13 drinking games to play on Zoom or Houseparty

In lieu of the pub (or any other social space), we’re all doing what we can to stay social, whether that’s virtual quizzes or cuppas over Zoom.

For many of us these catch-ups involve a beer or two, which isn’t quite as sweet as if it’d come straight from the tap at your local, but will see us through in the meantime.

Despite the obvious worries we might have about sinking drinks on our own, it’s still technically with other people. Plus, if this is the ‘new normal’ we might as well continue our pub-going lifestyle indoors.

If you’re partial to a drinking game, you can still get things going on Zoom or Houseparty, and they can be a fun way to break the ice.

As always, drink responsibly (those lockdown hangovers are not good), drink water, and know your limits.

Never have I ever
We all know this one, and it’s better to do it with people you don’t know inside out for best results.

For the uninitiated, one person starts off the round by saying ‘never have I ever done XYZ’. For example, ‘never have I ever passed out from drinking’.

If you’ve done the thing in question you take a drink.

It’s best to start this one out with tamer questions, and as people get tipsy and more inclined to spill all it can get more risque.

We have a list of sex never have I ever questions to ask that might take things up a notch.

Drink when you hear it
This drinking game goes well when you’re having a Netflix watch party or listening to a few tunes. It can also be woven into your general conversations or quizzes.

The rule (there’s only one) is simple. Set out a word or a couple of words, and drink when you hear them.

An old-school version of this is to drink whenever you hear the word Roxanne while listening to the song by The Police. But you can theme this to whatever media it is you’re imbibing at the time.

Perhaps a little rewatch of Bake Off while drinking at every soggy bottom, Hollywood handshake or cake drop?

Alternatively if you’re not watching or listening to anything, drink every time someone’s kid or pet walks into the room, drink every time someone’s video crashes, or drink every time someone goes for a toilet break.

Most likely to
This game is an exercise in how to lose friends and alienate people.

Each round starts with someone saying something like ‘most likely to text their ex in quarantine’. At the count of three, you all say which of your mates is the most likely to do this, with the one who gets the most votes having to take a drink.

You could make it more professional with boards with each person’s name on, just like Strictly but for terrible decisions.

Try and get the most embarrassment possible with your questions.

Before your catch-up, text everyone in the group a set of rules.

These could include:

No one’s allowed to say any names.
No one’s allowed to ask any questions.
When the ‘rule master’ puts their hand on their head everyone has to do the same (last one to realise loses).
No swearing allowed.
No saying the word drink.

The forfeit for breaking any of the rules throughout the night is – you guessed it – taking a drink.

Heads up
Traditional Heads Up isn’t easy to play when you can easily see yourself on camera.

But, Houseparty have a great add-on which will show the other parties on the team the person you’ve got but not you, so you can guess until your heart’s content.

You have to be using Houseparty on mobile to play, but the rules work just the same – use questions to guess the famous person you’ve been given.

To make this drinking friendly, set a timer for each player’s turn. If they don’t guess it in the time, they have to take a drink.

This is similar to Heads Up virtually, but you just need a pen and paper (and quite a lot of patience).

Use a random word generator to come up with your ‘thing to guess’, then get to work drawing it, holding up your paper so everyone else can see and try to work out the answer.

Again, you can make this a drinking game with a timer (if they haven’t guessed your answer in time you have to drink), or torture yourself as a group by making it so that if no one gets it right then you all have to drink or if someone gets it right it’s only them who’s exempt.

Drunk Pirate
Drunk Pirate is a brilliant online drinking game that can be played virtually by one player sharing their screen on your video call.

Each card will give you a prompt such as ‘all dog owners drink’, or ‘you choose the best dressed player and they must drink’. The rules are pretty simple.

The only caveat with doing things virtually is that some of the cards require being in physical company (‘kiss the player next to you on the forehead or drink’). In these cases, you all have a drink together.

It might not be Christmas, but you can still get absolutely mashed and start an argument over a game of charades.

Play as normal (rules are here in case you need a refresher). The person who gets it can nominate someone to take a drink, or decide that everyone else has to drink.

Or, if no one gets it, you have to take a drink.

Power hour
If you and your pals like to listen to music while you drink, chatting about your favourite songs and artists, this is a chance for you to take control of the playlist and get drunk at the same time.

A ‘normal’ power hour game (if there is such a thing) would see you playing each song for one minute and taking a drink at the end of each song.

However, there’s absolutely no way we can sanction that sort of nonsense – 60 drinks is ridiculous. So instead, just do it with full songs or two/three minute song changes.

Truth or dare
Truth or dare is a sleepover icon, but there are ways to play it in lockdown that are still fun and also involve drinking.

Picolo allows you to add in players names, then get mini dares or truths in the categories silly, hot, or bar.

In the case where you need to vote on things, simply hold up one or two fingers (one means yes, two means no).

If you forfeit the truth or dare you take a drink, or if the challenge isn’t doable because you’re not together it’s a social drink for everyone.

This is much like the ‘categories’ round in ring of fire.

One person throws out a topic – Star Wars characters, movies with Sandra Bullock in them, capital cities – and then you go round the group answering.

The first to get one wrong or take too long to answer takes a drink. Easy, yet effective.

The race
With no sports on, your friendship group might be missing the healthy competition aspect of your friendship.

The Race game from Drink Virtually lets you each ‘bet’ on a character to win a virtual race.

Either do the loser has to drink, or you each take the same amount of sips as where you’re placed. RIP number six.

Would you rather
The weirder questions you come up for this the better, and it’s a funny way to learn some of your friends’ odd predilictions.

If you’re playing as part of a group, everyone has to vote on one or the other (one finger for the first one, two for the second).

The losing team has to take a drink.