N.H. Board Game Creators Satirize This Year's Presidential Primaries

Apr 27, 2016

This presidential campaign season has provided plenty of fodder for satire. Two men from Keene—Blake Amacker and Stephen Polzwartek—have decided to satirize it with a board game. It’s called "Trunks ‘n Asses," and fans of Cards Against Humanity may find a lot to like in this game. They’re raising money to mass-produce the game on Kickstarter. They spoke with NHPR’s All Things Considered host Peter Biello about the game.

How does it work? It’s similar to the games Apples to Apples and Cards Against Humanity.

Stephen Polzwartek: It works much like Cards Against Humanity except there’s an actual board. The board looks like Candyland. It’s like Candyland meets Cards Against Humanity, with the current political situation being satirized somewhat viciously at times.

You’ve got debate cards and campaign trail cards, almost like complete the sentence kind of cards, questions and answers, similar to Apples to Apples.

SP: Exactly. So now, instead of winning the card, it’s a delegate. And the person with the most delegates or the person who rolls the dice and moves throughout the board and gets to the end will be kind of the two people that compete for the presidency.

Blake Amacker: There’s also chance cards, campaign trail cards. So if you get those, those could mess up your campaign, make you move back spaces, or be beneficial to your campaign. You move forward.

Basically mimicking an actual campaign. Bad stuff can happen, good stuff can happen.

SP: We’ve got the stupid of, you know, you fall and knock yourself unconscious and lose your response cards.

BA: And there’s another one where you pass wind and the microphone picks it up and basically that’s not good for your campaign so you move back a couple of spaces.

Credit Peter Biello / NHPR

You’ve got the board game here in the studio. At the beginning of the game, you get to pick a candidate who you will be for that game. And you’ve got a little table-tent figurine of Donald Trump. You’ve even got Vermin Supreme. You could choose to be Vermin Supreme with the boot on his head for this game. Give me an example of a question card and an answer card.

SP: “The FBI wants to access data on _____.” The more PG versions would be, “A ten foot higher wall. Drones. Donald Trump’s small, soft, supple hands.”

Board games can be educational. Monopoly, for example, can teach you about capitalism or real estate. What does this game teach you?

BA: You know, what’s funny about the game, is we joke and have all these risqué responses, but it actually is…you can look at the current environment, political environment, and a lot of these things are coming out. They’ve given us plenty of content. That’s what drove a lot of this. It’s actually kind of ridiculous what’s out there. We say it’s a satire but there’s a lot of underlying truth behind the game.

SP: We were going for the mockery, but I mean, you’ve got the guy on 'Celebrity Apprentice' yelling, “You’re fired!” And he’s running for president. Everything in this campaign seems to be, I don’t know, more of a circus in some ways, so a lot of the cards are just, you know, taken verbatim. You know, we spice it up here and there, too.

How do you see this game evolving? You’ve got candidates running now, but in a year’s time, a lot of these people will not be in the spotlight.

BA: We’ve thought of putting a historical spin on it, too, bringing back George Washington or FDR, so there’s some content back there I think we could pull in and make an intermediate, before the next debate, for the next presidency. We’ve got some material there.

So let’s say you made a historical version. “We have nothing to fear but blank itself.” I’ll take a random guess. Pull that top response card. “Nothing to fear but…”

SP: “Fire hazard hoverboards.”

Is that political?

SP: That is not, but the fire hazard of these hoverboards was just such a news media kind of thing.

So, “Nothing to fear but…”

SP: “The impending zombie apocalypse.”

I can imagine FDR saying that during his fireside chats. “We have nothing to fear but the zombie apocalypse itself.”

SP: “Nude selfies.”