This article originally appeared on The Oakland Press.
Fibbage may be the single most fun experience I’ve had lying to my friends.
Fibbage, a new Xbox One game from the makers of You Don’t Know Jack, came out of nowhere when it was introduced on Amazon Fire TV earlier this year and has become my go-to party game. Between two and eight people can play it at once, but controllers are not necessary. Instead, each player uses a smartphone or tablet to log into the Fibbage website once the game is set up. No complex networking is needed, each player only has to enter a code displayed on your TV screen to join the same game “room.” Then the fun begins.
The easiest way to describe Fibbage is as a virtual version of the classic board game, Balderdash. The object of the game is to come up with the most convincing lie to fool your friends. In this case, each question in the game will present a sentence with a blank in it, such as “Anatidaephobia is the fear that somewhere in the world, a _______ is watching you.”
Players will then be instructed to “enter a lie” on their phones or tablets. So a possible answer could be “government agent” or “television audience” or anything the players can imagine. Once everyone has their answers locked in or time has run out, Fibbage will display everyone’s lies on screen, along with the correct answer, and maybe with a couple of their own lies thrown in as well. Everyone then votes on which answer they think is correct.
Finally, everyone’s fake answers and the real answer are revealed. Players are awarded points for choosing the correct answer, but also they get points for each other player that chooses their fake answer. This works because frequently the answers are so ridiculous that they make players’ lies seem plausible. However, it also helps to have a funny group of friends to come up with smart responses to each question. Anatidaephobia is the fear that a “duck” is watching you, by the way.
Fibbage takes all the humor of a game like Balderdash and streamlines it. Long periods of downtime that would be required for each person to write down an answer, collect the answers, and then read them instead happen in a matter of seconds, and with no need for paper and pencil.
While you’re supposed to pick the answer you think is correct, players can also give Facebook-style “likes” to answers they thought were clever or funny. These are tallied up at the end of the game, and the player with the most receives a secondary “Thumbs Cup” prize. This is great if you are occasionally paralyzed by indecision and can only think to enter the word “butts” for every answer.
Everything is presented in an irreverent, game show style manner. If you are familiar with Cookie Masterson, the sarcastic host of You Don’t Know Jack, then you’ll already know Fibbage’s master of ceremonies. The atmosphere is fun, if the subject matter can get a little risque, depending on your group of friends. Children are probably not the target audience, though adults are just as capable of entering the word “butts.”
It’s all great fun, but only when it works correctly. In my time playing Fibbage with friends, we all experienced numerous instances of our phones seemingly locking up during voting or lie-entering phases of the game, something that can be especially frustrating if you have a good lie in mind. We had more success after we disconnected our phones from the wireless network to use our data plans, but occasional disconnects still disrupted the flow of the game.
The game costs $6.99, so the price is extremely reasonable for a good way to entertain your guests. The bigger barrier to entry is getting a large group together, making sure that every guest has a phone or tablet with internet access, and then hoping that there are no disconnects.
Fibbage from Jackbox Games is currently available as a downloadable game for Xbox One and for the Amazon Fire TV and will soon be available for Playstation 3 and Playstation 4.