Last Week’s Gaming – November 11th, 2019

The big video game week

When this goes live on the site, I will be waiting in Brisbane Airport to travel to another work conference.

Yay for the sites, boo for cutting into my games time!

But I did get to play quite a bit that I enjoyed this week, in quality if not in quantity.

Jackbox Party Pack (2 and 6)

Last games night I thought a low effort party night would be just the thing. And it really, really was.

You can read my review of Jackbox Party Pack 6 here, but we all had a great night fumbling through the games. And that is really all you need. Even Alpal enjoyed it, and she is not a fan of the ‘vidyah games’ as she calls them 😀

Flicked between two versions, and had a great time of it. At one point in the future, I think I might try to arrange a stream of the Jackbox games where everyone watching can join in as well!

I thought Alpal was an alien, and I knew Nel was. Look at Harley, the evil alien, lauging at us as we eject the human.

The Outer Worlds (Xbox)

Oh man this game! It has the Fallout flavour of play I enjoy, and the story branching that I love in The Witcher games. It’s amazing!

I finally finished it on XBox this week, and while I am away with work I am going to use that time to see if I want to go on an achievement hunt with it.

If you have Microsoft Game Pass, give it a go. If you enjoy well crafted stories and a fun open adventure, you will get a lot out of it. No XBox? Grab the Game Pass for PC and play it there!

Expect a full review in a couple of weeks 🙂

Actually got a gun with recognition of quest work in game. A pleasant surprise!

Warriors of Waterdeep

Still slowly slogging away at this game, but honestly I am coming close to the end.

I have about 2 weeks of VIP bonuses coming, so I am still trying to slog away that way. See how I end up.

On the plus side, I have learned how to record fottage from my phone. Yay! So with any luck, next week I will have a bit of a video of gameplay to add to my review to show you how the game works a little better 🙂

Yeah, I have a lot of chance this fight lol

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know!  Shout out on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until tomorrow,

JohnHQLD

Jackbox Party Pack 6 Review

Released 2019
Platform PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, XBox, Switch (Reviewed), Amazon Fire TV, iPad, Apple TV, Android TV
Publisher Jackbox Games Inc. (Website)
Developer Jackbox Games Inc. (Website)
Homepage (Visit Website)
Players Usually 3-8 plus audience – recommend at least 5 players
Category Party Games

Sometimes, all you want to do is sit and mess with your friends. And Jackbox Party helps you do this ;D

I have plenty of party type board games in my collection, but most share a common flaw. They are all niche in some way. Geek trivia, Pop Culture, Dexterity or ‘gamey’ games. Whatever the niche, you are setting yourself up for just that game for a while.

None are bad games, but there are usually people that don’t want to join in because they feel they can’t win. The other issue can be the judging of answers. Even going with the written response, people can argue because there is a person to contend with.

This is where the Jackbox Party Pack shines. There is a central app that controls a series of different games, so any rules disputes are typically written off as ‘bugs’. It’s incredible how much this changes the focus of the group, and makes organisation and hosting game nights a breeze.

So it’s a trivia game? Pass

Like so many simple games, it sounds too simple to be any fun. But that isn’t where the Jackbox Party games shine.

Yes, there are trivia games. Word games. There are even drawing games. Each set features a unique host that has a series of jokes and quips that gets laughs as the game continues. The games each feel unique, even when using tried and true mechanics.

Having a host or forcing a player to get up and read a bunch of questions can make or break a games night. We have all been there. A great host can elevate Even a standard pub trivia night. Here is where Jackbox shines – you genuinely want to know what is going to be said next.

Yes, my friends were trying to skewer me for a small cash bonus. What a group :p

But why would I want to play a video game with a heap of people? No one has that many controllers!

One of the great features of Jackbox Party Packs is that almost everyone already has their own controller.

You need a device that ‘hosts’ the games sure, and in a party environment this works brilliantly on consoles as everyone can see the game on their TV. 

The players need a web browser to join in. And as almost everyone has a smartphone these days, everyone gets to play on a device they are already comfortable using. No mixing up XBox and Dual Shock buttons here!

OK, but how does this help with people that don’t want to play?

Say you are playing a game where you need to come up with clever wordplay. Some people do not enjoy this, and wouldn’t want to participate.

A great feature of Jackbox Party Packs is the Audience feature. You can have a few players competing, but everyone else can still be a part of the game by voting on the winning answers. Everyone always gets to play, and the audience has a vital role to play in picking winners.

The Audience feature is great for everyone at a party, but it has another bonus. If you are into streaming, you can stream your Jackbox game and have the room code as a part of the stream, including all of your viewers as well.

