This game is really (missing audio).
I’m a big fan of the Jackbox games, which are often a staple of my (now rare) game nights. I’m also a connoisseur, as I suspect many of you are, of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and RiffTrax. For those unaware, MST3K and RiffTrax are old, usually sci-fi, movies with essentially a running commentary of jokes from three comedians. What the Dub, from Wide Right Interactive, combines these two things into an excellent party game. Like the Jackbox titles, everyone will need a smartphone or tablet, and it supports up to twelve players.
Here’s the setup: everyone watches a short clip from an old movie, PSA, or educational film. Each of these clips will have some dialogue to give some context, and then there will be some obviously-missing audio. The clip ends, and each player looks down at their smartphone. You have 45 seconds to type something funny onto your phone. Once everyone has done that, the game plays each clip with the player’s entries added with text-to-speech automation. After all variations are shown, players vote on which one they liked the best (you cannot vote for your own clip). The more people vote for your entry, the more points you get. By default, there are only five rounds so games go pretty quickly.
The clips are usually excellent setups for jokes and it’s impossible not to get the whole room laughing as the clips are read out. What the Dub is short, uncomplicated, and easy to love; my friends and I really enjoy it. It’s kind of like Cards Against Humanity, but with movie clips.
There are some caveats that are smartphone specific, however, and these have also affected my experience with Jackbox games. First, if your phone goes to sleep at any point during the game, you will be kicked out of the round. You can jump back in by re-typing the room code, but it’s always jarring when it happens. If you’re going to play What the Dub (or any smartphone-assisted party game), turn off Battery Saver and do whatever you have to do to keep the screen on the whole game.
I do find that 45 seconds is not enough time to come up with, and type out, a real zinger. It wasn’t just me with this opinion--all of my friends brought up the time limit. Thankfully, What the Dub does provide a few options, including setting the number of rounds (from 3 to 10), extending the input time (to an impressive 112 seconds, although nothing in between), and even applying a curse word filter. That 112 seconds sounds like a lot, but since the game stop counting down as soon as the last person is done typing, it's not a big deal.
The only other hiccup, which probably can’t be helped, is that if your dub lasts longer than the original clip, the clip will (hilariously) simply freeze until the automated speaker stops talking. This can sometimes lead to some awkward lead-ins if there’s original dialogue after your entry, but can also be used to humorous effect. Of course, like any text-to-speech system, typos and misspellings will be read as normal, so check your work before you send off your entry (if you have time).
What the Dub is a great little party game in the tradition of the Jackbox series, and it will definitely see a lot of play at my house thanks to my own predilections.