UPDATE: as a little added extra, when the Kickstarter is successfully funded every single one of our Backers will be asked which candidate they’d like to see included in the finished game. We’ll be including all the major candidates of course - Clinton, Sanders, Trump, Rubio, Carson, Cruz, Fiorina and Jeb, plus Cthulhu, Nyarlathotep, GW Bush Jnr, the other Clinton, Palin, Washington, Lincoln, Nixon and JFK - but we want you to help us with the rest. Any pledge will give you access to the vote, so join us and help #WonkTheVote!
You as the player take on the role of a campaign manager trying to get your candidate into the White House. However the road to power in Washington DC is no smooth path. Each player must build up a team of slick political operatives, deploy a host of dirty (and clean) tricks, and indulge in general skullduggery of your opponents to ensure your man or girl-man wins the presidency.
‘Elections of US America Election: The Card Game’ is designed by award-winning game designer Tomas Rawlings, who has over 15 years of industry experience working on everything from pen & paper RPGs to Star Wars and original IPs that have been published on console, mobile and desktop, so he knows his sh*t. However he’s a limey and can’t be trusted to game-up the greatest democracy in the world, so working alongside him is Rebecca Schoenkopf, owner, editrix and publisher of Wonkette. She was in newspapers for a very long time, where she wrote dick jokes about politics before blogs even existed. Joining them is a crack team of professional writers, game artists, gamers and other creative types from Wonkette & Auroch Digital. Together they will be making the political game to end all games - with you!
If successful we’ll be creating the rest of the game through to April (more art, consulting with backers, playtesting and balancing) then off to the printers in May so we can start shipping in June, so you’ll have it ready for July when the big parties start the national conventions.
Each player (this is a 2-6 player game) picks the candidate they are going to manage (we’re aiming to get a bunch of the 2016 ones in; Hillary, Trump, Bernie Sanders, Rubio, Rand, Carson, Carly Fiorina etc!). Each candidate has unique strengths and weaknesses. Then the player is dealt a hand of ‘Wonk Cards’; these can be new team members or dirty tricks to play on other players. Then we’re ready to get electin’! There are 50 states plus Puerto Rico and DC to battle over. Each state has a bunch of votes up for grabs and the players take it in turns to either grab votes, stab each other in the back or build up their campaign machine. The game moves state to state until they've all been decided and that in turn decides who gets to be President!
The game design has a great balance between quick tactics and longer term strategy. It’s designed to be great fun to play in a group of friends. Not only that, but they are multifunctional, should you just wanna play Poker or Snap. Each State card also has playing card designs on ‘em, so you can go for a round of Texas Hold’em with the cards too.
There is more detail on how the game rules work for you Game Wonks below, but don’t worry if reading instructions is not your thing, as it will come with a quick video showing how it all works so you can be up and playing in no time at all with minimal brain-power expenditure!
Plus it makes a great gift for your gamer niece or nephew who is ignoring you to play Call of Warcraft on their Playtendo or whatever.
Remember - we've got the core rules worked out but are keen to get more ideas on how we can polish them!
Okay let’s get detailed… the game is fought over states - the game has 52 ‘State Cards’ in total (the 50 states & Puerto Rico and DC). Start with turning over the first ‘State Card’; this tells you how many Vote Cards to put on the table up for grabs. Each player can then try to grab some votes or play a Wonk Card. Players take turns like this until all of the Vote Cards have been grabbed. Whoever has the most votes wins that State and the Electoral College votes that come with it (yes, I know it’s not just ‘most votes wins,’ but hey we didn’t design the political system, we’re just gaming it!). Rock the vote though all 50 states and the person with the most Electoral College votes wins the White House and gets to sit on the iron throne with the nuclear football by their side.
You just buy ‘em. Most money wins. Only joking! That’s reality - in the game the voting system is pretty simple to get; Voter Cards can be either Democratic, Independent or Republican with a number to indicate how many votes they represent. For example '5 Republican Votes', '8 Independent Votes', '10 Democrat Votes'.
Each candidate has an Appeal Rating to the different sides of the political spectrum; Democrats, Independents or Republican voters. A player can grab as many Voter Cards from one side as their appeal allows. Let’s take an example; So Player 1 is a Republican Tea Party candidate with an appeal rating of Democrat 2, Independent 5 & Republican 10. His opponent, Player 2 is a Berkeley Liberal candidate and she has an appeal rating of Democrat 10, Independent 5 & Republican 2.
