Jackbox Games, creators of You Don’t Know Jack, changed party games with the release of Fibbage in 2014. Since then they have been steadily releasing their party games on a variety of consoles, giving players the chance to connect with their phones and join in on the fun, their latest title The Jackbox Party Pack 3 is no exception to this. Included in this pack is Quiplash 2, Trivia Murder Party, Guesspionage, Tee K.O. and Fakin’ It, one sequel to a previous title and four brand new games.
To play any of these games you select them from the Jackbox Party Pack 3 main menu and are given a room code. You load up the Jackbox.tv website on any tablet or smartphone through the regular browser, pick a name and enter to join. Using a smartphone as a controller means that more often than not everyone that you have invited to play will be able to with their own device without the hassle of needing extra controllers. A variety of issues can arise in relation to phone auto locks logging people out of the game, phones not sending answers when you try to send them, or in the worst case devices that have difficulty maintaining their charge. These problems are usually few and far between but they have been known to ruin a game or two. As part of Jackbox Games intention to make their games as social as possible there are also a variety of settings that allow you to stream the game if you can’t get your own friends together to play, and there is even a guide to optimizing the experience. All of the games that are included in this pack will normally last around fifteen minutes but you can usually join in as an audience member and interact with the game in one way or another.
The first title in the pack, Quiplash 2, is a game for 3-8 players and up to 10,000 audience members. Changes that have been made between this game and the original are the inclusion of the streaming settings that are now being added into all of the Jackbox Games and new prompts, just in case you were getting tired of the old ones. Broken into three rounds in the first two rounds everyone is asked a question or two that they have to answer, only one other person will be asked the same question of you. Once everyone has submitted their answers then each question is shown on the main display allowing players to decide which answer they think is the funniest. Your answer gets picked you gain points, if it isn’t then you don’t get as many points. The final round has one question being asked to all of the players, then you get three points to divide out to which answers you like the most. This game takes literally everything of the original Quiplash and gives it the small yet essential update of completely fresh prompts, there’s nothing worse than a trivia game that you already know the answers to. For those who wish to custom tailor their games or want to load your gameplay session with in-jokes there is the added benefit of creating your own custom questions. This feature is for those who would really use the game a lot and put the time and effort into building their own games from the ground up.
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The first of the new games to be included in the pack is Trivia Murder Party, in this game you are the prisoner where your captor wants you to play trivia like your life depends on in, which it kind of does. There is obvious inspiration from movies like Saw in this game, but don’t be worried about getting scared as the host normally puts a fun twist on his threats. Everyone gets asked a question with a choice of four different answers, if you get it wrong then you get taken to an elimination round. This might be picking the cup without poison where surviving players have decided the location of the poison or you might have to cut off one of your fingers. The latter means that that answer number corresponding to that finger will not be available for you to pick, even if you’re 100% sure it’s the right one. This penalty is one that can really mess up a player, if you have really bad luck then it could mean you’re out of the game. There is some balance to it that everyone has a chance of getting the penalty and hopefully some others had to do the same in the round you’re in but more often than not for that game you’re going to die fairly fast. Once only one player is alive you get a chance to escape by answering enough questions correctly that you move space at a time to the exit. If you’re the last one alive then you need to be very careful because not only is there an encroaching darkness that will kill you if it overtakes you all of the other ghost players are also trying to take the lead. If any of them get ahead of you then suddenly they’re alive and you’re the ghost chasing first place. Like with most Jackbox Games this means that it’s not over until the very end, even if you were the first person to die while playing there’s still a way to win in the end. Though for the person coming in first place they might not share the same view on giving everyone a final chance to steal the victory.
Guesspionage is a game of percentages where you will be posed a question like “How many people have dumped a drink on someone else?” and it’s up to you to try to get as close as you can to the correct percentage. The further you are away, the worse you score. Other players can score points of their own by simply saying whether they think the true percentage is higher or lower than what you guessed. Once everyone has had a turn to guess a percentage then the second round begins, there is no difference between the first two rounds for the person guessing but now if other players think you’re off by more than 15% then they have the option to guess much higher, or much lower earning themselves even more points if they get it right. This game is fun and you learn a bit about people but there’s nowhere near the laughter, highs, or lows of the other games where you get to put more input into the game. The real charm that comes from a lot of the other Jackbox Games is how it’s not that the game has been pre-made and you’re just going through the paces, that you get to contribute your own jokes and bring the game into your own style of comedy, Guesspionage does not have that.
