Game runners UNITE! March 31, 2020 8:35 PM   Subscribe

To combat some of the *gestures at everything* in the world I've been running Jackbox party games for my IRL and online friends. It's a low-key way to get connected with people for some easy, fun socializing online. I'd love to hear from anyone else here who's been running online games and would welcome more participants.

The games I've been running are like, think about bar trivia but good. Participants don't need to own a game, just bring your browser and 30-45 minutes of time. Most of the games are light-hearted fun especially with the right group.

I'd like to invite mefites to join the next one Wednesday at 8:30 PM Central on Twitch.

Are you running some online games that mefites could join up with easily? Post instructions and your schedule here!
posted by odinsdream to MetaFilter-Related at 8:35 PM (27 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

So far we've played Bracketeering, Fibbage, Survive the Internet, Tee K.O. and Trivia Murder Party. All of them work really well online and even support audience participation if you aren't in the main group of players. You can search YouTube for these game names plus "gameplay" to get a feel for what they're like.
posted by odinsdream at 8:53 PM on March 31

I love trivia and I'd love to play, but 8:30pm in that time zone is 2:30am here. If there is anything organised at a time I'm awake, count me in!

Our university board games society have been doing something similar via Board Game Arena, which has been fun!
posted by winterhill at 3:45 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]

Have you had issues with lag? I tried using twitch for a Jackbox game with my coworkers, and one or two people had so much lag that even Drawful was difficult. We didn't try ones that have more substantial time components like Trivia Murder Party.
posted by tofu_crouton at 5:14 AM on April 1

I've been tweaking settings and got the lag down to a few seconds, it seems.
posted by odinsdream at 5:17 AM on April 1

Do we have a "virtual" option for meetups yet?
posted by Karmakaze at 6:12 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]

winterhill: If there's sufficient interest I'd be glad to run other times that might be more convenient for the rest of the world. I'm hoping some folks might help share the worldwide load though :D
posted by odinsdream at 6:33 AM on April 1

I just bought Party Pack 4 and have had good luck playing with friends via Zoom and Discord. Hadn’t thought to try Twitch yet, but it’s an interesting thought! I’ll still be “at work” (or rather, doing work things at home) at 8:30 CDT, but if there’s a slightly later version, I’d try. Maybe I’ll host!
posted by Alterscape at 7:45 AM on April 1

Karmakaze - yes, there's an online-meetup option in IRL now (thanks frimble!).
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:54 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]

Alterscape: feel free to join whenever you can, we've been playing various games for about 2 hours.
posted by odinsdream at 8:07 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]

Twitch definitely makes Jackbox tricky due to the delay. If viewers' internet connections are fast enough they can put the stream into "low latency" mode to reduce the lag. Jackbox also has a "Streaming Mode" IIRC that increases the time limits for drawing/answering/voting/etc so playing over delayed streams works better.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:17 AM on April 1

Ya my method is to enable extended timers, use a VPN, configure OBS for low-latency mode (prefers to drop frames instead of extending the delay), configure the bitrate low, use a lower resolution and also turn on Twitch's native low latency mode. If viewers are using a Twitch app or Chrome they will have close to real time experiences.
posted by odinsdream at 8:36 AM on April 1

oh hey just posted to the Blue but the new Humble Bundle is all going to charity and includes party pack 2.
posted by lazaruslong at 10:43 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]

Oh, ground rules for my hosted games:

No nazis
No transphobia
No queerphobia
No fat hatred/shaming
No ableism
posted by odinsdream at 10:53 AM on April 1 [10 favorites]

I have the first 5 Jackbox party packs on my PS4, which obviously is fine for physical gatherings, but I'm trying to puzzle out a way to get it streaming to my friends and colleagues who DON'T have PS4's. Just film my PS4 screen with my laptop webcam I guess? Any suggestions would be appreciated!
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:16 PM on April 1

I heartily endorse the whole Jackbox streaming thing. I've only done it on Zoom so far which worked actually really well both times; I haven't tried twitch because the lag on streaming seemed like a gamebreaker, but it's great to hear there's an extended delay mode in Jackbox that would help with that stuff.

