If there's one brand that you can trust when it comes to drunken party games; it's Jackbox. This second compilation of five party games may not be as impressive as the first, but is it still worth checking out?
Before we get into the games, let's discuss some general details. For the uninitiated, Jackbox games are played by logging in to a URL on any internet-enabled device thus offering players some privacy and freedom from owning a box full of controllers and accessories. It's incredibly easy to set up which means anyone can join in on the fun. Some additional features include the ability to toggle a family-friendly filter and gather an audience of extra players that can have a moderate amount of fun voting on their favourite answers, etc. In other words, even if a game states that it's only for eight players, you can potentially invite a lot more. But, enough of all that; let's talk about the games!
Fibbage 2 (2 to 8 players)
The first Fibbage was included in the original Jackbox Party Pack in its expanded form (Fibbage XL). Generally speaking, it's played by coming up with convincible answers to posed questions and you're awarded points for both fooling other players and guessing the correct answer. In this version, you get a defibrillator that removes some lies when you're prompted to choose an answer. Of course, you're forced to use it sparingly. It's a neat addition to this already awesome game, but it's also the only significant difference.
Bidiots (3 to 6 players)
When I first read the rules for Bidiots, I thought it would be a simple little game but I was wrong. It's hard to explain because of all the complexities involved, but here goes nothing. First, each player draws a couple pictures given two different descriptions. Then, computer-controlled art buyers give you a list of what they're looking for along with prices. Finally, each player bids on the various works of art in an auction. After I played a few rounds, it became clear that two skills are tested: your ability to guess what each piece of art represents and how accurate of an artist you are. This is especially true considering players are given similar subjects to draw such as Little Bo Peep, a sheep farm, and shearing wool. Out of every Jackbox game, this is by far the most confusing and therefore it's difficult for casual players to understand right off the bat. If you're in a party setting then there's bound to be at least a few folks who'll demand to play something else. After all, no one wants to be patient enough to learn a complicated game when they can be having fun.
Quiplash XL (3 to 8 players)
Seeing as I've already reviewed Quiplash, I'll make this quick. For the unfamiliar, this game involves coming up with humorous responses to given prompts. Then, players vote on their favourite. The version featured here contains many more questions which was a huge downside of the original because they repeated way too often. Overall, it isn't much of a game since it can easily be played with nothing more than a pen and some paper, but you'll definitely have a few good laughs for the short while that it lasts.
Earwax (3 to 8 players)
Earwax is very similar to Quiplash. In fact, it's almost identical. Instead of writing your own funny replies to prompts, you select two sound effects. For example, if you get the prompt "The state sound of Missouri" then you can play sounds of eating then farting. Like Quiplash, players pick their favourite so it's the same game except it takes a lot of the creativity away and replaces it with silly sound effects.
Bomb Corp. (1 to 4 players)
When you first start playing, it becomes clear that Bomb Corp. is the most unique game here. You can play it by yourself, but inviting more players makes the intense gameplay much more thrilling. To put it simply, each player is given a series of instructions and they have to work together to figure out which wires to cut on a bomb to defuse it. Rules may contradict each other and it becomes incredibly tough to talk through what exactly it is you're supposed to do. An example that may come up is that specific players can't cut certain wires while the wires must be cut in the order of 2, 3, and 1 although another rule says that wires 2 and 3 are swapped if the first one is green. As soon as you and your pals collectively wrap your heads around the solution and you defuse the bomb, it feels great! On the other hand, when a bomb explodes either due to an error or the time running out, everyone will be disheartened before giving it another go. As you progress, new mechanics such as filing names in a particular order and deciphering keypad codes add some welcome variety. For me, this is the most impressive game of the bunch and has the potential to make for one crazy party.
The Jackbox Party Pack 2 may be missing a new You Don't Know Jack and doesn't live up to its predecessor, but the included games do a decent job of providing hours of fun. Also, keep in mind that you need at least three players for the majority of these titles, so make sure you have enough friends or are willing to stream and let strangers join you before you pick this pack up. If you do then you're in for some fun since Jackbox is always bursting with good times in a lighthearted and hilariously cheeky package.
- + More Fibbage is always awesome
- + The tension in Bomb Corp. makes for one chaotically thrilling multiplayer experience
- + Boasts a strong sense of fun
- - Bidiots is too complicated for casual players
- - Quiplash and Earwax are more popularity contests than they are games
- - Most games require at least three players