Quite possibly the best party video games out there.
Tried and tested by Friday Afternoons
1-100 players (3-8 in most games)
Varies (usually around 15 minutes)
- A games console, computer or set-top box (see the full list of platforms)
- A screen everyone can see, usually the TV
- An online device for each player, ideally a smartphone or tablet
- One of the Jackbox Party Pack games (usually in the region of around £15-25 each)
First off, don't be fooled by the fact that the Jackbox Party Packs are video games. The only time a game controller is used is in setting up the games, and playing them feels more like having Articulate! or Cards Against Humanity out than Mario Party or Just Dance. They are designed to bring players together in games centred around trivia, deception, drawing and wit.
Each party pack includes five games. As of October 2019 there are six packs with the seventh due for release in 2020, so there's a wide variety of games to choose from.
Once a game has been started up, players join in by going to jackbox.tv on their own device and then entering the room code displayed on the main screen. This allows everyone in the room to play the game together, but each using their own device that, crucially, no one else can see. The game is then played out as instructed on the main screen, with players taking to their own private screen when necessary, say to answer a question or draw a picture.
Below are brief descriptions of a selection of games that have been played by Friday Afternoons, to give you an idea of the kind of content you can expect from a party pack.
Each round in Fibbage presents all players with the same, intentionally diffiult question. Players are first tasked with thinking up a false but believable answer to that question. Once the answers are in, everyone then attemps to answer the question correctly using multiple choice, where the incorrect answers are those conceived by the other players. Naturally, if you pick the correct answer you score points, but points are also awarded when other players incorrectly guess the answer that you made up, so the game is as much about being convincing as it is about being right. If Fibbage piques your interest, take a look at Fictionary, which is centred around the same mechanic.
In Quiplash, players are asked questions on their devices, but there are no right or wrong answers; the aim is to come up with the funniest answer you can think of. Each question is asked to only two players, and the two answers given are pitted against each other on the main screen to allow the other players to vote for their favourite.
Guesspionage is a game that has players predicting the answer to "What percentage of people..." style questions. In turn, each player is asked to guess the exact percentage of a question, while the other players predict whether that player's guess is higher or lower than the actual answer.
Choosing a pack
With so much choice and five games in each pack, knowing where to start if you want to give Jackbox a go can be tricky.
Firstly, the older packs are regularly on sale, so if you're looking to try any Jackbox games at a cheaper price that can be a good way to go.
Secondly, have a look at the official website and reviews. If a particular game takes your fancy you can narrow your choice down to only the packs that include it.
Finally, I personally can't recomment Quiplash highly enough, so my suggestion would always be a pack that contains some version of it (including Party Pack 7, which is scheduled for release in 2020 and will include Quiplash 3).