Free online games to play with friends
With Covid-19 still in full swing – though not as locked down as 2020 – Singaporeans are encouraged to play their part by socially distancing themselves and avoiding going outdoors. Though physical meetups and nights of screams over party games will be temporarily missed, there are still plenty of online alternatives out there to keep the competitive spirit going.
These free online games are so accessible that for some, you can just play from your phone or laptop browser without any downloads. There are even clones of popular games like Cards Against Humanity and Codenames.
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1. Cards Against Humanity
Image credit: @jenleereeves
You’ve probably played the popular card game at least once in your life, but did you know that there’s an online clone of Cards Against Humanity as well? There’s no login or download needed, it’s as simple as opening a tab on your browser and creating an online room for you and your friends.
Image credit: Pretend You’re Xyzzy
Pretend You’re Xyzzy has game rooms that can facilitate up to 20 players and its database includes cards from the base game, as well as the myriad of expansion packs.
The chaotic party game is all about funny, weird, morbid and sometimes inappropriate humour as you amuse one another with outrageous answers – perfect for keeping spirits up during this period.
How to play:
Open the website, create a game room and send the invite link to your friends. You can customise the score limit, player limit and decks to play.
- If you’re the “Card Czar”, choose a winning card from the white cards that you find funniest, corresponding to the black card given. That winning card is awarded to its owner.
- If not, choose a white card in your hand that you think best fits the prompt in the black card, one that the “Card Czar” would pick.
- The participant that has the most number of cards wins the game.
Number of players: 2-20 players
2. Codenames Online
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
Codenames is a word-based party game that’ll test how well you and your buddies can communicate with each other. Awarded as one of the best board games in 2016, there’s an online variant that’s free and just as fun.
Image credit: Codenames Online
Players are split into two teams – red and blue – with one spymaster on each side. The spymaster gives one-word clues and the team guesses the corresponding words until all of their colour has been cleared. Nothing will beat that “Eureka!” moment when your friend correctly guesses “School”, “Temple”, “Hotel” and “Crane” from a single word – “Building”.
How to play: Create a game room and send the invite link to your friends.
- Split players into two teams and assign a spymaster on each. Only the spymaster is able to see the coloured board.
- The spymaster will give one-word clues followed by a number for the team to guess their coloured words. For example, “Music, 2” will prompt the team to guess “Flute” and “Pitch” from the above example.
- A team will forfeit a point if they guess a neutral black word or the opposing team’s word
- If the shaded black tile is chosen, the team automatically loses.
- First team to clear their words wins.
Number of players: Minimum 4 players
Image credit: skribbl.io
Bringing you back to the old days of Pictionary and Draw Something is Skribbl.io, an online drawing game where players must race against the clock to guess the image. While nailing a 10/10 drawing can be a challenge, anyone can have a go at it and walk out of the game as a Skiribbl.io champ.
How to play: Create a private room and customise the number of rounds, time for drawing and words for the game. Once you’re done, send the invite link to your friends.
- If you’re the artist, attempt to draw the prompt given.
- If not, guess what the artist is trying to draw.
Number of players: 2-8 players
Image credit: Google Play
Rack your brains with hard-hitting questions with QuizUp, a trivia game where you can compete with friends or people around the world to answer more than 4000 trivia questions. Regardless if you’re an info whiz, you’ll still be able to lock in some badges from any category and have the novel experience of creating your own trivia questions.
How to play: Download the application and invite your friends to play. When you link the app to your social account, you can start pairing with friends who also play the game.
- You’ll have 10 seconds to answer each question and with 20 points being the maximum awarded per question
- You’ll be rewarded points with more points the faster you answer them and the final question is worth double the points.
Number of players: 2 players
Image credit: Spyfall
Put on your best lying face and fake it till you make it in Spyfall, a game where the spy tries to remain “hidden” while the other players deduce who it is. Everyone will get a role and know a certain location, except for the spy who has to lie their way out of a barrage of questions.
Image adapted from: Spyfall
It’s also a perfect companion game for Skype or Google Hangout calls so you can catch who’s being all shifty-eyed.
How to play: Create a private room and send the invite link to your friends. You can customise the number of players or the number of locations.
- Each player gets to ask any other player any question, for example, “Is this place underwater?”
- The player must answer the question. Answers should be discreet enough that the spy cannot guess the location, but also clear enough to prove their innocence.
- If you are notified to be the spy, pretend like you know what the location is.
- After one round of asking, everyone guesses who the spy is.
- If the spy is exposed, they can still win by correctly guessing the location.
