CITIZEN The Game
A reality-based tabletop game for 2 to 4 players featuring a robust 879-card library.
CITIZEN The Game
A reality-based tabletop game for 2 to 4 players featuring a robust 879-card library.
Thank you to all of our backers and supporters who have followed CITIZEN. Because of the community you have helped us build, we now have new contacts and opportunities to get this game printed and in the hands of fellow citizens. We won't stop until then. If you would like to stay updated with the progress of CITIZEN, join our mailing list at citizenthegame.com and stay in touch on social media. For now, we press on.
- Gray, Steve, Amber, Ben, and the rest of the CITIZEN Team
Whether you’re new here or familiar with us and our previous campaign, first of all we want to say welcome! We’re so excited to be back on Kickstarter, giving you the opportunity to be one of the first to own CITIZEN. We continue to believe that the time has never been better for a message that encompasses over 200 years’ worth of great Americans who fought for great change. And so we press on.
When the revolutionaries who created our nation gave the power to We the People, little did they know that they were also crafting the framework for a challenging board game that would emerge more than two centuries later. We proudly offer CITIZEN, a gaming experience for novice and aficionado alike that allows you to summon the power of the forces, faces, and fates that built America, and continue to build it today.
Click here to view our full rulebook.
How to Play: Part 1
How to Play: Part 2
CITIZEN is a heavyweight, with 879 cards weighing in at five and a half pounds. We have made the conscious decision to produce the game in the United States with Delano Service located in Battle Creek, Michigan.
This First Edition is all-inclusive. You get everything we make. No expansions, no rare cards, nothing else to buy. You get the whole thing. With the volume of unique material, the opportunities for repeated play are vast.
The 64-card Cause card library covers the full spectrum of partisan positions on 28 different front-page issues. Each Cause card challenge level is balanced to its actual support or opposition in the real Congress, as described below. A wide selection of challenge levels makes CITIZEN enjoyable for novice and aficionado alike.
The 224-card Citizen deck is balanced across four suits, 28 issues, and five levels of partisanship, coded for quick play with a three-tier icon library. The play options made possible with this deck will thrill the strategist in you. In addition, thanks to thousands of hours of research, the historic contents of each card will inform you. Card subjects are not only real and accurate, but authentically matched to the specific impacts they create in game play.
56 Circumstance cards, balanced across all Cause options, will keep you and your opponents on your toes with unpredictable scandals, calamities, and other forms of chaos.
535 Congress Cards. We knew we wanted CITIZEN play to be driven by something other than dice. What better way to move your Cause forward than with the real Congress? In CITIZEN, just like in Washington, each member’s votes are directed by their actual voting records and contributor obligations. We thought you’d want to know why they vote the way they do. CITIZEN play gives you the pleasure of beating them at their own game. It’s a lot of cards. And when you get into a four-player Ultimate Cause session, you’ll be glad you have them.
Besides, we didn’t want to have to deal with any Senators whining because we left them out.
We want CITIZEN to amuse you. To connect you to others. To give you perspective and keep you on trend. We want CITIZEN to educate, stimulate, and inspire you. That’s a lot to ask from a game. We think CITIZEN delivers.
So why $59? Because we couldn’t leave anything out. And we wanted more than anything to put CITIZEN where it belongs – in your hands.
CITIZEN comes with a variety of strategic variations that will enhance gameplay and satisfy even the most seasoned gamers. Variations include:
- Multi-Play Hands: During your turn, if you construct a hand that contains both an “advance” and a “hinder” impact (any two different card combinations from the Impact Chart, one that advances your Cause and another that hinders an opponent), both may be played in the same turn. You choose which order you resolve the impacts.
- Defend Against Attack: In the very likely event that you are attacked by an opponent’s Citizen hand play, you can immediately counter the attack if you can produce a Citizen hand with the same icon match but of opposite support (pro/anti) of the hand attacking your Cause.
- Ultimate Causes: Ultimate Causes represent the issues that Congress is very unlikely to pass against itself. Ultimate Causes are pairs of Causes that must be passed in sequence as indicated. To win an Ultimate session, you must pass both paired Causes, one after the other.
- Collaborative Sessions: In a four-player game, pairs of players can team up to promote a single agenda – four people in two teams, with two two-Cause agendas, and two play pieces. Players, seated side-by-side in teams, independently build and draft their own Citizen Card decks. On each turn, players in the same team collaborate to construct a single hand for their team’s turn. Play alternates between teams and players replenish their hands as previously detailed.
