Its a new year, which means a new Jackbox Party Pack!
Jackbox games are packs of party games that the host opens on a computer or game console and participants can join in via a web browser code on their own computers, tablets, or phones. Each Party Pack contains a variety of games to entertain you and your friends, each of which can last anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour depending on the game and number of players. What are the contenders within Jackbox Party Pack 8?
The third iteration of Drawful that is an instant classic. In Drawful, players do their best to draw a prompt and then other players try to guess what it is to earn points. The new addition with Drawful Animate is, well, animation! 2 frames of animation bring the game to life as all these silly doodles can now move back and forth. This provides new options to players to really sell the idea that all those red dots on that stick figure are actually ants, not chicken pox!
Animation sounds hard, but the limitations of Drawful Animate make the process accessible. There are only 2 frames to draw, meaning you draw two pictures per prompt. An onion skin feature is (thankfully) included, meaning you can see a faint version of the other frame for easy reference. Avatars are animated too for extra pre-game fun!
This was a big hit in my group. Even those not confident in their drawing skills had a blast making silly looping animations. This version easily replaces other versions of Drawful for me.
Respond to prompts and then use words in other people’s answers to answer job interview questions. This is the game we played the most and look forward to revisiting. People had fun pulling out weird words and forming weird sentences that sort of answered the question.
The best way to play is for everyone to make the most descriptive answers possible as future building material. Even then, there can be moments where its hard to make anything with what you are given. My only complaint is that the tutorial bits take a bit too long between the action, even when you skip them.
The Poll Mine
A survey game where teams try to determine how the group answered a question, such as the least picked option out of ice cream flavors. It sounds interesting on paper, but this was easily the most boring game in the collection. It relies on knowing your fellow players well and being able to communicate to deduce how many people could have voted on an option.
There is a lives mechanic in the form of torches. Picking correct answers would sometimes grant a torches and wrong answers would cost a torch. This mechanic only felt included in order to end matches quicker and felt otherwise unnecessary. A streamer mode was also included that pits the streamer against their audience, though this seemed targeted toward larger streams with up to 10,000 audience members.
The general consensus was that it was a boring slog and we avoided it like the plague thereafter. If you have friends who are up for yelling at each other that obviously the #2 answer choice has to be “Strawberry Icecream”, then there might be some fun to be had. I personally prefer Guesspionage as far as poll games.
A social deduction game where players literally draw murder weapons. Each player is given a calling card letter from their name. They are then given a stock letter that they must hide somewhere in their drawings. Try to murder other player’s guests and try not to get caught!
It sounds exciting on paper, but sadly the intrigue and deduction falls apart once you figure out how it works.
How do you murder someone? Players also assign a custom name to their invited guest. Aspiring murderers must correctly match a guest to their creator in order to snag the kill. A quick random guess minigame, but nothing noteworthy.
Each murder weapon prompt is given a color. If a suspect has the same weapon type that was used in the murder, then they cannot be the killer and are ruled out. Then it becomes a game of spot the letter and pick a person whose name has that letter.
Due to anti-cheat mechanics, the letters appear more prominently when drawn completely over. This means it is up to players to try and not make a noticeable seam while also hiding red herring letters in their drawings. Easier said than done. The stock letter G will always look one of three ways, so once you have played a few times it becomes easy to spot. Players can also end up with a letter that no one else has in their name, making it obvious they are the culprit.
We spent the first match arguing over who the letters and killers must be and failing to find all but a few. Then, once we paid more attention to the rules and hints, we nabbed almost every killer. The challenge then became precisely replicating stock letters we saw in previous rounds on our touch screens. Experienced players have an unfair advantage which makes this not a great party game.
The Wheel of Enormous Proportions
A trivia competition where correct answers increase the player’s odds to earn points on a spinning wheel. Yes, a trivia game that involves random chance. I personally love trivia games, but the wheel mechanic seems entirely unnecessary and is not very fun.
The trivia bit actually has some new question types that set it apart from the other Jackbox trivia games. There is matching, multiple choice but players can pick multiple answers from a large list, and type in a or as many answers to a prompt (sometimes with hints!) within a time limit. Depending on the question, players who answered correctly or answered correctly the quickest will earn more points and extra slices to place during the wheel round.
Some of the questions were on the obscure side. If you are terrible with names of famous people, like me, then some questions are even more of a struggle. Sorry, I can only name two magicians not ten! In the few rounds I played, there were quite a few repeat questions which was disappointing. Again, there was a bit too much time between questions with jokes that fell flat.
The wheel ironically slows the game to a crawl. Players place their slices on spots on the wheel, hoping that they will earn points. Bonus spots, doubling down on a spot, and splitting points if you share the same spot leads to some strategy, but in the end it is entirely random. Players take turns spinning the wheel by dragging on their devices, though this was finicky and not very responsive.
Should a player earn 20,000 points, they then have to spin to win on another wheel to actually win. The winning player will have their question (that they asked at the start of the game) answered magic eight ball style.
The consensus on this one varied the most. Some players could not stand the randomized wheel element while others did not mind it. The wheel section takes up the bulk of the playtime as each player gets a turn to spin. This leads to matches lasting up to an hour. Its a shame since I like trivia, but I felt like I did not answer that many questions in the end. Go into this one not expecting to actually win.
The Jackbox Party Pack 8 is a mixed bag, as per usual. The only thing that was an overall improvement were the settings. Settings can now be applied from the main menu to all games including audio options, family friendly modes, streamer friendly options, and more.
I can easily see myself coming back to host some games of Drawful Animate and Job Job. The Wheel of Enormous Proportions is one I am tempted to try again due to the varied types of questions, but I could easily get in two matches of Trivia Murder Party 2 instead.
Weapons Drawn is an odd one that is confusing to start and then too easy once you know the rules. Poll Mine is that one game at the bottom of the drawer that all of the games you actually enjoy playing are sitting on top of, like a glorified, dusty pedestal.
Note: GameOctane received a digital code from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing this game. Any code or product intended for review is distributed to the team to review and stream for our audience. All opinions therein are from the author alone.
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- Drawful Animate is giving you a thumbs up gif
- Job Job is just thumbs up gif giving fun
- The Wheel of Enormous Proportions is too long, just like its name, but has some neat trivia questions.
- Weapons Drawn was murdered by Professor Plum in the ballroom with the orange accordion with a P stamped on it
- Poll Mine got lost in the dark and died of boredom