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April 26, 2020

Jackbox Party Pack 3: Online Game

Online fun at it's best!

Times are tough due to the covid-19 pandemic and escape rooms are no exception to the shut down of all "non-essential" services. Quite a few online escape games from all over have popped up and to the surprise of many, I have not played any of them. I avoided online escape rooms because I love the physical nature of a normal escape room and I feel that playing an online game would ultimately be underwhelming. I know I will eventually play one of these virtual experiences and to ease into it, I started off with a party game: Jackbox Party Pack 3. Why this party pack out of the six that exist? Because Sarah played Party Pack 3 at work and that's what I wanted to try. From their site:

"The threequel to the party game phenomenon features the deadly quiz show Trivia Murder Party, the say-anything sequel Quiplash 2, the surprising survey game Guesspionage, the t-shirt slugfest Tee K.O., and the sneaky trickster game Fakin’ It."

Set Design, Technology & Puzzles

The set took place...in my apartment. Experienced players might find this set to be on the smaller side but all the props were authentic and it truly felt like you were in someone's living room. The environment was quite immersive and the sound of honking cars and screaming people on the streets was perfectly executed. You might even think you were in San Francisco or some other downtown metropolitan area. Some of the furniture had wear and tear but you could tell the decorators really tried to make the space as cosy as possible on a limited budget.

The experience in setting up the actual Jackbox game was interesting. The owner of the game opens the software and selects one of the party games to play. The game generates a code to be used by all participants in a web browser on their own mobile devices. The mobile devices become the "controller" to the game but each player must still be able to see the main game screen for instructions and questions.

If everyone was in the same room, they would all be looking at the same screen but when playing with remote players, you need to somehow share your game screen and see their faces (the latter for the fun aspect). Zoom video has this feature if you pay for it. Some friends only had a mobile device and that made it really difficult for them to play the game properly. My advice: play on two devices (i.e. a laptop to stream the main game, mobile device to the answer inputs to the game) or get a paid version of Zoom for $14.99/month until this quarantine is over.

As with most party games, the "puzzles" were more like random questions or coming up with witty phrases. We played three games:
  • Trivia Murder Party: A "Saw"-themed (the horror film), comedic trivia game with some funny one-liners and random questions. Almost everybody "dies" in this game and it was definitely the one game that could be dominated by trivia experts. I'm looking at your Rich Bragg :)
  • Quiplash 2: Involves coming up with funny "fill-in-the-blank" words or making up the meaning of acronyms that make for some good laughs if you are with creative people. It also seems to be more funny if you play with friends who can throw in some inside jokes.

  • Tee K.O.: Everyone draws funny images, then everyone comes up with funny tag-lines and the the two are combined to make funny t-shirts. The person with the most votes wins and you can apparently even get these t-shirt printed! Tougher for the less imaginative. 

Sarah takes the lead!

Memorable Moments 

There were numerous outbursts of laughter. I think Quiplash was probably the most enjoyable of the three games.

What's also a standout is the game design and overall polish. Everything flowed smoothly with great humor and fantastic aesthetics. This game was great online and it would be even better with everyone in the same room.

Room For Improvement

We only played the three games in two sessions (four hours in total) and there were already a handful of questions/phrases that were repeated. When I think of trivia type games, I would hope that there would be hundreds or even thousands of questions that help with replay-ability.

Overall Thoughts

Jackbox Party Pack 3 was loads of fun. We heard Party Pack 5 was the next best expansion and are looking forward to playing that as well!

  • Set design: Cute apartment, could use some soundproofing from street noise
  • Difficulty: Everybody's a winner!
  • Price: $24.99 (cheaper on sale), only one person needs to purchase the game
  • Number of players: 8 max, the more the merrier
  • Duration: 15 minutes
  • Overall Rating: ★★★★½
See their website here: https://www.jackboxgames.com/

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