- Heightened Chaos: To increase randomness, before play begins, cull the Circumstance Card deck of all cards that contain suits (p2) not in play during the session.
Each card in the game has been researched and balanced across four suits, 28 issues, and five levels of partisanship, all represented in our three-tier icon library.
All of the people and events depicted in CITIZEN have been researched to the best of our ability from multiple and diverse sources. It is our intention that the interaction and impact of these ideas, people, and events remain in your hands. We did our best to check our politics at the door.
We hope you enjoy playing as much as we have loved researching and refining it over the past 10+ years. Play with friend or foe. Fight for an issue you love or loathe. Play with integrity, or do whatever it takes to win. Play to learn something new, settle a feud, or simply come together for some fun in the company of your fellow citizens.
CITIZEN was brought to life by game designers Steve Barger and Gray Smith. They were inspired to create CITIZEN more than a decade ago after a grueling stretch of highly publicized Congressional gridlock. Smith, a public media executive by profession, wanted to shine some light on who pulls the government strings by creating a set of baseball-style trading cards for each member of Congress, with voting stats and major campaign contributors. When he showed a sample to longtime friend Barger, a global video producer and project manager, Barger said, “A good idea, but you should make it move.” And so we did.
The team at Kertis (Amber VanDyke, Ben Kemble, Stephen Kertis, Brett Marshall, Amber Garvey) in Louisville, Kentucky were responsible for the project management, art direction, design, and marketing of CITIZEN.
The Apotheosis of George Washington from the rotunda of the United States Capitol used by permission from the Architect of the United States Capitol for educational purposes. No position, affiliation, or endorsement is intended or implied by the Architect of the Capitol or the United States Congress.
Rules and industry consultation provided by Chris Currie.
A portion of proceeds from future production will be directed to support organizations that provide political transparency.
CITIZEN is in no way affiliated with the United States government or anyone in it. We’re just a couple of citizens ourselves. We’ve spent the past ten years creating CITIZEN as a literary work in game format, to be an entertaining educational resource that dynamically demonstrates the brilliance of our founders through the real workings of the legislative branch of our government.
We made our best effort to check our own politics at the door. Our intent is to represent all conceivable positions on a wide number of contemporary issues, and to leave the opinions to our players. We’re interested in creating a platform that creates informed conversation about your thoughts and opinions. Any perceptions of bias are unintended.
While CITIZEN contains factual information about real people, entities, and events, the interactions and outcomes of CITIZEN play are completely hypothetical. No sponsorship, affiliation, endorsement, or position is intended or implied from the factual information provided about the persons and entities depicted in CITIZEN.
The information that appears on the cards for members of Congress is factual, based on the tenure of each member, his or her actual voting record from the previous session, and a small sampling of the industries represented by companies that contributed to the members’ most recent election. In the case of a new member, “non-raging” partisan status was assigned. CITIZEN in no way claims or implies any actual position any member may have on any issue.
Other people and events depicted in CITIZEN appear based on the researched impact of each at a given time in history. The icons and impacts that appear on each card are based on our best efforts at accuracy – any interpretations are our own. Absent any partisan documentation, a null symbol ( “O” ) appears. Just as with the Congress, no assumptions are made or implied regarding any person’s actual political positions or beliefs. Many of the people and events depicted in CITIZEN had impact far beyond what we could capture in a game and still keep it fun.
Any errors, omissions, or misinterpretations in CITIZEN are ours alone and unintentional.
At no point in modern political times have Americans been more divided, and we believe that basic civic ignorance is the primary dividing factor. We hope CITIZEN can be a gathering place to stimulate informed conversation, impart some much-needed knowledge about how our democracy works, and bring people back together for some good old-fashioned fun.
– Steve Barger and Gray Smith
Risks and challenges
We are first-time game designers. The version of CITIZEN that you will hold in your hands is the culmination of about ten years of research and development, and a partnership with a team of designers and creative directors in order to present you with the best possible game. After six different prototypes and innumerable test plays, we are delivering a game that is thoroughly vetted for entirely balanced and strategic gameplay.
Our game is proudly designed and produced in the United States. While the common industry practice is to manufacture overseas, we knew CITIZEN had to be made in America.
When we began CITIZEN, no one could have predicted the rancor of our current times. As a result, we know that at first glance some find our theme to be counter to their desire for the escape that many games offer.
CITIZEN isn’t called “Congress” or “The Presidency”. It is meant to demonstrate the power held by those who tirelessly fight for the issues that matter to them, and make history along the way.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (27 days)