Critical Play – Trumped Up Cards

Trumped Up Cards is akin to Apples to Apples, but its theme is a satirical commentary about Donald Trump and the American political system. 


It is designed for 4-8ish players. There are 3 types of cards: white answer cards, blue question cards, and trump cards. Players collect blue question cards, trying to play white answer cards from their hand that they think the judge will find most entertaining. An added layer to this game is the fact that each blue question card has either a “V”,  “O”, “T”, or “E” on it. The object of this game is to collect one of each so that your cards spell out “VOTE” instead of simply aiming to collect a specific number of cards to win. I really liked this addition as it plays into the branding and theme while differentiating itself from other games like it.


Trump cards act as an additional twist that can be used to change mechanics in the middle of play. This introduces novelty, in a similar way that Fluxx does, thus keeping players engaged and making each time you play a slightly different experience.


This game creates fellowship because I would argue the main objective really isn’t winning but instead is having fun by creating ridiculous combinations that make people laugh. With a game like this, it is important for players to “read the room” and do their best to be aware of potential sensitivities while playing. Honestly, it might be good to have some sort of disclaimer in the rules or on the box to remind players that there are a lot of things in the game that may be taken as really offensive or hurtful or inappropriate. Expression is also an important type of fun experienced when playing this game. Each player gets to express themselves through their role as a judge as well as their role as player each round. Part of the strategy that emerges is learning each person’s preferences so that you can play a card they will pick when they are judging. Players also get the opportunity to express themselves further by defending their choice of card and trying to convince the judge of the round to select their card.


Another interesting strategy that emerges is how to optimize card play in order to make sure you are collecting one of each of the letters in “VOTE”. It was interesting to have to conserve my supply of really good cards and save them to make sure I could use them to try and get the blue answer cards that had the letters that I was missing. Another layer of this strategy unfolded as well: I might choose to play a really good card to try and win a “V” card even if I already had one if I noticed that another opponent only needed a “V” to win. 


Overall, it was a good experience to play a game in the genre of the game my team and I are working on. I really enjoyed observing the feature of having to collect cards to spell “VOTE” as it added strategy to the game where it was lacking before as well as the trump cards that added some spice and variation to the game.

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