Jackbox is back with their latest party game compilation, Jackbox Party Pack 4. I’m going to break down each individual game, but in general, this is a good collection. As always, not every game is a glowing success, but the ones that do are great. The audience features make sure nobody is left just sitting around doing nothing. You can even hop on Twitch and just search for a game that you can join for home, or participate in the audience of a house party on the other side of the planet. Fibbage, Civic Doodle, and Bracketeering are the stars here, and on their own make Party Pack 4 a worthy pickup.
The third go around for Fibbage brings back the “spot the lie” gameplay and brings along a new mode called Enough About You. In each round, the host reads a fact with a key part of it blanked out. Players must do their best to create a believable lie. All answers are revealed at the same time, along with the truth. You earn points by correctly choosing the truthful answer, or by having other players choose your lie.
Fibbage is a ton of fun, it’s no surprise it’s been brought back to headline Party Pack 3. It takes both creativity and practicality to win. If you lie is outlandish, that’s typically going to be a red flag that other players will avoid.
Enough About You turns all of the prompts into statements about yourself. Other players need to know you well enough to know what is personally truthful or deceptive. As such, this works much better with a group that knows each other, rather than over a Twitch stream. I preferred the classic style of Fibbage 3, but can see many people preferring the more intimate nature of Enough About You. Inside jokes and references will run rampant.
Up to 16 players have a chance to win in Bracketeering, a game of comparisons done tournament style. Players are asked something like “What’s the best flavor of ice cream?” and the responses are… bracketed off.
You have a chance to predict the winner of a matchup in each of the first two rounds for bonus points, but the goal is to have your answer reign supreme. Players vote for their favorite responses until one remains standing.
The final brackets mix things up, however. While you are given an initial question, and you answer is locked in, the question changes in each subsequent round. For example, if you gave the obvious answer of chocolate to the previous question about ice cream flavors, the second round might be “What is the best name for a punk rock band?” Your answer will still be chocolate, and as a result, the voting swings wildly.
The laughs come regularly with a group of friends trying their best at Bracketeering. You’ll be lobbying for votes and arguing against your competition. It’s a blast so be sure to check this one out.
Monster Seeking Monster
This is the most difficult game to wrap your mind around, and easily the least enjoyable of the bunch. Fashioned as a dating game, players are randomly given a monster identity and secret power, and compete to earn the most hearts. Each turn you can chat with other players and can choose to date any of the players you sent a message to. You can only message four times in total per round, and that is where the strategy starts to come in.
If you receive four messages from one person, you can be sure they’re going to choose you. If you receive just one, you may be getting tricked into choosing the other player. You only score points if both players choose to date each other. There’s really no rhyme or reason as to why you’d choose a specific player to chat with as the game begins. Player’s secret monster identities and powers are revealed as the game deepens. However, by the time you learn why you’d want to choose or avoid other specific players, it’s generally too late to do anything about it.
One power, in particular, gives you a hail Mary type play. The “body-swapper” exchanges their score with anybody they date. If they can successfully date the top scorer in the final round, it’s a nearly guaranteed win. Other powers may alter that result, but such an ability effectively wipes out any planning by other players for the entirety of the game. That’s frustrating because Monster Seeking Monster feels the most like a board game in its setup and rules, but the random nature of the abilities takes a lot of the joy away.
The audience can participate in this game and even win. Collectively, they vote on what messages to send and can vote on a player to date. It’s the most involved the audience can be in any of this collection of party games, which is nice, but Monster Seeking Monster remains the weakest game here.
Survive the Internet
Another game that’s sort of difficult to succinctly explain is Survive the Internet. In short, you’re asked to respond honestly to a prompt, then you do your best to take another player’s prompt out of context.
So you may be asked how you feel about selfie sticks, and you may respond that you hate them. Another player will be given the prompt of “I hate them” and asked to come up with an article title that shouldn’t elicit that kind of comment.
It’s trying to be a meta take on Internet culture, and a lot of the references are fairly current and topical. If you have a group of friends that are constantly passing around memes and bathing in Internet culture, this may be your favorite. I found it very hit or miss. I don’t think this game will age well, and it’s very difficult to get a bunch of random people into.
Civic Doodle is a drawing based game, like Tee KO before it, but I find it to be a great improvement. Whereas Tee KO in Party Pack 3 was basically a blank canvas, Civic Doodle gives you prompts and base drawing to work off of.
Players vote for their favorite, and drawing continues in phases as each round adds to the previous. It’s a simple pick up and play game, needs the least explanation, and the prompts make much more fun that the previous drawing game. I’m no artist and wasn’t expecting to enjoy Civic Doodle but it’s one of my favorites in this pack.
This game is available in nearly any format you can imagine, from standard options like consoles and PC, to Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, and Nvidia Shield. At a $24.99 price point, it’s a great addition to your selection of party games, though I do prefer last year’s Party Pack 3 with more of my favorite individual games like Trivia Murder Party and Quiplash 2