Competitive Analysis: Quiplash

Much of the inspiration for our game, Treeku, comes from Jackbox Games’ Quiplash. Quiplash is a digital game that can be played on a variety of platforms, from desktop to mobile to console. Centered around a lighthearted party theme with a flavor of competition, Quiplash relies primarily on fellowship as its main type of fun. The game offers prompts such as “A reason to get into a fist fight with a koala bear,” and players are tasked with writing answers that are subsequently matched up head-to-head and voted on by everyone else in the game. Players receive points based on how many votes their answers receive, and a single winner is declared at the end of a game (three rounds in total), so the objective from a competitive standpoint is to design answers that will be appreciated by peers. 

Perhaps the greatest core mechanic, however, is that… there aren’t really guidelines. Making your friends laugh might be the most common approach to racking up votes, but if you want to cause chaos, make fun of each other (my brother made more than a few references to me in his responses), or simply call out a country for its imperial tendencies, you have a valid strategy on hand. The jovial tone is facilitated by flashy colors/animations in addition to a host, Schmitty, who (beyond reading the prompts) reminds you at the start of a game that “this is what Gandhi would be doing if he were alive.” 

Another friendly detail: when scores are tabulated after every round, if there’s a tie, a line at the bottom such as “ties are broken by bedwetting frequency” helps contribute some extra flavor. Quiplash differentiates itself from other social games in its ease of play and range of styles; the game is extremely simple, with the most “challenging” aspect to learn being keeping track of the timer for submitting your responses. The game has an optional family-friendly setting and a censoring option for handling abuse; it takes around 10-15 minutes to play once. 

With a very sound core, I wouldn’t change a ton about Quiplash, though I’m always a fan of extra customization for players, so being able to “Create Your Own Episode” in Quiplash 2/3 would be a natural add-on. As it stands, I would want to leverage more of the fact that it has a digital base; the final score reveals could be more dramatic, for example, and functionality to save your favorite matchups would be nice from an archival standpoint. Additionally, while I value the pace of the game, its fixed flow from one stage to the next takes away the opportunity to have a full disruption when something absolutely hilarious happens. Some type of pause/repeat/slow down feature would be useful for those ever-iconic moments that you need to bask in before continuing on.

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