University News

Election game lampoons political process

Satirical startup inspired by Cards Against Humanity, frustration surrounding election

By
Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Instead of spending Martin Luther King Jr. weekend relaxing or catching up on sleep, Amelia Friedman ’14 and her business partner Param Jaggi challenged themselves to complete a “startup weekend,” during which they launched a product in just three days. By the end of the weekend, the pair successfully created the 2016 Election Game — a card game centered on the antics of presidential candidates and inspired by Cards Against Humanity, which was developed by Ben Hantoot ’09, Eli Halpern ’09 and six of their friends.

“We wanted to take a weekend to remind ourselves of the true essence of entrepreneurship,” Friedman said.

Friedman, 23, and Jaggi, 21, self-proclaimed “serial entrepreneurs,” are the co-founders of a company called Hatch, which allows users to create mobile apps without coding. Having devoted significant time to working on Hatch for the past six months, the two needed something to “invigorate (themselves), because (they) were feeling a little burnt out,” Jaggi said.

On the Friday of MLK Jr. weekend, Friedman pitched the idea for the game to Jaggi. By Monday, the pair had created a design, prototype and website for the game.

Examples of cards found in the game include: “Chris Christie joining Weight Watchers,” and “Ted Cruz reading a bedtime story to the Senate,” as well as numerous Donald Trump inspired cards like, “It’s going to be YUGE.” She and Jaggi sourced material for cards by spending the weekend rewatching debates, election coverage  and lots of Jimmy Fallon, Friedman said.

Inspired by the widespread frustration with the election, the 2016 Election Game is “a great way to bring comic relief to an environment of exhaustion and exasperation,” Friedman said.

“Everyone is offended; everyone is frustrated,” Friedman said about the election. “I feel like we’ve gotten down to mudslinging, … and I definitely don’t feel like I have a candidate.”

“As a millennial, there’s this feeling that we’re kind of screwed,” Jaggi added.

The target audience for the game are millenials interested in politics and are “in the same boat” as the entrepreneurs, Jaggi said.

Throughout the process of developing the game, Friedman said “everything has been challenging because everything is new. But that’s why we did it.”

While both Friedman and Jaggi have significant experience selling tech products, the 2016 Election Game is their first physical product. “The way people buy physical products is very different than software,” Jaggi said.

Despite a few hiccups along the way, the response to the game has been “amazing,” Jaggi said, adding that the highlight for him has been “building a community around people who are politically unimpressed.”

“There might be a few candidates who are offended, but we haven’t heard from their offices yet,” Friedman said.

Aziz Rangwala ’17 said he thinks the game is “interesting because it contrasts the political correctness that often surrounds politics with the off-color nature of Cards Against Humanity.”

The card game is currently available online for presale purchase. While Friedman and Jaggi did not disclose how many presale decks have been sold, they said the process is going well, and they are hopeful about hitting their goal. 

As the card decks are being manufactured for the next few weeks, the pair will create cards with new material, using Twitter to crowdsource ideas, Jaggi said.

The pair hopes the game provides comic relief and keeps voters informed about the election cycle, Jaggi said.

“It’s been a fun journey that has reinvigorated our entrepreneurial spirit.”