What can I say - I have a weirdly awesome group of friends to come up with words like this 😀

Playing like this has made the Jackbox panels at PAX Aus one of my ‘must-do’ panels each year – it’s so much fun watching the panellists playing, while at the same time participating in picking winners.

Well, that all sounds alright, but what do you play?

Each party pack comes with about five mini-games, each unique in their way. As you can tell from the title, this is the 6th such collection of games, with new packs coming out every year.

There is never the same type of game in each pack. As with every compilation, some that are gems, and some that aren’t.

Dictionarium

Dictionarium is a fun and fast word game. Players are given a word, and then everyone comes up with a definition of their device. Once everyone is finished (or the time is up), everyone, including the audience votes on their favourite.,

Round 2 has players writing a synonym based on the winning response. Once again, everyone votes for the winner.

The final round has players then using their synonyms in a sentence. Once again, the winner is voted for by everyone. Finally, you end up with a definition and usage of a completely new word!

Dictionarium is a great quick game that can start the night or a quick reset between some of the bigger games. While fun, it’s not a game I would want to play multiple rounds of back to back.

Role Models

Role models is a great game for a group of friends or at least people that know about each other. Players vote on a category (e.g. Olympic Sports, Heist Jobs, Girl Scout Cookies), and everyone chooses who in the group would suit roles in that category.

When everyone finishes voting, the votes are counted, and a player is assigned that role. If there is a tie for the part, a mini-game between the players plays out to pick a single winner.

‘Correctly’ guess the player for the role, and you can win the game! But really for party games like this, the end score is usually an oversite.

While this is a fun diversion, I think its more fun when players know a bit more about each other. Most of the fun is seeing peoples reactions to what the group thinks of them. For example, why am I better suited to Curling that Synchronised Swimming? You need to know the people to get the most out of this. Randomly assigning players because you have to isn’t as fun.

Joke Boat

For all of those aspiring comedians out there, Joke Boat is here to let you shine. It is also a great way to get a room of people laughing at Dad jokes 😀

There are three rounds in total, with each round mostly sharing the same steps. First, you have the brainstorming round. Enter a bunch of subjects for people to write a joke about.

Next, players select a setup that includes the topics from the brainstorming. Finally, you write the punchline. Simple, right?

Players get to deliver their joke, and players vote on the best. Do all of this twice, with the final round having players trying to write a better punchline for other players jokes.

Joke Boat sounds like a lot of fun, and it was enjoyable, but again not a game you will want to play over and over again.

Push The Button

Push the button is a different Jackbox game in that it doesn’t include audience participation. Every player is a player, and each round is a different mini-game on its own.

The setup of the game is relatively standard social deduction fair. Players are all crew on a space ship, but some players are aliens in disguise. The humans must work out who the aliens are and eject them to win.

The time limit is worked nicely into Press The Button as well. The aliens have uploaded a virus into the ships AI and will delete it entirely in 15 minutes.

Each round, a different player takes the role of the captain and picks a mini-game and crew members to participate. Most of the games have the same kind of setup – answer a question. The catch is the humans get one question, and aliens get a different one. You need to look out for the outlandish answers and responses to determine who the aliens are.

As the game progresses, aliens also get the ability to hack the games and can give the humans ‘alien’ answers, or aliens ‘human’ answers. Because everyone is on their phones, it leads to some exciting experiences.

Anyone can vote to ‘Push The Button’ at any time to vote out aliens. The player that pushes the button then nominates who they think are aliens, and everyone not being accused votes if they agree. If the vote passes, the unlucky players are ejected into space!

If one alien remains on the ship, the aliens win. By far the most complex Jackbox game I have ever played, but one of the smoothest social deduction experiences I have ever played.

Murder Mystery Party 2

Murder Mystery Party is probably my favourite of the games in this pack. It’s a typical trivia game, but with a very dark humoured twist.

Players are guests at a spooky hotel, and the host happens to be a serial killer. Each round, players answer general trivia questions for cash prizes. Get the questions right, and everyone continues.

Get the answer wrong, and the host will get to have fun with you with fatal consequences. ‘Losers’ get to play a random mini-game with the host and safe players/the audience. For example, losing players must drink from a goblet. The catch is the safe players have added poison to the drinks!

If you lost the mini-games, you are not out of the game. You become a ghost and continue playing, so no player elimination in the real sense.

When there is one player left, you can then try and escape the hotel. This is done by answering more trivia questions, with each correct answer moving you closer to the exit.

The other players are still playing, and the higher their score, the closer to the exit they are. There is another catch – if you are in the lead, you can only choose two of the three choices, giving the others a better chance of catching up.

