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Terrible Candidates

Updated: Oct 24, 2020

When Sean Dowling and Jack Ford Morgan designed this debating game, there's little doubt who they had in their satirical cross-hairs. Terrible Candidates is a light-hearted political debating game where, each turn, two players vie with each other to get the most votes from their audience by applying their chosen policy to the topic selected for debate.

When it's your turn to be one of the candidates, you draw a hand of five policy cards from which to choose to concoct your argument. The short rules encourage players to make wild and wacky choices; you are, after all, competing as Terrible Candidates. After a short presentation (the rules suggest just 30 seconds), the candidates take questions from the floor (ie: choose people from the audience to ask them a question). In one of the hints at what inspired this game, once per Q&A session candidates can simply dismiss a question they want to avoid by declaring it to be 'Fake News!'.

There are other not-so-subtle indications too that publishers Half-Monster had US President Donald Trump in mind. Among the real-world topics like the Economy, Renewable Energy, Border Security and Climate Change, the topics include Toupees and Tiny Hands...

Terrible Candidates notionally takes 3-8 players but it's best with the larger player count; indeed, there's no necessity to limit the maximum number of players to 8 if people are happy to spend longer as part of the interactive audience. As with most other debating and storytelling games, you get out of Terrible Candidates what you put into it. If some of the group misinterpret the game and try to take it too seriously, then there's a risk it could fall flat. On the other hand, if the players share a similar sense of the ridiculous then you'll all get a kick out of playing.

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