By: Matthew Striplen
Do you have oodles of friends but nothing to do? Don’t worry, The Jackbox Party Pack is here! Inside the box is a collection of short party games, perfect for you and all your buddies!
First up is the namesake of the entire game, “You Don’t Know Jack.” This is a quiz game that supports 1-4 players, though only one controller can be used. Other players must visit jackbox.tv on their smartphones and enter a unique code to gain access, so no worries if you don’t have enough controllers. Actually, all the games support smartphones, which is especially helpful considering some games support up to 100 players!
Anyway, “You Don’t Know Jack” is unfortunately one of the weakest entries in the game. Players answer bizarre questions in a handful of formats, all read aloud by the announcer. The forced attempts at humor by the announcer usually fall flat, as the comedy tends to rely on fart jokes or other bodily functions.
Also, there’s just something about his voice that sounds, for lack of a better word, fratty. Other than the wacky announcer, there’s not much that sets this game apart from similar trivia games.
Next, we have my personal favorite, “Fibbage XL,” which is for 2-8 players. This time, a player picks a category and is given a question for the whole group. The twist is that everyone has to make up a fake answer and is rewarded points for each other player that chooses that answer. Tricking your friends into believing your lies never gets old, especially when you get to gloat about your score afterwards.
“Drawful” is also super fun, combining the lies of “Fibbage XL” with the classic Pictionary. Anywhere from 3-8 players take turns drawing a picture based on a prompt. Once the sketch is completed, it’s shown to the other players and they have to create fake prompts to fool everyone else.
Points are awarded to the players whose lie is chosen, and the artist gets points for everyone who selects the correct prompt. Since almost no one is good at drawing on a smartphone, things can get pretty silly in a hurry.
Things take a turn for the weirder with “Word Spud,” which pits 2-8 players in a word association game. The game begins with a prompt word and a blank, and one player is selected to fill the blank with whatever they want. The rest of the players can then choose to award that player positive or negative points.
After the grading is finished, the word or phrase that was previously in the blank becomes the new prompt for the next player. Although the game is definitely better with more players, it lacks the depth of “Fibbage XL” or “Drawful.”
Lastly, we have “Lie Swatter,” which is essentially just a true or false quiz, but it can support up to a whopping 100 players! Enter your answers as fast as you can, as only the first correct answer gets points. Although the questions are often interesting, this game lacks the player interactivity of the previous entries.
The Jackbox Party Pack brings a mixed bag of games best played in a large group, especially since many of them don’t support single players. However, the smartphone compatibility is a tremendous asset that enables almost anyone to play. “Fibbage XL” and “Drawful” are always good for laughs, but “You Don’t Know Jack” and “Word Spud” leave much to be desired. That being said, if you want to play games with a big group, Jackbox Party Pack will definitely bring some laughs.