If you’re running out things to talk about with your friends on social Zoom calls, it’s probably time to start playing Jeopardy! with them. Everything you need to do this is online, for free. You’ll need to provide the cash prize to the winner, though.

Detailed instructions are below. Some parts are a little tricky, so give yourself a little time to set things up. If you have recommendations on how to improve this, please leave a comment. Enjoy!

Host Setup

  • The host runs the game: reads clues, judges responses, keeps score, and gently mocks contestants when appropriate. Standard Alex Trebek stuff.
  • Choose a show from https://www.j-archive.com to get clues
    • Obviously the host should choose a show that no contestant has seen. But given the show’s long history this should not be a problem.
    • This is crowdsourced so not all of the show clue collections are complete
    • Clues with A/V components may need to be skipped
    • Note: on a computer, you can toggle between the clue and response by rolling over the clue value. On a tablet or phone, touching the point value reveals the response but there’s no way to revert back to the clue.
  • It’s best to have 2 screens: one to broadcast the Game Board and Score Board to contestants, another just for the host to display clues for reading. The primary screen with the Game Board and Score Board should be a computer. The secondary screen for clues can be a tablet or phone.
  • Populate the Game Board categories. Save a copy of this template or roll your own. Note the two tabs for Jeopardy! And Double Jeopardy! rounds.
  • Populate the Score Board. Save a copy of this template (3rd tab) or roll your own. Add column headings for each play.
  • Position the game board and score board on your screen. If using this template, load the scoreboard in a different browser tab. Share this screen so everyone else can see it. Make sure you’re sharing the screen and not an individual window.
The host view

Contestant Setup

  • There is no theoretical limit to the number of contestants in this format
  • Contestants will need to keep the chat window open and visible. The chat window is essential for buzzing in and playing Final Jeopardy!
  • Contestants should minimize or position the video feeds so that it doesn’t block the essential elements (game board, score board, chat)

Game Play: Jeopardy! And Double Jeopardy!

  • Find an arbitrary method of choosing the first contestant to control the board (birthday, first name alphabetical order, etc.)
  • The first contestant chooses the category and clue value
  • The host reads the clue. Optional: copy-pasting the text into the chat
  • Contestants “buzz in” via chat. Start using the letter “a” or number “1” and progress with each clue.
  • Recommendation: allow contestants to buzz before the host finishes reading the question. Given the lag and all of the activity on screen it’s difficult/impossible to enforce standard Jeopardy rules that lock out contestants for buzzing early.
  • If the first contestant to buzz gets it wrong, the host moves on to the next contestant who buzzed, in order of appearance in the hosts’ chat window
  • The host manually clears the clue value from the board and updates the score board with money won/lost

Game Play: Final Jeopardy!

  • The host reveals the category
  • Contestants use private chat to send the host their bid amount
    • General rule reminder: contestants can’t bid in Final Jeopardy! If they have a negative score
  • Once all bid amounts are in, the host reads the final clue. Optional: types into the chat
  • Contestants use private chat to send the host their responses
  • Host should hum the Jeopardy theme 2x to mark the amount of time available to submit responses (30 seconds)
  • Host reads the first contestant response
    • If correct, host confirms this
    • If not correct: host does not reveal correct response
    • Host reveals first contestant’s bid. Host updates scoreboard accordingly.
  • Host proceeds with contestants in the order of responses received
  • Host declares winner after all Final Jeopardy! Responses are revealed