There's nothing like getting a group of friends together, and having a quick game. That's why it's so sad that so few games actually let you all play on the same console as of late. With online multiplayer in vogue, and local multiplayer seemingly less so, if you have a group of friends round, there's actually pretty little choice. Luckily, where there's a gap in the market, there's always a plucky developer looking to plug it - and so step up Jackbox Party Pack, a game that's a collection of digital quiz/board style games, designed to get everyone playing.
Getting rid of some of the set-up and awkwardness usually involved with trivia board games - there's no paper, no mess, no question cards to lose, and no real way to cheat here - you don't even need a controller each to get playing. Thanks to the magic of the internet, and a little bit of modern technology, all you'll need to get stuck in is a mobile phone and an internet connection. All you need do is go to jackbox.tv, whack in a code, and you'll automagically connected to the quiz, ready to start playing, with each player getting their own personal screen - something the game often makes use of.
With five individual games to play, it's probably easiest if we go through each one by one, to give you an idea of what they all involve.
You Don't Know Jack
While it may sound like a hilarious Mr and Mrs style game, You Don't Know Jack actually means Jack as in "jack-s***", with hundreds of weird and wacky trivia questions divided up into more than twenty episodes of the hilarious - and often totally random. The idea here is simple enough - given a choice of four answers, all you have to do is guess the right one - but that's easier said than done. With questions like "What portion of Kim Kardashian's brain is made of water", "What's covering Wee Willie Winky's wee willie", and "Arrange these Sesame Street characters in order from fewest to most eyebrows", this is a totally off the wall, and often incredibly funny quiz that's as much guess work as anything else. Certain rounds put a different spin on things - like Dis or Dat, which takes the player who's in last place, and asks them to correctly identify whether something they say is a this or a that. One of the examples we played was "Is this an alleged antic by Justin Beiber, or an antic by the classic children's book character, Curious George". When the question is "visited a brazillian brothel", chances are it won't be the monkey. The more questions you get right, the more money you'll win, with the winner being the one with the highest cash balance at the end of the show. Just look out for the sponsored wrong answer each show, as this is the only time where getting a question deliberately wrong will net you huge amounts of cash.
Far and away the greatest game in the entire Jackbox Party Pack, Drawful is a game that takes advantage of the fact each player has their own touch screen enabled device on hand, with a witty take on Pictionary. At the start of the game, you'll be given something weird to draw on your phone, whether it's "Hitler without a moustache", "Radioactive shoes" or "Bratwurst factory". Once you've all finished drawing, the game will start to go through the pictures one by one, choosing one at random, and it's up to all but the player that drew it to guess what the picture might be called. Once you've registered your guesses, the game will then show you everyone's guesses - plus the right answer - and it's up to you to spot the right answer amongst the equally bizarre wrong guesses. You'll get points if you get it right - plus points for anyone who thinks your guess was actually the right title.
Undoubtedly the worst game in the pack, Word Spud is a game that seems more random than anything. The idea here is that the game starts you off with a word on screen, and it's up to the chosen player to type a word or phrase that relates to it. Once you've finished, the other players get to vote on how good, or original they thought your word was, netting you a point from everyone who thought it was good, and losing a point for everyone who thought it sucked. The next player then picks up where you left off, having to come up with a word that follows on from the word/last word of the phrase you put. Without much in the way of structure, and often without much in the way of humour (it can often be nigh on impossible to think of anything to follow the word/phrase, yet alone anything funny), this is probably worth skipping over in favour of the other, much better games in the pack.
Essentially a game of truth or lies, Lie Swatter offers up a number of "so weird it might just be true" facts, and it's up to you to spot the truths amongst the lies. This is one of those games that's a lot easier said than done, as more often than not, the ones you sit there thinking are absolutely, definitely guaranteed to be false turn out to be true - and vice versa. And enlightening game if nothing else, this is well worth a few rounds at least.
Kind of similar to Lie Swatter, Fibbage XL is a game all about lies - only here, it's you who's doing the lying. Faced with a question with a blank, it's up to you to come up with something that's convincing enough it could plausibly fill the gap. When everyone's entered a lie, you'll be shown a screen with everyone's lies, in amongst which there'll be one truth hiding - and it's up to you to seek the truth amongst the sea of lies. Seeing as the questions are often so bizarre there's usually no one definite obvious answer (see above), this is a lot of fun, and one where everything's to play for. And if you and three friends have guessed along a very similar line to the truth - well, you're in for a tricky game!
In all, Jackbox Party Pack is a great little bundle of games that's perfect party fodder. If you've got a few friends round, there's enough here to keep you playing for the entire evening without getting bored - and then some. If you're a fan of Cards Against Humanity, or simply love your trivia, Jackbox Party Pack is well worth picking up. Awesome amounts of fun, and with a wicked sense of humour, it's a barrel of laughs from start to finish. Just a shame about Word Spud.