How to Host a Virtual Game Night

My two favorite things in life are Traveling and Game Night with Friends. Given the current state of the world, both of these suddenly became unavailable. I have still been able to get my travel fix by planning a trip, catching up on old travel blog posts, watching the Travel Channel, scrap booking and being active in my Facebook Travel Groups. But for the other, I was wondering if there could be a virtual substitution for Game Night with Friends.

Wonder no more, this week, my two best friends and I were able to play a board game during our most recent virtual happy hour. It was like we were all together playing – smack talk and all. I am sharing in this post everything you need to host a virtual game night.

I want to clarify that this set-up will not work with all board games (or I haven’t tried it out yet) I will be seeing if there is a way to make this work with games like Catan (my fave) eventually, but here is a game it will work with and how to set it up. Give it a try and please leave feedback, suggestions or questions!

What you Need

Below is a list of what you need to host a virtual game night. I have links to Amazon to purchase these items:

  1. Computer
  2. Video Conferencing Account (We used Zoom since we had paid Zoom memberships. Zoom is free but the free account has a 40-minute limit on the meetings you host. Google Hangout is another great option and it is free.)
  3. Phone
  4. Tripod*
  5. Tripod Adapter Cell Phone Holder Mount Adapter*
  6. Board Game (We are playing Ludi in our example, which is a Jamaican board game that is similar to Sorry*) Here is a link if you want to learn more or order Ludi*. My best friend Jess actually made me a personalized Ludi game for my Birthday a couple years ago and that is what we are playing with in our example ❤
  7. If your game needs dice, ideally everyone has dice at home, but if not, you, the host, can make it work by just rolling the dice for everyone

Set Up

  • Schedule a virtual meeting or send your personalized meeting link to your friends
  • Join the virtual meeting with your computer and have all your friends join
  • Move the view to SPEAKER VIEW if possible (here is how speaker view looks on Zoom. It is where whoever is talking is big on the screen, automatically)
  • Set-up the Tripod and attach the Mount Adapter
  • Set-up your board game. You might have to get creative with the game pieces (especially if the game does not come with game pieces) to ensure they can be seen by the camera. For our Ludi game, we took different colored post-its and attached them to coins. Since each player has 4 game pieces we put 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 on each color so as the host was moving the pieces each player could say for example “move #4 ahead 7”
  • Join the virtual meeting with your phone WARNING: when you join with your phone, MUTE the audio and also make sure the volume on your phone is TURNED DOWN this will ensure you and your friends will not hear the horrible feedback echo noise.
  • Attach your phone to the mount adopter and turn the tripod towards the floor so it captures the board game
  • Have everyone PIN the phone’s view of the board game to their main view so it is large and everyone can see. Here is what that looks like on Zoom. Note that as a default, whoever is speaking will be big on the screen, but when you pin, this does not happen, so the board will stay big the entire time. In Zoom you click on the upper right corner of the video feed you want to be big and click PIN VIDEO:

You are ready to play!! If there are dice, the host can roll the dice for everyone or if everyone has dice, they can roll dice on their turn and let everyone know what they rolled. The host will advance the pieces for everyone and the camera will capture everything.

HAVE FUN! I will be adding alternative directions for other games as I work to see how they can be adopted for virtual game nights.

Please leave feedback, suggestions or questions!

* Note: Trying something new! Anything that has an * links out to Amazon, so you can learn more about that product. If you end up purchasing something I recommend or link to, as an Amazon Associate, I earn from those qualifying purchases. I love nothing more than helping people and being the voice I wish I had before I went on my adventures. I will never promote a product that I have not personally used.

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