Zoom fatigue is real, and virtual games can be a great way to make your team meetings a little more exciting. By adding in a little competition and camaraderie, you can give participants that boost of energy they might need.
One of our favorite virtual games to play on our team: virtual mafia (also known as werewolf/assassin).
Remember that game you used to play at summer camp, where townspeople tried to outlive the mafia? Well, you can play it on Zoom.
Here’s how to do it.
All you’ll need is the Zoom client, a Zoom App called twine for Zoom, and some willing colleagues.
First, read up on the rules of mafia. Once you’ve done that, create a list of who will be attending your Zoom meeting and assign them each a role. You’ll need one narrator (the host of the meeting), two mafia members, and one doctor. The rest can be townspeople.
A couple of minutes before the meeting starts, privately message each person their role and make sure they acknowledge it.
Here’s where things get a little different for Zoom mafia. When you message the members of the mafia their role - in a group chat so they know who the other member of the mafia is - must also reply with a small “sign” that they will do throughout the meeting. This can be something like scratching their nose every few seconds, tugging on their ear occasionally, or not starting sentences with the word “I.”
Once the meeting begins, the narrator (host) welcomes the group. They then send out participants into two rounds of 3-minute, back-to-back Breakout Rooms using the Zoom app twine for Zoom. The host simply has to click “Shuffle,” then end the matchmaking after two rounds. This begins Night One.
While in the breakouts, participants have normal conversations (they are welcome to adopt a persona and have character-appropriate conversations). At any point during the two rounds of Breakouts, the members of the mafia must message the group chat that they have with the host and decide on someone to kill. They can only choose to kill someone that they met in one of their Breakout Rooms.
Also during Night One, the doctor must message the narrator someone to save (again, only someone that they met with in a Breakout Room). If the person that the doctor saves happens to be the person that the mafia chose to kill, they are safe. (And yes, they can save themselves, as twine’s very own Head of Customer Success so selflessly chose to do.)
After two rounds of twine Breakout Rooms, click “end matchmaking” to bring the participants back to the main room. The narrator should then dramatically summarize the events of the previous night and describe who was killed and in what fashion (this second part is made up, of course), and who almost died but narrowly escaped death thanks to the Doctor.
The eliminated person then changes their Zoom name to “Ghost” and refrains from participating in subsequent rounds.
After sharing the news, the group may now discuss who they think is the mafia and why. Did someone notice a signal from the mafia? Did they keep an eye on twine’s Map View of tables to see who met with whom?
Let them debate for a few minutes before calling them to a vote. Put up the top nominees for a hand raise, and the person who they vote off is killed– whether or not they are mafia. Once complete, the narrator informs the participants of whether or not they killed an innocent man.
For the next round, repeat the same process as above for Night Two– this time clicking “exclude” on the participant(s) who have been eliminated. You may need to adjust the size of the Breakout Rooms as the Nights go on.
Continue this process until there are only a handful of participants left. At the final voting round, a winner is declared: if the mafia were never discovered, they win, and vice versa.
As silly as it sounds, playing virtual mafia can brighten anyone’s mood. It left our team smiling for the rest of the day.
Games aren’t the only way to make your Zoom meetings a little more interesting: the same app used for mafia can also be used for speed networking, employee onboarding, training, and so much more. Check it out here.
Automating Breakout Rooms in Zoom is easy. Hosts can assign participants to Breakouts based on custom rules, automatically rotate through rounds, and more.
Virtual speed networking is a great way to strengthen weak ties and foster genuine connection amongst remote or hybrid teams. It’s a low-cost, worthy investment that can have a great impact on employee retention.