You’ve found our list of the best online team building games for remote teams.
Online team building is the intentional creation of relationships via online platforms. Online team building games are any games that you play online to help foster collaboration and team spirit with employees. Examples of these online games include Spreadsheet Wars, Online Office Games and Virtual Charades.
You can organize your own games for free or at low cost, and we also provide facilitated games via our online free apunkagames.
This list includes:
So, check out the list!
List of Online Team Building Games
Below is a list of online team building games. From Bingo to Lightning Scavenger Hunts to The Ground is Lava, you will find games that are fun, free and easy to play with remote teams.
One of the best starter online games for teams is Online Team Building Bingo. Bingo, a game played across retirement homes and summer camps everywhere, is familiar, fun, and works extremely well in the online format.
Here is an Online Team Building Bingo board you can start with:
You can “Right Click + Save As” to download the Bingo board.
You can freely distribute and use this virtual bingo board for internal use 🙂
To play Online Team Building Bingo:
Pro tip: Amazon gift cards and bragging rights are usually sufficient prizes for successful online team building games.
Online Offices Games is a facilitated series of online games and challenges for remote teams. You can learn more about the various games included on our page for Online Office Games.
The challenges are specifically designed for remote teams and to help develop the essential skills for working from home. For example, each event starts with virtual icebreaker questions, then pub-style trivia and games like “Can Your Hear Me Now”, which is a game that emphasizes the precision of communication you need for working remotely.
It’s fun !!
One of our most popular online team building games is Murder in Ancient Egypt. This game uses mechanics of escape rooms, puzzles and problem solving and so encourages your team to work together. This murder mystery also has an interesting twist; the murder is actually a real mystery from ancient Egypt, and after your teams make their guess, our master storytelling will share the big reveal.
Murder in Ancient Egypt is a 90 minute, fully-facilitated event. We provide an energetic host to keep your team engaged, and a co-host that manages the technical aspects. The event is fun, challenging and perfect for groups that want to work both collaboratively and competitively.
War of the Wizards is a collaborative storytelling game of wisdom and magic. The story start that a group of wizards have been at war since ages past, and no-one even quite remembers why. Your people become the wizards’ minions, working together to collect magic items, cast spells and overcome obstacles. For example, you may develop a strategy to leap over a wide chasm, or challenge an ogre to a battle of wits.
War of the Wizards is a little nerdy, and a whole lot of fun. You don’t have to be a Dungeons & Dragons master either; the game is simple to follow and fun to participate for all skill levels. The game lasts for 90 minutes, and is facilitated over video conference by our talented host.
If you grew up in the late eighties and early nineties then you will likely remember the energetic proclamation “you sunk my battleship!”
Over 20+ years later, it turns out that Battleship has a perfect format for online games. You can also play the game multiplayer, with three to 10 players or more if you are feeling audacious.
To play Spreadsheet Battleship, each player needs two things: a game board and the placement of ships. You can use graph paper labelled with letters and numbers for the game board, and either randomly assign battleship placement or let each player choose where to place the ships.
Spreadsheet Battleship game mechanics are a little like Go Fish. On each player’s turn, that player chooses another player and names a square on the grid like A-5 or C-10. The receiving player says, “you missed”, “you hit” or “you sunk my battleship!” depending on what happened. The next player then goes in sequence, which could be in order of age or geographic location.
Continue playing until only one player has ships remaining.
In the real world, we run scavenger hunts at some of the coolest locations in the world: like the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC and Grand Central Terminal. Scavenger Hunts can be a fun way for your people to work together.
Virtual scavenger hunts are more difficult to find that team spirit with. You might have game mechanics that have your team searching Google, Wikipedia, YouTube and other sites, without really working together.
The solution for successful online scavenger hunts is to throw away the normal and adopt a lightning version instead. For Lightning Scavenger Hunts, fire off a rapid series of clues that have your team members dashing to find objects, solve clues and win points. For example, you could have everyone grab their favorite mug and award points to the best mug story.
The fast paced nature of Lightning Scavenger Hunts is what makes it work for online team building games.
Lexulous is a free online game that is mode led after Scrabble. The main difference is that Lexulous has eight tiles in play at a time, and the value assigned to each letter is a little different.
The main similarities are that Lexulous looks pretty darn like Scrabble, and like me and my brothers: my mom loves them all equally.
You can easily include Lexulous in your options for online games to play with coworkers. You can keep track of points and total scores over a month, and award a Lexulous champion at the end.
My refrigerator mostly contains fatty pork, 100% dark chocolate and pears. Your refrigerator may be different. A fun game we could play together is Guess the Refrigerator.
