​The Great Debate

A party game for 5-10 players


We have all had those never-ending debates among our friends:  Which player is overpaid? Which Superhero would win in a fight? What political party is really causing all the issues? Is that one band musically legit or completely overrated?

You may have had a few laughs and some interesting discussions, but too often you have just agreed to disagree.  Now is the time to test your powers of persuasion and to resolve these issues once and for all or at least tonight!  Now is the time to see who can win The Great Debate!


Setting Up the Game

Deal out an A and B Vote card to each player.  Shuffle the Debate deck thoroughly.  If you have a timer function on your phone, tablet, or microwave, take a moment to practice setting it to 30 seconds.


How to Play

Select one player to start the game, using any method your group can agree on. (This might be a nice warm-up for the game itself!) We, of course, would choose the person who owns the game, since they spent the money to purchase this fine product. This player will be referred to as the first Debater.  

Be advised there are some debates that may be controversial.  We have given a heat index on each card.  If the icon at the top right corner is green then it is a low threshold card.  If it is yellow this card may cause some issues with your group.  And red of course is a controversial topic and you may have to use judgment before allowing your group to play with it.  Feel free to remove any card that your group may not wish to talk about.


First, the player draws the top card from the deck and reads aloud the “Ice Breaker” description identifying The Opponent in this debate. If the identification is not immediately apparent (e.g. The player with the longest hair), the other players must state how they fit in to that description (e.g. what time they wake up, last time they mowed a lawn, etc.) to identify the opponent in this round. This game element also helps you get to know the people you’re playing with a little better. Once the Opponent is identified, he or she is required to take the opposing stance to the Debater’s choice - even if the Opponent personally doesn’t agree with that position!


Next the player will read the question and decide on the A or B position.  They will then place their A or B Vote card in front of them to identify their position.  Their opponent will then display the opposite A or B card.


The two players each have 30 seconds to present their positions; the Debater starts, and the Opponent follows.  There is to be no interruption during this time by any player.  After each position has been presented, each of the other players casts a vote to indicate which player’s stance they found most persuasive by placing one Vote Card face down in the center of the table.  Then they will place their other card in a side pile elsewhere so when revealed no one knows who voted for who.

Once all votes are in, they should be revealed and tallied. The competitor with the most votes wins and that player collects the Debate card.  In the event of a tie, the card goes into a discard pile.   

Every player collects his vote cards, in order to possess both an A and B card.

The next round continues with the player to the left of the first Debater. If the second Debater’s opponent is revealed to be one of the players from the previous debate, select the person who next fit the criteria and finally if that is not resolved then select the person who has waited longest to debate.


Play continues until a player collects 5 Debate cards and is thus declared the winner. 



Gameplay Example

Everyone is playing The Great Debate.  It’s Susan’s turn.  She draws a card from the Debate deck, reads the question, and chooses the “A” position.  She then announces that her opponent will be the “Youngest Player.”  Of the 3 remaining players, Travis is the youngest, so he is her opponent, and must take the opposing position, option “B”. 

Susan places her “A” card on the table, and hides her “B” card, while Travis does the opposite.

After Susan and Travis present their debate, the rest of the players vote for who they feel won the debate.  Travis was voted the winner by the other players so he collects the Debate card.  Each player retrieves their vote card and the next round begins.  Kathie is to the left of Susan, so she draws the next Debate card.  When the players realize that her opponent (Person who wakes earliest in the mornings) would have been Susan, they then choose Frank as he was next in line as earliest to be Kathie’s opponent.







Gameplay Variants

Players have suggested many different house rules for The Great Debate. Below we share a few variations on the basic game for when you feel like adding that extra spice to your debate:

Name Your Opponent

Use the standard game rules for play, but instead of following the Ice Breaker indicators, you may choose your opponent.  This can be especially interesting if you know a person at the table feels strongly about a position and you force them to defend something contrary to their feelings. However, the same rules apply in not selecting an opponent who was in the last debate.  This is to ensure that the division of those presenting debates is fair.



Use the standard game rules for play, however, once per game the Debater may wager one of his winning Debate cards to present a 15 second rebuttal. After the second player is finished speaking, the Debater may place a previously-won Debate card beside the current Debate card, and immediately present a rebuttal.  If declared the winner, you keep both Debate cards.  If you lose, your opponent keeps both cards.  Each player may only use a rebuttal once per game, and only one rebuttal can be used in a turn; the Opponent may not present a rebuttal to your rebuttal.

Pat's Hard Mode

Use the standard game rules, except that when you draw a card you automatically have to take the A position.​