The main menu ‘Jackbox Party Pack 7’.

Jackbox games

We all need the opportunity to have a fun competition this year in a socially distant way. Just in time for Thanksgiving, Jackbox Party Pack 7 offers a variety of online or on-zoom party games for distant families at great prices.

Jackbox packs have long been a great place to play on the couch with family and friends. The packages offer collections of simple games hosted on the TV screen or PC and players join in via a web browser on their phone, tablet or laptop.

Folks looking for socially aloof family fun at this Thanksgiving Day could do a lot worse than Party Pack 7, which was recently released on Steam for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC / Mac / Linux, among others. Only one person needs to buy the game.

The devils and the details are hectic and fun with your group trying to coordinate - or they may not.

The devils and the details are hectic and fun with your group trying to coordinate – or they may not.

Jackbox games

We recently tested the game collection and streamed the host screen (from the $ 30 PC version on Steam) on Discord to a collection of 10-12 players. People familiar with Zoom or other teleconferencing platforms could do the same by letting someone play as the host and then sharing their screen at remote family gatherings, making the PC or Mac versions the real star of the Christmas show this time around.

All other members of the group visit the Jackbox website on any device and enter a nickname and private room code with no copy of the game required.

The host chooses which mini-game to play, but actual participation is determined by the players on their devices. Active participants for most games are limited to 5-8 players, but any additional players form the lobby who can participate by chatting and voting among themselves.

The champion of Jackbox Party Pack 7: the crazy wrestler-style hero battles of Champ'd Up.

The champion of Jackbox Party Pack 7: the crazy wrestler-style hero battles of Champ’d Up.

Jackbox games

Party Pack 7 does not contain any new versions of all the old pack favorites – Jackbox’s Pictionary for Terrible Artists series Drawful is missing, as is the funny Lies versus Truth series Fibbage and the often hilarious Trivia Murder Party.

But it also includes the Quiplash 3 contest with funny responses to prompts, the hectic “devil family does well – mostly – by doing a bunch of collaborative tasks live together”. Create the devils and the details and a super fun WWE style-a-hero draws mashup called Champ’d Up.

Not all games were equally fun – my group found talking points where players collaborate to create PowerPoint-style speeches that are unnecessarily complicated – but they were all worth a try. Solid, if uninspiring, pop culture guessing game Blather ‘Round rounded out the package.

In Quiplash 3, players fight head-to-head jokes.

In Quiplash 3, players fight head-to-head jokes.

Jackbox games

In fact, this party pack has been one of the most enduring in recent years as all five games were relatively entertaining. Typically, each version has a great title or two in it, as well as plenty of other fillers. In this case, all games were worth at least one playthrough.

My group especially loved Champ’d’s special madness. Half of the players receive individual prompts (“Champion of the escape room”, “Most likely a multi-level marketer”, “Champion of going to jail” etc.) and draw a superhero or controller with their finger or mouse to move around in the ring to fight this title.

The other half of the group only sees what the first player drew and draws a hero they believe is competitive without knowing what the prompt is. Then the matchups are played live, with the rest of the players and the audience voting on the competition in real time.

Talking points: too complex for a party game?  To discuss.

Talking points: too complex for a party game? To discuss.

Jackbox games

Well worth browsing previous jackbox collections before making your purchase. Some groups may find similar offerings from previous mini-games better, although Party Pack 7 is a very strong entry into the series. Vacationing is worth investing in, even if you don’t have playful (or non-tech savvy) relatives in the mix.

Platform: Steam (PC / Mac / Linux) PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Apple TV, Apple iPad, Amazon Fire TV, Modest (PC / Mac / Linux) Fanatic (PC / Mac / Linux) Epic Games (PC) / Mac ,) Comcast Xfinity, Mac App Store, Android TV.

Developer: Jackbox games

Editor: Jackbox games

Release date: October 15, 2020

Price: $ 30

Result: 8/10

Jackbox Party Pack 7 verification codes were provided by Jackbox Games.