At a time when nearly all of us have a seemingly unlimited amount of apps and games to play and kill time with on our smartphones, sometimes it’s appealing to strip away some of the technology and have fun with some more primitive forms of phone-based fun. Before the advent of smartphones, text-based games were common, but as phone games have become more sophisticated and engaging, texting games have clearly taken a backseat for most people.
But maybe you or your friends don’t have phones capable of playing Minecraft or Clash of Clans or Trivia Crack. Or, maybe you have an economical phone plan and are afraid of going over your data limit by playing data-intensive games while on the go. Maybe you simply lust for simpler times, and would rather play with words and phrases than flash games.
The Top 10 Texting Games to Play With Your Friends
Whatever your reasons for wanting to play text based games are, here’s a collection of ten of the best. All of these games can be played one-on-one, or with multiple friends in a group chat.
#10 – Guess the Abbreviation
There are so many obscure abbreviations used on the internet that keeping up with all of them can seem like an impossible task. But this game isn’t about real abbreviations that people actually use. To play this game, make up an abbreviation and text it to a friend. The key is to make it hard to guess, but not impossible. Something like IAPTTMPPFAWL (I Am Planning To Take My Pet Possum For A Walk Later) might not be a good idea, but something like IWAB (I Want A Banana) might be perfect. What’s great about this game is that usually your friends guesses will be funnier than the original meaning of your made-up abbreviation. Once one of you is stumped and unable to guess the other’s abbreviation, the game has a winner.
#9 – Story Time
The game “Story Time” is both entertaining and a good way to show off your creativity. To start the game, one friend texts the first word of a sentence to the other. From there, you alternate texts of a single word to each other, one at a time, until you have a long (probably nonsensical) sentence, paragraph, or full story. If you’re looking to write a longer, more coherent story, you can text alternating sentences instead of single words.
#8 – Movie Lines
This game only works with friends who have similar taste and exposure to movies as you. Send them a line from a classic movie, or a new release, or a movie that you’ve seen together. It works if they haven’t seen that particular movie, but it’s funnier if they have. From there, they’ll send a movie line back to you, and you’ll carry on a conversation using other people’s words. Bonus points if you can shape the lines into a real-sounding conversation on a single topic.
#7 – Would You Rather?
Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck, or a hundred duck-sized horses? Would you rather have legs as long as your fingers or fingers as long as your legs? Would you rather change gender every time you sneeze, or not be able to tell the difference between a muffin and a baby? “Would You Rather” is a game where you put your friends in the situation of having to make a ridiculously hard hypothetical decision. Coming up with a very hard “Would You Rather” question is creatively stimulating. This game is especially good to play with new friends, because the answers to these questions can reveal subtle things about people’s personalities.
#6 – Twenty Questions
A classic game that everyone knows, “Twenty Questions” is as enjoyable to play over text as it is in person. To start, think of a person or character. It helps to set some kind of limit as to what kind of a person or character can be picked to give the guesser a little bit of an easier time. From there, your friend can ask twenty questions that must be in the yes/no format. Is your character a woman? Is she a cartoon? Is she a superhero? Is it Aqua Woman? Damn, how did you get that so fast?
#5 – Where Am I
This game is similar to “Twenty Questions,” except instead of trying to guess a fictional character, your friends must guess what your location is, based on clues that you give. With each incorrect guess that your friend makes, send them another small clue of something that you can see in the place where you are until they guess correctly. If they don’t seem close to figuring out where you are, send them a photo that shows some of your surroundings. This game is especially fun if you’re in a place where you and that friend have been together before. Before playing this game, make sure you disable location services on your phone so that your friend can’t cheat by using the “Find My Friends” app.
#4 – Never Have I Ever
This classic drunken party game can be played in a text version. While it works with one friend, the general rule for this game is that the more people you’re playing with, the more fun it is, so start up a large group chat with as many people as you can. From there, someone has to text something that they have never done before that they think other people in the chat will have done. For example, “Never have I ever been to Mexico.” Everyone in the chat who has done that thing will text “strike one” into the group chat. If nobody has done that thing, the person who said it will text “strike one.” The first player to reach “strike three” loses the game and has to sit out. From there, the game continues as all the players strike out, until the last player remaining is the winner.
#3 – Categories
“Categories” is another game that is played as a drinking game at parties, but can be adapted to text form. The game begins with one player stating a category, such as “types of cheese.” From there, players alternate turns naming things that fall into that category (in this example: cheddar, brie, gouda, parmesan, etc.). Once one player cannot think of a further thing that fits into that category, they lose. This game goes on longer in text form than it does in person, because players have longer to mull over their answers. If a player repeats a word that has already been said, they lose the game.
#2 – Guess the Character
This is another game that works well with friends that you have a lot of mutual interests with. Begin texting with the vocabulary and phrases that a famous person or character is known to use, and see how long it takes your friend to realize who you are imitating. The game works best if you abstain from using a character’s trademark phrases until your friend really needs a clue. For example, if you’re playing as Napoleon Dynamite, make sure to say “gosh” and “freaking sweet,” for a while before dropping something like “took me like three hours to finish the shading on your upper lip.”
#1 – Six Degrees
Six Degrees of Separation is the theory that everyone and everything is six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world, so that a chain of “a friend of a friend” statements can be made to connect any two people in a maximum of six steps. Put this theory to the test by giving your friend two seemingly-unrelated people and seeing if they can show you how they’re connected.