• Notes Secret Hitler need more.

Hi! cool

Lately, I've had several requests to links to games that are good to play with family and friends while we're all keeping isolated during COVID restrictions.  Here are my favourites.  Enjoy!

Regards, Doug

Quick Links (Anchors):



  • Game Type:  Word game.  Does not require or use software.
  • Competitive Style:  Single players, sitting around a table or teleconferenced together.
  • Number of Players:  Minimum 4.  Best played with 6 or more.
  • Play Length:  Varies by number of players.  A 10 person game can take up to two hours.
  • Cost:  No cost for game.  However....
  • Conference Call Requirements:
    • Online video call is definitely a requirement to get the most fun out of the game.
    • Must have ability to send private text messages.
    • Best online tool (due to need for easy-to-use private chat, and length of game) is a paid services like Zoom.
  • Game play:
    • Players take turns going around the table, with each player taking a turn as the moderator.
    • During each turn as a moderator:
      • Moderator chooses a phrase, "Things that......" (ie: "Things that are hidden under my bed." or "Things that you never tell your mother.").
      • Each player, including moderator, writes their answer to the "Things that..." and secretly gives it to the moderator.
        • Things is not a game of confession or self-discovery.  Answers can be misleading, silly and fun.
      • Moderator then reads out the answers in random order.
      • Going clockwise around the table, each non-moderator takes a guess at who said one of the answers.
        • Get it right:  2 points and get to guess again.
        • Get it wrong:  1 point to the person wrongly guessed, and turn passes to next player.
      • Players can guess the moderator, but the moderator does not get to guess.
      • Once a player's answer is guessed, they are out for that round (the moderator, knowing who said what, is always out).
      • Guessing continues until all answers are matched to the writer, at which time the round is over.
      • Next round proceeds with the next moderator in clockwise order.
      • Game is over after each player has had a turn at moderator.
    • For in-person, use poker chips to keep score.
      • Two poker chips for a correct guess.
      • One poker chip to a player that is guessed, but the guess is wrong.
    • For online:
      • Play via Zoom or other video conference tool (the tool must support private chat between players)
      • Players submit their answers to the moderator via private chat.
      • Pick one player to keep score.  Scorekeeper update scores into the video-conference's chat screen, or holding up score chart for others to see.
  • Hints:
    • Things is not a game is confession or self-discovery.
  • Link(s):



  • Game Type:  Multiplayer hex board game... "Trade, Build, Settle".  Played in browser or with installed app -- requires a graphics card.
  • Competitive Style:  Players compete for limited resources to build settlements, cities and more.
  • Number of Players:  Minimum 2 -- works best with 3 or 4.  Online version does not support expansion sets.
  • Play Length:  45 minutes to two or more hours, depending on variant chosen, gameplay, and players' experience.
  • Cost:
    • Playing base game against random players is free.
    • Earning "Scrolls" lets you play a few custom games for free.
    • My suggestion:  Spend the introductory scrolls to confirm you like the game, then spend ~C$30 to buy some "Catan Gold" -- use the Gold to get the unlimited base game, plus the Cities & Knights and Seafarers expansions.
  • Conference Call Requirements:
    • Video conference is not required.
    • Audio conference makes for much better play when between friends.
  • Description & Rules:
  • Link(s):
  • Notes:
    • Good online implementation of the popular board game.  Playable in browser or via downloadable app (direct from web-site, or through Steam).
    • Each players must have a licence for the version being played.
    • Online version does not play well on some iPads.



  • Game Type:  Custom card game.  Playable in browser.
  • Competitive Style:  Individual play.  Draw cards from your pile to buy more cards (Actions, Money, Victory Points).
  • Number of Players:  2, 3 or 4.
  • Play Length:  15 to 30 minutes per game, depending complexity of cards used (randomly assigned for each game).
  • Cost:
    • Playing base game is free.
    • E$1.95 or E$3.90 per month for 1/2 or all expansions, respectively.  Well worth it if you like the game.
  • Conference Call Requirements:
    • Video conference is not required.
    • Audio conference makes for much better play when between friends.
  • Description & Rules:
  • Link(s):
  • Notes:
    • Good online implementation of the popular card game from Rio Grande Games.
    • Only one player must have purchased expansions for all players to use them, but all players must register on the site.



