I’ve accidentally come up with a game called Hot Take

Jonathan Cresswell
4 min readJan 16, 2017

So occasionally I make dumb internet things. Things like Break Your Own News, Is Justin Bieber on Capital and the BBC Three Generator. Some of these things do well, others less so, but it’s just fun to make them.

Not all ideas get made, thankfully. But I’ve had one idea that I’ve spent a bit long thinking about (well, a day) but probably shouldn’t be made. I thought I’d share it with you in the hope it provides enough entertainment that I feel it doesn’t need to be made, as its purpose is done. Consider this as me getting it out of my system.

So this is my pitch for a brand new party game, it’s Cards Against Humanity meets Just A Minute… Hot Take: The Game!

Don’t worry, this logo was the quickest part of the process.

Your goal: argue the most unnecessary, artificial and contrarian thing you can. However ridiculous the subject. Can your awful views bring in more pageviews than your friends?

How to play

  • ‘Designed’ for four to six players
  • Uses one phone running the game from the website, and scoring on paper
  • Hats with ‘Press’ labels on them are an optional extra but are strongly recommended

In each round, one player takes the role of editor. For each turn in that round, one other player has a go as the writer, and the rest act as commenters for that turn.

The editor uses the highly sophisticated editorial algorithm (well, a randomiser on a website for the game) to generate an article pitch. It has a headline, and three bonus keywords.

The writer then has up to sixty seconds to deliver their ridiculous, attention-seeking commentary — while trying to seamlessly slip in as many of the bonus keywords as possible.

The commenters can object by shouting “STOP PRESS!”, and the countdown is paused. They can challenge for the following rules:

Slow loading: If the writer pauses for more than a few seconds

Off topic: The article no longer reflects the headline

Godwin’s Law: They mentioned Hitler

…or any other house rules you want to add

The editor will decide whether the challenge is successful or not. If it is, that’s the end of the writers turn. If not, the countdown continues and the writer carries on.

The writer scores 1k pageviews for each second they spoke — and get an extra SEO bonus of 5k pageviews for each keyword they managed to successfully work into their argument.

It’s then the turn of another player to be the writer. When all commenters have had a turn as writer, that’s the end of the round. The player with the highest score that round receives a top-trending bonus of 5k pageviews.

For the next round, another player takes the role as editor, and this repeats until everyone has had a turn. You play the same amount of rounds as you have total players.

The player with the most pageviews wins!

The pitches

The random pitches can come in three main forms…


Usual headline forms with a collection of categories keywords.

The real issue with XXX is actually XXX
Get real. XXX isn’t that good.
Why XXX is the real lesson from XXX.
XXX is why XXX is problematic.
The real victim of XXX is XXX.

Editor’s Choice

A few formats can ask the current editor to complete the sentence, combined with some of the random keywords…

[Your favourite TV show] has a XXX problem
The issue with [the place you live] is XXX


Using the live data available from the Google Trends ‘Hot Trends’ feed, a simple format filled with one of the current top searches.

Why everyone is wrong about… [trending]

Examples at time of writing: Blue Monday, Australian Open, Hamilton tickets

The app

A browser-based app is used to play the game. On the screen it has the headline and keywords, as well as a countdown clock with start/stop buttons.

It’s designed to work on phones, tablets, and computers.

Oh and is free, because well, this is all just clickbait. Nobody’s paying for that.

Maybe you could print an Analytics Scoreboard too.



Spoken like a true internet commenter.

Isn’t this just like a bunch of other party games? Have you just stole their rules?

No, you see, in modern journalism, taking other people’s work and putting it together to be your own is called ‘curation’.

These rules don’t make sense.

Probably. I made them up as I went along. Have you seen the scoring system? Oof.

What if one of the headlines is actually properly cruel or offensive? That’s not fun.

Hopefully all of the topics in the randomiser are stupid enough that this doesn’t happen. But the Editor is in charge of a round, and can regenerate the headline before starting in case they’re not comfortable with it for any reason.

Will you actually make this?

I hope not.

I’m sorry.



Jonathan Cresswell

Chief Creative Officer at Aiir, making cool web things for the radio industry.