Virtual icebreakers for Zoom – 2020 pandemic edition

Unfortunately, this year has been a challenging time during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Many classes have been moved to online, with videoconferencing software like Zoom, Google Meet and Microsoft Teams being used for teaching and learning sessions.

While the virus keeps everyone home and people are “social distancing,” there is a growing need for more virtual icebreakers to help people socialize and games that can be played while people are online. We’ve collected (and will keep updating!) our list of online activities and games that are well suited during this difficult time.

A good virtual icebreaker should be playable online, free or cheap, and should involve participation from everyone.

Many of our 100+ icebreaker games can be adapted for online play, especially our “Get to Know You” type games, but not all of them — like the ones where people need to run around. But some virtual icebreakers take advantage of the affordances of videoconferencing, like the ability to change your background image or to use breakout rooms in creative ways.

So let’s say you want to use an activity or fun experience to help break the ice or entertain folks. What are some recommendations?

Online Icebreaker Games to try over Zoom videoconference

Elipsis (Dot dot dot) Game — is a simple guessing game similar to Loaded Questions that can be played over Zoom. All players change their screen name to “…” and one takes turns asking questions like “What is your dream?” or “What did you eat this morning for breakfast?” Everyone connected in Zoom types in their answer in the Chat window. Each person takes turns guessing who typed in what. It’s fun!

Skribbl.io is a multiplayer drawing game similar to Pictionary. Draw a clue and earn points if others can correctly guess it quickly.

GeoGuessr.com is a Google Maps-based guessing game in which you are placed within a 360 degree image of somewhere in the world and get more points if you can correctly guess where you are. Custom maps and educational modes are also available, making it a pretty fun activity.

Zoom Jam featured a competition in which many brainstormed several game ideas that work great at a distance. For instance, 24 Hours in Atlantis is a clever story-based game involving challenges that a group must tackle in order to find the lost treasure room of Atlantic.

Board and tabletop games

Board Game Arena and Tabletopia are two excellent services that allow people to play tabletop games. Games include digitized versions of famous board games like Settlers of Catan, Colt Express, Seven Wonders, 8 Nimmt and many other tabletop games, ranging from simple to complex.

Know of other games that you recommend during these challenging times? We’re constantly updating this guide. Share it with your friends!