What’s better than a game like Drawful where you get to show off your artistic talent, or a game like Fibbage where you get to enter in all kinds of crazy prompts? A game where you get to match the two together to come up with an idea for an awesome T-shirt. In Tee K.O. you have to try to put together the best looking T-shirt and battle it out in a popularity contest to see who has the best taste. Every player is given a couple of drawing prompt ideas that they need to complete within a time limit, after that you’re given a period of time to try to enter in as many different words or phrases you want. There is no given direction so you can really just go all out during this phase. Part three of the process is that you’re given three different tshirt designs and a collection of all of the words that people entered, it’s now your job to pick a design and a word/phrase and put them together. The designed T-shirts then go through a knockout tournament where the last T-shirt standing wins. Like Guesspionage there isn’t as much competition involved in this game but it’s great to see not only your own designs picked but to just see all of the things that your friends have had to draw. This is a fun game to play a couple of times but those who aren’t as artistically inclined might not be as excited to get on board as someone willing to show off their stuff. A fun new feature at the end of Tee K.O. is the ability to have any of the shirts presented through the round made into an actual T-shirt for you to buy and wear, if there’s a design that you really liked then why not actually have it? While the setup for the tournament has players getting extremely involved once you get to the tournament phase the game slows considerable and it’s fun to see all the designs go by but you never feel like it’s you against everyone else.
The last of what Jackbox Party Pack 3 has to offer might also be the best of all of the new games. In Fakin’ It you might need to raise a hand, hold up fingers, make a face, or point someone else out in the room based on a prompt that you’re given, the catch is that one person doesn’t have a prompt. When all players have joined then one of the different styles of games that I mentioned above is picked, if the aim of the game is to know to raise fingers based on your answer or not then everyone playing will get a prompt like “How many books have you read in the past year?”, everyone except the faker that is. So, when you and your friends raise a finger and your friend who is always reading only puts up one then you know who the faker is. Players then have to unanimously decide on who they think the faker is, if they don’t get it right then you all play another round. If the faker survives three times then he wins the round. Normally all Jackbox titles require some kind of quick thinking but Fakin’ It takes the cake using the mobile device primarily as a way to deliver instructions bringing the game even further out of the TV and closer to being a traditional party game. A game like this isn’t one that could be completed via a stream but for a group of people in one room all with enough room to face each other you’ll end up questioning everyone.
All in all, The Jackbox Party Pack 3 brings back a successful title with renewed prompts and four brand new games. Trivia Murder Party brings the competitive stakes to a whole new level and Fakin’ It might be Jackbox Games new best game. As with all of the Party Packs so far there are always a couple of duds in the pack, such as Word Spud in the original, but with the least entertaining being Guesspionage due to a consistent tone with very little variety, but it’s still an enjoyable title for people who don’t just think they know their friends well but they know a sample of the population even better.
Jackbox Party Pack 3 isn’t just a title to bring out at a party but it’s a excuse for you to invite your friends over to share in the weird fun that is these party games. They do a fantastic job of taking the idea of a board/card game based on your friends and put it on the big screen and in the palm of your hand allowing you to do things you wouldn’t be able to with a traditional game. The creativity and diversity of all of the titles help to accommodate all types of players, even kids. If you want a good excuse for a fun party with you and your friends special kind of humor then Jackbox Party Pack 3 will keep the laughs coming.
The Jackbox Party Pack 3 brings a couple of great party games to almost any device you have, while a few included aren't quite as good as others as a package deal, it's something fun to bring to any party.
- Up to 8 Players Per Game
- Games Stay New and Refreshing
- Great for Streamers
- Not Much Variety in Guesspionage
- Everyone Needs a Device