I kind of like the idea of hosting the occasional round for MeFites, though the player limit means it could be more of an organizational thing if we ended up with a couple dozen folks on the call just to make sure everybody gets a chance to actively play.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:10 PM on April 1

Fwiw several games (all?) support hundreds in the audience voting on stuff, which can be super fun.
posted by odinsdream at 7:55 PM on April 1

cortex - I guess that was sharing your desktop screen rather than recording with a separate device? PS4 apparently lets you stream via Twitch and YouTube but yeah, I reckon the delay would be a bit of a bummer (plus I don't want to have to set up a whole bunch more accounts).
posted by turbid dahlia at 9:32 PM on April 1

If you missed last night's games I'll run them again tonight at 8:30 PM Central. Same place.
posted by odinsdream at 10:04 AM on April 2 [1 favorite]

Yeah, the way I did it was actually host the zoom on one computer which screenshared the Jackbox game running via steam, and participated as another zoom invitee on my iMac. Worked like a charm. I think you could get away with screensharing Jackbox on the same call you're participating on too, but I haven't tried; not sure if the audio from your mic and the audio from the screenshare would mix or if your mic audio would go away.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:20 AM on April 2

I've done this a few different ways.

First time was 2 laptops via Zoom, with the audio from the game getting picked up by the mic of the other laptop. This was ok.

Second time was Discord video chat, with a dedicated computer doing a screen share feeding audio directly into the chat. The audio quality was perfect, and Discord has some good volume options, but because the game only has a single volume option either the music was too loud or the narration was too quiet.

Third time was a single computer with Zoom, with the audio playing over computer speakers and then getting picked up over the mic. Since we didn't have any audio feedback issues, I'm assuming this was pretty quiet, but I was the host so I don't know for certain. I can confirm however that people could see/hear me and the game.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 11:45 AM on April 2 [1 favorite]

In conclusion, video game audio sharing is a land of contrasts.

If I'm bored (I won't be, I'm trying to work as close to full time as possible with a toddler also at home during the day) it'd be interesting to see if the game audio assets could be tweaked to lower the music volume. Then piping audio directly in would work a lot better.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 11:47 AM on April 2 [1 favorite]

I've virtually played Jackbox with friends, and watched some movies too. The way we've done Jackbox is on a PC with Zoom screen sharing - I think the sharing pop up includes a "share computer audio" checkbox? - then playing from a phone or tablet. I think Jackbox has separate music and MC volumes, though only in between games.
posted by Pronoiac at 1:24 PM on April 2

winterhill: If there's sufficient interest I'd be glad to run other times that might be more convenient for the rest of the world. I'm hoping some folks might help share the worldwide load though :D
If someone can give me a little ELI5 on how to make it happen, I'm more than happy to organise something in the evenings for European time zones. I've now got fast internet, so I should be able to stream things if that's a requirement. :)
posted by winterhill at 3:46 AM on April 3 [1 favorite]

If someone can give me a little ELI5 on how to make it happen

1. Download and install Steam:
2. Sign up for a Steam account and log into the Steam client.
3. Search for "Jackbox Party Pack" in the Steam Store, and purchase one of them (the "Party Packs" all have different selections of games but if you want straight-up trivia, get one of the packs that includes "You Don't Know Jack"). You'll have the option to download and install the game after purchase - do that.
3.5 Drawful 2 (kind of like Pictionary with bluffing) is free on Steam right now so grab that as well as/instead of any Jackbox Party Packs.
4. Once the game has installed, go to the Library tab in the Steam client and start the game.
5. Start Zoom and share your screen, making sure to share the computer audio also.
6. Everyone who's playing will need a) to see* your screen via Zoom, and b) a separate internet-enabled device (phone/iPad/tablet/laptop) - no extra app is required for the Jackbox games, they all run through a web browser.

*and hear - how the games work is mostly explained by a narrator.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:58 AM on April 3 [1 favorite]

Regarding You Don't Know Jack, the first Jackbox Party Pack is from 2015 so the popular culture references are a bit dated. Jackbox Party Pack 5 has a newer edition of YDKJ.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 9:01 AM on April 3

search for "Jackbox Party Pack" in the Steam Store,

You should first check the Jackbox Games website store, as the party pack games have been ~50% off for a while. This sale is not available on Steam. If you buy through the Jackbox website you'll get a code with instructions on how to use it in Steam.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 7:21 AM on April 6 [1 favorite]

I haven't hosted a Quiplash game but I've played on Twitch and it seems to work well even with substantial latency. It's essentially turn-based and gives everyone a limited-but-sufficient amount of time to respond.

Sadly a LOT of Quiplash players on Twitch are terrible people so you just have to bail on any game where that's tolerated.
posted by Tehhund at 7:54 AM on April 6

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