Since taking office just a bit over a month ago, Donald Trump’s administration has already introduced plenty of memes and phrases into the political zeitgeist. Arguably one of the most notable expressions is “alternative facts,” coined by White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway in defense of comments made about the size of Trump’s inaugural crowd. Since then, it’s become the inspiration for an Alternative Facts card game that could prove to be the Cards Against Humanity of the Trump era.
Although the “alternative facts” phrase itself has only been around for about a month, “it feels far longer than that,” game creator Zack Roif tells Inverse. It makes sense. He and the rest of the team have had something of a busy month developing their game. In fact, according to Roif, they “cranked it out in about ten days.”
“It pretty much started the day after the interview,” Roif says, referring to the television segment where Conway first used the phrase. “It was intended to be a party joke. One of the people who is also responsible for creating the game had a party coming up for that weekend. We thought — wouldn’t it be great if we had a game to play? And then we all looked at each other and started to take it more seriously.”
The rules are fairly simple. Gameplay consists of some strange-facts trivia and throws in some satirical Trump-themed twists (in the form of “Trump Cards”) that can shake up the pace of play.
At the beginning of the game, the team with the player who has the biggest hands goes first. At the end, when one side has racked up 15 points, a member of the winning team must declare, “I know cards. I have the best cards.”
One player will draw a card and read aloud the statement (things like “the length of the average American male hand is 7.8 inches”) on it. The other team determines if it’s an actual fact or an alternative fact — if they get it right, they get the card. If they’re wrong, the reader of the card gets to keep it. Each card is worth a point.
“It’s the classic game of true or false with a modern political twist,” Roif says.
The undertones of the game are unmistakable, but the question prompts themselves actually aren’t all that political. Rather, they focus on silly, oddball factoids you might not find elsewhere.
“There was an element of ridiculousness we wanted to maintain,” explains game designer Augustus Cook. “Their role is to add some levity to the situation at a time where everything is aggressive and divided.”
Opening up the packaging, it’s hard not to notice the overtly (and satirically) patriotic theme that runs through all the cards. Trump Cards contain instructions on how to “Make America Great Again,” and some of the questions are America-themed, such as one that asks about how many blimps are in the country.
Even the pricing fits that theme. Order the game and it’ll cost you $14.92. Once you add shipping, that goes up to $17.76.
Something you won’t find in the game? The name Donald Trump. The word “trump” appears a few times, but only in context when it has a second meaning.
“That was very deliberate,” Cook says. “We didn’t need to call it out. It’s become so rooted in culture, you can get away without talking about it. Everyone knows what we’re talking about, but we’re not explicitly making the game about any one person … or president.”
And according to Roif and Cook, future expansion packs are a total possibility.
“What really got us excited about the game is the cultural relevance,” Roif says. Any additions to the game would follow that same thread. He mentioned the Oscars as a timely example. “Additional fact packs, or what have you, would reflect modern things.”
Sometimes all you can do is laugh. While this is no game for escapists, Cook explained that, for its makers, Alternative Facts provides “a fun way to poke fun at how ridiculous the concept of alternative facts actually is.” It says as much right on the box: Alternative Facts are “NOT FACTS. They are falsehoods!”