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While it's fun much of the time to sit down in a dark room by yourself and engage in an immersive game experience on your own, or with friends online, sometimes it's more fun to actually sit down with you friends in person, maybe with some pizza and adult beverages, and actually spend time with people you like. These days you seem to have to rely on board games for that sort of entertainment, but luckily Jackbox Games has the solution for how to play games with your friends even if your board game closet is missing a bunch of pieces
Jackbox Party Pack 3 is here with three new titles, and a new version of a previous installment, to keep you and your friends entertained until the wine is gone and your smartphone battery is dead.
Rather than console controllers, the only thing players need, other than the console or PC that runs the game, is a smartphone, meaning many more people can be involved than a traditional couch co-op sort of engagement. Here's the rundown.
If you played Jackbox Party Pack 2, you're probably familiar with Quiplash. At the start of the game, each player is given a pair of fill in the blank prompts on their smartphone. The idea is to come up with a word or phrase to fill in the blank that you think your friends will like because it will be competing with another person who got the same prompt. This usually means being funny, possibly dirty, or potentially offensive, depending on what you think your audience will go far.
Quiplash 2 doesn't make any huge improvements over the previous version. The two rounds of fill-in-the-blanks play out exactly the same as the previous version. The final round, called The Last Lash, does change things up by offering a few different variations, like filling in the word bubble of a cartoon. Final round scoring is also changed up so that a player's favorite quip will earn more points than their second favorite.
Verdict: If you liked the original Quiplash, you'll love Quiplash 2. It's more of the same, but it wasn't broken, so they didn't fix it.
Where are my statistics nerds at? No? Nobody? Oh well. Guesspionage pits up to eight players in a game of trying to figure how people answered internet surveys. One player tries to guess what percentage of people answered a question a certain way. Everybody else has to figure out if the actual number is higher or lower. The player who started the round gets points based on how close they get to the actual number, everybody else gets points based on whether they were right about where the real answer fell.
Guesspionage isn't a bad game, but it might be the least played at a regular game night. If you get a tough question and have no idea where the percentage lies, one bad answer will pretty much kill the game for you. Jackbox trademark humor is also missing from most of the questions. They're pretty straight forward. We'd love to see how people answered ridiculous questions as well as serious ones. There's comedy in the delivery, but that's about all.
Verdict: There's nothing wrong with Guesspionage, There just isn't anything particularly catchy about it either.
Trivia Murder Party
The original Jackbox Party Pack was the last time the series offered a version of the game that put the company on the map, You Don't Know Jack. It was a fantastic title for fans of pop culture trivia that was sorely missing in Jackbox Party Pack 2. However, much of that same insanity is back with Trivia Murder Party.
This time, instead of being on the world's worst game show, you're basically locked in the Saw house with a guy who loves trivia, and also killing people. Answer a trivia question wrong and you'll be forced to play a mini-game, lose the mini-game and you die (in the game).
This was probably my favorite of the titles in Jackbox Party Pack 3. It satiated my particular love for trivia games, but the added mini-games were actually quite stressful. The final trivia race, among both living and dead, was some of the most competitive gameplay you'll find in these sorts of games.
Verdict: Get ready for some, literally, cut-throat games of trivia.
Fakin' It is the unique game in the set as this one allows for a bit more activity than the rest of the titles. In this game, all of the players are sent a prompt telling them to perform a simple action, like raise their hand if they have seen a particular movie, or keep it down if they have not. However, one player has no prompt, so he has to fake it, and guess as to whether or not he should raise his hand. Then the players must try and figure out who the faker is.
If you have the right group of friends around, this one can be a lot of fun. However, it helps to know the people you're playing with well, so it doesn't work as well when your buddy brings a significant other you've never met before. If you like the tabletop games that have used this sort of mechanic before, the digital version will also be fun.
Verdict: A great option when you want to keep playing, but need a change of pace from the other titles you've been playing more often
Finally, we have Tee K.O. If you've played previous Jackbox Games you may have noticed that there have been no drawing games on offer, as the recently released Drawful 2 is not part of this collection. Tee K.O. fixes this. It has players draw several different images, then come up with random slogans and phrases, as might appear on a t-shirt. Then each player takes a random selection of images and slogans and combines them together into whatever they think would make the best t-shirt. Then the options are pitted against each other in a gauntlet until one t-shirt survives.
If you're a fan of Drawful you'll appreciate Tee K.O. but be prepared to commit to this one. It takes the longest to complete a game and the setup needed to get to the actual game part takes time. If you have more people than you can have players they'll be waiting for quite some time before they can participate.
Verdict: Unless you really love drawing games, you'll probably be skipping this one to play two rounds of something else.