Vote ME! - Review
By Ben Porter
There are a lot of party games out there at the moment, and there are probably 3 reasons for that:
1. Party games are simple to teach and simple to play.
2. They are comparatively easy to produce and develop.
3. Cards Against Humanity was a breakout success and everyone’s hopping on the bandwagon.
But we’re not here to talk about Cards Against Humanity (as much as I hate it) – we’re here to talk about Vote ME! Vote ME! is the debut game from developer Redwell Games and is a party game where players give political speeches to win votes, to win constituencies, to win the election – it’s that simple.
Why are we paying MPs so much again?
Considering Vote ME! is Redwell’s debut title, the presentation is exceptional.
The game is of a very minimalist aesthetic; clean black and white with wee splashes of colour accenting the cards nicely. The cards themselves are of a good quality and the box itself has a nice texture to it. All this contributes to a game that – for a modest price – feels like a premium product.
Minimalist aesthetics are inoffensive to just about everybody, so I understand that with certain games and products that minimalist is probably the way to go. The drawback with such an art style is that it often feels quite devoid of personality. However, there is a very deliberate reason for this in Vote ME! that I will explain a bit further on.
There isn’t much to say about the theme of Vote ME! as the game is pretty self-explanatory. Like the art style, theme is minimalist; the parties all have names like ‘the Green Apple Party’ or ‘the Purple Patch Party’. There’s no hint of what the parties stand for, and they are deliberately kept nondescript.
Because what those parties stand for is up to the player.
What’s clever about Vote ME! is that it provides sliding scales for just about everything that is typical of a party game. Party games like Cards Against Humanity trade off of shock value that will mean that there’s a good chance that at least one person in the room is deeply offended by every card in the game. By virtue of the fact that the game is so horribly shocking, certain cards are autowins (like two midgets shitting into a bucket). Conversely, Vote ME! leaves everything open to the interpretation of the players. (I really hate Cards Against Humanity, by the way.)
If you want to be the idiots that debate the pros and cons of weaponizing children’s toys as party of your nation’s defense policy, you can do that. If you want to teach a class of 8-year-olds the basics of democratic process, you can do that, too.
And, for me, this is where Vote ME!’s potential really becomes apparent; it is a blank canvas upon which you can play the party game that you want to play. You don’t have to worry about sifting all the cards that reference dicks because your granny is going to be over and the old apple tart is a bit touch-and-go.
Analogue games have tremendous potential as educational tools and Vote ME! is a prime example of such a game. Vote ME! is a party game that isn’t trying to be hilarious or outrageous, but can be those things if its players want it to. Whilst this adaptability means that the game can be somewhat bland, the decision to make it so has resulted in a party game that will appeal to a large demographic. And will be useful to a lot of people.
Party games can be somewhat divisive with committed gamers for their lack of depth, and Vote ME! very much fits into that party game category with its simple gameplay, scope for multiple players and modest price of £18. If you don’t like party games, Vote ME! isn’t going to change your mind about them, but if you’re looking for a more intelligent party game to add to your collection, Vote ME! is a solid choice.