Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
Bidiots is great, Fibbage is good, Bomb Corps is best.
I’ve been playing lots of local co-op games recently and the comedy quiz show You Don’t Know Jack has been a long-time favourite, so it was only a matter of time before I booted up the Party Packs made by Jackbox Games. They’re collections of games, some of which can be played with just two people (and since I live with one other person, that’s valuable to me because we can pretend to be having a party pretty much anytime we want to), and some of which support All The People. You play using smart phones or tablets as controllers, and don’t even have to download an app to join in, which is lovely and great and easier than owning a big pile of controllers.
I want to draw particular attention to the second party pack because it contains the best version of Fibbage, a game which debuted in the first pack and will receive a sequel in the next. It’s simple – the game poses a question or statement, and players have to cook up the most believable or outrageous response possible. The response must be a lie (if you know or guess the correct response, it’s rejected) and you’re trying to pick the true answer while getting everyone else to pick your fake answer. The tactics that work depend on the people you’re playing against. Some people have enough trivia knowledge to pick the correct answers quite often, though like YDKJ the questions here are often intentionally and brilliantly obtuse – while others will know the way your own brain works well enough to trick you into mistakes over and over again.
It’s fun. As is Bidiots, which is like Pictionary with an auction game glued on the top. It’s difficult to pick up quickly, unlike the rest of the pack, but very funny indeed once a group gets to grips with it.
But my fave is Bomb Corps, which is the only game that can be played solo. It’s better with other people, of course, but it’s the first time a Jackbox game has made me crave an entire point and click adventure or other singleplayer game with the witty writing that makes their quizzes such a joy to play. In Bomb Corps, you’re a new intern at a company that makes and defuses bombs. It’s a deathtrap office environment and everyone is very stressed but sort of complacent about the whole situation, and the lines and the delivery of those lines is fantastic.
The game is good too. I thought it might be a Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes rip-off but it’s much simpler. Everyone has one or two pieces of the puzzle and you have to communicate to figure out whose rules take precedence and how they all fit together, while a counter is ticking down and you’re all doomed to explode.
I love it. And I love Jackbox.