Guess the Refrigerator is similar to “Who Da Baby?” and other guessing games. To play, everyone submits a photo of the inside of their refrigerator to one point of contact. That organizer then posts the photos to a channel where all participants can study the contents and make best guesses at which refrigerator belongs to who. The players submit answers to the organizer, who then tallies up the scores and announces a winner.
Sharing an inside view of your refrigerator takes a degree of vulnerability, which is a factor that contributes to the success of great online team building games.
“Can You Hear Me Now” is one of the most popular games we play as part of Online Office Games. You can play this game 100% online, and as part of a virtual conference call.
To play, name one person as the Describer and the other players as Artists. The Describer must explain to the Artists how to draw an item like a sunflower, kite or calculator using only geometric terms.
For example, you could say “draw a large square” and then “add a line at a 45 degree angle from the top”, but not “draw the letter E.”
You can play each round for as long as you like, and three minutes is usually sufficient. At the end of each round, the Describer gets one point for each Artist that guesses the object correctly, and each Artist that guesses correctly also gets one point. Tally up points and award cool prizes to the winner.
Five Clicks Away is a logic game for online team building. To play, you select a starting topic and an ending topic, which you can decide on your own or randomly generate. For example, the starting point could be Blackbeard the Pirate and the endpoint could be grilled cheese sandwiches.
Each player must start on the Wikipedia page for the starting point, and in no-more than five clicks reach the end point. The idea is that Wikipedia has so many internal links that you should be able to follow a chain to reach the end point in less than five clicks.
Five Clicks Away is difficult to get started with, but as you start to understand Wikipedia’s structure the game becomes easier. Like “Can You Hear Me Now?”, the game is also a proxy for learning a useful remote work skill, which in this case is obscure research.
One of my favorite online team building games is a Typing Speed Race with friendly competition. For the Typing Speed Race, you can use a free tool like typingtest.com and have each of your team members do a one minute challenge. Then, each person posts their test results to Slack, email or another platform.
The Typing Speed Race is a great way to encourage friendly competition with remote teams. You can make the experience more collaborative by doing a Typing Speed Relay, which requires forming your people into teams and then adding the cumulative score from each person to create a team total.
With the Typing Speed Race, everyone wins because typing quickly is an important skill for remote work.
Chair Up! is both my favorite pun-inspired name for a chair store, and also a fun and easy game for video conference calls.
The game is played over email, messenger or conference call, and is specifically meant to counter the doom and gloom that sometimes guides conversations. Whenever someone calls out “chair up!”, everyone must stand up and do something cheerful. For example, you could do yoga sun-salutations, clap your hands, laugh or have a small dance party.
Chair Up! is silly, fun, and an easy way to get started with online team building.
When you work from home, taking care of your health and fitness is especially important. You can do squats and eat well, and also make sure you drink enough water.
Water Shots is a game meant to fortify your team around healthy hydration. To play, you first choose a trigger, which could be “every time a pet comes on screen in a video call” or “any time someone says mute.” When the trigger happens, all participants must drink a shot of water, which could be a literal shot or a sip.
Team building games that focus on building healthy habits are a great way to support company culture and development with remote teams.
Charades is one of those games that nearly everyone plays at school or home while growing up. With this proliferation of Charades, Virtual Charades has the advantages of being fairly familiar while also being moderately fun.
To play Virtual Charades, prepare a set of links that go to Google Image pages or use a random image generator. On each player’s turn, that player must act out what they see in the image and the player’s teammates can guess each one to earn points. Rinse and repeat until you are all out of fun.
Here are some frustrating office words you can use as prompts for your game:
You can use other words too, but frustrating office words are a good reminder of why working from home is fun.
You don’t need a pub to play pub-style trivia, and beer and peanuts are also optional. Instead, you can play with at least two teams, a series of trivia questions, and positive attitudes.
Playing pub-style trivia online is similar to the in-the-pub version, with one crucial difference: you need an easy way for people to communicate. Instead of mumbling across a table, we recommend using vivirtual breakout rooms so that each team can discuss the answers openly. Each team can then submit the answers via a web-form and the host can award points as needed.
Pro tip: Playing virtual happy hour games like pub-style trivia give you a unique opportunity to include wildly different clues in the game. For example, instead of “guess that tune”, you could have players guess the tune, find it on YouTube and identify a clue at a specific time stamp. The internet is your virtual game oyster.
Werewolf is a game of cunning deceit and tactful manipulation, and the online version is much of the same. The game relies primarily on the spoken word, which makes it perfect for remote teams.
To play, nominate one person as the narrator and then randomly distribute the following roles to players:
To play, first distribute the roles via private message or email the players in advance. For a game with five people, you should have 1 werewolf, 1 medic and 3 villagers. For each additional five people add 1 werewolf, 1 special role, and 3 villagers. The ratios are flexible, so can modify them to suit your needs.
