30 January 2017
Alternative Facts and #FreeMelania among titles attempting to ride the zeitgeist on crowdfunding site
Donald Trump’s new occupation of the White House as American president continues to spark action and reaction around the world, and games designers are no exception.
A number of tabletop creators have used the debate and continuing interest around Trump and his introduction of new policies – ranging from the repeated vow to build a wall between the US and Mexico (at the expense of the latter country) to the controversial banning and detention of those attempting to enter the country from predominantly Muslim countries.
While Trump’s presidency continues to create shock, fear and disgust both in and outside of the US, it has also given rise to multiple online memes and jokes created at the businessman-turned-leader’s expense.
These include the widespread mockery and criticism of Trump’s poorly-attended inauguration, with inflated audience numbers issued by the president’s media team described as ‘alternative facts’ by counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway.
Another meme has taken First Lady Melania Trump as its target, spawning GIFs, videos and pictures of her vanishing smile as Trump turns away from her.
The memes have now given rise to their own tabletop spin-offs, with ‘alternative facts’ immortalised in not just one, but two different card games launched on Kickstarter. One is essentially a Cards Against Humanity clone, while the other is a Gin Rummy-inspired game of achieving a hand of matching alternative fact cards. Both are yet to reach their targets, looking for $5,000 and $9,876, respectively.
Melania Trump is the focus of the Twitter-friendly #FreeMelania, a ‘take that’ card game from Pround Games that sees players attempting to save the First Lady from her apparent imprisonment by collecting sets of cards to organise tools such as a getaway car, inside man, diversion and security codes. In the deck there is also a literal Trump card, which stops a rival player from winning. At the moment, #FreeMelania has only raised $50 of its $3,000 target.
And of course, it wouldn’t be a notable event without a Monopoly rip-off rearing its head. Trumped: The Board Game takes the classic roll-and-move property management game as its muse, adjusting the rules so that players are fighting to win the presidency by acquiring centres of power instead of locations and purchasing cronies in lieu of houses and hotels (Trump himself not short of a hotel or two, of course). The board game has just over two weeks left to run with the vast majority of its £10,000 goal remaining.
Obviously, these four games are far from the first tabletop titles to attempt to satirise or ride the wave of public attention around Trump’s ascension to the top of the US government – in fact, Kickstarter is full of Trump-related projects, the vast majority of which failed to make their money.
What will be interesting to see is how more designers take discussions and topics that have bubbled to the surface during Trump’s campaigning and his presidency and incorporate them into their games over the next few years – in both subtle and explicit ways.
For the moment, we’ll leave you with this cracker of a Q&A from the Kickstarter page for the Alternative Facts card game:
IS THIS JUST A CYNICAL CASH GRAB TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF CURRENT HEADLINES?
Yes. That's the American Way.