Critical Play: Jackbox (Drawful 2)

Jackbox is a series of party pack quiz games created by Jackbox Games. It is available on many platforms including consoles and PC (Steam). The target audience seems to be a group of friends, but new acquaintances can play together as well. Most of the Jackbox games are minimum of 3 players, maximum of 8 players. In different games, players can take different actions such as drawing an illustration that others need to guess (Drawful) or voting on the best/funniest answer to an open question (Quiplash). I played Drawful 2 and Quiplash Jackbox Party Pack 3. I’ll be focusing on Drawful today.

As said previously, Drawful is a 3-8 player game that has everyone pitted against each other to earn the most points. The objective is to guess the real prompt behind a quick drawing. If the players guess the artist’s prompt correctly, the artist gets the points. If you vote for another prompt, that player gets the points. Everyone except the artist supplies the extra prompts. There are also cop-out answers if the artist doesn’t know what to do, but they won’t get points if people guess correctly. Everyone starts by drawing their prompt and then per the number of players, you guess for each illustration, then the game ends. All the Jackbox games require joining a server on your phone, which is great because not everyone has to purchase the game to play. The boundaries of the game are within the consoles you use to interact with and begin when you enter the server. The types of fun are competition, expression, and sensation (lots of laughter). It’s a judging game to connect with friends through funny prompts. You can debate how well the artist drew the prompt afterward, and laugh about all the bad prompts people submitted. This game is simple but very approachable and requires no real drawing skill, just a willingness to participate. The participation through phone makes it slightly different than Pictionary or other “draw on a board and we’ll guess what it is”. The extra participatory interaction of submitting prompts and voting on themis difficult to organize in analog, so the digital platform makes sense. You don’t need to get very vulnerable with others to play this game since it’s very silly and not very deep.

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