The holidays are coming up and that means you are going to be with your family. Or if you hate your family you are with really good friends. Whatever the case may be you are probably going to be in a situation where you’ve gone through all of your talking points and need something else to do. If you have a gaming system and a cell phone you are in luck because the good folks at Jackbox have you covered.
For the last 4 years Jackbox Games have put out their Party Packs. A series of games that utilize cell phones to control the game. The games range fall into four categories: Trivia, Guessing, Voting and Drawing. There are some other types of games but for the most part these are the best ones.
The one thing that is a bummer with Jackbox is that there is no slam dunk Jackbox Game Pack. There is usually a one or two duds in a pack. But this is why I write this. To help you, the consumer, make a valued decision. Here are the games your friends and family should play first if you are unfamiliar with the games.
Or maybe you have played all these games and want to argue about the order of games. You can do that too.
18. Word Spud (Jackbox Party Pack 1)
This game isn’t fun. The premise is you start with a word and then you take turns adding onto that word making new connections. People vote if the connections are valid. That’s pretty much it. I think I’ve played this game once. That was enough.
17. Bracketeering (Jackbox Party Pack 4)
This game starts out promising. You answer a prompt that will go against what other people have answered. The group votes and the winner moves on in the bracket. It seems like it would be a fun game but once you go through the initial rounds and know what the answers are going to be it isn’t as funny. They try to make it competitive by wagering on what you think will win in the matchups. This game can handle up to 16 people locally, and might be better with more people. But with less it just misses the mark.
16. Earwax (Jackbox Party Pack 2)
This game lets players choose what sounds would best describe a prompt given to them. Its supposed to be an audio version of Cards Against Humanity or Apples to Apples. But it’s not as raunchy as Cards Against Humanity and not as creative as Apples to Apples. The sounds are simple and there aren’t nearly enough of them to sustain repeat playings.
15. Bidiots (Jackbox Party Pack 2)
Going off the success of Drawful (more on that game later) Jackbox tried to replicate it with Bidiots. Players make drawings based on prompts and then try to sell their drawings. Players know what select drawings are worth based on the prompts, they either know the drawing is worth something or nothing. They try to bid up pieces and try to win them to make a profit. It’s a confusing game and just okay. There are much better drawing games.
14. Fakin’ It (Jackbox Party Pack 3)
I really want to like this game, but it is hard to get people invested in it. The premise is everyone in your group will get a prompt except one. They are told to do something similar to what other people are doing. For example your phone might say hold up the number of fingers of people in the room. My phone might say hold up any number of fingers. After that happens everyone has to figure out who was fakin’ it. It’s a fun game if you are playing with people you know. The idea is you argue with people to try and fool them why you acted the way you did, but no one usually does it. It’s worth playing once and then moving on.
13. Monster Seeking Monster (Jackbox Party Pack 4)
I liked this game, but I can easily see why not a lot of people would. It’s a little complicated and for people who want a quick easy game that they are accustomed to in Jackbox it won’t be for them. The point of the game is to try and date other players by chatting with them over your phone. The catch is you are a secret monster, and you can earn bonus points by accomplishing things in the game. As the game progresses people’s way of getting bonus points are revealed so you have to be careful about who you date if it means you could lose points. I like social deduction games, but this might not be the best way of doing it. The one thing that is solid about this game is the music. It has a top three soundtrack for the Jackbox Games.
12. Lie Swatter (Jackbox Party Pack 1)
This is the game you use to introduce people to playing Jackbox Games. You log-in and you only have two buttons. Either Lie or Truth. It also can have 100 players so if you have a large group this game is great. It doesn’t have much else going for it, but as a way to bring people into the Jackbox games it’s perfect.
11. You Don’t Know Jack (Jackbox Party Pack 1)
The original game from the Jackbox People this is the irreverent Quiz Show game that has wacky categories and even wackier questions. It’s a trivia game on acid. It only has enough for 4 people, but that’s all you really need. The game is fine, but with so many other games in the Party Packs you usually forget this one is even in there. This game is great if you have a fondness for nostalgia, but not much after that.
10. Trivia Murder Party (Jackbox Party Pack 3)
This trivia game in the Jackbox has a better twist than You Don’t Know Jack. When you get a question wrong you are sent to the killing floor and you are faced with a challenge that could kill you or make it harder for you to win the game. In one killing floor game you pick a finger and in all subsequent questions you don’t have that answer at your disposal. So hopefully you don’t remove the answer that is correct. It’s kind of creepy, but very entertaining.
