The Jackbox Party Pack has been entertaining house parties since 2014. The latest iteration of the series, Jackbox Party Pack 6, tries to replicate the successful formula while injecting enough originality to make it worth your while.
Jackbox Party Pack 6 comes with five separate party games. The cool thing is that you do not need more than one controller. You just need smartphones. Players visit jackbox.tv, enter their name and a room code that is displayed on the television set, and you’re all set.
All of the games – except for Trivia Murder Party 2 – require a minimum of three players. Some of the games allow for as many as ten players. This type of party game is only possible thanks to the use of smartphones since few people have more than a couple DualShock 4 controllers lying around.
First up is Trivia Murder Party 2, which I consider to be the best game in the collection. This is a trivia game for up to eight people set in a haunted hotel where players have to answer questions to survive. Wrong answers will have you fighting for your life in absurd mini-games like a magician’s Indian Basket Trick where you position yourself in a box and another player puts a sword through it.
Even if you die, you still get a chance to answer questions (without accruing points), so no one gets left out. Players who do survive go on to a final round where they have to answer a series of multiple answer questions. The dead players come back as ghosts; answering questions correctly, they try to catch the players who are still alive. Whoever reaches the exit first wins.
Dictionarium is a game for up to eight players where you make up wacky words. Well, technically the game makes up the wacky word and you giving that word meaning. For instance, one of the words that we got in our playthrough was “dwang.” Do you see where this is going?
Once all of the players offer up their definitions, players vote on the best one. The definition with the most votes wins the round. From there, you’ll then need to come up with a synonym for the made-up word and then use it in a sentence. It’s entertaining, but if you’ve had one too many drinks staying coherent will be the biggest challenge.
Joke Boat puts up to eight players in the role of amateur comedians. You compete on a cruise ship talent show doing standup. The first part has you set up a partially-filled joke. The game may say “I’m so old, I remember when ___.” You fill in the blank with one of three words displayed on your smartphone. You’ll then need to come up with your own punchline: “I’m so old, I remember when Dan was Daniela.”
While the idea is a solid one, at least in theory, this was one of the weaker games included in Jackbox Party Pack 6. Some of the setup lines just do not leave much room for a funny punchline. To be sure, there are some good laughs to be had with this game, but there is also a good share of misses.
Role Models is a fairly entertaining personality-based game. The game has you pick a broad category. Each scenario asks players to assign activities or traits to themselves and other players. One scenario asked what each player would do if they needed to quickly raise $50,000. Who in your group would rob a bank? Who would be most likely to invent an app? After the round is over, the game shows how each player voted, so the game can both be comedic and revealing.
The last game is called Push the Button. This is a game where you find yourself on a spaceship with a crew of up to nine other spacefarers. The thing is, though, that two of your crewmembers are actually aliens. It’s up to the humans to figure out who the aliens are through a series of tests and push the button to eject them into space. Human players have to vote unanimously to eject other players. If they get it wrong, the aliens win.
My biggest complaint is that this version does not include You Don’t Know Jack, which is their staple trivia game. Trivia Murder Party 2 is a relatively close stand-in, but it’s not the same. Hopefully if they release a Jackbox Party Pack 7 next year – a pretty safe bet – they will include a new You Don’t Know Jack.
So is it worth your time and money? The short answer is: it depends. I’m not trying to be coy here. If you haven’t played a Jackbox Party Pack game before, all of these games are going to feel relatively fresh. Some are better than others, but you’ll at least get a few laughs out of it.
Game Freaks 365 received a free review copy.