People Aren’t Giving Enough Fucks About The Coolest Political Board Game on Kickstarter
I made perhaps the coolest political board game ever and most people could give zero fucks. That’s not enough fucks.
On November 9th, I woke up to the worst political nightmare a liberal could imagine. So did you. On election day, voters slammed the door on the progressive vision of America. All hopes of a country that stands up for the underdog, guarantees dignity to the marginalized, constrains economic disparity, and prioritizes ecological sustainability were kicked to the curb for another day. Enough voters were so jaded with politics as usual that they elected a grossly unqualified, corrupt, egomaniacal swindler along with a Congress and Supreme Court that will provide few checks on the executive branch.
During the primaries, I campaigned hard for the honest, straight-shooting, visionary Senator from Vermont. I was more than a little disappointed with the nominee the primary voters chose, but had no trouble distinguishing the poster child for politics as usual from pure evil personified, so I was rooting for Hillary in the general, bigly. It broke my heart to see voters from the heartland choose bigoted nationalism as a substitute for Bernie’s populism and label Hillary the crooked one, even when compared to Trump, a conman extraordinaire. I was demoralized; so depressed I couldn’t get out of bed for three days.
It was on day three that my inspiration returned, in the unlikely form of a board game called Basket of Deplorables. The idea came from someplace other than my every day consciousness. Perhaps my deep malaise had made me delirious. I’m a criminal defense lawyer and hardcore politics junkie. I am not, or at least was not, a game-maker. However, the idea was enough to get me up and doing something, in this case creating a game that might bring humor and hope to others feeling discouraged.
Aesthetically speaking, I love the colorful phrase, Basket of Deplorables. However, I have no interest in sowing further division between us common folk on opposite ends of the political divide. So I repurposed that ill-fated utterance to point away from average Trump supporters and towards those complicit at the highest levels.
In my game, the Deplorables are caricatures of the worst of Trump’s inner circle: Bannon, Pruitt, Sessions, Putin, etc. Players compete as Bernie Sanders, Barack Obama, Elizabeth Warren, or Hillary Clinton for the chance to defeat Trump in 2020. Along the way they navigate salacious scandals, compete in improvised debates, answer political trivia questions, and fill their Baskets with Deplorables, which they later use to take down Trump. The dozens of people that play-tested the game gave it great reviews. Laughter abounded and sunken spirits were lifted, but still the deficit of fucks reflected by the sorry state of the Kickstarter campaign is the reality I’m left to contend with.
You can’t please everyone, but you can displease almost everyone. The Trumpanzees couldn’t distinguish the phrase as originally coined from the phrase as repurposed for the game. The crude trolling from that un-wiped asshole of the population was expected, and they did not disappoint.
Then there’s the Bernie or Bust folks who dissed the game for its inclusion of Hillary as one of the good guys. As flawed of a candidate as she was, Hillary did battle with Trump and got 65 million votes. She endured three debates with that cretin and was called a nasty woman and a cunt by people who wanted to Lock Her Up! Lock Her Up! I think we get a bit carried away making monsters out of competing candidates. I may have done the same in the heat of the primaries, but I got over it. Am I really not Bernie enough for you? In fact, I’m so Bernie, I’m kinda like Bernie, as far as this goes.
On cue, the Hillary supporters negged because I had campaigned against her and then used her words and image for my own purposes. Sorry, but Hillary Clinton is about as deep into the public domain as it gets and I don’t need your permission to include her in my board game or to use the choice words she contributed to pop culture.
Each candidate in the game gets taken to task where they deserve it and kudos where they deserve that too. In real life, or in this case the imaginary world of a board game, people aren’t all good or evil, but somewhere in between. Please people, grow a sense of humor and learn how to do nuance. With Republicans gang-raping every orifice of democracy and half the country unable to do a simple fact-check, we have no time for these petty divisions on our side of the aisle.
It may seem silly, but seeing a creative project through to some degree of reality has been empowering and self-affirming and led me to take further steps down the path of most resistance. In moments of self-doubt I questioned whether a board game was anything more than a frivolous distraction. But after working my personal brand of progressivism into every aspect of the game, and infusing it with humor, creativity, education, and fun, I’m proud of the result and happy to offer it as my small contribution to the culture of resistance. Direct resistance is easily recognized and highly encouraged, but it always comes supported by art and culture. If you can’t game to it, it’s not my revolution!
I sunk a bunch of money and months of my life into this game. I decided to run a Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund its first production run. I thought my fellow lefties would flock to the site to support this endeavor. But, after two weeks, I’m only at 40% of my break-even funding goal, and I’ve exhausted my network of friends and family who make up over half the backers of the game. It seems I had overestimated the public’s appetite for a light-hearted take on the abysmal state of politics.
I rue the day I decided to run a Kickstarter campaign. Crowdfunding turns you into a nagging little spamming, self-promoting bitch. I have great ideas, but I’m no good at marketing them. I can’t stand promoting my own self-interest no matter how good the product. This very article is a perfect example. I usually seek to add some value beyond simply plugging my project and I hope I’ve done so here, but my primary motive for writing is to get this thing in front of some new eyeballs. Did it work?
During the beta-testing of the game, Elizabeth Warren defeated Trump in 2020 a statistically improbable amount of times. That would be just fine by me. I’ll keep bringing people there, one game at a time. And no, that’s not all I’m gonna do. It’s just what got me out of bed and got me started.
The game is fun to play, hilarious, educational, and even cathartic. Check it out for yourself. I hope it gives you laughter and inspiration!
10% of any profits will go to organizations protecting the vulnerable and pushing back against the Trump agenda.
Here’s some of the media coverage about the game: