The Jackbox Party Pack games are must-haves for anyone who entertains company, either in person or online. Seven have been released to date, each one stuffed with delightful social games that are easy to pick up and play, both for their cleverly designed rules and their easy accessibility across consoles, computers, and phones.
The games vary from pack to pack. And frankly, some are better than others. Sometimes you’re defusing a bomb or coming up with a good joke, and sometimes you’re trying to outwit a friend or catch a hidden alien. Most games are for three to 10 players, but they also have an audience function that allows many additional players to join and play along, making them nice and flexible for social occasions (and livestreaming).
Many of the games in later Jackbox Party Packs include sequels to popular ones from previous releases, which can make the older game collections a little redundant. (For instance, the first Trivia Murder Party — in The Jackbox Party Pack 3 — is greatly improved upon by the sequel, The Jackbox Party Pack 6’s Trivia Murder Party 2.) The packs are also a pretty good deal; some individual games can be purchased separately, but the cost of those transactions stacks up pretty quickly.
Here are the best Jackbox Party Packs to pick up, and which ones to pass on.
A few of the packs are blessed by their sheer variety. The Jackbox Party Pack 3 has Quiplash 2, Guesspionage, and Tee K.O. That’s a comedy game, a stats-guessing trivia title, and a contest where players make T-shirts out of the contestants’ terrible drawings and phrases.
The Jackbox Party Pack 6 contains a trivia game with an over-the-top, silly horror theme; an Among Us-style social sabotage game; a word challenge catered toward linguistics nerds; a stand-up comedy cruise; and a game about assigning roles to your close friends and family.
The point is that there’s something for everyone in these two packs, and the games tend to be low-key enough that you can pull them out at a holiday party or any old get-together and still chat with friends or eat finger foods between rounds. Joke Boat and Tee K.O. both offer generous amounts of downtime for players, and anyone can pick up Quiplash or Guesspionage and have an OK time.
Either one of these two packs is a decent one to pick up and try out with friends. Both have the added benefit of being appropriate in a wide variety of scenarios, from a holiday party with extended family to a workplace gathering.
The ones for close friends
Perhaps you don’t want to have to consider a great-aunt’s conservative sensibilities, or worry about your co-worker Todd from accounting. You might have a gang of good friends all ready to assemble and give Jackbox a shot. In that case, The Jackbox Party Pack 4 and The Jackbox Party Pack 7 are the clear winners.
Party Pack 4 has a couple of games that are fantastic when you can comfortably dunk on the other players, or lie straight to their faces. Survive the Internet is one of the more mean-spirited games, allowing you to take quotes from your friends and add horrible context to them for laughs. Fibbage 3 is also a game all about, well, fibs, along with a mode called Fibbage About You where you can make up lies directly about the other players. (The other games, Civic Doodle and Bracketeering, are not the best of the bunch but are perfectly playable.)
Party Pack 7 is a pack full of games that provide a focused, specific experience. Talking Points is good if you know you’re playing with people who can pull off some improv for two minutes at a time — or are at least willing to give it a shot. Champ’d Up is a drawing game where players have to create champions and contenders for titles like “Champion of Getting Mad on Twitter” or “Champion of Shady Deals.” This game is a blast, but it’s a little trickier than Tee K.O., and it requires a little more patience from players. The pack also includes Quiplash 3, which is always a crowd-pleaser.
The Party Packs you can safely skip
At this point, it’s not worth picking up the first two packs — developer Jackbox Games has replaced the best titles from them with sequels, and the other games simply haven’t stood the test of time. If you want to try a taste of the best games from the original two Party Packs, it’s better to just buy an individual copy of Quiplash or Drawful 2.