GE13: Take the elections into your own hands with Politiko

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 14 Apr 2013

PETALING JAYA: Tired of GE13 already? Try out Politiko, a card game to recharge your batteries for the long campaign.

Modelled on Monopoly Deal, Politiko consists of three types of cards in each deck: Party, Voter and Scheme.

Like in the real thing, the objective of the game for each player or “Party” is to win voters and the elections. To pull in the voters, you can use various Schemes from “Abolish highway tolls”, “Royalty”, “Increase petrol subsidy” to “Build roads”. Or just trounce your opponents through “Protest”, “Sex scandal” or “Defection”.

Sounds familiar?

“Everything here is taken from the headlines in the mainstream and alternative media. I've only compiled news of the happenings in our political scene in the last few years,” says Mun Kao, the 31-year-old visual artist behind the wacky election game.

He stresses it is not a satire or parody. “I have not arranged things in any way to make it funny. It is basically a deconstruction of our political scene.”

The idea for the game was initiated around two years ago.

“I was working on a card game on Art, but I found myself reading some of the craziest headlines in the local news. Ridiculous things were happening, not just on the political front people were getting arrested for wearing black, the bread war, animal torture on Youtube ... It was absurd.

“So when a political friend asked me develop a game on local politics, I just jumped on it.”

The game is produced by the Malaysian Centre for Constitutionalism and Human Rights, better known as Pusat Rakyat LoyarBurok.

Luckily, the game's tongue-in-cheek perspective makes Politiko fun, even as it teaches the players a thing or two about the local political landscape.

One hardcore fan is lawyer Azira Aziz, 27.

“Some may think it's too heavy but it can give you a good laugh, especially for the politically-aware bunch.”

Azira feels Politiko is also perfect for those apathetic to the country's politics, as well as those who feel frustrated with the state of things.

“The game opens room for healthy debates and negotiations in our often sensitive' society. Sometimes it brings out your prejudices and deeply buried sentiments about politics but at other times, it gives you a chance to voice out your opinions and debate about what certain things' mean,” Azira says.

“What I like most is that when I play with my friends, I can be ultra nationalist or racist without really meaning it,” she laughs.

But what happens when things get out of control?

“We can appoint an election commission to interpret the election laws' and keep order,” she quips.

For another fan, 20-year-old student Pang Jo Fan, it is the wealth of “schemes” that reels him in every time.

“You can see real-life scenarios in the game but what makes it so addictive is that this game is never the same each time you play it. You will always want to find ways and strategies to manipulate your fellow players,” he raves.

Priced at RM29 a pack, Politiko can be played by up to six people anywhere, anytime.

Those keen to jump into the Politiko fray, meanwhile, can attend the Ceramah Politiko next Sunday, at Palate Pallete in Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur.

Politiko is also available at and CzipLee Books & Stationery in Bangsar.

For more election stories, please visit The Star's GE13 site

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