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In the grand tradition of presidential debates comes a social card game straight from the eagle’s beak of American democracy.
In the grand tradition of presidential debates comes a social card game straight from the eagle’s beak of American democracy. Get your copy today.
In the grand tradition of presidential debates comes a social card game straight from the eagle’s beak of American democracy. Get your copy today.
2,698 backers pledged $142,551 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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The Contender: The Game of Political Debate

$142,551

2,698

"Politics are all about antics, from blowhard rhetoric to orchestrated photo ops and theatrical debates. The Contender capitalizes on the latter. Think of it as Cards Against Humanity meets the campaign trail, with a didactic angle." - FastCo. Design

"Just as Cards Against Humanity revolutionized Apples to Apples, a new game is revolutionizing Cards Against Humanity by sprinkling in classic political tropes to build a world of hilarious debate possibilities." - The Daily Dot

The Contender is a social card game inspired by the vim and vigor of a real presidential debate. To win, you must use facts, attacks and distracts to convince the Moderator that you are fit to lead the free world. In the same genre as Apples to Apples and Cards Against Humanity, the deck brings you hundreds of one-liners based on real presidential quotes that you'll combine to beat your opponents in the debate of the century. 

No political knowledge or improv skills necessary. Players take turns debating an issue drawn from a deck of Topic cards by combining the phrases on the Argument cards to create the most convincing or entertaining argument.

The game was created by John Teasdale and Justin Robert Young and designed by Meg Paradise and Faun Chapin of Guts & Glory.

If you're into card games, politics, or nonsensical banter, please help us make this game a reality. It is truly a bipartisan solution to an entertaining evening.

With amber waves of grain, 
- John, Justin, Meg & Faun

Humble Beginnings

This campaign began seven months ago with Justin and John: game designers, friends, and fans of political theatre. Justin approached John with the idea to make a game that is easy to learn and lasts around fifteen minutes. John had been pondering a game that sounds like a debate when played. Twenty minutes and two burritos later, they had a theme: Presidential Debate. 

Here are the first notes from our initial meeting. We play-tested the original mechanics with regular playing cards.

These were the original rules: Spades beat Hearts beat Diamonds beat Spades. High numbers beat low numbers of the same suit. Much less fun than the new rules.
These were the original rules: Spades beat Hearts beat Diamonds beat Spades. High numbers beat low numbers of the same suit. Much less fun than the new rules.

After testing this mechanic, we created a prototype, exchanging traditional suits with the three pillars of debate: stating Facts, Distracting the audience from your opponent's facts, and Attacking your opponent.

These are the prototype designs by John and Justin.
These are the prototype designs by John and Justin.

While testing this version of the game, we had the good fortune to pique the interest of Meg and Faun of Guts & Glory, an Oakland based design studio that specializes in building brands. Their work has been featured by numerous news outlets such as the Melissa Harris-Perry Show, New York Magazine, and Time Magazine, so we knew they would help us take The Contender to the next level. They helped hone the flow of the game, ditching the suits and numbers in lieu of a more free-form debate structure to make it fun for gamers and non-gamers alike. In designing visuals for The Contender, they drew inspiration from the vast visual language of mid-20th century political campaigns. With that final ring of the liberty bell, The Contender was born.

Reward Levels

Stretch Goals

3,000 backers: Base deck gets an additional 50 cards. 
Backer PAC Challenge: thecontender.us/backerPAC

The Campaign Trail 

08/01/2015: Funded! So psyched to make our goal as fast as we did, but that was just the beginning, now it's time to make everyone's game better. 

08/10/2015: 300% and our first stretch goal of 1,000 backers unlocked (+30 cards)! 

08/21/2015: 1000 Twitter Follower Stretch Goal unlocked (+4 Trump Cards)!

08/25/2015: 2,000 backer stretch goal unlocked (+50 cards)!
      

A History of Success

Each member of our team has successfully fulfilled a Kickstarter in the past. John created a card game called Stranger Danger, Justin funded his podcast FSL Tonight, and Meg and Faun helped run a campaign for a bike trunk called the Buca Boot.

Risks and challenges

There are no risks in this campaign and very few challenges. The game has been completed and is ready to be sent to the printer. We are printing the game through a high quality manufacturer that we've worked with in the past and just need to know how many copies to produce.

In addition, we have kept the reward tiers as simple as possible to streamline fulfillment and get you playing the game as quickly as possible.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    THE CONTENDER DECK

    One copy of The Contender in a custom box delivered to your door in all of its glory.

    To order multiple decks, just add $25 for each extra deck you'd like. (extra shipping charges may apply)

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    THE POLITICALLY INCORRECT ADD-ON

    A copy of The Contender base game plus a pack of the cards we had to remove from the family friendly version.

    To order multiple decks, just add $35 for each extra deck you'd like. (extra shipping charges may apply)

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    THE 2016 EXPANSION DECK

    One copy of The Contender in a custom box plus the 2016 Expansion Deck that will be created during the 2015-2016 presidential debates. (expansion ships separately)

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    75 backers
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    Pledge $55 or more About $55

    THE PRESIDENTIAL PACKAGE

    For those who want it all. You’ll receive one copy of The Contender with the Politically Incorrect Add-On. You will also receive the 2016 Expansion Deck that will be created during the 2015-2016 presidential debates. (expansion ships separately)

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    791 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    THE COLLECTOR'S EDITION

    Everything in the previous tier plus an additional copy of The Contender signed by all four of us AND a custom red card with YOUR NAME as the topic. And a set of campaign buttons by Guts & Glory!

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    Limited 97 backers
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Funding period

- (30 days)