As the election season is upon us I’ve been inundated with requests to take a look at new political/election-themed and often educational games but that’s just not my cup of tea so I passed on the opportunity to take a look. But then I heard that an inventor-friend of mine self-published a humorous politics-themed, but not political, game on her own and thought I’d ask her about it. I will admit that I haven’t played it yet, but Peggy’s been in the business for years and puts out great products all the time so I wouldn’t doubt that this one is fun too! Here’s what she had to say about her new game Elephonkey:
1. I’ve seen other election-themed games, but yours is a humorous take on it. What’s the goal of the game and can you explain a little how it’s played?
Elephonkey is a silly card game based on the classic game I Doubt It (a.k.a. Bull*&#$), where instead of hearts, spades, clubs, and diamonds, the suits are donkeys (Democrats), elephants (Republicans), teapots (Tea Partiers), and trees (Green Partiers). Instead of jokers, there are some sinister piggybanks full of special interest pork. Everybody has a hand of cards, and the goal is to get rid of them. You must discard blindly in turn, in rank order. So if it’s your turn and you need to play threes, you would have to discard from one to four cards, face-down, and announce how many threes you’re playing. Of course you may lie, and in some cases you must lie. Other players may challenge you if they think you’re lying and shout “Elephonkey!” When the cards are revealed, if the challenger is right, you’ve got to take the whole discard pile, if the challenger was wrong, he has to take it. So if you don’t have the cards you need to play, or in order to get rid of those porkers – everybody’s got to lie.
A publisher asked me to create a politically-themed game to sell this season, so I did. Then, as publishers often do, they decided they didn’t want it. So instead of mothballing it, I pitched it directly to Barnes & Noble, who immediately wanted it, but didn’t want to manufacture it – they wanted me to ship them the finished goods. So I did.
3. What did you find challenging in the process?
The challenges are much the same as getting any game to market: making it for a price the market will bear, and shipping it in on time. Elephonkey is a simple paper-based card game, so it didn’t take a rocket surgeon to produce.
4. Did you set out to create a humorous game about the election or did you come up with the idea and then thought it would be something you’d want to self-publish?
Elephonkey is not really political at all, and not really about the election… it just has a political theme. I couldn’t resist pairing the American political process with the BS play pattern. It’s a perfect match! That’s why I made this tagline: “The Game Where the Truth has a Major Deficit!” Regardless of anybody’s politics, and without even touching any hot-button issues, everybody can have fun together this election season (or anytime) playing Elephonkey. I didn’t really set out to self-publish, but the opportunity popped up, so I did it. I’ve published a lot of games under other brands in the past, so this was really no different.
5. If you could choose anyone to moderate a debate who would it be?