Unless you are living under a very big and sound-proofed rock, then you realize this is a Presidential Election year in the United States. It is a challenge to escape political commentary in pretty much any forum at the moment. Even I devoted some space to a few political tangents in a recent article on Pokémon: GO. So when I was scrolling through Twitter a few weeks ago and saw a link to a new game titled, Galactic Debate, I was immediately intrigued. The idea of having players debate imaginary issues as candidates from different alien races seemed like a perfectly-timed idea. I reached out to the creative team behind the game, and Andrew Nerger and Jeff Chin were kind enough to participate in an interview. Below, we discuss the concept of Galactic Debate, how the game was designed, and how real-life political tensions and squabbles could bleed into gameplay.
Thank you for sharing some time with me to talk about your new game, Galactic Debate. I first became aware of the game’s Kickstarter campaign through Twitter, and the premise immediately grabbed my attention. What were your sources of inspiration for Galactic Debate?
Andrew: Jeff and I have always enjoyed playing improve games and having heated late-night debates on everything under the sun, so the idea developed pretty naturally. The concept of debating fictional issues really intrigued us, and soon, we began to study storytelling games and figuring out what worked well mechanically and where we thought we could make changes to support a game we would really want to play.
I think almost everyone enjoys arguing, but nobody wants to get into a confrontation with friends or family. When debating, players are actually taking on the role of Galactic Candidates like General Mindu of the proud warrior race, so feelings aren’t hurt when players try to debase one another. Everyone realizes they’re playing a role.