What happens when you take a board game concept and turn it into a video game? Hilarious party fun, that’s what. Party style video games aren’t new, with the likes of “Mario Party”, “Wii Sports”, “SingStar”, and even “Scene it!” on DVD having been around for years. Such games can bring hilarity to a party with friends, bring families together and even tear them apart! (Only if you’re super competitive like mine…)
Jackbox Games were founded in 1995 as part of Jellyvision and are best known for the their “You Don’t Know Jack” series of quiz games. The two companies separated in 2001 and after seven years, Jackbox was born from a revived and rebranded version of Jellyvision in 2008. In 2013 they announced they’d be working on a series of social games, with the unique feature of connecting smart phones and tablet devices, rather than using controllers to play the games. It is this feature which makes the Jackbox series so accessible and therefore popular with young and old alike.
Since 2014, Jackbox have offered their games in ‘party packs’; sets of five or so games for a bundle price. Due to the online connectivity of the game, players needing only enter a ‘room code’ to connect, there is high stream-ability of these games with multiple games being streamed and therefore free to play online with others on Twitch and similar services. After the first party pack was such a hit, Jackbox have released a party pack each year consequently.
Now onto the games… Jackbox have released over twenty games, here are some of my favourites from some of the packs I’ve tried. All party packs are available on multiple platforms and of course, PS4.
Jackbox Party Pack
Drawful is a game about drawing somewhat random and obscure pictures based on descriptions provided by the game. Players are presented with each other’s pictures round by round and must devise an answer as to what could be depicted. Similar to Fibbage, players score points if their answer is chosen by others, but also if they choose the correct answer. Not only can player answers provide laughs, so can the awful and amusing drawings produced by you and your friends. The only downside is it’s awkward to draw on a smartphone, however this can only add to the hilarity of the pictures! Drawful supports up to eight players.
Party Pack 2
Quiplash could be described as a tamer, online version of Cards Against Humanity. The player is provided with two prompts to answer, unlike CAH answers are player generated and there is a character limit. This game can prove to be laugh out loud funny, if played with the right people! We tried playing with grandma and things didn’t go so well….
Bidiots is very similar to Drawful, in that it relies on players art skills to create hilarious answers. The artworks are created based on prompts provided by the game. The difference with Bidiots, is that players then ‘Bid’ on the artwork based on on-screen clues as to which pieces of art are most valuable – this value is randomly assigned at the start of the game. Players use their in-game money to try to make profits, the player with the largest profit at the end wins. However, the loan-shark element of this game also adds another layer of amusement, as do the ‘screws’ which force another player to bid – another great pick for my super competitive family!
Party Pack 3
Trivia Murder Party
Trivia Murder Party is a quiz game with mini-games in the theme of a horror movie… Think Saw meets Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Players answer multiple choice questions to avoid being killed by the Game Master, and are awarded points in the form of money as the game progresses. Players who get answers wrong play mini-games against one another to decide who dies. No need to worry about being killed, though – as ghosts still compete! In the final round, all dead players compete against the final living player to try and win their body back and escape. The winner is the player who escapes alive, or rather… with their body.
In each round of Fakin it, one player is randomly selected to be the ‘Faker’. Each player, with the exception of the Faker will have a question appear on their device. For example ‘raise your hand if you’ve ever farted’, which… Well everyone has! So sometimes the faker is easy to spot, other times not. Rounds include tasks where players have to raise their hand, hold up a certain number of fingers or make an expression with their face. The final round involves typing answers to questions. Players win rounds by either being the faker and evading detection, or being a player and correctly identifying the faker. You learn a lot about your friends and family in this game!
So in conclusion? Having played three of the four available party packs with multiple groups of friends and family, a verbal consensus is that these games have the fun and feel of board games, without the hassle of set up and need to learn long and arduous game rules. They can be hilarious, fun and competitive – just make sure you’ve got a good group of friends to play with!