On the table for this state are five Voter Cards; '5 Republican Votes', '8 Independent Votes', '10 Democrat Votes', '2 Democrat Votes' & '4 Republican Votes'. So our Tea Party guy in his turn could either take the '5 Republican Voters' & '4 Republican Votes' cards or the '2 Democrat Votes'. He does not have the appeal to get the '8 Independent Votes' or '10 Democrat Votes'. So why would he ever not just get the greater number of Republican votes? As his opponent has high Democrat appeal and much lower Republican appeal, by grabbing the '2 Democratic Votes' in the first turn, he stops her getting them and can then mop up the Republican votes after that, as nobody has the appeal for the '8 Independent Votes'. He'll end up with a total of 11 Votes and she'll have only 10 so he'll win the State. Go team Red! (In Britain Red is the left wing colour and blue the Right wing shade. It’s super confusing! Also in Britain, conservatives are like the US liberals or something, nobody knows.)
You can use it as a regular deck of cards, because we love you!
So how does a player turn the tide when their appeal is low? It’s politics; via money and tricks! If a player chooses to forgo grabbing some votes they can play a Wonk Card. In the long term, this may pay dividends. So let's say our Berkeley Liberal plays a 'Speechwriter' Wonk Card. This stays in play for the rest of the game and boosts her candidate's words n’stuff, thereby boosting appeal. In this case the Speechwriter boosts ‘Independent’ by +3. She plays this card in round one and so has the appeal to get the '8 Independent Votes' in round two. Now when the round completes the Player 2 has 18 votes to Player 1’s 11 votes and wins the State. Go team blue!
Wonk Cards get refreshed either when a new State Card is played (so once current one is done) where the player can add new Wonk Cards to a max of 5. Player one will have his own stash of Wonk Cards to play - some are instants and others need to be played in your turn. There are a huge range of tricks and skullduggery, plus cards that give you rich donors cash to spend. There will be attack ads, SuperPACs, private investigators raking up muck, pet journalists penning hit-pieces, bribes, corporate slush funds, Astroturfing, cats, memes and more. We’re also interested in your ideas as to what cool cards we should have!
There is more; State Cards can have their own quirks as some lean Democrat and some Republican. There are (of course!) Scandal Cards - you get these be either not being able to take a turn (there are no Voter Cards you can pick up) while the state is still being contested, for wanting to get new Wonk Cards during your turn and because, politics. There are going to be lots of these! We’ve also got the key players from the 2016 election cycle and we’ll be using what happens in the next few months as inspiration to add more into the mix!
Yes indeed - as it’s a game we can do what we want! So who does not want to see Cthulhu vs Trump & Clinton in 2016? We’ll be chucking a bunch of extra candidates into the mix - Lord Cthulhu being one of the key ones we HAVE to include. If things go well, there will be more Great Old Ones…
For higher tiers you’ll get extra ‘Game Modes’! These are additional rules and cards that allow you to play in new ways. There is a special 2 player mode, ‘Incumbent/Challenger’. A 4+ player mode, ’Primaries First’ and more! This version of the game is a limited edition. Nice.
1st amendment people! We’re sayin’ it how we see it! Plus we’re using Creative Commons images as the base, whose creator has kindly given all of us the rights to remix as we wish, even commercially.
Risks and challenges
We’ve been developing the game for a while now, so have bulk of the system down and working. We’re keen to get ideas from backers, but that does not mean we don’t have more than enough to go to the card-game printing men right now! The challenge is going to be editing the ideas down to a manageable amount.
Auroch Digital is an experienced game developer and we’ve shipped a bunch of well-received titles. We’ve been going for over 5 years and have a wealth of talent and resources to make sure this not only happens, but happens right. As individuals we’ve backed lots of crowd-funded projects before so know what we feel worked and what didn’t. We’re used to interacting with our fellow gamers so we’ll keep you in the loop.
Wonkette is an OG political blog, around since 2004. They have an existing mail-order part of what they do, shipping t-shirts and mugs, so they are well equipped to handle getting the game into your hands. Also, they don’t like to brag, but they are the funniest women and men on the Internet. Just kidding, they do like to brag, and they do it all the time. While Wonkette’s publisher is personally stuffing your game (and your T-shirt?) into little packages, she’s also running the website’s staff of five and personally approving the site’s coarse, vulgar jokes at Donald Trump’s expense. Mailing stuff out is nice and brain-dead and a zen way to end her day of calling people names on the Internet.
We’ve got the printer all lined up and know all we need to. Basically it’s all ready to go - we just need your backing and ideas (if you want) to take it over the finish line!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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