“The Worst President is an atypical, new and not at all politically correct card game for adults, with the main aim of stimulating heated arguments, interesting debates and funny situations to laugh at. Here, each player votes for the best of the worst presidents with the most radical ideas or absurd political goals, based on their own values or beliefs, and in this way they not only get to know each other better, but also have fun.
The game itself consists of several types of cards: candidate cards, on which fact cards are placed; facts about the candidates, on which their ideas, views, goals or interests are written; voting and scoring cards.
The gameplay is simple. The election moderator draws four fact cards and distributes them to the two candidates, then the voting begins. Each player who votes for the winning candidate receives a point, but there are exceptions if there is a tie – the runner-up wins the round and receives two points (but there are also exceptions, depending on the number of players involved). At the start of the game, all players have 0 points and the first player to get 7 points wins.
There are also slightly different variations of the “Worst President” game. For example, in a two-player game, after the presenter has drawn up the candidates, he or she places the voting card face down and the other player has to try to guess which candidate the presenter voted for. There is also what is known as the ‘quota variant’, which consists in inserting a further stage between the formation of the presidential candidates and the voting, called the quota, during which each player, except the presenter, has the opportunity to ask one question about any of the candidates, clockwise. The moderator, taking into account the question asked, immediately adds new details, deepening the overall context.
The fun thing about this card game is that it gives the presenter a kind of freedom to arrange the characteristics of the candidates in a way that is funnier or more controversial. One candidate can have one, two or even three qualities that can be completely contradictory or just go hand in hand, which makes the game livelier. For example, Candidate A is a “control freak and a pedant” and “promises to strip all homeless people of their citizenship and deport them”, while Candidate B “promises to legalise all drugs” and “wants to let people litter in public places”. It is a matter of making a decision and choosing which candidate is the best of the worst.
Drawing more and more random fact cards, of which there are quite a lot (167 + 4 blanks to create your own facts), gives you a lot of different options for the characteristics and goals of each candidate, and it takes more than one or two games to go through all the cards in this category, which makes you want to keep playing over and over again, to hear more and more new options, and it doesn’t become boring easily.
In the “quota” version, additional comments by the moderator on each candidate not only make the debate even more heated and entertaining, but also deepen the imagination and make the game and the voting more engaging. Both the classic and the ‘quota’ or two-player versions also have another very important function: they allow you to get to know the other players, their values and their perception of the world, to check how well you know your friends or family and how well you can predict their choices. It is a real laughter bomb that can entertain and move anyone who does not need any particular political knowledge, just a little imagination and opinion.
Dmitrijus Babičius is a game developer specialising mainly in computer or telephone games, and this is the first physical card game he has published. In an interview with Login.lt, he joked that “the game is very political, very non-political” and he always presents it as a game “<…> that you play not to win, but to get angry with each other, to hate your friends and to leave the game night wondering how could I ever have had any contact with such people”.
“The Worst President is released on 9 January 2023 and is owned by Slightly Magic Games, a game studio and publisher that also released its original car resale board game, “Repo”, in 2022. One of the co-authors of this game and a member of the Slightly Magic Games team, Simonas Jatkonis, also contributed to the text for the “Worst President” cards. On its website, the game publisher describes itself as “a four-person board game development and publishing studio from Lithuania” that develops and publishes games developed by itself and others. They do not stick to one particular genre or style, they say, but the games they work on are “edgier and more provocative”.