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Awesome party game if you have the people for it!

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    The Jackbox Party Pack

    Rating: 4.0 – Great

    Awesome party game if you have the people for it!

    Back in the 90s, a rather fun party game series was released titled You Don’t Know Jack. The game itself was a multiplayer parody of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" and was filled with wacky power ups that left you laughing and challenging each other for points. Several more iterations were released before the series disappeared for some time. After a revival attempt during the seventh generation, Jackbox Games released a new compilation entitled "Jackbox Party Pack". But what is it and is it any good? Yes. Yes it is.

    Jackbox Party Pack is a compilation of five different party games, each with different goals and rules. The games themselves are varied and each one is a blast to play through with friends. While two have been released separately in various forms (Fibbage and You Don’t Know Jack), they have been completely updated for this collection and include three brand new games: a true or false guessing game called Lieswatter, a more twisted version of Pictionary entitled Drawful and the word mashing game Word Spud. Each of these games are played on your phone, tablet or computer which allows pretty much anyone to join regardless of hardware and many games have high limits to player counts (typically 6-8 people) which makes it great for social gatherings, parties or even livestreaming (as Lie Swatter supports up to 100 players).

    The first game in the collection is You Don’t Know Jack 2015 which is an updated version of the classic quiz show game that made the company famous (and the only game you can play with a controller). Up to four players can join and guess at 10 multiple choice questions for cash. However, the game throws multiple loops at you to change up the formula. For example, one of the questions may be a "Disordat", which has the last place player try to match up statements between two categories in a hilarious manner (such as trying to figure out if it’s an alleged antic from Justin Beiber or something Curious George did). There may be a chance you have to guess if a statement applies to a Kangaroo, Peanut, Albert Einstein or Uranus. An old man may walk in and force you to help him remember what something is based off random clues. You can use the "screw" power up to screw someone into answering the question in 5 seconds. There’s even a chance that you may pick the "Wrong Answer of the Game", which gives you a ton of money and prizes because it’s sponsored by a fake company (even more so than getting the question right!). Every game also ends with Jack Attack, which asks you to match like statements together. The questions are very humorous (such as organizing underwear based off how much butt cheek is showing or asking how the scarecrow from Oz could have a "straw man debate") and they’re a blast to play with friends or by yourself. There is a slight problem which I’ll get to later on but for the most part this game is awesome, especially if you’re a fan of trivia games or the series in general.

    The second game in the pack is Drawful, which is Jackbox’s take on Pictionary with a twist. Players are all given a chance to draw a situation or statement given to them by the game and afterwards, the drawings are shuffled and the players attempt to guess what the drawing is. The game then takes all the guesses, throws in the real title and has players guess what the real title is. If someone picks your guess, you get extra points, even if no one guesses the correct title. This one is hilarious even if you’ve played Pictionary as it introduces a slight twist to the gameplay and like Pictionary, the game is more hilarious the worse of a drawer the players are (most of the time my group was laughing after the title was revealed and we all saw what the picture really was).

    The third game is Word Spud, which asks players to take a word and add something to it to make it another word (for example if the word is real, they can do really or real talk). After the word is submitted, everyone else votes on whether they believe it’s a real word or not and the first player is given points based on how many yes votes they get (and subtracted based on the no votes). This game is fun as it forces creative word play but it also has a problem which I’ll get to later on.

    The fourth game is Lieswatter, which gives you random trivia facts and asks you to guess whether they’re true or false. The facts are ridiculous enough to make you dismiss them while just believable enough to make you second guess yourself and it’s actually really fun to see just what’s true and what’s not (for example, the fact that there’s a statue of Lenin in the center of Antarctica or Jimmy Carter was the first president to be born in a hospital). The statements are wacky enough to make you chatter amongst your friends as well which makes this game awesome to play with a group and the fact that it supports up to 100 different players at once means it’s great for a party or livestreaming.

    The final game in the pack is Fibbage XL, an upgraded version of the Fibbage game they released digitally prior to the collection. Like YDKJ and Lieswatter, this game is a trivia game with a twist: the question has a blank that it asks you to fill in. For example, the question might read "the mayor of Rabbit Hash, Kentucky is a ____" and you have to think of a lie to write in to fool your friends. For example, you may write "cat" or "penguin". Afterwards, the game throws out everyone’s lie as well as the truth (and additional lies depending on how many players are playing) and asks you to guess the truth. You gain additional points for players that guess your lie in addition to points you may get for guessing correctly. This one is great if you’re creative, especially with more players, as you can make the questions incredibly easy or hard depending on how believable your lie is. For example, if you write "calculator", then your lie will likely get spotted easily compared to the above mentioned examples.

