Playing games in The Jackbox Party Pack
will take more than just a controller. You use the controller to flip through the different games and select the one you want to play, but to actually play
the games, each player will need some device that allows them to interact with the Internet. This can be a cellphone, a tablet, a laptop or even a desktop PC. This is an interesting approach to controlling these games, but allows for each player to have their own private area for typing in answers in secret or drawing, in the case of Drawful
You Don't Know Jack 2015
... is the latest iteration of the series, and the irreverent Cookie Masterson is back as your host. As usual, 1 - 4 players can play in this trivia game that not only asks you to deliver the answers to obscure, somewhat ridiculous questions, but also to follow strange analogies and strange logic to unravel answers based on the clues. Some parts of the game will have you buzzing in quickly to get the answer before others - and to get the highest point value possible. Of course, point values increase as you go through the game, providing a chance for players to catch up if they've done poorly in the first part of the game. If you don't know the answer and you're pretty sure your friend doesn't either, you can also "screw" your friend, forcing them to answer the question and not generating the least bit of contempt from said friends, of course.
Personally, I'm actually not a big trivia fan. Due to this fact, I usually do pretty poorly when I play trivia games and try to play them as rarely as possible. It shouldn't be a great surprise, then, that I didn't particularly enjoy You Don't Know Jack 2015 very much. What might surprise you is that I actually did win one of the few games of this that I played (with three players playing). Between screwing your friends, carefully abstaining from buzzing in when you simply don't know an answer (you lose points if you're wrong) and buzzing in early and often on rapid fire things to "steal" points that other players could have earned (careful on that tactic... wrong answers cost you, remember?) - I was able to pull off a win... and generally make the game miserable for all involved. I couldn't even pretend I was enjoying myself, but my options were to play as a spoil-sport or simply lose big. I wasn't feeling up to the "lose big" option at the time.
As the name implies, Fibbage XL
is all about lying. Basically, a question is presented and each of the 2 - 8 players has to come up with a fake answer for the question. Then, everyone sees all of the lies (and the real answer) and has to choose the one they think is the real answer. You earn points by guessing the correct answer - and by other players choosing your lie as their answer. If you actually guess (or know?) the answer and try to put it as your lie, the game will force you to choose a fake answer, but at least you'll know what to pick when it comes time to choose an answer. This one was pretty fun, especially trying to choose crafty answers that sound believable.
Another game that seemed to be all about choosing answers that seemed believable and hoping they convince other players to choose them is the immensely fun and frantic drawing game, Drawful
. Gather up 3 - 8 players with varying artistic ability and try to draw the topics that are secretly assigned to each of the players. You're trying to convey the specific phrase assigned to you, so artistic ability can be useful, but carefully planning what
you draw can be just
as useful, possibly more so. After all drawings are submitted (or not - watch the time, or you won't get to submit your drawing), everyone has to try to guess what the drawing is depicting, by typing in their answer. Then, all of the answers are revealed, including the actual subject of the drawing. Players get points when other players guess their drawings correctly or when players choose their guess instead of another player's actual subject. This game was, in my opinion, the most fun of the bunch, and was great for pulling out during get togethers and parties.
One of the more interesting games in the pack, Lie Swatter
actually can be played by 1-100 players, assuming you can get that many players around a single television. At the high end, it gets a bit difficult to imagine playing in your living room, but I can see Lie Swatter
being played in a bar, frat house, pizza place or in between panels at a convention, although I'm not sure if the licensing actually allows for that. As you might expect based on the large number of players possible, this game has a fairly simple interface. See the question and select whether the displayed answer is True or False.
My least favorite game in the bunch is Word Spud
. The entire point of the game is to create a phrase that starts with a provided word. Then, the last word from that phrase is used to seed the next "word spud." At any given point, there is one person who is supposed to be making the current phrase. This is indicated by the fact that the word to be built on is slowly moving toward that person's name on the screen. Other players can type things during this time, but the things they type are displayed on the screen and have no bearing on the game in any way
. Due to this fact, it took us a while before we realized that only one person was actually actively playing during that time. The players do get to rate each person's addition, but... based on what? You're just saying if you liked it or not, so there's a lack of structure that makes this game feel a bit pointless. At the end of a game of Word Spud
, the entire phrase that has been built is up on the screen and... well, nothing. The game is over. You could read that long, run-on jumble of words and it might provide a minor chuckle, but I really wasn't impressed in any way with this particular game. The pack is good, but spend your time on the other games.