Wizards of the Coast Tries to take Politically neutral stance On blue collar Trading card line. Printed on thin Plastic card stock Water and wear proof 1/3 taller than Normal playing cards. First edition has 4 decks: Armed Resolutions - Red Peaceful Resolutions - Blue The Economy - Black The Environment - Green. 3 rows to play on Conservative Liberal And 3rd parties. Each card has: A name, A power number, Which row, Counter effects, And some have Special abilities. And on it’s back Red or Blue or Black or Green To say which deck. Critics excitedly remark This is knock-off Gwent. CD Projekt Red Eagerly cashing It’s huge check And Wizards Worried about Such a risky venture Counter, “No this is the Real thing. In Real Life.” Donald Trump And Antonio Guterres Red versus blue Square off. On Racks at a Gas station and Near checkout lines At a Wegman’s In Ithaca, NY Mayor Svante Myrick’s Official headshot Sits printed on Strange rectangle cards. You can get him, Individually from Stacks at the registers For 99 cents, And taped to the Starter deck boxes Hanging on flimsy White painted Metal shelves. Blue card, Low power, Low controversy, No counter-effects, A cool Special effect. A special run Only for that city. No one in Groton, Binghamton, Philadelphia, New York City, Or Miami, Will see him Unless their Associate professor Friend mails him. Families silently Play out Heated arguments With their Controversial politician Loaded decks. Older conservative Parents beat their College age nieces With a surprising venom. And those same kids Breathe sharply in, Reinforced, when They win instead. Bored truckers, People at coffee shops, Police, and Devil’s advocate Card shop owners Come over to Stranger’s tables And ask to play. Always eager to Show off their Small town, or Governor, or Chinese card from A conference. An official New York Times styled Fact checking page Profile of voting history and Outsize controversy links Builds up in Proportion to popularity As casual card fans Ask for neutral, Centralized, Resolutions to Stat related Disputes. A baseline to be political Early and late In life. A child asks His grandmother Why people fight Wars When they could Play checkers Instead. I don’t know Honey. Dialogue, A barrier between It being about the cards And over the cards Easier Like talking while Driving Looking out the Window.
*When I played through the Witcher 3 I loved the in-game card game, Gwent. I thought it was really interesting how a lot of everyday people in that game were carrying around decks of these cards, and bartenders sold you ones to expand your deck, and characters would casually talk about the game. I thought it was interesting how characters would use a deck usually aligned with their same faction (northern merchant uses a Northern Realms deck instead of a Nilfgaard one).
I think something like that might work in real life, and I think it would have a positive impact. I think it would A: make political discourse more calm, and B: help people stay more informed.
A: I think the most important line is, “Like talking while driving.” That’s the goal, to turn the weirdly heated debates we get into about people we only vaguely know and only sometimes support, into more rational discussions. Use the plain numbers of a card game to thinly veil someone’s real feelings about politics. Just enough to have everybody take a breath.
B: I think it would be cool for a game like this, with hyper limited distribution of local political cards, to keep people in touch with local politics. I think it would be interesting to compare the relative merits of your local mayor or police chief card with the national characters in your deck. Think about their importance, actively build an investment in local elections.
****Importantly thought, I’m not convinced that this is actually the way to make this idea work. It’s objectively way too nerdy. Like basing it on The Witcher series is not how you reach the audience the poem talks about. Truck drivers, police officers, your parents, are probably not going to be super entertained by this weirdly targeted new spin on Magic the Gathering.
The reason I posted this is because I would really appreciate some thoughts on types of games or strategies that might actually accomplish this. How do we make a game that let’s people keep political engagement in their back pocket? How can people talk about politics like they’re looking out the window while driving?
Here is the Gwent card builder that I used for the cards above: https://custom-gwent.com
Here is a video about the aftermarket Gwent game, it is way different from the version inside the actual Witcher video game, but it’s a more exciting and shorter intro than otherwise available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QE6V8NgKLEQ