trump: the game

Posted: July 20, 2016 in Humorous Bits, Observations and Commentary
Tags: , , , , , , ,

trump 6

We all know Donald Trump will slap his name on anything to make a buck. And if you give him enough bucks he will let you slap his name on your stuff. We endlessly hear about his steaks, airline, vodka, bottled water, magazine, and university. His resorts peddle Trump branded wines, nail polish, bathrobes, slippers, chocolate, and silverware. Frankly, it is harder to find a product which hasn’t sold under the Trump brand than has. True, he has not yet produced a line of Trump cars. Maybe that is part of his strategy to make America great again.

In 1989 Trump and his name were primarily associated with New York City real estate, Atlantic City casinos, and a lavish lifestyle. His numerous NYC holdings included the Trump Tower and the iconic Plaza Hotel. He owned two Atlantic City casinos and was in the process of refurbishing another, the gaudy-is-far-too-mild-an-adjective-for-how-hideous-it-would-eventually-be Trump Taj Mahal. He was 43 years old with a pretty Czechoslovakian wife and three children. All in all, not bad.

Around that time someone somewhere within his organization came up with the idea of marketing a board game based on the buying and selling of properties, a sort of Monopoly for the wannabe Trumps of the world. It involved bidding and negotiation. There was an unstated aspect of screwing your opponent by making him overpay for an undervalued property. But it was in good, spirited fun, so who cared. It was named, creatively enough, Trump: The Game. It hung around on store shelves for a while and, like most games, quietly disappeared.

Fast forward to 2004. The Apprentice debuted and became immediately popular. It finished #5 in the annual Nielsen Ratings. (Incidentally, the highest full season rating the show has achieved to date, by far.) Not to let a good capitalistic opportunity pass by, a slightly modified edition of Trump: The Game was released which now included “You’re Fired!” cards. It is still available today ($44.95 on Amazon).

Trump the candidate receives a lot of negative press about past business ventures. I have a longtime interest in board games and recently heard about Trump: The Game. Given his track record with other endeavors I was curious to learn if this was just another fast and easy moneymaker, quality be damned. Or was it actually good? I don’t know anyone who admits to owning it and I wasn’t about to buy it, so I researched. has a database which houses information on 85,000+ games of all types: children, classics, Euro-style, public domain, card, role-playing, and beyond. There are bulletin boards and marketplaces. People can register to review and rate games and participate in the community. It is amazingly comprehensive, the Britannica of board games, with over 1,000,000 users. Anyone with an account probably cares equally, if not more, about game mechanics, replay value, and pure gaming fun than politics. What better place to get an honest assessment of Trump: The Game?

The site uses an algorithm to rank games based upon the number of user ratings and actual raw ratings. Games with high voting activity trend higher than those with low (or no) activity. This spits out what they call a “Geek” rating (BGG). Games are ultimately rated and ranked by their BGG. Only 16,116, or approximately 19% of the games in the database, have enough activity to merit a BGG. So yes, there are many games nobody cares about.

The good news is Trump: The Game has enough ratings to generate a BGG. People care! 349 people to be exact. Other games with 349 votes include – and this is forebodingly scary – Nightfall: Blood Country, Up the Creek, and Burn in Hell. The bad news is its BBG is 5.433. It ranks 11,790, or in the bottom 27%.

But that is just dry data. The true test is what people feel, what they must share by actually going onto the site to leave a comment and contribute to the dialogue.

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There are 191 comments, most of them mercifully short. In order to eliminate any possibility of political bias, all of the following comments are from 2007 or earlier. I am interested in the merits of the game. I already have firm ideas about the merits of the man.

  • Eminently forgettable game. How do I know? I’ve forgotten almost everything about it
  • OK guys, let’s cash in the Trump name. We’ll make a box, put his picture on it and try to convice people there is a game inside. It’ll be GREAT!
  • Amazingly enough, this isn’t the worst game ever. I’ve no desire to play it again though.
  • Which is the bigger piece of crap — Trump the Game or Trump the Person?
  • Played once recently, and my wife and brother hated it.
  • Much better than I expected, which wasn’t saying much.
  • Surprised that I didn’t hate this, it’s actually quite fun, with plenty of opportunities to scupper opponents in the bidding rounds.
  • Holds some interest as a curiosity piece.
  • It’s easy and fast and backstabbey.
  • I don’t care, I love this game.
  • With all his money, you’d think he’d have a better haircut

These comments illustrate two consistent truths about Trump:  Expectations are low and some people will ignore the common sense consensus because, dammit, they can.

P.S. – I looked at Amazon in an attempt to be thorough and fair. The game was rated a very middling 2.6. Unlike BoardGameGeek, there was very little middle ground in opinion: 33% of the reviewers gave it five stars, 41% gave it one star. My favorite review was from late 2004. Enjoy.

I am selling this item on Ebay for a penny if anybody wants it. It is very useful for making a fire or a foot rest. Maybe you could use the T pieces to make a key chain or a necklace so you can always remember that you played a game that was too boring and advanced for you. The game has never been played before, I tried but had an aneurism. Please buy this game and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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