid digital games like virtual escape rooms and virtual versions of classic games like a scavenger hunt. The purpose of these games is to break job monotony, enhance bonding, and promote collaboration.
This article covers:
- free online team building games
- online games for virtual teams
- online team building games for students
- online games for employee engagement
So, here are the best remote team games.
The 10 best online team building games
#1. Virtual Bingo
Virtual Bingo is among the best online games for virtual teams. This game matches descriptions on the players’ Bingo boards with participants’ actions or speech.
To play this game, the organizer distributes randomized Bingo boards to all players through email. These boards may be printable or accessible online. When the game begins, remote participants need to pay attention. Whenever a player notices a participant doing an activity or mentioning a phrase on their Bingo boards, the player crosses the corresponding square.
Players compete to be the first whose matching squares on the Bingo cards form a predetermined pattern or shape. For instance, a diagonal, horizontal, diamond, or postage stamp. A player shouts, “Bingo!” when the boxes form a pattern. The host verifies the card and awards a prize before starting another round.
#2. Virtual Icebreaker Questions
Virtual Icebreaker Questions top the list of warm-up activities that help remote teams to interact more freely. Usually, these activities consist of simple questions and exercises. Icebreakers are most effective for engaging team members unfamiliar with each other and at the beginning of virtual sessions.
Good icebreaker questions are great conversation starters. These prompts are interactive and tend to elicit information from the participants. Thus, virtual icebreakers enable remote teams to socialize and make online meetings lively.
Playing icebreakers virtually takes many forms. For example:
- The host in the virtual conference asks a common question and then spotlights every member in turn as they answer that question.
- The host splits a large group into breakout rooms, and members interact using icebreaker questions.
- A pair of members meet over Slack Donut calls and use icebreakers to acquaint themselves with each other and form friendships.
For inspiration, here are examples of icebreaker questions to try with virtual teams:
- Which is your favorite holiday destination, and why?
- If you had a chance to make a wish come true, then what would the wish be?
- Which famous person would you love to spend a day with?
- What is the most fascinating dream you have ever had?
- How do you prepare your favorite meal?
- What do you love most about your hometown?
- Which book are you reading?
- What are your hobbies?
- What lessons have you learned from your pet?
When creating icebreaker prompts, it is best to ask open-ended questions that enhance conversations’ natural flow. Participants can encourage dialogue by mirroring the talker’s emotion using prompt words like “why?” and “Yes, and?”
Here is a list of virtual icebreakers to try.
#3. Virtual Charades
Virtual Charades is among the most engaging online activities for remote teams. This game requires one team member to act out a word or phrase silently, and the rest of the team figures out the word. The actor can give clues on the length of the words and the corresponding category.
Players can do Virtual Charades on an online video conference platform like Zoom, WebEx, or Skype. These platforms have the spotlight feature to enable the participants to shift their focus on the charade actor. Players must turn the mics on to enhance communication and then shift attention to the actor to decipher the message.
Charades is a competitive game. Teams compete to be the first to guess correctly or achieve more correct answers in a given time. To play Virtual Charades, the host divides the group into mini teams. Next, the host runs a word generator and privately DMs the phrase to the actor. When ready, the host sets the timer, and players have a minute to score a point by guessing the phrase. If the team fails to get the correct words and the timer goes off, then that team loses a point. The procedure repeats for several rounds. Finally, the host tallies the scores and declares the winner.
Learn more about Virtual Charades.
#4. Virtual Show And Tell
Virtual Show And Tell is among the best online team building games for students. The game involves members presenting an item and talking about what makes that object special. This virtual activity is a great tool for learning and balancing team members’ strengths and weaknesses. For example, the game encourages the silent members to speak up and louder members to listen.
There is an arsenal of ideas in which teachers or team leaders can structure the Virtual Show And Tell game. For example, asking team members to:
- grab an item within arm’s reach
- take any memorable item a member gets within ten seconds
- show a gift from a friend
- share the oldest thing a member owns
- showcase a favorite photograph
To make the Virtual Show And Tell more entertaining, let members select a winner. For instance, voting for the most unusual item or the object with the most moving story.
#5. Virtual Rock, Paper, Scissors
Virtual Rock, Paper, Scissors is an enjoyable activity for small remote teams. This game requires two players who use hand signs to score. There are three hand symbols as follows:
- the fist, which represents the rock
- two open fingers, the index finger and the middle finger, which represent the scissors
- open palm, symbolizing the paper
This game is simple to play and appropriate for any team, including preschoolers. Virtual Rock, Paper, Scissors is a game of chance. However, players must apply some psychological skills to win by predicting which sign the opponent is likely to show and then playing a winning symbol.
The game’s scoring guide is as follows:
- the rock beats the scissors but losses against the paper
- the paper beats the rock and loses against the scissors
- the scissors beat the paper and lose against the rock
To play Virtual Rock, Paper, Scissors with remote team members, participants logged in the video conference have to compete against each other in pairs. For a predetermined number of rounds, two players compete while the rest of the team observes and tally scores. The winner of the pair gets to play with the third player. The procedure goes on until all the members have played. Whenever there is a tie, one extra round becomes the deal-breaker to determine the winner.
In virtual platforms, the leader pins the active players on the screen for better observation.
UNO is one of the easiest free online team building games for small teams. This card game accommodates up to four players at a go. UNO is a visual game, not mental, and is therefore suitable for players aged five years and above.
To play this game, participants play a card that matches the previous player’s card by color or number. Participants win the game when they become the first to clear their cards. Whenever a player has no matching card, that player draws a card from the deck during their turn. Drawing may repeat until the player gets a playable card.
