Politricks — A Filipino Game for Laughing, Weeping Purposes

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The first and only edition so far of Politricks (2016) is currently available for PhP 499 600 in certain gaming stores and cafés in Metro Manila.

Being a politician in the Philippines is both the best and worst situation to be in. On one hand, if you’re into service and all things that statesmen ideally do, opportunities abound to contribute to nation-building, primarily because there are so many things that ought to be improved on. On the other hand, Filipino politicians hardly ever come without a stigma of corruption. This game celebrates the fact of the latter.

From the Box: “[A] card game about winning the elections at all costs, even at the expense of everyone else.”

Learning Curve: Comme ci, comme ça – only because the instructions that come with the game are unclear on some scenarios (e.g. taking/stealing of currency from other players, returning of votes).

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The Candidate cards, used supposedly for advanced play but recommended for beginners anyway, are caricatures of traditional political figures in the Philippines. The people they represent are commonly known as ‘trapos’ (literally, ‘rags’).

-Esques

  • Monopoly Deal – reliance on a currency for the game to progress;
  • Cards Against Humanity – requirement of willingness to play dirty to win;
  • Look Who’s Back by Timur Vermes (2012) – popularization to some extent of a highly taboo topic.

Edge: The game’s brand of humor is distinctly Filipino. This could be a disadvantage if the game is introduced to foreign markets (which may or may not happen). On the other hand, this is a comprehensive way of introducing Philippine politics to non-Filipinos.

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Edge: The Vote cards, which translate into points at the end of the game, are pictured as major cities and regions in the Philippines. The art is fantastic, but the value of each card is also telling of how significant each place is from the POV of ‘Imperial Manila.’

Verdict: Buy it. Politricks is a fairly niche game, and a surprisingly inexpensive one at that. Politics in the Philippines is something that can be and is already commented on by everyone – from street vendors to swanky Armani-clad CEOs. The game is bound to leave at least one player laughing (and/or weeping and/or ranting) at the situation of the country.

 

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