    The game itself is definitely made for parties and one thing I really like about it is how easy the game makes it for new players to join and understand what’s going on. All that’s required is a phone, tablet or computer (of which pretty much everyone has nowadays). After setting up the game on the Playstation, players then navigate to Jackbox.tv on their devices and type in a 4 letter room code given to you by the game. From there, anyone can join in (even if they’re not present in the room with you) which makes this great for livestreaming or playing with out of town friends and relatives. All the information required in shown on the phones (aside from YDKJ more on that in a minute) so players can play even without seeing the game (though it definitely isn’t as fun).

    The games themselves are also quite fun and varied enough that you’re pretty much guaranteed to find something you like on here, whether it’s the wacky multiple choice questions of YDKJ, the vocab testing Word Spud or the terrible drawings of Drawful. There’s a ton of fun games in the pack, even if you don’t like drawing or trivia.

    However, one complaint I have is that if you’re looking to play this by yourself, you’re not going to get much from this pack. YDKJ and Lieswatter are the only games you can play by yourself and while YDKJ is quite fun (even alone), Lieswatter is much more fun with friends and you can’t even play the other three games without someone else playing with you. As the game does not offer traditional online multiplayer (only by allowing players to join with your room code, not lobby based like other games), the only real way to truly get the most from this game and enjoy it to the fullest is to play with other people or stream it (with a catch later on). The game is also made so that it works best with more people so even if you get the required amount of people (which is 2 for every game except Drawful), it’s still more fun the more people you have (though it still is a blast even with a small group).

    There are also several problems I have with the games themselves. The first is with Word Spud, which can be completely rigged by your friends. Because the game asks your friends whether or not a word is correct, if there’s foul play afoot, irrefutable words such as "chair" or "pineapple" can result in you losing major points because your friends are jerks. Because of this, my friends and I typically avoid this game as it does grow somewhat boring (even playing legit) so it usually ends in debauchery. The second is with YDKJ, which offers "episodes" of content, rather than randomizing it like other similar game show type games. What this means is that the game has 50 episodes (with 10 questions per episode) so if you wanted to really cheap out your friends, you could play through the first 5 episodes enough that you’d know all the answers and cheat your way through. While there are enough episodes that you could bypass this by choosing a later one, throwing out the randomness can lead to foul play as well.

    One minor problem I have with the game is that, unlike later games, this game is not designed for streaming online. While games like Fibbage, Word Spud and Lieswatter can easily be played online by focusing more on your phone than the stream (which is usually delayed ~30 seconds), Drawful requires you to see the pictures to guess and YDKJ shows nothing on the phone except buttons (which do no good as the timer will always run out before it’s shown on stream). If you’re hoping to stream this to viewers (or play this on stream to try it out), keep this in mind. While this was fixed in the next two games, this version wasn’t made with streaming in mind.

    The trophies themselves can be easy or difficult depending on whether or not you have the devices to boost with yourself (though some will still be hard irregardless). Each game gets around 4 trophies each with some being easy and some being hard. For example, YDKJ has trophies for getting all questions right in a game, aceing a disordat and getting all wrong answer prizes. Fibbage has trophies for fooling everyone with your lie, entering the same thing as another player or writing a lie that’s the truth. Drawful has trophies for having everyone guess your drawing and winning by 3000+ points. Lieswatter has trophies for perfectly guessing in a round and entering a secret name as your name (which is found online). And Word Spud has ones for writing "nugget" or winning 3 rounds in a row. While this isn’t inclusive, this gives you an idea on how easily these can be boosted with yourself (or how difficult it will be playing by yourself). The one trophy that will likely give you trouble is the YDKJ finding all wrong answers as you have to play 50+ games and still get the wrong answer each time.

    All in all, if you have a lot of people to play this with, Jackbox Party Pack is worth every penny. My friends all agree that the games are hilarious and fun (several having purchased it themselves) though if you’re buying this to play alone, you may not enjoy it as much. While I do enjoy the other two Jackbox games slightly more, this one still has a fantastic selection and is worth picking up. If you’re having doubts, try to join a game on Twitch so you can play it and see if you like it otherwise it’s a buy.

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