To start the game, the narrator declares that “night has fallen” and all players must close their eyes and tap their knees or keyboards to create a pitter-patter sound. After a few seconds the narrator says “werewolves wake up”, and any players with the werewolf role must awake and choose a single victim via private message.
The narrator then puts the werewolves back to sleep and has the medic and seer wake up in sequence. During the medic’s turn to be awake, the medic can point to one player to save that player from the jaws of the werewolf. If the medic selects the same player as the werewolf, then nobody dies during the night. When the seer points to a player, the narrator can answer yes or no to whether that player is a werewolf.
After all special roles act, the narrator declares “the sun is coming up” and either the name of the player that the werewolves ate or that no-one was eaten if the medic chose correctly. All players can open their eyes, and then debate on who the werewolf might be. To end the round, all players vote on one player to eliminate from the game or can pass and wait until the next round. Any player that is eliminated either by the werewolves or by vote becomes a friendly ghost that is not allowed to speak for the rest of the game but may observe it in quiet frustration.
Repeat until the only remaining players are werewolves or villagers.
We Didn’t Start the Fire is an online team building game inspired by Billy Joel’s song of the same name. To play, divide the attendees of your virtual conference call into groups of four or five people and then give the groups 15 minutes of prep time. During those 15 minutes, each team writes a verse of lyrics that follow the general melody of We Didn’t Start the Fire.
After the 15 minute breakout session, bring everyone back to the main virtual meeting and have the teams present their creation. Vote on the best one with thumbs up and cheers.
Spreadsheet Wars may be my favorite game to play with coworkers. Like other games on this list, Spreadsheet Wars is a combination of fun and skill-building, which makes it perfect for remote teams and offices.
To play, use a collaborative spreadsheet program like Google Sheets and select a theme like “choose your own adventure” or “scrappy recipe generator.” Each team then has up to 30 minutes to build a tool that matches the theme. The best tool wins, and really everyone wins because you are getting better at using one of the most powerful free tools on the internet.
Because Spreadsheet Wars doesn’t rely on any specific video conferencing platform, you can use it for games on Webex, Zoom games, Hangouts and other platforms.
Growing up, one of my favorite games to play was Risk, the game of global domination that meshes perfectly with my own aspirations. Risk is a game of cutthroat collaboration, friendly competition, resource management and other strategic dynamics that make it perfect for online team building.
The most flexible way to play a Risk-like game online is to use one of the many clones, for example Conquer Club, which provides a free browser based game.
In the early 2000s, Sudoku took the world by storm; inspiring nerds everywhere to complete numerical logic games instead of the daily crossword. Today, you can play a version of Sudoku for online team building called Sudoku Throw-down.
Here is how it works:
For Sudoku Throw-down, you can easily up the competitive spirit by including prizes for the top three finishers. I recommend nerd-friendly prizes like more Sudoku puzzles, science kits and white boards.
Something in common is an icebreaker game that works on video conference calls and similar. To play, first organize your attendees into manageable sized groups of four or five people and gently push them into breakout rooms. Each group has the goal of finding three similarities they have in common with other members of that group. For example, “we all have cats, no-one was born in Chicago and we loved Hamilton.”
For the next round, keep the same teams and add a restriction that you can’t mention locations or physical similarities. For the round after that, remove pets and preferences. The goal is to make the game increasingly difficult and encourage your remote team to deep dive into what they may have in common.
Pictionary is a fun game where some people draw while other people guess what the drawing could be. The game includes elements of improv, creative thinking, competition and more.
You can play an online game that is similar to Pictionary:
You can play Quick Draw over Zoom, Webex and other virtual conference call platforms. You can also mix up the game and rules by varying the number of clues each person draws, and drawing verbs instead of nouns.
Truth or Dare is a kind of NSFW game that is a fan favorite of students across Canada, America and other parts of the world. Truth or Dare: Remote Work Edition takes those popular game mechanics and optimizes for team building online.
Here are examples of prompts you can use:
The major guideline for Truth or Dare is to keep the questions and prompts friendly.
A year or two ago I played Jackbox Games with Tasia, Ethan and some other close friends. The game prompted me to lie about “how many beers did you have last night?”, and that was game over for Michael “prefers tea” Alexis.
Still, Jackbox Games provides options you can use for online team building. The game options include trivia and similar, and the games have some unexpected and creative dynamics. To play, everyone logs into a website via a special URL.
When I lived in NYC, two dudes at the metro station would play the same two Beatles’ songs over and over. If the train was late and people were standing on the platform longer, sometimes the two dudes would stop playing for a bit. Neither of those songs was Yellow Submarine.
