Source: Jack Ford Morgan

Terrible Candidates by Half-Monster Games is nominated for Tabletop of the Year at the Australian Games Awards (AGAs).  Terrible Candidates has players assume the roles of politicians and improvise answers to hard hitting questions. The winner is whoever can convince the most media (and other players) to vote for them. Gamers Classified spoke with Director and Lead Designer of Half-Monster Games, Jack Ford Morgan, about his reaction to being nominated and the practical uses for Terrible Candidates.

To vote for Terrible Candidates to win Tabletop of the Year at the AGAs, click here. Voting closes December 7th 2018.

GC: What was your reaction to being nominated?

Morgan: I was so surprised and incredibly excited. I just messaged everyone I knew right away with the news! As a small publisher, this kind of recognition of the years of hard work and all the support of our fans just means so so much.

Source: Jack Ford Morgan

GC: What is the inspiration behind this game?

Morgan: My illustrator friend Sean and I had an idea during a meeting about a different game after talking about the ridiculous behaviour of certain press secretaries of certain non-specific global superpowers. I made a draft over the next week and showed some folks, and they loved the idea, but it definitely needed some work. Making the game about debates between candidates for the presidency was an overhaul that came through playtesting. So the inspiration was equally current world events and playtester feedback on the basic concept of trying to cajole and convince an audience.

GC: Have you had any orders from political parties, or is that classified information?

Morgan: We have certainly been messaging them about it haha! I did sell a few copies to some Law Faculty staff at the Queensland University of Technology, who were going on a trip to Canberra, so hopefully some eyes get on it down there (it’d be great practice for question time!)

GC: Do you think this game can be used a training tool for would-be political journalists?

Yes absolutely. I’m actively researching the use of games and related materials to enhance understanding and promotion of science and educational concepts to the public in my other job as a Research Assistant with ACEMS and the Science and Engineering Faculty at QUT. There is a lot of evidence to show that games can help people of all ages to engage with and understand new or tricky concepts.

Though the theme of Terrible Candidates is obviously a satire of the political process of arguing anything and convincing voters to vote for you, those mechanics are a fairly good reflection of how things work in real life. The on-the-spot Question Time can help journalist students have a chance to practice their rapid questioning skills because some of the things these politicians say are just incredible to believe at times.

Terrible Candidates is developed by Half-Monster Games

GC: Is there anything else you would like to add? 

How many words can I have?! There are so so many people to thank! My wife Crystal especially, my mum and family, my business partners Callan and Jay, and Jaq and their families, Gerard and Kerrie for believing in me and providing support all these years, Sean and Ash from Sean Dowling Art and Design (illustrator/graphic designer/co-designer for the game, who just did such an amazing job), all my friends who tried the game and gave feedback and bought it, all my customers who’ve taken a chance on a new product and designer, the Foundry entrepreneurship hub at QUT, Alex Wynnter and just everyone from the Tabletop Game Designers Australia group on Facebook, Etienne and the team from VR Distribution, the retailers who picked up copies lately, and just everyone! There’s so many people who’ve contributed to Terrible Candidates and Half-Monster Games for so long that I could go on and on. And of course anyone that’s slipped my mind! I’m eternally grateful to everyone for this. I’d be nowhere without them all.

To purchase Terrible Candidates or sign up for test events with Half-Monster Games, click here.

To vote for Terrible Candidates to win Tabletop of the Year at the AGAs, click here. Voting closes December 7th 2018.