From the website
The Contender was conceived by a small group of creatives with a penchant for politics, a love of the absurd, and a passion for games.
This campaign began in February 2015 with Justin and John: game designers, friends, and fans of political theatre. Justin approached John with the idea to make a game that is easy to learn and lasts around fifteen minutes. John had been pondering a game that sounds like a debate when played. Twenty minutes and two burritos later, they had a theme: Presidential Debate.
The original rules were based on a traditional deck of cards: Spades beat Hearts beat Diamonds beat Spades. High numbers beat low numbers of the same suit. Much less fun than the new rules.
After testing this mechanic, we created a prototype, exchanging traditional suits with the three pillars of debate: stating Facts, Distracting the audience from your opponent's facts, and Attacking your opponent.
While testing this version of the game, we had the good fortune to pique the interest of Meg and Faun of Guts & Glory, an Oakland based design studio that specializes in building brands. Their work has been featured by numerous news outlets such as the Melissa Harris-Perry Show, New York Magazine, and Time Magazine, so we knew they would help us take The Contender to the next level. They helped hone the flow of the game, ditching the suits and numbers in lieu of a more free-form debate structure to make it fun for gamers and non-gamers alike. In designing visuals for The Contender, they drew inspiration from the vast visual language of mid-20th century political campaigns. With that final ring of the liberty bell, The Contender was born.