The first Jackbox Party Pack's five games were the work of deranged genius (well, excluding Word Spud). Using your PC as the game’s host, it would guide the action with comical commentary as you and your friends played from your smartphones.
The Jackbox Party Pack 2 tries to repeat this formula with four entirely new games and one sequel. It is still great, but it doesn’t quite capture the magic of the original.
The Jackbox Party Pack's greatest asset was its simplicity. Even with a party in full flow you could quickly communicate the rules to even your drunkest family member. The Jackbox Party Pack 2’s games raise the complexity, and by extension limit its accessibility – the fun is still there, but it demands a little more work.
Luckily the basics remain the same, so at least getting into the party is simple. Running from your computer the game provides a Room Code. Players then login on their phones, tablets, or computer by going to JackBox.TV. Your device then becomes your controller – with buttons, buzzers, and instructions all on your personal screen - while the main action is displayed on your TV/monitor.
It says something that the best game is a sequel to one of last year’s. Fibbage 2 (2-8 players) has you answering multiple-choice questions. The twist is that the incorrect answers are offered by other players who earn points for fooling you. This can lead to some hilarious answers being offered – although the truth is often just as strange as anything you will dream up.
One question that springs to mind was “What organization was the Pope made an honorary member of?” To which we had to pick between The Beatles, the Harlem Globetrotters, Spandau Ballet, or The Church of England. Unless you know the answer, it certainly is not obvious – and I won’t spoil it here.
Jackbox Party Pack 2’s other four games are all new, distinctly different, and of varying success depending on who you are playing with.
I really enjoyed Bomb Corp. (1-4 players) a game that has you interning at a bomb factory where the bombs regularly explode – all framed by come comical comments from your supervisors. Each bomb has different rules, and each player holds a handful of rules linked to each bomb, forcing you to communicate or blow up.
Bidiots (3-6 players) follows in the footprints of last year's Drawful and has you bidding on “art” created by the other players with the aim earning more cash than your opponents – bid on your own art to drive up the price, but be careful not to win. Fun with the right group, but slow and time consuming if not.
Quiplash XL (3-8 players) is a comedy game that pits two players against each other at a time. They must create silly or clever response to the same question and then the other players vote on the best – with the winner getting the most votes. Arguable this is up there with Fibbage 2, but it can require a little more thought and it is not the best one to play with your family.
Finally Earwax (3-8 players) wants you to match two of sounds together in humorous ways with one player judging the funniest pairing. It’s a fine idea - and there is certainly comedy to matching “NOOOO” with the sound of “ripping fabric” - unfortunately, with multiple players, it just takes too long to judge each round.
Two packs to rule them all
If you don’t have the original Jackbox Party Pack that should defiantly be your first purchase. But, once you have had your fill and of its games and want a bit more diversity, The Jackbox Party Pack 2 should absolutely be your next port of call.
In honestly, with more questions, a new look, and a few extra mechanics, Fibbage 2 alone is probably worth the price of admission – just think of the other games as a bonus.