Number of players: 3-12 players
6. Telegram Werewolf
Image adapted from: Billy Tran
Telegram Werewolf is one of the most well-known games on the messaging app, and for good reason. Based on the iconic party game, the werewolves hide among villagers and eat one every night, while the villagers use their character’s own special abilities to expose the werewolves. It might actually even be easier playing through Telegram than IRL as the bot handles everything for you.
With over 40 unique characters and roles such as The Harlot and The Wolfman, prepare for all the chaos that can ensue as fingers are pointed and names are lynched.
How to play:
Invite @werewolfbot to your Telegram group.
- Type “/startgame” and get everyone to join.
- The Werewolf Bot will DM you to tell you your role as well as DM you lynching options when it comes.
- For the villagers, deduce who the werewolves are and lynch them. For the werewolves, the aim is to “kill” all the villagers.
Number of players: Minimum 5-6 players
7. Quizarium on Telegram
Image adapted from: Billy Tran
Spice up your Telegram groups with Quizarium, a free-for-all trivia game that will make use of your general knowledge. There are questions on geography, history and music all with unlimited attempts at answering. And don’t worry if you think they’ll be too hard, the bot automatically gives hints.
Faster fingers get more points, so it’s a game of speed and wits. As a heads up to your friends, it’s best to also warn everyone of the impending spam that’s about to dominate the chat during this game.
How to play:
Invite @QuizariumBot to your Telegram group.
- Type “/start” and pick your desired category and game length.
- Type the correct answers as fast as you can!
Number of players: Minimum two players
Image adapted from: Google Play
It’s rare to find an app game that is both free and has online capabilities like Psych!. The aim of the game is to outwit your friends by giving fake answers to real trivia questions. Depending on which game deck you pick, the prompts could range from making up a fake definition for an uncommon word or faking a plot of an obscure movie title.
Among the free party packs, “And The Truth Comes Out” involves your friends by personalising the prompts. For example, questions will be like “If Jessica were to be arrested tomorrow, it would most likely be because…” and the best answer wins. It’s a true test of friendship to see how well you know each other – and how strong your friendships really are.
How to play: Download the application and invite your friends and create a room together.
Number of players: Minimum 2 players
9. Game Pigeon
Image adapted from: Billy Tran
Game Pigeon is like a library collection of party games that’s available on iMessage. You have classic phone games like 8 Ball and Basketball along with more traditional games like Chess and Mancala, all entertaining in their own way.
While most of the games here are limited to two players, you can still send them in an iMessage group chat and the first one to accept your invite will be your challenger. For more virtual interaction, Crazy 8, which is similar to Uno, is a game that can have multiple people playing at once.
How to play: Grab your friends, download the application and send each other game invites via an iMessage group chat.
Number of players: Varies on game
10. Gartic Phone
Image adapted from: Gartic.io
Skribbl.io meets Telestrations in Gartic Phone, a simple game about drawing and deciphering what exactly your friends have drawn. Each player starts out creating a prompt which another player has to draw. That drawing then gets passed to another player who has to describe what they’re seeing, and another player will have to draw that guess. This cycle goes on depending on how many players there are.
While the classic mode can be very fun and chaotic by itself, you can amp things up with different modes such as Speed Run where drawing time is cut short and Knock-Off where you have to replicate a drawing as the timer ticks down.
How to play the game: Invite your friends to a voice call and join a lobby.
Number of players: 4-30 players
11. Time Heist
Image adapted from: Time Heist
History buffs can battle it out in a game of wits with Time Heist. From major events that stunned the world to trivial facts about lesser-known celebrities or scholars, you and the gang will be working in teams – the Paradox Thieves or Guardians of Time – to nail these questions within seconds.
Time Heist is no different from Heads Up. However, in this game, the roles are reversed and only the captain is given visible access to the topic or word at hand while the others are left to guess. Thus the captain will need to work hard to leave clues about the category, century and gist of what the word is without revealing it.
How to play:
- Hop onto a group call, open up the game and separate yourselves into two teams
- Select either the fast, regular or legend mode
- Delicate a captain who will be in charge to give the team clues of the selected topic.
- After a clue, the other team will get their chance to guess the word and the process repeats itself again until the word is guessed
Number of players: 4-6 players
Social distancing with free online games
Hopefully, these free online games will be enough to keep you and your friends entertained and make up for the lack of physical social contact. In the meantime, remember to stay safe and be socially responsible!
Read more similar articles below:
- Old-school mobile games
- Retro games now on mobile
- New party games
- Free quirky online games
- Mobile & gacha games
- Playing card games
- Childhood online games
- Online co-op games for couples
Cover image adapted from (clockwise from top left): Gartic.io, @czech_games_edition, Pretend You’re Xyzzy, skribbl.io
Originally published on 1st April 2020. Last updated by Isabella Cuevas on October 2021.