How can I bring a virtual team together socially?
April 25, 2010 9:00 PM   Subscribe

How can I bring a virtual team together socially?

The people in my workgroup mostly telecommute, meaning that we have team members in Austin, New York, Minneapolis, and other scattered cities. Other than occasional e-mails and business-related conference calls, we don't interact much. My boss would like to build a better sense of community through some sort of online activity or game and asked me to generate ideas. What's something that a dozen people could participate in virtually that would make us feel closer and let us have fun with each other?
posted by Help, I can't stop talking! to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Team Fortress 2.
posted by disillusioned at 9:08 PM on April 25, 2010

Response by poster: I was aiming for something a little more casual. As in free, playable on crummy old work laptops, and accessible to an audience that doesn't typically play video games.
posted by Help, I can't stop talking! at 9:11 PM on April 25, 2010

What about online Scrabble?
posted by mynameisluka at 9:48 PM on April 25, 2010

I'm sure Pogo or MSN Games probably has a few simple multiplayer games.

If you want to work better together online, try
posted by teedee2000 at 10:51 PM on April 25, 2010

Shortly after it debuted in 2005, a largeish group of my friends and guildmates decided to play Urban Dead together. I played a few years later with a different group of people online and it was still incredibly fun, even with leveling up all over again.

The learning curve isn't steep, it's text-based, and there's added depth if more advanced players want it (via the community and some advanced features). The zombie apocalypse setting is easy and fun for most to get into, and a group will tend to have people who pick different classes, so ultimately you wind up working together and helping each other out.

It's free and works via action points, so characters have limited moves per day (that regenerate). Kevan Davis has slowed the updates to a mere trickle of late, but there's plenty in there.
posted by cmgonzalez at 11:05 PM on April 25, 2010

Urban terror is free and fun.
there is also quake live

they are easy to pick up and hard to master!

good luck
posted by StephenMeldalFoged at 2:08 AM on April 26, 2010

Maybe Puzzle Pirates? It's a big download, but the system demands are kept deliberately low enough that it can be played on crappy laptops over dial-up. There are a variety of mini-games within the larger game, and different ways to do things with people. You could invite everyone onto a boat and go out on a pillage or hold a tournament of whatever that day's free puzzles are or something of that nature.

It's colorful and silly and not noticeably violent (there's swordfighting and cannons, but no one dies, no blood, no gore, and you don't directly hit anyone with your sword, you just play falling block puzzles to defeat them) so it would be relatively HR-approved.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:15 AM on April 26, 2010

Not game-related, but my team is all over the globe and all work from home, and we use Skype chat to communicate about projects. We keep one global chat open that is more general, and generally ends up being a bit more social. A watercooler, basically. It really helps us to feel like we're "together" when we have a place to throw in a joke, a jibe about sports, etc.
posted by Billegible at 6:22 AM on April 26, 2010

My team is spread out in the US, the Philippines, Costa Rica and the majority of us are Facebook friends. It really helps to see the social side of these people's lives to build a broader connection with them. It is also good fodder for downtime when we are on the phone. i.e. Dan is into games, Andre loves classic movies, Sheng is a photographer, etc.
posted by mmascolino at 7:34 AM on April 26, 2010

Wait, no one has suggested Second Life yet?! It's free and easy to use and doesn't feel like a 'video game.' Y'all could have a great time building and dressing up your avatars together and learn a ton about each other in an environment that is highly social - it's built for social. Kind of like those drama exercises where you put on masks to free yourself so you can jump around making animal sounds and such, but way more hi-tech.
posted by jardinier at 12:03 PM on May 3, 2010

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