Another strategy for winning the game is by playing the special cards. These cards are categorized as action or wild cards and function as follows:
- Skip card: The next player misses a turn.
- Reverse card: The direction of play changes from clockwise to anticlockwise or vice versa.
- Draw two: The next player draws two cards without playing any of their other cards.
- Wild card: The player decides the color to play.
- Wild draw four: The player changes or retains the color to play and commands the next player to draw four cards.
When a player has one card left to win, that player has to click the “1” or “UNO” tab, or else the player must pick two more cards as a penalty.
One way to play UNO with your virtual team is by creating a private room in a UNO platform. To create the room, choose ‘Play game,’ then select the number of players and enter a nickname. Next, create a password to make the room private. Lastly, share the password and page URL with the rest of the team to join and enjoy the matches.
#7. Virtual Scavenger Hunts
Virtual Scavenger Hunt is among the most interesting online games for employee engagement. To play this game, the host asks team members to find an item, and members search for that item in the shortest time possible. Finally, players show the object on the screen to prove that they found the correct article.
Virtual Scavenger Hunts have many variations. For example, giving a descriptive clue, for example, the object’s color, use, or size. Players then figure out what the object is and locates that item. These clues can have varying difficulty levels to fit different teams and maintain high excitement levels.
To make Virtual Scavenger Hunts more appealing, members may modify the game. Here are customization ideas to consider when creating scavenger hunt clues:
- age-appropriate clues, for example, different scavenger hunts for students, children, adults, or teens.
- season-based clues, like scavenger hunts for winter, summer, or fall.
- holiday-themed games such as virtual scavenger hunts for Christmas, Saint Patrick’s Day, and Halloween.
- Location-themed hunts, such as finding items at work, school, park, or home.
Some tips for increasing fun when playing Virtual Scavenger Hunts include clarifying the rules, timing the search, and mixing everyday and unusual objects. Often teams engage themselves in a contest to find out who gets the most items on the scavenger hunt list.
#8. Two Truths, One Lie
Two Truths, One Lie is one of the most involving online games for virtual teams. In this game, participants listen to three statements, two of which are true and one is false. Next, participants figure out and mention the incorrect remark and explain why they think so.
To play two Truths, One Lie, the first participant gives three statements about themselves and then lets the rest of the team members guess the false statement. To make the game more challenging, a player may make a clever tweak on some details to trick the guessers.
Two Truths, One Lie is suitable for small teams because every team member gets a turn to play. However, large teams can enjoy the game if split into smaller groups of about eight participants. In virtual meetings, the host can facilitate large teams by assigning participants into several breakout rooms.
This game also makes a good bonding icebreaker. As participants debate the statements, they learn new stuff about each other.
#9. Online Coworker Feud
Online Coworker Feud is one of the most entertaining and collaborative virtual games for improving team bonding. This fast-paced game requires participants to apply critical thinking and communication skills and encourages teamwork. This virtual game accommodates small and medium-sized teams.
This game requires the host to sample interesting survey questions and the most popular answers to those questions. The Host then creates a list of survey questions to ask the teams. For example, “What is the most fulfilling reward about working remotely?” In this case, the popular answers may include:
- zero commutes
- more family time
- flexible working hours
- better work-life balance
- more savings
- increased productivity
Each round of an Online Coworker Feud game has a countdown timer. To begin playing, the host poses a question to the teams. Next, team members discuss and provide a response they believe to be the most popular answer. The first team to get it right gets the chance to complete the round by giving the other four top-ranked answers to score points. For instance, if a team correctly guesses the five most popular answers, then that team wins the total points for that round. However, a group that gets three strikes must surrender the round to the opposing team. At the end of the game, the team with the highest score wins.
#10. Virtual Escape Room
Virtual escape rooms are among the best online games for employee engagement. These rooms have various kinds of immersive challenges for different kinds of teams. Before playing a Virtual Escape Room, players need to log in to a virtual conference room. Players then interact with a game guide and the host and learn more about the game.
When participants are ready to play, the guide enters the escape room with audio-visual recording equipment. The guide uses a live video feed to display the actual rooms and their features. On the players’ end, the team watches the room from the online dashboard on their screens. Players take note of any clues and then use the hints to work out the riddles before the timer goes off.
Virtual escape games are available in free and paid options. Players can book an escape game directly from the providers’ websites or on various gaming platforms such as Steam.
Here is a list of virtual escape rooms to try.
Online team building games are a significant component of building remote teams. These games help eliminate boredom, encourage communication, and promote bonding among team members. Therefore, the games can create a positive work environment and boost the productivity of remote employees.
Online games come in a wide variety and include free and paid online games and online exercises for remote workers. To play the online games, remote staff need to access the virtual conference room or an external link to the game.
Next, check out this list of the best Zoom games to play with teams.
FAQ: Online team building games
Here are common questions on online team building games.
What are some good online games for teams?
Good online games for teams include:
- Virtual Bingo
- Coworker feud
- Virtual scavenger hunt
- Virtual show and tell
Some of the factors that make these games exciting include sufficient challenge, interesting themes, and the straightforwardness of the game rules.
How do you play games online with remote teams?
There are two popular ways to play online games with virtual teams.
The first method is having a host to guide the game. The host makes or gives rules and advice to help members enjoy the game.
The second method is having a non-hosted game. Here, a team’s representative books an online game and then shares the game’s link with team members on a communication channel such as email. The team then plays directly on the web browser or in a virtual conference room.