We were kindly sent Dinner Table Debates for review, a new Kickstarter game about deep debate conversation through cards.
To start you find and shuffle the Agree, Disagree and Moderator cards and give one card to each of the three main players randomly (with any other players being called The Gallery). The player who has the Agree card chooses the category from Science, US Law, Philosophy, Economics, Global, or Society. The Moderator selects a random card for that category.
The Agree player reads the card out loud. Players take some time to organize their points/thoughts prior to debating. The rules of debate are essentially to be kind and stay on topic. The game does come with a page of helpful tips of what to consider when debating (who does this affect, etc.). The Agree player commences the debate for one minute. The Disagree player then rebutes for one minute. Then Agree jumps in for 30 seconds to summarize the debate. We liked this summary stage as it make sure that players are listening to each other by being able to state both sides.
Then for round two, the same thing happens except Disagree starts and summarizes at the end. For the third round, each player starting with the Agree player, takes 30 seconds to explain why they believe they won the debate. The Moderator and The Gallery (if there are more than three players) decides who actually won and award that player the topic card as a way to keep track of points. Then players change roles and start again for as many times as they want to debate. We recommend playing enough times for each player to have a chance to do each role as long as you’re not playing with too many people. Three seems to be a sweet spot for player count.
They also mention an alternative way to play where you can take most of a week to think about the topics and debate them at a later dinner so the individuals have time to research and make thorough arguments. This seems especially helpful as some of the topics may not be familiar to all audiences. For example there is a card that talks about the embargo between the United States and Cuba and researching this would not only be beneficial to debate but help people to learn more about topics that may be unfamiliar to them. The six categories have a wide expanse of topics within them and all are very well worded. They bring up a huge array of debatable topics with some being more controversial than others. The game does not shy away from topics but it doesn’t excessively push boundaries. They chose topics that are rich and interesting which we really enjoyed.
Language Barrier Playability: Not doable. You’d have to translate everything and the Agree and Disagree players would need to speak the same language for the smoothest arguements.
Replayability: Good. With each topic a new debator point of view can make the game a little different each time.
Artwork: Neat. The design is simple and clean with artistic linework. The bright color of the cards is both appealing visually and helpful in separating the cards by category. The logo is especially notable as it is two letter Ds facing each other at a table.
Quality: Great. The cardboard of the cards is a nice thickness.
Strategy: Good. The strategy mostly lies in how well you craft your argument to convince others. It is also a strategy to think on the opposite side of what you might personally believe to argue either side of a topic.
Instruction Manual: Short and to the point. This is the best type of instruction manual especially for party games. We do wish that all of the cards with tips or instructions came in a pamphlet rather than separate cards but are unsure if this will change in the final copy.
Organization: Medium. We loved the Hexagon tube for a box, all cards fit inside but it is hard to put all the cards in at once.