With congratulations like this, is winning really worth it? 😀

If you take the lead as a ghost, you steal the life force of the other player and then everyone is against you. Also, just reaching the exit isn’t quite enough. You have to answer the final question perfectly to win.

Murder Trivia Party 2 was by far our most favourite game of the pack.

They all sound pretty good, what is the downside?

Overall there isn’t too much wrong with any of the games. There were some localisation issues as the questions have a significant US bias, but that increased the ‘us vs the game’ mentality of the group.

On the Switch, there were also a couple of times that I had to close the game and start again. Far from the end of the world, but when trying to change games, having it hang was a bit jarring.

Overall though, if Jackbox Party Pack sounds like something you would like to try, grab one of the older packs for cheaper and give it a go. Each iteration has had a standout game for me that has made the cost worth it!

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

Last Week’s Gaming – October 29th, 2018

Kingdom Hearts 3 PAXAUS

Who would have thought a road trip and PAX Aus stops you playing games?

So PAX had a slightly higher video game turnout this year, possibly with the addition of EB Expo having something to do with it.

Tabletop wise there were a lot of games around, but almost all of them were also representing last year so there was little new I was excited about.  But I still got to play a lot, which is amazing given the amount of things on!

Qwirkle Cubes

Ahhh Qwirkle.  It’s like a simple version of Scrabble with shapes and colours.  Anyone that tells you it’s relaxing is not playing with the same cutthroat, win at all costs people I am playing with.

That’s probably a good thing 🙂

A night out at Welcome to Thornbury with good friends was great, and a game of Qwirkle Cubes capped the night off.  The staff were great at letting us just play, and it made me remember why I enjoy this game in the first place!

Qwirkle Cubes
Fun game, very table efficient, and always a heap of fun!

Octopath Traveler

Yeah, you knew this was going to be back on the list.  Another chapter finished for one of my crew, and trying to get the infamous Nintendo Switch PAX pin by playing in line was a great excuse to pull out the Switch!

My enthusiasm for Octopath isn’t waning, but the curve for grinding levels seems to be hitting a point.  I can’t go into too much detail without going into spoiler territory, but finishing the arena contest with one underpowered character was a definite disadvantage.

Octopath Traveler 20181029
It may not look like much progress, but after the last couple of weeks it was more than enough 🙂

Jackbox

A party favourite, I have played different Jackbox games over the years, mainly being an audience member at the PAX Jackbox panels.

This year I jumped into a game in the PAX BYOC (Bring Your Own Computer) section, and played a game called Patently Stupid where you have to draw different silly ideas.

And somehow I came back in the second round to take the game and win my first PAX medal!

Jackbox
Jackbox - always a great party game to reveal how terrible people can be 😀

Beat Saber

I love me some Beat Saber.

While I own this and can play it at home, I can play it in a slightly cramped way.

The good news over PAX was I got to play with the Vive wireless dongle and new base stations, which will help me play in a much more open area soon!

But the bottom line is Beat Saber is still great.  For more information, check out my Early Access impressions.

I can’t wait for this to come out on PSVR as well – firstly for the ‘whole’ game, secondly for so many more people to start playing this great game!

Beat Saber PAXAUS
Ahhh Beat Saber. Angel Voices Hard with no walls was great! Best overheard comment - "it's not as easy as he makes it look"

Dark Souls Remastered

So lining up for Diablo 3 on the Switch (which I didn’t end up playing), I got the chance to play some Dark Souls.

Now the closest I ever came to playing this was Bloodborne that I haven’t even beaten the first boss, so I am far from the worlds greatest souls player.  I struggle to even be considered a souls player.

That said, I was surprised at how smoothly Dark Souls Remastered played in handheld mode on the Switch.  I have a few big games to play and get through (including Octopath Traveler), but the 10-15 minutes I played has me considering getting this on the Switch.

Dark Souls Remastered
I was too busy playing to get a shot 🙁

Kingdom Hearts 3

What can I say – it was more Kingdom Hearts!

There are new systems but the overall feel was instantly familiar, and the demo was timed to objectives met not actual time played.

This was an incredibly fun experience that was both amazing and cruel – I have to wait until next year to sit and play it properly on my home system!

Kingdom Hearts 3 PAXAUS
Couldn't get a shot as I played, but running around Andy's Bedroom was great 🙂 I can't wait to play this properly next year!

There were so many amazing games also played in the PAX Rising area as well, with a large percentage played being made in Australia and even locally in Melbourne!

I managed to snaggle a couple of steam keys as well, so those games will get a bit more of a write up in the coming weeks.

What about you?  What have you been playing this week?  Let me know on Twitter or the Facebook page!

Until next time,

JohnHQLD