9. Bomb Corp. (Jackbox Party Pack 2)
This is the type of game I wish Jackbox did more of. Game where you yell at each other to try and accomplish a goal. Your goal is to defuse a bomb in a set amount of time. You have instructions but so does everyone else. So while your instructions say don’t cut even wires someone else’s might say cut blue wires even if they are even. If you can yell over each other enough and work together you can accomplish the goal. Also this is the only game in the Party Packs that has a story mode along with an endless mode.
8. Civic Doodle (Jackbox Party Pack 4)
This is the standard drawing game of the most recent version of the Party Pack. But instead of starting from scratch you are given a small scratch of a drawing to build off of. Whoever does the best job adding to the drawing gets points and is used as the next base drawing. After the drawing is done you name the drawing and whoever names it most creatively gets the points. It’s not the best drawing game, but it is very fun to add on to other people’s drawings and come up with something collaboratively.
7. Guesspionage (Jackbox Party Pack 3)
This is another game that is simple to play and a great way to get people introduced to the mechanics of using your phone as a controller. If you’ve ever seen Card Sharks you’ll be familiar with the set up. One person answers a question with a percentage and everyone guesses whether the actual answer is higher or lower than the one player’s guess. It’s simple, fun, quick to play.
6. Fibbage (Jackbox Party Pack 1, 2 and 4)
It’s Balderdash. They don’t really reinvent the wheel here but they do improve on it. Players answer a ridiculous question hoping that people will pick their answer while at the same time figuring out what the real answer is. Another deal where the game is simple, fun and most importantly an easy way to get people into the concept of what Jackbox Games are all about.
5. Survive the Internet (Jackbox Party Pack 4)
In this game you are trying to twist somebody’s answer to make them look really bad. You start by answering a prompt truthfully. Than someone gets that answer and is told to make that look like a really bad comment on a news article, video or crowd funding site. The voting is confusing sometimes because you vote for who looks the most ridiculous but it’s the person who wrote the headline or title of the video that gets the points. It’s the best new game in the most recent Party Pack.
4. Fibbage: Enough About You (Jackbox Party Pack 4)
Fibbage: Enough About You is a variation of Fibbage is newish, so that’s why I say Survive the Internet is the best new game. This game works just like Fibbage except the questions are about the people you are playing with. The best part is trying to write a lie for your friend who the question is about. You can make them look dumb or really dumb. It’s a great twist to the original Fibbage and I wish they would have just expanded on this game instead of putting in a third version of Fibbage.
3. Tee K.O (Jackbox Party Pack 3)
This game has the best music. But it’s also a really fun game. You draw three pictures and then write as many phrases you can think of. Then your drawings and phrases are dispersed to the other players. You then create a shirt based on the pictures and phrases you got. Then people vote on their favorite shirts. This game is best with simple drawings and simple sayings. Last time I played someone drew a really simple house. Someone else wrote the phrase Good Enough. Someone else put the two together and created the game winning shirt. What’s even better is if you really like a shirt you can actually buy it from Jackbox. I haven’t bought a shirt yet, but I’m sure I’ll be super drunk one day and will want to buy one after I’m done playing.
2. Drawful (Jackbox Party Pack 1)
This is the game where you really understand the magic of Jackbox. Making a drawing and seeing it on TV people trying to guess what it is and then laughing so much they almost run out of time on an answer. The concept is like Fibbage except you make a drawing based on a prompt, people try to guess what the prompt was, and then you pick which one is the real prompt. Get points for fooling people and points for guessing right. This game got a sequel in a stand alone game which is cool, but disappointing because it would have been great to get the sequel in another party pack.
1. Quiplash (Jackbox Party Pack 2 and 3)
This game is great. It is a game that you would think would reward raunchy answers but sometimes the best answers are simple ones. Last time I played my prompt was: “You should never put _____ in a crock pot.” My answer was “Crock Pots.” Simple, silly and a winner. Your answer goes against someone else’s answer and whoever gets the most votes wins. I usually tell people it’s Cards Against Humanity but you can answer however you want. I actually changed how I play Cards Against Humanity by just having two people answer with a card and then everyone voting for their favorite anonymously. Go play this game first it is the best for sure.