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Artur Costrino
United Kingdom
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The Great Persuader Review
By Artur Costrino on 04/03/2014
Players: 3-8
Time: 30 minutes
Recommended ages: 12+

Have you ever had an argument with your friends about a subject extremely controversial (such as politics, sports or Justin Bieber), where passions were raised and eyes were filled with anger? Or have you ever discussed something completely non-sense and meaningless such as why Donald Duck wears no pants, but ties a towel around his waist when getting out of shower? Well, my dear debater, if your answer is “yes” and you enjoyed those situations, let me present to you a game that will make your tongue tired and your chin crack of laughter.

“The Great Persuader”, designed by C. H. Dilek, N. Tekin, Ş. Ç. Barlok and published by dV Giochi in 2013, is a party game in which the goal is to prove you’re the best orator, to show that you can hold the best arguments even when your theme is extremely messed up, basically: to play the lawyer for very, very silly things.

The game play is very simple: in every round there will be a “costumer” (judge). This judge will roll a die that will decide if the two “persuaders” (orators) will try to sell a good thing or a bad thing. If the die lands in its blue side, the orators take a blue card, representing a good thing, each; if it lands in its red side, they take a red card, representing a bad thing. Then the judge will turn an hourglass (that comes in the game) and the first orator will have 45 seconds to hold his or her ground!When he is done, it will be the time for th second orator make his/her 45s speech. At the end of both speeches, the judge chooses who was the best. All other players (if more than 3) will be the audience and get to vote secretly (before the speeches begin) on who will be the winner. Everybody will have the chance of being the judge at least once, and the orator at least twice.

The game comes with 220 themes to be argued about (half good, half bad). They are very silly and innocent things such as climbing a mountain naked, having the ability of making plants grow or being a knight in shine armor etc. The game doesn’t need many components, but it comes with some good quality ones and the whole idea of the game is very simple.

There is a scoring system to the game in which the debater chosen by the judge as winner gets 2 points, while the people who voted on the winner speaker get 1 point. Listening to the absurd your friends come up with to try to win the debate is already fun enough and lots of laughter are guaranteed, so it is very easy (and almost inevitable, I must say) to lose track of points and, quite frankly, they don’t make any difference to the experience.

The mere fact of trying to persuade people, in 45 seconds, and with the possibility of being interrupted by your opponent at any time, that being Count Dracula’s servant is not as bad as living on the 22nd floor without elevator is guaranteed to amuse your friends gathering or a great warm up to a more complex and serious game.

At this point I believe it is needless to say that this game is also an excellent tool to help people to teach foreign languages (each card has its theme written in 4 different languages) to teenagers and adults. Plus, it is also a good way to practice and develop debate skill in school.

All being said, I must stress out that this game should be played with caution. It is definitely not for everybody, especially for angry people. It is very easy to recognize the people who will, after 10 minutes of the game, start pulling out their hair and ending friendships and relationships: they will say the game is unfair, that it is much easier to “prove” that being the most intelligent person on earth is, by definition, better than, for example, doing any math easily in your head. And sometimes they will be right, but, hey, the game is about being the best persuader, not about getting the easiest topic!

So be really careful, because this game is not for every crowd and should be played preferably with people that don’t take themselves too seriously. The game itself promotes it by adding an “advanced variant” in which you have to make your speech in rhyme or like a television broadcaster or with a foreign accent etc (mimicking another player at the table, one of the option, can cause severe trauma to friendship if the target is a person described in the previous paragraph!).

If you are looking for a game that you can teach in less than a minute, requires basically no set up and promotes lots of interaction between players, moreover, if you like debating, especially about nothing (Seinfeld fans, stand up!) in a chaotic environment, this game is for you and it will give you and your friends tons of fun! But if you are the type of person that has always to be right, doesn’t matter what, keep a safe distance.
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