Tired of waiting for the General Elections? Why, you and your friends can have one right in the comfort of your home with Malaysia’s first ever political card game!
The objective of the game is simple: the first player to 8 voters wins. There are three types of cards – Voters, Schemes and Parties. You use parties to gather voters and schemes to gain voters, sabotage other players or cheat your way to victory. The first player who attaches eight voters to his/her parties or coalition of parties wins. On your way to Putrajaya, you can ally with political parties, share resources and voters to beat other players (the game is made for 3 to 6 players)!
After spending four hours on a weeknight playing this game with 2-3 other friends, here are some lessons I have learned along the way:
1. You learn more about the voter composition in Malaysia. This is very crucial as certain parties only attract a certain sort of voters. It’s like going to a club knowing only certain types of chicks will hangout there, you get what I’m saying?
2. Ideological parties (Green Party, Social Justice Party, for instance) can cut through racial lines – provided they are liberal thinking. Wouldn’t it be great if we did not date… I mean, vote beyond racial/religious lines? Imagine the pool of women… I mean, voters you can reach out to!
3. When allying with another player to win may seem like a wise idea at the time, you later realise it’s so much more satisfying winning on your own! (Alliances need fewer voters to win the game)
4. It is fun to gang up! Turn on other players when you know they have powerful cards in their hands like “Open Tender”, “Hudud Law”, “Phantom Voters”, “Party Reform” or “Buy a Party over”. Such cards are game-changers that can turn the tide. Stop them at all costs, unless you too have something up your sleeve!
5. Concentrate on your game. If you’re too busy ganging up, you may lose track of your own power base and objectives. But then this can be unavoidable if you have a party with limited voter appeal. Indian Rights Party, anyone?
6. Find other parties to join you. If you’re lucky, you might draw another party card with better voter appeal. If not, tough luck, it’s going to be a hard time going forward. Hope you have something in return for that alliance.
7. If you have all 8 voters ready to be played, be 100% sure that you have all 8. There were a few times where players came short and showed 7 – just one short of winning! Remember Tip No. 4? Yup, no one likes a winner if they’re losing! So, if you’re going to declare victory in one turn, be sure to have all 8 voters in your pocket!
8. It sucks to be an Ethnic Minority voter (Indian or Dan Lain Lain) in Politiko. The only way you can appeal to such voters in a non-racial way is either through urban/rural-centricity or ideology. Then again, why would you want to do that? They’re called ‘minority’ for a reason!
9. Keep a poker face. While true in any card game, more so when you are holding a game-changing card. If not, prepare to be ganged up on. (See Tip 4)
10. Keep your friends close but your enemies closer. Always look for parties competing for the same or larger base of voters and target your schemes at them, as they are directly in competition with you!
Additional Setup Tip: The rule sheet says the richest player among you gets to pick the political party, but we decided to randomly deal the parties to players to keep things fresh. Otherwise, you would naturally pick a Malay based party given the racial composition of voters in the game!
Honest Review: As an avid board-gamer and political commentator, while there are some features of the game which are unclear and lacking in the rule sheet (nothing some matured discussion would not solve) , I rate this highly as a thematic card game.
The shortest game took 2 minutes, the longest 40 minutes with an average game time of 30 minutes each.
The game mechanics are deliberately skewered and game balance is lacking with certain parties – given the political realities the game is based on. So, luck can be a huge factor at play in dealing/drawing cards. That, however, does not take away the immense hours of fun to be had with this awesome card game! I have yet to test it on less politically savvy friends, so I just might be a little biased on this.
Get your set today from : http://www.loyarbarang.com/shop/misc/politiko-card-game/ and check out the Twitter hashtag #Politiko for more info!