HomeOffice wasn't that uncommon in the IT industry before but became more apparent during the Corona pandemic. Distributed teams are growing, and so the lack of personal contact.
It has become difficult to grab a 🍺 with your co-workers. We are a distributed team at Divio spread across the world. Team events are costly and rare; getting everyone together in one place is difficult.
Of course, several-team building solutions sprang up in the last couple of months to provide a creative solution. The following consists of activities that have been tested through either Divio or with friends. All games are played inside a browser without installing any additional software; thus, it is convenient to start the game.
In the classical sense, they are charade-inspired word-guessing game. The objective is to draw a word that someone receives while the other participants try to guess it. There are multiple variations and arrangements.
In Skribble, a group meets inside a drawing game where someone receives a word, draws it, and the others try to figure it out. The guess is submitted in a chat window, and points are distributed by how fast the drawing is guessed. The other participants won’t see the solution till the end of the round. The chat window shows if someone figured it out without displaying the solution.
Sketchful and Gartic are similar but add some customisations, different lobbies and leaderboards.a1
Gartic Phone has a different but fun concept. It follows the idea of “telephone”, where a group of players form a line or circle. The first player comes up with a message and whispers it to the next person’s ear. That process continues until the word reaches the end of the line. The term is then compared to its original form.
In Gartic Phone everyone chooses a word and writes it down. That word is then passed to the next in line. The twist is that the word has to be drawn next. The drawing is then given to the next person, who has to guess the initial phrase. This process repeats until the initially defined word has reached the end of the cycle. Afterwards, the history is displayed in a chat-like tale.
An escape room is a game in which a team of players is locked in, searches for clues, solves puzzles, and accomplishes tasks to escape from the room. There are multiple versions available that follow the same flow but online:
There is a unique variation I would like to mention: CodingGame. It advertises itself as the very first escape game for coders and non-coders and is pretty fun for development teams/companies,
Another notable variation is Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes. Everyone meets somewhere online, and one starts the bomb. The others don’t see the bomb but have a manual to diffuse it. The one with the bomb has to describe the randomly generated components, while the others have to find the proper process to disarm them. If the time runs out, the team loses 💥.
Social deduction games
These are games in which players attempt to uncover each other’s hidden role or allegiances. Commonly, they are played in teams with larger groups, while one side is considered “good” and the other “bad”.
One of those is Ultimate Werewolf. It is played with 5 to 75 people (hell yeah). Each player gets a role assigned to them with an agenda. The roles entail various effects, but in essence, there are two categories. As a villager, you try to find the werewolves among them, and as a werewolf, you hunt down the villagers while convincing the others that you are innocent. The playing concept is simple: you go to sleep (close your eyes) while the werewolves choose a villager that dies the following day. Once everyone wakes up, some of the villagers might be dead or none at all. The many various roles will decide the outcome.
Another worthy mention is Among Us. An exception to my initially defined rule, you have to install an app. However, it is straightforward, available on all platforms and super easy to get started with a novice team. You are either a regular “crew member” doing tasks in a spaceship or the “impostor” who kills the crew members off one by one. The crew aims to figure out who the impostor is before he kills the entire team. The communication happens either after finding a dead body on the floor or by pressing an emergency button.
Cooperative games are designed to test the teams’ ability with memorisation/language or to explore their properties. They are typically designed to work together or in separate groups.
Codenames and Codewords are great examples of word guessing cooperative games. Rival Codebreakers race to identify which of the 25 Codewords/Codenames are their own. They do this by listening to their Codemasters, who take turns giving one-word clues. The Codebreakers try to guess which words their Codemaster meant, one at a time. If they guess correctly, they may continue guessing until they either run out of ideas for the given clue or get a Codeword wrong. Then it is the other team’s turn to give a hint and guess. The first team to reveal all their Codewords wins the game.
Another fantastic cooperative game is Hanabi. Instead of guessing words, team members work together to identify their cards. Like “Indian Poker”, players can see each other’s cards but cannot see their own. Information or fuse tokens provide information to the players on what colours or numbers they are holding. The goal is to create a “hanabi” (firework) by placing all cards in order and by colour on the table.
Other worthy mentions
There are other games on my list to try out I would like to share:
I hope you have a fantastic time playing some of these games with your co-workers. If you have any other recommendations, let me know.
‘Till next time!