“The Contender is a political debate card game that combines the fun of Cards Against Humanity with the realism of fibs, bluster, pandering, grandstanding, bombast, and every logical fallacy you can think of.”
“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.”
“Politics are all about antics, from blowhard rhetoric to orchestrated photo ops and theatrical debates. The Contender capitalizes on the latter.”
In the grand tradition of presidential debates comes a social card game straight from the eagle’s beak of American democracy.
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.
Get a taste of the full Contender experience by downloading this free print and play starter pack. Includes 98 cards: 90 arguments and 8 topics.
The Contender was conceived by a small group of creatives with a penchant for politics, a love of the absurd, and a passion for games.
This campaign began in February 2015 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.
The original rules were based on a traditional deck of cards: 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.
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.
Justin Robert Young is a podcaster and writer. He is very loud and often embarrassing. Justin has loved politics since the year 2000 when he watched his high school science teacher in Florida count pieces of ripped paper to determine who would be the leader of the free world. Only in America!
Guts & Glory is an Oakland based design studio that specializes in building brands and subtly altering the course of history via typographic nuance. Politics informs everything they do, whether it's debating the merits of Pantone reds or filibustering for the use of an ampersand.
The first game John made was Presidential-opoly. Players traversed this land of opportunity, buying states for their votes. Fortunately for John, Hasbro didn't sue 5th graders for their social studies projects. Fast forward to now, he has been able to come up with a few ideas on his own.
We want to hear from you! Whether it’s hate mail, love mail, an awesome idea, or an insightful suggestion, let us know what you think.
Got a great idea for a topic card? We want to hear it! Include your name, e-mail address, topic, and question for the candidates.
Will playing The Contender actually make me president?
No, however if you are currently the president and decide to play the game it will NOT make you the Un-President.
I hate politics.
Not technically a question, but don’t worry The Contender is still for you! In fact, most politicians hate politics, they’re just in it for the sweet bumper stickers.
Is this safe for my children?
Aside from the Politically Incorrect deck, which is clearly marked for adults, this game is safe for family game nights and civics classes where the teacher is super cool and drives a Tesla with flames painted on it.
Who am I? Why am I here?
Nice try, Admiral James Stockdale.