  • Game Type:  Word game.  Played in browser.
  • Competitive Style:  Players split into two teams ("Red" and "Blue").  Teams take alternate turns.
  • Number of Players:  Minimum 4.  6 to 8 is ideal for online, but can be more.
  • Play Length:  Typically works out to 15-20 minutes per round.
  • Cost:  Free.  Donation is recommended.
  • Conference Call Requirements:
    • Video conference is not required, but it nice for the team discussions.
    • Audio conferencing is a must for team play.
  • Quick Description:
    • Grid of 30 words, roughly split between red words, blue words and non-coloured words, with one as a "bomb".
    • Each team picks a "Spymaster" who gets to see word colours.  Other players don't know word colours.
    • Spymasters take turns giving one-word clues to their teammates, guiding them to pick words of their team's colour.
    • First team to have all their words picked off the board wins.
  • Essential Rules:
    • The computer randomly chooses which team goes first.  The team that goes first has to find one extra word.
    • For each team's turn, their Spymaster gives a one word clue that relates one or more words of their team's colour, and states a number to indicate how many words are related to the clue.
      [ For example, the Blue Spymaster might say "Mammal, 2" hoping their team will select words like "Orca" and "Horse" which would both be blue, and not "Lizard" which could be no colour, red, or the bomb.
    • While the Spymaster remains silent with a "poker face", team members talk together to choose as many words as they feel comfortable choosing.
    • The team in control continues to choose as many words as they wish.  Their turn ends when they select a square that is not their colour, or they click "End Turn".
    • If a team selects the black square (the "bomb"), the game is over and other team wins.
  • Link(s):
    • https://www.horsepaste.com/
      • Free online version of game.  No advertising.  Once the game is under way, refreshing the browser should not be required.  However, the game seems to bog down (but still quite playable) during times of probable high activity on the site -- be ready to refresh the browser window.
      • One player starts the game and distributes unique link to other players.
      • After each game is over, only one player should click "Next Game".  No need to exit and restart the game (with a new link) unless you wish to change game parameters.
      • Please consider giving a donation to the author.
    • Wikipedia info about CodeNames.



  • Game Type:  Drawing.  Played in browser.
  • Competitive Style:  Multiplayer game.  No teams.
  • Number of Players:  Minimum 2.
  • Play Length:
    • Varies by number of players and game parameters.
    • Playing time per game ~= (number of players) x (number of rounds) x (15 seconds + number of seconds per drawing)
  • Cost:  Free.  Sites pays for itself via advertising before each game.
  • Conference Call Requirements:
    • Video conference is not required.
    • Audio conferencing is a must for an enjoyable game between friends.
  • Quick Description:
    • Each player takes turns drawing a picture to represent a word.
    • For each player's turn to draw, the player picks one of 3 words provided by the game (be quick though, or the game will pick for you).
    • At the top of the drawing:
      • The drawing players sees the word(s) they are drawing.
      • Each non-drawing players sees underscores instead of the word(s).  The number of underscores tells how many letters are in the word(s).
    • As the timer progresses, hints are given by exposing letters.
    • Points are awarded for guessing the drawing (faster answer = more points), and to the drawer based on how well they draw (more and faster answers = more points).
  • Essential Rules:
    • No real rules.  Just draw and have fun.
  • Link(s):
    • https://skribbl.io
      • Free online version of game, but with advertising.
      • One player creates a private game room and distributes unique link to other players.
      • Once game is started, the timer is unforgiving.  Be ready to focus on the game until the round is over.
    • Wikihow instructions for skribbl.io
  • Notes:
    • I've seen one player have technical issues playing Skribbl on an iPad.  Others have had to take time to understand the screen layout -- it's not complicated, but the game clock is unforgiving... best to know how the game works beforehand.
    • If you plan on attending a Skribbl game, please check out the site ahead of time (you can join random games) to be sure the game is working for you and to become familiar with the screen layout.



  • Game Type:  Social deductions.  Requires installed app.
  • Competitive Style:  Multiplayer game.  Players join as individual, with the computer randomly assigning teams for each round.
  • Number of Players:  Minimum: 4.  Maximum (and preferred): 10.
  • Play Length:
    • 10 to 15 minutes per game/round.
  • Cost:  Free.
  • Conference Call Requirements:
    • Video conference is not required, but it nice for the in game discussions.
    • Audio conferencing is a must.
  • Quick Description:
  • Essential Rules:
  • Link(s):






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