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Awesome varied games guaranteed for a laugh. Bring some friends along!

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    The Jackbox Party Pack 2

    Rating: 4.5 – Outstanding

    Awesome varied games guaranteed for a laugh. Bring some friends along!

    In 2014, Jackbox Games released Jackbox Party Pack to a huge amount of fanfare, reviving the series enough that Jackbox Games decided to go back to the drawing board. And personally, I really enjoyed Jackbox Party Pack 1 myself, as did many other players. And this time, they’ve pulled out five new games to release as Jackbox Party Pack 2: Fibbage 2, Earwax, Bidiots, Quiplash XL and Bomb Corp. But how do these games hold up to Jackbox Party Pack 1? And is this new party game awesome or is it a bust?

    Jackbox Party Pack 2 is the sequel to Party Pack 1 and contains five new games this time around to play with your buddies. Fibbage 2, the sequel to the first game’s Fibbage XL, Earwax, a sound game similar to Apples to Apples, Bidiots, a drawing auction game, Quiplash XL, an updated version of the standalone that was released prior and Bomb Corp, a game where everyone has to defuse bombs. Each game has support for up to 8 players (though Bidiots is 6 and Bomb Corp 4) meaning you can’t get as many players in as last time but thanks to the new audience mode, numerous players can join in as non players (more on that in a minute).

    The first new game is Fibbage 2, an upgraded version of Fibbage XL from Jackbox 1. Like the first game, Fibbage 2 is a trivia game where it leaves part of the question off, allowing you to fill in the blank with a lie to try and fool the other players into guessing your lie to gain points. Along with your lie, the game throws out everyone else’s lie as well as the truth (and additional lies if there aren’t enough players). Along with brand new questions the game also offers a new "defibulator" power-up, which allows you to knock out all of the lies except 1, making it a 50/50 chance.

    The second new game is Earwax, which is a personal favorite of mine and my friends. This game works similar to Apples to Apples, but with sounds instead of ideas. It starts with one random player being chosen as Judge. They then choose a prompt, such as "Purple Nurple" or "(Random Player)’s body odor". The remaining players then choose two sounds from a list of six random ones given to them to try and match to the prompt. From there, the judge listens to them and picks their favorite. For example, one of my friends favorite was the prompt "Batman taking off his pants" followed by "Pained Scream/Loud Fart". The game gets hilarious as the players you play with all choose random sounds to match the prompts, many of which are personalized to the players playing the game, adding for a little zing and extra laughter. No two games are alike which makes the game highly replayable and interesting, especially if you’ve got a variety of players.

    The third game is Bidiots and this one throws a whole new loop to the Pictionary twist. At the beginning of each game, players are asked to draw two drawings, similar to JPP1’s Drawful. However, in a unique twist, the game switches to an auction scenario. Each player is given the title to three random paintings as well as their values (of which each painting is randomized). You’re then given $3000 and asked to bid on all of the paintings drawn by the players all without titles. Each player is compensated half of the winning auction amount for their drawings (unless you buy your own) and players can take out $1000 loans that deduct $1500 at the end of the game. The absurdity of trying to guess which painting is which mixed with trying to value the pieces you don’t have information for while still bidding in an auction war makes this game somewhat confusing at first but hilarious and fun, especially at the end when the titles are finally shown for the pieces and their values are tallied up to see who is the winner.

    Quiplash XL is another personal favorite of mine and my friends which has a simple premise but is absolutely hilarious (though it can be really explicit depending on who you play with). Each player is given two prompts of which you have to answer. For example, prompts might be "best name for an ugly baby", "perks of marrying a serial killer" or "America’s energy crisis would be over if we made cars that ran on ____". Each prompt is given to two players and after everyone is finished, the two players go head to head with the remaining players voting on which one is the winner. After two rounds, everyone gets the same prompt and everyone gets several votes to vote the best answers (besides their own). Because of the spontaneous nature of the game and because the game changes wildly depending on who’s playing, the game is a blast and definitely worth checking out.

