Charades, Bridge, Celebrity. All classic “grown up” party games with one thing in common: they are boring. If you’re looking to entertain a room full of artsy, intellectual adults, you’ll need two things: lots of booze, and a new breed of party game. Something that tests their intelligence and wit, while still delivering the droll humor they’re used to from skimming The New Yorker.
Luckily, Jackbox Games makes a wide variety of digital party games. The games are displayed on a TV, while the players use their phones (or any device with an internet browser) to write and draw their answers. No video game experience required. Here are our favorites for teasing the brains of your highbrow holiday revelers:
You Don’t Know Jack: Full Stream
You Don’t Know Jack has been the number one name in irreverent trivia for years, and the latest installment doesn’t disappoint. Up to eight players tackle twisted trivia questions for money and have the opportunity to “screw” each other by making weird stuff happen on their devices as they try to answer. The mix of high culture and pop culture should please even your most discerning monocle-wearing guest. At least until the host roasts them for botching a question.
In Fibbage, you get a weird fact with a key piece of info blanked out. You fill that blank with a lie that you think might fool the other players. Then you try to pick out the truth and avoid the lies. The bizarre facts in Fibbage will give your group plenty to chat about over drinks. And you don’t have to be good at trivia, just good at lying. You already lied once when you told yourself no one would notice you bought the cheap hummus. You’re off to a great start!
What’s more fun than molding the English language to your whims? Dictionarium gives you nonsense words or phrases (like “bloister” or “soul butter”) and asks you to define them, come up with synonyms, and use them in sentences. The group works together to make an entirely new dictionary entry to be enshrined forever in the cultural lexicon. This one is sure to generate some instant inside jokes among your group, assuming no one bloisters it for everyone.
Split the Room
Split the Room is the game that generates the most fun conversation. Players get a weird hypothetical situation that’s missing one key detail. For example: “You suddenly have the power to destroy every copy of _____. Do you do it?” Your job is to fill in the blank with something as divisive as possible. Something that will “split the room” so that half the players would say yes, and half would say no. It’s perfect for starting heated debates over which limb is the least important or why “watching Marilynne’s performance art” is a fate worse than death. Oh, and it’s hosted by an omniscient cat.
Enough frivolity, it’s time to save the world. In Patently Stupid, you and your fellow players create strange problems like “I can’t stop swallowing bees!” Then draw inventions to solve those problems and pitch them to the group. If everyone wants to invest in your product, you’ll be on your way to success, but even if your invention’s a dud, you can still win by investing your own money wisely. Patently Stupid lets you write, draw, and present to the room, which checks just about all the creativity boxes. Your guests are sure to throw off their berets and jump for joy.
There are plenty more Jackbox games to discover, but these should give you a good place to start. Most Jackbox Games titles come bundled in one of the company’s Jackbox Party Pack collections. Check out jackboxgames.com/games for more information on how to purchase and play. Your fellow party companions will compliment you on your brilliant adulting.