The Jackbox Party Pack
The You Don’t Know Jack games date back to 1995 when Jellyvision Games formed a partnership with Berkeley Systems. Jellyvision had previously worked on educational games but Berkeley systems wanted an adult trivia game with a similar format to what Jellyvision had accomplished with their previous work. Lightning was caught in a bottle with the hilarious and brilliantly fun You Don’t Know Jack. Since then, Jellyvision (now known as Jackbox Games) has made multiple entries in the You Don’t Know Jack franchise and have even taken their humourous take on game philosophy to new games like Fibbage (see our review of Fibbage here).
Despite playing the heck out of recent You Don’t Know Jack games and Fibbage, I’ve been left wanting more from Jackbox Games. Fibbage night is now a regular occurrence at my house, with my group of friends always being eager for a game. Jackbox Games are happy to accommodate me (and many others) it seems, with the release of the ‘Jackbox Party Pack’, a collection of some of their greatest hit titles. For many of these, it will mark their first time on home consoles (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One) in addition to being released on Steam. Seeing as the Jackbox Party Pack includes ‘You Don’t Know Jack’ and Fibbage, it’s already a must-buy for me, but there’s also 3 other games included – so how do they play?
First up, is You Don’t Know Jack, the adult trivia game that is both random and hilarious. YDKJ will quiz your knowledge of current events, TV, movies, music, celebrities and more, but with a hilarious approach. The questions are also extremely varied from each other, making the game unique and adding valuable replayability. One question I was asked was a “Dis or Dat” where you match a fact to the person or thing it relates to. The topic was “Curious George or Justin Bieber”, tasking me to match which of the primates did what with a number of random facts popping up on screen. “Who peed in a bucket?” and “Who visited a Brazilian brothel?” were just some of the hilarious questions being hurled my way at breakneck speed.
You can also “screw” your opponents with the screw button, forcing them to answer a question in five seconds. If they fail to answer the question correctly, they lose money. If they answer it correctly, it’s you who is penalised by losing points.
There really is simply too much hilarious and witty content in YDKJ to mention in this review. Take my word that it is a brilliant, must-play game in its own right.
Next up, is ‘Fibbage XL’, an expanded version of the original Fibbage. Fibbage XL sees players asked a bizarre question to which they must respond with a lie. When all players have submitted a lie they are then asked to find the truth amongst all the submitted lies. You get points for finding the truth andpoints for every person that picks your lie, so submitting a believable answer for everyone to pick is crucial for victory. One question we were asked was “Tashirojima is an island off of Japan that is completely overrun by ____”. My friends and I submitted all manner of silly but believable answers in response, with the truth being “cats”. I don’t think there was a time playing Fibbage XL where we weren’t laughing or ribbing each other when we successfully sold our lies to each other. Fibbage XL is definitely one of the best things you can do with friends period.
Thirdly, there’s Drawful, a game where you are tasked with drawing extremely bizarre subjects on your smart phone, tablet or computer. You don’t need to be a good artist – in fact, it’s probably funnier if you are horrible at drawing! At the start of each round players are given something to draw, the game then goes through the pictures one by one where players submit a title for the doodle. They then have to pick the actual title among the false ones. It’s a bit like Fibbage XL only you get to laugh are your friends and their hilarious attempts at drawing various subject matter. My friend had to draw a “sassy gerbil” at one point and we all lost it when we saw it on screen! Needless to say, Drawful is yet another winner.
Next, you have Word Spud – a game of hot potato where you have to play a game of word association. You will be given a word and then asked to type what you associate that word with, the word you entered will then passed to a friend who will do the same. At the end of every word submission your friends will give it a simple yes or no vote, the winner being determined by the total number of votes.
I wanted to like Word Spud, does it doesn’t much the fun or the replay value of any of the other titles in the Jackbox Party Pack. Most games turn rude or immature rather quickly and the actual scoring system seems flawed. Ultimately I don’t see myself or my friends playing Word Spud in the future.
Lastly, you have Lie Swatter, which can be played by up to 100 people! Lie Swatter is an extremely simple game, where facts are displayed on screen and the player must determine if they are true or false. Speed is the name of the game, where the first player to answer gets bonus points.
Lie Swatter is a fun game that ultimately isn’t as fun as the heavy hitters in the JPP. It can, however, host the most players and could definitely make for a great night if hosted at a local pub or an occasion where there is a large gathering of friends (Christmas and New Year’s parties, anyone?)
Most of the games are hosted by larger than life fictitious characters. Cookie Masterson is definitely my personal favourite of the lot (he hosts Fibbage XL and You Don’t Know Jack) as he really adds to the experience of the game. The other hosts fall a little flat in terms of delivering funny lines but at least they don’t have annoying voices.
- Truly accessible – anyone can play (if they have a smart phone!)
- Excellent replay value and value for money
- Word Spud is noticeably weaker than other games.
The Jackbox Party Pack is easily the best and funniest party game collection I’ve played in years. Before that, it would have been the standalone version of Fibbage. 2014 has seen some games that I thoroughly recommend and would label as must-plays, with the Jackbox Party Pack being yet another. Do yourself a favour, pick up this game and get some friends over.