Is ‘The Jackbox Party Pack 3’ Worth Buying? ($25)

Unless you’ve been living in deepest darkest Peru, you’re probably familiar with “party games”. Over the past few years, the humorous people at Jackbox have been developing a series of party game collections called “Jackbox Party Packs”. I’ve been given the opportunity to review the third one, so let’s get to it! The Jackbox Party Pack 3 [official site] – is it worth buying?

Now, the short answer for that very vital question is “it depends”. It depends on whether you have friends to play the game with, if those friends are exciting enough to want to play (basically if they’re actually friends, or if they’re fakers), if they have decent imaginations, can take a joke and don’t mind being put on the spot once in a while. I’m sure you didn’t come here just to read that, though, so I’ll give you some more information and let you decide whether it’s your – and your friends’ – cup of tea.

The games, just like in first and second Jackbox Party Packs, are played with laptops, smartphones, tablets and in very rare instances where it’s possible, desktop computers. Basically anything that can run the internet. That means you don’t need ten thousand controllers for that party you’re advertising on Facebook, you just need to get everyone to bring their phones.

The third instalment of the party game series includes five games: Quiplash 2, Trivia Murder Party, Fakin’ It, Guesspionage and Tee K.O., great quality questions and subjects, streamer support for up to 10,000 players, and probably one of the best video game trailers I’ve ever seen.

I’ll give you some insight on the games within the game now.

In Quiplash 2, each player’s goal is to write the funniest – or best – reply to a given subject. Two players get the same subject and each player gets two to answer in total, then once everyone has put in their responses they all have a chance to vote on their favourite answer. There are some very strange and bizarre subjects, such as “a great way to get expelled from Hogwart’s”, “the worst mistake you can make at an all-you-can-eat buffet” and “what the raccoons digging in your garbage say about you”. Most of them have a lot of room for possible answers (you won’t get asked a question that there aren’t funny answers to), and it’s been the case that many of the funniest answers to the given subjects have been inside jokes between my group of friends.

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Quiplash 2 also has a feature which allows you to create and share your own question packs – or rather, episodes – by using a simple code that becomes active after publishing the episode. This makes for some very creative subjects, but just keep in mind that they aren’t reviewed prior to publishing, so there may be inappropriate content in some user-made episodes.

Second on the list is Trivia Murder Party, a somewhat dark and sinister trivia game where you’re asked questions and are forced to select the answer that you believe to be correct. If you answer a question incorrect, then you – and whoever also answered the question incorrect – must complete a challenge in the game, which can involve not picking up cash, chopping off a finger so you can’t use that answer again, drinking from a chalice that may be poisoned, etc. The last person alive gets a headstart at the last room, where you all face off to answer questions. The person to make it out of the room wins, and the rest of you are condemned to die (or stay dead).

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Although it has a very creepy aesthetic – a bit spookier than I imagined it would be – it is great fun (unless you’re not familiar with random knowledge), and it’ll test your wits and sanity. Better hope you’re the smartest person in the room!

Fakin’ It is a game all about being as smooth and inconspicuous as possible. At the start of the round, one person gets to pick an action that the round will be based on, such as pointing, putting your hands up, putting a certain number of fingers up, pulling faces, etc. Then, everyone is given a prompt and they have to react to the prompt by performing said action such as putting your hand up if it’s true, pointing to one person if they relate to the prompt the most, and so on, except one person hasn’t actually been given the prompt. That person, the faker of the round, has to pretend they got the prompt and try to let nobody realise that they are, indeed, the faker.

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The faker’s case can be helped by watching and slyly mimicking other people’s reactions, hoping dumb luck is on their side, and if all else fails, by lying, pretending they did actually shoplift that one time, and/or pretending to not have read the question correctly. If that fails, just shooting everyone in the room works (I’m kidding, I’m not condoning murder – that sentence was only for comedic purposes and I absolutely have not done it before). After the round, everyone has to agree on and vote for who they all think isn’t actually who they say they are. It sounds confusing, but after one test run my friends and I found that it’s actually relatively simple.

If you don’t like pressure, then I advise you to steer clear of Fakin’ It, because it’s more stressful than accidentally sending a half-written email to a very important person.

Next up on the list is Guesspionage, the one where you need to guess what percentage of the population picks their nose and eats it, or rides a bike to work. This one’s pretty fascinating, because although polls have been conducted to find out an accurate number, and you think you’ll be able to guess that number easily, you’ll never know what that number is until you’ve taken your guess, and it’s even trickier when the odd prompts catch you off guard! One moment you’ve read that half of the people in the world find sweeping more satisfying than vacuuming (the inhuman monsters), then the next, you’re trying to figure out whether it’s sixty-five or seventy percent that has vomited on an amusement park ride. It’s definitely fun, but it’s more happenstance than knowledge, neither of which are on my side.

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If you’re live streaming Guesspionage for your many viewers, then they can all determine the percentages in real-time if you have the setting enabled. I haven’t used it, because I don’t have any followers, or even stream for that matter, but it does sound cool to be able to play with your audience.

Last but not least we have Tee K.O., the game where you show off your – hopefully decent – drawing skills! Each player gets to draw three completely random pictures, then write three completely random T-shirt slogans. After that, they all get mixed up and someone else gets to choose what phrase and image they think best fits. Then, just like in Quiplash, everyone votes on which they feel is the best. Once they’re all up there it’s like a full-on epic painting-slogan combination battleground fight-to-the-death. I only managed to play this one twice, partly due to my friends’ exceedingly short attention spans, but it was still good fun.

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Just a quick note: some of the prompts in some of the games are a bit risque – not too graphic, and I’m sure nothing that anyone over the age of twelve hasn’t already heard these days, but there are family-friendly settings in the games for the folks that might need them. Protect your innocence!

All games considered, the pack has definitely given us a truckload of laughs, and I’ve had a lot of fun getting my mates over for a good ol’ “Jackbox night”. Above, I said it all depends, but for $25 you get great value for money and I reckon it’s worth it. If you’re throwing a party and you don’t know what to play and your friends aren’t all over a hundred years old, then The Jackbox Party Pack 3 is a solid way to go.

👍 The Jackbox Party Pack 3 IS worth the US$25 it is available for.

The images used on this article are from the game’s Steam Store page (taking screenshots while we were all fifteen meters away was turning out to be a lot harder than expected).