Comedy and improv aren't easy. Not everyone can stand in front of a crowd and retell a funny story or zing the audience with horrible one-liners. Improv comedy isn't always about that solo experience though. The Jackbox Party Pack 6 does a lot to help and your friends come up with funny situations. Using games, prompts, and ideas the comedy can come from an external set-up but still require you to deliver on the punchline. These setups ease the comedy and serve as a safety net. On the positive side it can make you feel a lot funnier than you are, but if that safety net gets removed can also be quite a reality check.
The Jackbox Party Pack 6 is a collection of five games that get played with up to eight players. For those unfamiliar with previous Jackbox titles like Quiplash or Fibbage, all titles use mobile devices as a controller. Anyone with access to a laptop or smartphone can join in. In this party pack we have Trivia Murder Party 2, Role Models, Joke Boat, Push the Button and Dictionarium.
Participate in death games for your survival in Trivia Murder Party 2
Trivia Murder Party 2 marks the return of the Trivia Killer. Players are asked multiple-choice trivia questions by the narrator. Correct answers earn you points, while incorrect answers place you into a death game. There is a wide variety of death games, some based around skill and plenty based around luck. One death game had everyone competing to solve as many simple math equations as possible. If those on death row get the most correct they get spared, if they fail their character gets killed and keeps playing as a ghost. A second death game had a player hide in a box while the non-competing players decided where to insert a blade. If the hiding player is lucky enough they'll be able to avoid all of the swords.
Once only one participant remains, you race for the exit. Players need to get across the room by answering trivia questions. The live player can get two correct answers at a time, but the ghosts have a chance at three. If overtaken the ghost comes back to live, gaining a last chance at victory. In the original as long as you crossed the line you were the winner, in Trivia Murder Party 2 the player needs to get both of their trivia responses correct the'll get blocked at the exit. With ghosts already hot on your heels, the added obstacle adds great pressure. It can help to slow the leader and give the ghosts a fighting chance or make the possibility of everyone losing that much more real.
Trivia Murder Party 2 is a great example of Jackbox Games taking all that worked about their game and adding more to it. New questions, new death games, and new mechanics gives those who played the original a chance for a refreshed experience.
Find out what types of people your friends are in Role Models
The premise of Role Models is that everyone in your group of players fits into a role. Everyone knows the cool one, the funny one, the insecure one. Role Models has groups compare one another with topics to determine their personality. You get a list of topics such as Batmen, boy band members, or Muppets. If Batmen gets selected you'll get to pick which of your friends matches what Batman. After everyone picks, points get awarded based on how many you and others got in common.
With each round the game attempt to "refine" further what type of member each of your group is. In the end, whoever was able to guess the most is the winner. The real reward is everyone getting to see what kinds of crazy strings of adjectives get concocted up like "Barely Strong Cool Enforcer". Interestingly, whoever comes out the winner isn't as entertaining as what people thought of each other. Unlike Fibbage where everyone watches the TV, Role Models has you playing against the others in the room.
Become the captain of comedy in Joke Boat
Joke Boat forces the players to think of their best one-liners. To begin the players get asked for different types of words, like filling in mad-libs, to build up the games database of selections. From here you're given a setup that you'll then pass on as a punchline. "You ever notice how _________ looks a lot like, ..." is the kind of setup that you'll receive. Based on how funny the filled noun is you might be helping out the next player or putting them in a tough spot. Your joke gets pitted against another player and the person who's earned the most votes will get the points.
Trivia Murder Party 2 hands you comedy in the form of the narration, Role Models comedy stems from comparing your friends to strange themes. Joke Boat forces the players to bring their own comedy, which might be a problem for players without a funny bone. The game's theme is bad comedians telling jokes so the game does sets you up for failure in a way. There were a few good laughs had by the group while playing, but there were also a lot of crickets chirping.
Hunt down an alien among you in Push the Button
In many of the Jackbox Party Packs, there's one game that stands out as uniquely complicated. In 6, that game is Push the Button. Each player acts as a member of a spaceship's crew. While the majority of you are humans you're alerted to the presence of an alien on board. Depending on the number of players there may be one or two different aliens present. Each player can take turns putting two players into one of the many testing chambers. The humans get a prompt to answer a question, agree or disagree with a statement, or even draw something. The aliens get a different prompt than the humans, leading to hillariously revealing results. By testing each player and seeing how they compare, it's the human's goal to weed out the alien. Once you think you've got a pretty good idea, you can try to vote the alien out of the airlock. If you get it wrong, all the humans lose.
As an added touch, the humans have a chance to activate a tester, this can prove whether a player is a human or an alien. Activating it is a test in itself though. One player will have to describe symbols to other players and hope that they select the correct options. If an alien is part of the team selecting symbols, they can intentionally get it wrong. The aliens also have their own way of turning the tables, they are able to 'hack' the other players and give them incorrect prompts as if they were an alien. If they use a hack on themselves they even get the human prompt.
Instead of going for points or laughs Push the Button is a game of deception. It's in the same league as Garry's Mod's Trouble in Terrorist Town or Deceipt, and certainly different than anything in Jackbox Games' previous offerings. These "different" Jackbox titles don't always work well, but Push the Button does a great job. Like Role Models, you're playing with your knowledge of one another and how you can answer to prove that you saw the correct prompt. At the smallest player count of four, the Alien was quite easy to pick out, but with a larger group, this can immediately become more difficult.
Create a brand new word in Dictionarium
For the last game in the Party Pack, Dictionarium has you making up new words and breathing life into them. You're presented with a new fake phrase, like 'Grandma Summer', and create a definition for it. With each round, you add more to it including a definition, a synonym, and then using that synonym in a sentence. Between the rounds, the competitors get to vote for which of the player-generated responses they enjoy the most.
This is by far the simplest and the fastest of The Jackbox Party Pack 6's selections. Dictionarium gives players the chance to talk a weird phrase through the life of an Urban Dictionary submissions life. By only moving forward through each stage with the victor's response it restricts how much of a variety in response you can get. It's interesting to get an idea of the game but this won't be one that many people talk about.
Like all the Party Packs, there are some standout games and some likely to collect dust. The changes added to Trivia Murder Party 2 as well as the fresh gameplay of Push the Button are true standouts. It becomes a shame that Joke Boat and Dictionarium are so weak in comparison. If you haven't purchased a Jackbox Party Pack before and are looking to get into the titles then this wouldn't be a good recommendation to start but if you're craving more Jackbox then this will satiate you for a while.
TechRaptor reviewed The Jackbox Party Pack 6 on Xbox One with a copy provided by the publisher.
- Unique New Concepts
- Good Expansion on Previous Titles
- Good Group Engagement
- Some Rigid Setups
- Seemingly Filler Title