Does Jackbox Party Pack 6 have a Jack in the box?
The Jackbox Party Pack series has done rather well for itself in the party-game genre, especially for those who aren’t really all that into video games. I’ve had a great time playing most of the packs and recently played a few rounds with Jackbox Party Pack 5. Now it’s the turn of the most recent offering, Jackbox Party Pack 6 and its five games that promise much hilarity.
The pack itself is set up in pretty much the same way, with five games to choose from on the main menu, each with their own options within. The now-standard array of streamer tools are present, including extended timers for audience members, as well as family-friendly toggles for most games. What is new is that this pack finally offers subtitles. Quite why it’s taken this long to include them I don’t know, but it’s nice that they are finally here for all games. So let’s crack out our phones and take a look at what Jackbox Party Pack 6 has to offer.
Trivia Murder Party 2
I don’t think you’ll be surprised to find out that this is the sequel to Trivia Murder Party from Jackbox Party Pack 3. Just like before it’s a quiz themed around having been kidnapped by a killer who murders those who fail to answer questions correctly and make mistakes in his ‘death games’. Each round presents a question, and all players answer it using their phone. Get it right and you earn money and survive the round, get it wrong and you’ll take part in a mini-game that may well kill one or more player that fails it. Death is not the end though, as you can continue to play and earn money. Once there’s only one player left alive everyone answers questions to race to the hotel exit. The sole living player starts ahead of the pack, but if a dead player answers more questions correctly and overtakes them, they will become the only living player. The first one to the exit wins the game!
I enjoyed Trivia Murder Party, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that I like the follow-up. The horror theme is entertaining in a Saw kind of way, and the questions are reasonably sound trivia challenges. The new death games are fun and more creative than the previous efforts and regularly have all players taking part, with the living players trying to outdo the ones fighting for their lives to screw them over. As trivia games go, it’s fun and more enjoyable that the You Don’t Know Jack games in my opinion. What it lacks in humour, it makes up in tension. With that said, if you’re not into trivia this won’t sway you!
An interesting entry to the pack, Role Models has players decide which member of their group fits a certain personality type. Once a player has picked a theme, for example, ‘Cluedo murder weapons’, everyone then has to assign each player (including themself) to a certain thing within that category ー candlestick, rope, etc. in this example. If players make the same choices they earn points. The categories are saved and at the end of the game each player will get an overall personality type, whilst the player with the most points is declared the winner.
It’s somewhat enjoyable and does give the occasional amusing answer, but it’s rare that Role Models generates genuine laugh out loud moments which are often the key to the best Jackbox games. I suppose our group deciding that my wife was the ‘rope’ in the Cluedo themed question was amusingly dark, but that’s the best we could expect. There’s little that takes the place of the hilarity that other games include. This was a weaker game in the pack.
From one of the weakest to one of the best! Joke Boat has players taking on the role of comedians onboard a cruise ship. At the beginning of the game, players type in as many words as they can think of that fit a theme, such as a famous person, a band, etc. Once the game starts, you’ll be presented with a setup line and you’ll need to pick a word created by another player, before writing your own punch line. These jokes then go head-to-head for the rest of the group to vote on. In the final round, you get the chance to rewrite the punchline of someone else’s joke to see if you can do better before it being put to the vote against the original. At the end of the game, most points wins!
The theming of this is hugely fitting with the best Jackbox games. The creativity available means that you can get laughs even if you are bad in the same way a vulgar card can win rounds in Cards Against Humanity. It’s probably closest in style to Mad Verse City from Pack 5 thanks to the ability to make pretty much anything you want, and play to the room if you know everyone there well enough. The only thing missing is the text-to-speech genius that made Mad Verse City so brilliant. Still, it’s very funny and was one of the games we came back to several times.
Another weak entry, but for different reasons. Dictionarium falls into a similar trap to Split the Room in the previous pack by allowing creativity but overcomplicating the rounds. Here, players begin by giving a definition for a nonsense word that’s presented on the screen. Voting happens to determine the best which is then kept for the next round. Players then come up with a synonym for the original word (i.e. it has the same definition that everyone previously voted for) followed by another round of votes. The winning synonym is then carried through to the final round in which players have to use it in a sentence before another round of votes. Players score points in each round and the winner is, of course, the one with the most points.
There’s a lot of potential for laughs here, but Dictionarium just overcomplicates things too much. Something as simple as each round being ‘Write a funny definition for this nonsense word’ would have been perfectly pitched as a light and silly game. I suppose if you were after something a bit more in-depth than the usual Jackbox fare, then this might be up your street, but for us, it was a bit more in-depth than we wanted. There is a nice feature though, whatever the winning word, definition, and sentence is, they get added to the game’s archive to be viewed again in the future. Go back and relive your past victories!
Push the Button
A clear winner in the pack, but one that requires a good number of players to be seen at its best. In Push the Button, players are officers on a spaceship, but some of them are in fact aliens in disguise! If the human players can’t identify and remove all the aliens within the time limit, then they lose. If you’ve played something like Werewolf before, you might have a good idea of how this plays. Each round allows a different player to be the captain who can select players to take part in a test to find out who the alien is. For example, players may need to write the answer to a question such as ‘What is the best thing about dogs?’ or something similar. The alien player does not get the same question though, meaning their answer may stand out making them look suspicious. The alien players have tricks up their sleeve though, allowing them to ‘hack’ the question so they see the real one, or a human player sees the fake one. This prevents it from becoming too obvious too quickly, but can only be done a set number of times.
Once someone thinks they know who the aliens are they PUSH THE BUTTON and go to a voting chamber. The player chooses who to accuse and has to get a unanimous vote from the rest of the group (excluding those who are accused) before blasting them into space. Blast the aliens and the humans win! Leave any aliens on board and the ship will be destroyed.
This was tremendous fun, even with a small group, although more participants means more aliens and more challenge. Seeing players act suspiciously but then accuse another of being an alien who hacked them throws everyone off the scent. The variety of tests that players can be involved in keeps things fresh, including questions, drawing, sequence identification, amongst others. Whilst Push the Button is something that doesn’t really fit in with many of the previous Jackbox games, it’s certainly a standout winner here and is a great addition to a party game collection.
Once again, this Jackbox Party Pack 6 has a couple of outstanding games and a couple of weaker ones. The handful of great games kept us entertained quite nicely, and the more disappointing ones were simply ignored after a couple of rounds. Jackbox continues to release fun products, but I really don’t know how many more ways there are to make these types of games. I look forward to seeing them try though.