Yellow Submarine is also an online team building game you can play with remote teams. Here is how:
The game mechanics work because the incentive is for each player to show their submarine as many times as they can. If you wait it out, then you may be one of the last players in the game but you will also need to catch-up on points.
A few years ago, video game cafes took the world by storm. The idea of going to play Mario Kart or Goldeneye 007 while someone delivers you nachos and beer was a strong pull.
You can host a Nintendo Game Night for your team by using an emulator. The emulator allows you to play games via most modern web browsers. Choose a game like Excitebike, Popeye or Ice Hockey and host a tournament to see who gets the most points. You should probably make the game night “bring your own nachos.”
Ten Strikes is a fun icebreaker game, so it’s a good way to get to know new team members, or to build deeper relationships with existing teams.
Here is how to play:
The strategy in Ten Strikes is to share facts about yourself that are unique enough that other players will not be able to say it is true of them and will have to put fingers down.
Pro tip: You can also play Five Strikes or Twenty Strikes. Generally the more fingers and toes you start with, the longer the game will go.
Anyone who has either been a five year old or spent time with one has played The Ground is Lava. The entire point of this game is to avoid touching the ground at all costs. You can climb from a chair to the couch, to stepping on a book and similar to get to your destination.
The online team building version of The Ground is Lava for adults is exactly the same as the five year old version. Challenge your team members to hunt for specific objects around the house, like a favorite mug or photograph. Participants can scoot on chairs, beds, throw rugs and other barriers to find the objects and return to the video call. Anyone that touches the ground is disqualified from the competition, but everyone gets to share about the object they brought back.
The Question Game is a fun game that requires no prep or special equipment. To start playing, ask someone a question, and that person must respond with a question directed back at you or another participant. If you delay for five seconds then you are out. If you speak without forming a question then you are out too 🙂
Here is an example of how this game might go:
In this example, I would be 100% out of the game. A more clever Michael would have said, “Sorry, what was that, Jackie?” and kept moving the game forward.
If your team members are on Slack or another messaging platform then starting to practice channel hygiene is important. Closing channels is a good way to avoid “Slack hovering”, which will increase productivity.
Once per month, post a challenge for team members to close out channels they are no longer participating in. We automate this message using Zapier, and include a prompt that you can copy and paste “/leave” to quickly leave channels.
You could keep track of how many channels each player leaves, and award points of prizes, but The Channel Closing Game is really one where everyone that participates wins. Closing down your excess channels is like the Slack equivalent of inbox zero. It just feels good.
Warning: The Channel Closing Game is kind of a productivity hack for managing remote teams that is masquerading in a list of great online team building games. I love it, and at least one of your team members will love it, but don’t pitch it too hard on the fun factor.
Escape games are a popular group activity in person, and are increasingly popular for online team building too. These virtual escape games provide opportunities for teamwork, collaboration, and developing team building skills. There are dozens of options to choose from, including free or DIY escape rooms, and fully facilitated ones.
Virtual murder mysteries are similar to online escape rooms, but generally have more theatrical flair. Typically, you either download scripts and choose actors on your team, or hire an outside company to perform the murder mystery for you. These online murder mysteries tend to have fun themes that match holidays, entertainment and other interests.
Playing fun online games with remote teams is a great way to do team building and create meaningful relationships while working from home.
You can play the online team building games on this list, create your own, or check out other resources for more ideas. Be sure to check out our list of the best virtual team building activities, and our list of offline team building games too.
With online team building, the most important element is that you dedicate some time to games, because all work and no play makes for a pretty dull time.
FAQ: Online team building games
The following are a few common questions and answers about online team building games for remote employees.
What is online team building?
Online team building is any formation of relationships between team members that occurs via online platforms. For example, you can do icebreakers at the beginning of virtual meetings, or play online team building games.
What are online team building games?
Online team building games are any games that you play online to help foster collaboration and team spirit with employees. Virtual team building games and remote team building games are closely related.
What are the benefits of organizing online team building games?
Organizing online team building games is one way to increase morale and engagement with remote teams. At a basic level, games are a fun way for your people to spend time with each other away from work projects and the requirements of meetings.
What are some fun games to play with virtual teams?
Fun games to play with virtual teams include Virtual Werewolf, Lightning Scavenger Hunts, Water Shots and Chair Up! Of these four games, Werewolf is the best known, and Water Shots is my favorite.
How do you get started with online team building?
An easy way to get started with online team building is to allocate either an entire virtual meeting or at least a portion of one to playing online team games. You can organize some of the games on this list, or create your own to mix up the variety.
Is online team building location dependent?
No! One of the best features of online team building is that it is completely international. Generally, as long as a participant has an internet enabled device and a reliable WiFi connection they will be able to take part in the games and activities.
So, whether your people are in the US, Canada, Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, South America or anywhere else, online team building can be a great choice for team engagement.