Critical Play 3

Bluffing, Judging & Getting Vulnerable…

My group had the pleasure of playing Trumped Up Cards last week after we finished a brief round of Jenga, and I am ashamed to say that I had the most Blue Cards at the end—not sure what that says about my sense of humor…

Trumped Up Cards is a satirical card game that pokes fun at Donald Trump (and his administration). It is a party game developed by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Reid Hoffman to poke fun at then-presidential candidate Donald Trump.

The game is best played by 4-8 players, who take on the roles of both players and judges, and the target audience is likely to be politically engaged individuals who enjoy political satire and humor. As for the formal elements of the game: each round of the game involves players drawing cards and trying to accumulate the most points by playing cards that represent controversial statements, policies, or personal traits of Trump. The objective is to collect one of each letter card (V, O, T, and E) in order to spell out “VOTE.” Boiled down, the rules of the game involves playing white answer cards from the players’ hands to match blue question cards, with the goal of creating the most entertaining combinations. Players can also use “Trump” cards to change the game mechanics; the game also includes wild cards (which we didn’t get around to) that can change the rules of the game, making it more unpredictable and exciting. Trumped Up Cards takes place within the boundaries of the game rules and the players’ interactions with each other. The outcome of the game is to be the first player to collect one of each letter card to spell out “VOTE.” It involves an element of chance, as players draw cards randomly from the deck & an element of strategy, as players must conserve their supply of good cards, learn each person’s preferences, and optimize their card play to collect one of each letter card. Trumped Up Cards requires players to communicate with each other, either through verbal or nonverbal communication, to defend their choice of card and convince the judge of the round to select their card.

The type of fun in Trumped Up Cards is fellowship, as the game encourages players to engage in political banter and debate while poking fun at Trump and his administration. The humor in the game is often irreverent and politically incorrect, appealing to players who enjoy edgy or subversive humor. Fellowship is a type of fun that refers to the social bonds that are formed among players as they engage in an activity together, a type of fun that arises from shared experiences, cooperation, and mutual support. Trumped Up Cards, as a party game, is designed to encourage this type of fun by providing players with opportunities to connect with one another through laughter, humor, and friendly competition. The dynamics that contribute to fellowship in Trumped Up Cards include the social interactions that take place during gameplay. This type of social bonding is strengthened by the fact that the game rallies players around a common cause. In terms of player behavior while playing, body language and actions can vary depending on the group dynamics and the individuals involved. However, players may exhibit behaviors such as smiling, laughing, high-fiving, and cheering. The mechanics that contribute to fellowship in Trumped Up Cards include the game’s focus on fostering a sense of shared humor and a shared experience.

The game works well because it taps into the cultural zeitgeist, reflecting the contentious and often absurd nature of contemporary politics. It provides a release valve for players to express their frustration or amusement with the political landscape in a fun and engaging way.

One way the game could be improved is by incorporating more strategy elements. While the game is enjoyable and humorous, it lacks depth and can become repetitive over time. By adding more complex gameplay mechanics, the game could appeal to a wider audience and provide a more engaging experience:

1) replace the Blue Card that will be read by the CEO after all players place down their White Cards

2) DIY: write your own White Cards

3) CAH’s Rando Cardrissian: play 1 random White Card per round and assign that to an imaginary player.

When compared to other games in its genre, Trumped Up Cards stands out for its sharp wit and humorous illustrations. The game differentiates itself from other political satire games by using a card game format, which allows for more flexibility and variety in gameplay. In terms of quality, Trumped Up Cards is comparable to other popular political satire games like Cards Against Humanity, although it offers a more specific and topical focus.

In terms of vulnerability, Trumped Up Cards requires players to be open to political satire and irreverent humor. The game’s humor is often politically incorrect and can be offensive to some players, so it is important to consider the sensibilities of the group before playing.

Ultimately, I found Trumped Up Cards to be a fun and engaging card game that offers a unique take on contemporary politics. While the game could benefit from more complex gameplay mechanics, its sharp wit and irreverent humor make it a standout in the political satire genre. Players who enjoy edgy humor and are politically engaged are likely to find Trumped Up Cards to be a fun and entertaining way to engage with the political landscape.

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