I Heart… Quiplash

iheartquiplash1What do you get when you lock eight people in a room with their phones and a game that thinks it’s funny? A whole lot of very innapropriate jokes, a lot of laughter and a large chunk of groans. Oh, and Quiplash. It’s not often that I get the opportunity to see so many of my friends at once, so it is important to make the most of it when I do. Sometimes that means engaging in deep conversations, sometimes that means reading fan fiction as bedtime stories and sometimes that means all playing a game together. Last time we had a shindig, it was Drawful that became the game of choice – a neat little Pictionary-esque experience in which you use your smartphone to draw whatever prompt the game gives, and everyone else has to guess what it is. This time around though, it was another game by developers Jackbox that caught our attention: Quiplash.

Again, making use of smartphones in conjunction with the PS4 – because have you seen how much a PS4 controller costs!? – Quiplash channels a lot of the same sort of ideas as Drawful. Each player – there can be up to eight – is given a pair of prompts to answer. These can be anything from bad movie titles to why the Titanic sunk and, playing over the course of a whole weekend, we never got the same prompts twice. The idea is to answer the questions in the funniest or, if humour isn’t really your speed, smartest ways possible in an attempt to win over the crowd. Why would you need them on your side? Because you’re not the only one to get those prompts. Another person in your group is answering against you, and when your respective answers are shown off, the rest of your peers vote on which they think is the best. Points are awarded according to percentage of the vote and, if there’s a total annihilation, there might even be a Quiplash, good for bonus points.


Round Two is much of the same, though this time it’s for realsies; all points are doubled, even the bonuses. It’s not only possible to go from last to first place, but common. Regularly, during our sessions we found that someone needed a round or two to get their eye in or, in some cases, gauge the room. It’s the final round where things get really interesting though – the whole group is given the same prompt and, once they’re all locked in, three votes. You can choose your favourite of the eight options and spread your votes, or decide that one of the answers is particularly good and worthy or doubling or tripling up on. Yet again points are given on the percentage of the vote and, you guessed it, tripled, but with just a single question to scrap over the values are much smaller. It’s unlikely that any major change in the scoreboard occurs at this point, but it can be the last push someone needs to go from second or third to that coveted first place.

What’s really cool about Quiplash, though, is that engages with more than just its immediate group of players. They’re the only ones that answer the questions, but they’re not the only ones that can vote to portion out the points; anyone who isn’t playing can use their phone to join the audience and vote on each answer, awarding the most popular with an audience-favourite accolade. That’s not all though – their votes are worth just as much as the votes of those who are actively playing, so they can feel equally engaged. Often in our session the audience turned out to be the decider in a close vote or, in one or two cases, single handedly saved an answer from being Quiplashed. It quickly becomes clear that they’re just as valuable as those answering the questions, and you’ll need to make sure to target them too if you’re hoping to do well.

iheartquiplash3Another really nice feature is the ability to join the game or audience from anywhere in the world. All that’s needed is the right URL and room code and you can be a part of the action, even if you’re sitting in Timbuktu while everyone else is playing from Manchester. You might not get the full experience – you will at least not be subjected to the painfully unfunny narrater “Schmitty” – you can still get a large amount of the fun and, if your group is kind enough to stream the action, it should feel like you’re right there, just a bit delayed. We even had someone win from the other side of the country, though they refused to believe that we were telling the truth about their victory.

As much as I loved playing the game though, I do feel like I should make special mention of Schmitty, the game’s narrator, just so you know what you’re getting yourself in for. He consistently falls short of funny, but that doesn’t stop him from trying, so he constantly had us groaning in dismay (come to think of it, that may have been the point). There were occasional flashes of brilliance, like when he registered an opinion on one of our answers, but for the most part we tried to ignore him whenever he popped up.

There were also a couple of features that could have made Quiplash even better. An ability to queue up for the next game while in the audience, for example, would have made it much easier to keep things moving without devolving into an argument about who would sit this round out, or who got the chance to join in. It’s not hard to see how those arguments could ruin the fun for everyone, which would be a massive shame. It would be nice, too, if there was a way to choose which avatar you’d like to be or, like in Drawful, just create one yourself. As it was you were randomly assigned one of eight geometric options and, if you sat a round out or changed the order in which you joined the room, it quickly became confusing to remember which of them you were.


In reality though, Quiplash is just brilliant. It was a wonderful little party game that facilitated us having a laugh together, didn’t judge our rather dark attempts at humour and even engaged with us at times. Sure, we had to learn to ignore Schmitty, but that’s a small price to pay for the hours of fun and terrible jokes that we enjoyed. It might be a simple idea, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun.

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One Comment

  1. Ian Ian says:

    My favourite thing about the game is the level of whimsy it promotes

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