Game Spotlight: Jackbox Party Pack

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Over the past couple years, I’ve gone back to the kinds of games I enjoyed as a kid. Throughout my college years and up to about 2-3 years ago, my main focus was on single-player games, especially RPGs like Mass Effect and Persona 4. Granted, I’m still way into those still, but I’ve really brought back a number of games that are under one simple banner:

Party games. Games that are played with a bunch of people, you don’t play them alone. Ever. It’s kinda hard…

The series of games that really brought this back to me, are the Jackbox series of games. Most notably, games like Quiplash, Fibbage and Drawful.

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Quiplash is easily my favourite game of everything Jackbox Games has made thus far. I’m a huge lover of Cards Against Humanity, whenever I had the chance to play it, I jumped at it. I love the offensive nature of the game, because unlike a lot of the PC, SJW idiots out there, I have a sense of humour and know how to take a joke. But the one problem I always had with Cards Against Humanity was that there would be hands where either I had nothing good for that specific question, or I just had no good cards at all.

So when Quiplash came into play, I couldn’t have asked for anything better. It’s like Cards Against Humanity, but without any limitations. You write whatever you want, there’s nothing stopping you from writing something offensive, witty, practical, or maybe just a little too real. Whether the worst part about being Batman is celebrating Mother’s and Father’s Day, or the worst flavour of ice cream being Period Blood Cherry, the possibilities are endless. Even with repeat questions, you might have a different answer each time and even if you don’t, you’ll likely be playing someone else, so you’ll be facing a different answer anyway. Just adding one different person into the mix in a new game completely changes the entire game. You have a new set of answers, and a new sense of humour to try and cater to.

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Fibbage is a great game as well. You still have the ability to be offensive if you want, but for those who seek to play a more clever and calculating game, this is your canvas. Fibbage is a lot like Balderdash, you are asked a really random trivia question and you have to write an incorrect answer that will get people to pick yours instead of the correct answer. It really becomes a more strategic match if you’re playing it seriously, not only do you have to write something people would pick, but if you’re playing people not new to the game, you’ve gotta try to find a middle point between being a plausible answer, but also just crazy enough that it doesn’t throw people off, because the more obvious answers eventually stop getting picked, because that’s too easy.

Take the question above. The correct answer is Detroit and the Achievement Hunter crew don’t exactly do a great job of making good answers for it that could be guessed. Obviously right away you take away Oz, Agrabah and the Mickey Mouse Club, they’re fictional. The ocean makes no sense, so you’re left with three answers, France, Hoboken and Detroit. Imagine if instead of the four answers we removed, you got answers like Alaska, Dallas, Tokyo and Antarctica. You’ve got seven answers that have a mixture of some obvious ones and some weird ones, but not necessarily write-offs. After all, if you play the game enough, Saddam Hussein being made a citizen of Antarctica isn’t so far-fetched given some of the other answers.

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Lastly, there’s Drawful, a blend of Fibbage with Pictionary. Instead of being given a trivia question, you’re given a random phrase, word or literally just four random words in succession and you’ve gotta draw it. After that, everyone has to guess what you drew in the same manner as Fibbage, you want to write a lie that’s plausible. However, unlike Fibbage, you can get away with just a little more here, since most drawings are nigh impossible to decipher. This ends up being one of the more entertaining games, because almost every drawing elicits a similar “What the fuck?!” reaction and gets everyone laughing.

What makes it even better, is that by playing it on your phone, unless you’re damn good at drawing, you’ll never make something very cohesive. I actually try to demand that no one plays Drawful with a tablet and especially not with a screen pen, to make it easier for them to draw something legible. To me, the less legible, the better the game.

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There’s a few hidden gems in the party packs thus far released by Jackbox. Obviously the old school You Don’t Know Jack is a great trivia game for those looking to really challenge their brains, as the series is known for really skewing the questions in order to make you really think about what the actual answer is. Earwax at times can be really fun, a game solely on the basis of making good pairs of sounds to a single topic, however sometimes there can be a flat round where nothing’s all that funny. Lastly, Bomb Corp can either be a fantastic, chaotic party game, or a game that will largely be ignored by a party group that doesn’t want to play anything serious, as even with its humour, the game requires attention to detail, rather than loosening up and being offensive like other great games are.

But either way, if you’re looking for great games to play at a party, you have to look at Jackbox’s games. You play with anything that can run an internet browser, so it’s not demanding of the host to have a bunch of controllers. It’s an easy entertainment source and if you somehow haven’t played any of these games yet, you need to get on that. Now!

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