Arek Tambunan

Social chat is becoming a lot more than just chat. Most of the most popular ones, like WhatsApp, Line, Tango, Viber, and Kik Messenger, not only let you chat one on one but in groups of up to 200 people. You can also send photos and video in a message right within the app.

Stickers and emoji are also extremely important elements for most chat app users. Themed emoji are available in some apps for purchase using regular or in-app currency while other messengers let you download additional collections for free.

The latest new feature to hit these apps is games. Some have games built into the app, others have games you can download to the app, while others use a chat bot method of bringing games to users. Some of these games put you against the bot, and a few others let you challenge people in your contact list.

Games on Messenger

Usually, a chat app will let you know the games it has available to play. That doesn’t seem to be the case with Facebook’s Messenger. People are just now learning about some of the games and playful chat bots available there.

I’ve put together a list of the top 10 Messenger games and playful chat bots. Each entry tells you a little bit about the game or bot to help you decide whether or not you want to try it out on the app.

The first three games are being called “hidden” or “secret” Messenger games because there is no chat bot associated with it, and the app doesn’t have a link to it on any toolbar or menu.


Play a casual game of H-O-R-S-E with a friend on Facebook’s Messenger. First, you have to find the basketball emoji on Messenger and send it to your friend in a text message. Maybe something like, “Hey, up for a round of (horse emoji) (basketball emoji)?”

The game challenges you and your friend to make a series of shots to see who makes the most consecutive baskets. It is not exactly like the game of H-O-R-S-E but the concept is similar. At first, you are just challenged with the ball being placed at different parts of the court. You can’t move it; you have to make it from there. As you advance, the backboard moves around, making it more of a challenge.

Football (American Soccer)

To play this hidden Messenger game, you have to find the football emoji. (Hint to Americans: It’s round and black & white). Send that emoji to a friend or a group of friends. Once everyone accepts and is ready to start, the game begins.

The object of Messenger’s football is not to make a goal but to keep the ball in the air. Friends take turns tapping the ball to see how long they can keep the ball in the air before it falls, and the round ends. It is a really fun game and an enjoyable challenge to try to beat your best record each time around.


That’s right, there’s a chess game, too. It’s a little old-school, but that sometimes makes something more fun. There are several choices in how you start a game:

  • To begin a game with a random opponent, send, “@fbchess play”.
  • To choose your color, send, “@fbchess play white”.
  • To choose your opponent and color, send “@fbchess play black friendname”.

When you are playing the game, it is important to understand how to identify the spaces on the board and the game pieces.

As you can see in the image below, the board is marked with row numbers and column letters, just like an Excel spreadsheet. When making a play, you will identify spaces as A4, E6, etc.

Game pieces are identified as follows:

K = King

Q = Queen

B = Bishop

N = Knight

R = Rook

P = Pawn

With that information to identify the grid and the pieces, you send a play to the server with standard Algebraic Notation. Here are some examples; all must be preceded by “@fbchess”:

  • @fbchess Pe4 moves a pawn to e4
  • Nbd2 moves your knight from b to d2
  • Send B2xc5 to take on c5 with 2nd rank bishop
  • e8=Q promotes pawn to queen
  • 0-0-0 or O-O to castle

For those of us used to a swipe or a tap to play just about every game on our smartphones, this kind of play can seem a little slow but it is really a classic way of playing the game. Be sure to hit up that link under “Algebraic Notation” a couple of paragraphs back to learn more about that.

While playing Messenger Chess, you can get the complete documentation text on how to play and send moves by sending, “@fbchess help” at anytime…

Messenger Chat Bot Games

The balance of the games on this list are part of Messenger’s new chatbots platform. Chatbots are a brand new thing to social chat apps and the tech world is going wild about them. If you haven’t already tried a bot shop on a chat app, give these on Messenger a try.

The first three are not games in themselves but helper apps for one of the most popular gaming phenomena right now, Pokémon Go. If you want to team with other trainers or get an edge on them, these chatbots might be a good help to you. Again, keep in mind that all chatbots are new so there may not be a lot of people using these right now, but as bots catch on they will. You can get some of that going by telling your fellow trainers to get in on the Messenger bots right now so you can all work together to catch ‘em all.

Pokémon Go-Bot

This chatbot will help you fight battles in your local Pokémon Go gyms. As of July 17, this bot will also help you find Pokémon in your area and then report them to the chatbot so other trainers in your area can find them. The more trainers out there and the more each of you has, the better your gym battles will be so that you can move up, up, up the ranks to be – you know – the very best. Check out the Facebook for information on updates.

GeoChat Bot for Pokémon Go

Talk to Pokémon Go trainers in your area with this helpful chat bot for Messenger. If there are no trainers close by, the app has an option to go global. Share tips, gym locations, and more as you help each other be like no one ever was.


Exclusive to Messenger, this is another chatbot that helps Pokémon Go trainersget together and share information or tips to help fulfill their cause.

Game Center Top Quiz

Like a lot of game bots, this one is in its earlier stages. From its description, it sounds like the Game Center will expand and that this Top Quiz is just the first of the planned offerings. It is a “guess the logo” game, and those are a lot of fun, so be sure to check it out when you have some time.

Detective Kees: Probable Cause

This game bot from OnSequel is available in Facebook Messenger as well as Kik Messenger. It is a detective game where you play along, make choices, and maybe alter the outcome. You are assisting Detective Kees Jansen solve crimes in the big city.

Alternate ending games are becoming quite popular, much like the books of the same genre. These online versions in Messenger are a great way to give it a try.


Another OnSequel game bot, Enchanted invites you to a conversational story-game that takes place in, “a haunting and magical world of love, romance and drama.” It starts out fairly interesting. Just one tip here: If you want it to go better, “be the weasel.”

No typing skills required for either of the OnSequel games, just a series of multiple-choice answers that you tap to send.


Touting itself with the tagline, “When Tinder Meets Messenger,” Nah is not so much a game as an activity. This chatbot connects you with random strangersfor chat. It was a little slow on activity the time of day I tested it, plus it’s new like every other chatbot is. It’s sure to pick up soon and be quite an interesting way to spend some decent time on Messenger.

Again, as you play these games and especially those with chatbots, keep in mind that chatbots are new to social chat apps like Messenger. The platform was announced in April 2016, so any chatbot you find will be pretty much brand new. That is the case with any chatbot game, because chatbots are new to every social chat platform available. It probably sounds like I’m repeating myself, but it’s so that you give these chatbots a chance, not getting discouraged if there aren’t a lot of people on the game with you at first. Get in on the ground floor with these games and be an expert by the time everyone else finds them and it goes viral.

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