    The final game is Bomb Corp and the only one you can play by yourself. The game starts by giving out instructions to every player and forces you to talk it out with the other players to figure out how to defuse the bombs. While it starts off innocuously enough (cut the third wire, if the second wire is white cut it), the game quickly becomes frantic (especially with more players) as it throws off dummy clues such as "Cut all white wires" followed by "Do not cut the third wire no matter what any other rule might say". Or another example might be Player 3 having an instruction to cut the leftmost wire and Player 2 having a prompt saying "Player 3’s instructions are tampered with and should not be followed" or "Do not let any player besides Player 4 touch the wires". The game forces you to use teamwork and talk it out, paying especially careful attention to the rules as many will later contradict each other. Personally, this one wasn’t as much fun as I hoped it would be but it’s still fun if you’ve got a group who works well together.

    In addition to the five new games, Jackbox Games introduced a new "Audience Mode" as well as an "Audience Timer", which allows players to join the game after it’s already started or join if the room is full and still have an impact on the game, such as in Quiplash where their votes count for points (though they can’t write their own prompts). The audience timer also delays the timer to compensate for streaming games, which is an awesome addition that allows players to hop on stream and still have an advantage.

    The games themselves still work the same way as the previous one in that phones/tablets/computers are required to play (controllers only work to set the games up now). However, this does make things much easier for newbies and helps alleviate the cost of PS4 controllers. All you have to do is set the game up, go to the jackbox website and enter the 4 digit code to start playing. It’s quick, intuitive and works almost instantly with very little lag. It also allows players to join your game who are not present, such as faraway relatives or people on your livestream, which is awesome.

    One thing I like is that the games in Jackbox Party Pack 2 seem much more varied and fun this time around. Many of JPP1’s games were trivia based (which posed a problem if you weren’t into trivia) and those that weren’t were somewhat stale. However, with JPP2, the games are quite varied and unique enough that you can replay them over and over with new players without them getting stale. In this regard, I feel that JPP2 has a much stronger set of games than JPP1 and my friends and I more thoroughly enjoyed this collection.

    However, there are a few minor things about this package that I disliked. The first is that I felt Fibbage 2 was simply a rehash of the first one with new questions. While it is an awesome game and thoroughly fun, I felt it was a little lazy, especially since this is now the third release of the game on the system.

    While the game definitely is multiplayer focused (especially towards bigger crowds), it’s somewhat disappointing that most of the games require 3+ people to play (with only Bomb Squad and Fibbage open to 2 players). While this is still understandable given the nature of the game, it means that my wife and I can no longer just hop on some of the more fun games without finding a third person.

    Also, on a minor note, Bomb Squad does not do well with streaming, as the game gives out instructions to all players and expects them to coordinate with each other to defuse the bomb. With randoms, you lose out on those potential instructions and can possibly blow up the bomb (though if they have voice or text chat that can alleviate some of the stress). Each collection has a game like this (YDKJ, Bomb Squad, Fakin It) but they’re still fun with local friends.

    For trophy hunters, it’s going to be a little more difficult this time as the game expects you to have a ton of people playing. While Fibbage’s trophies are mostly the same as the first game, they added in one for having 8 players plus an audience (requiring at least 9 players). You still have fun trophies such as "screw a player into buying an art piece", "win Earwax with two body functions" or "win a Quiplash with Pork Pants", there are a lot of hard ones like "get 5+ votes on a Quiplash game" (requiring 7 players), beat Bomb Squad and "write a quip Schmitty responds to". If you want to get all the trophies, you’re gonna have to find a lot of people to help you play.

    All in all JPP2 is a fantastic collection and a major upgrade from 1 (which was also awesome). The games are much more varied and make for a lot of fun in a group though you’ll have to find more people this time around to enjoy them with. If you’re still in doubt, hop onto a live stream and play a few games then definitely buy this pack as you’ll have a ton of fun with your friends or livestreaming yourself.

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