My Favorite Card: Rachel Billingsley on two cards from Mr. President

This Conflicts of Interest Online post, the latest in our My Favorite Card series, is from GMT Games director of marketing Rachel Billingsley. Below, Rachel offers some thoughts on two favorite cards from GMT’s Mr. President, designed by her father (and GMT Games founder) Gene Billingsley, which she has a playtester credit on alongside her brother (and GMT ad manager and marketing team member) Luke.

I’m actually going to cheat a little here and choose two cards.  One illustrates one of my favorite things about playing Mr. President. The other is a bit of an inside joke from the early playtesting days.

First, one of my favorite cards from Mr. President that illustrates making hard decisions as a leader. That’s Card #77, titled “Congress Wants to Expand Trade & Tourism Ties with Cuba Amidst Party & Public Disagreements“.

Card #77 from GMT Games' Mr. President.

Card #77 from GMT Games’ Mr. President.

I won’t go into too much detail here about the card itself (you can read it in the image above), but essentially it’s forcing you to decide whether to expand or restrict ties with Cuba. And that comes with no 100 percent clear “better choice”; both options have their benefits and drawbacks based on what the board state and the relationship with your party is at the time.

I just really like seeing a card illustrate the idea that no matter what you decide, you can’t please everyone or get everything you want. (The Rolling Stones had it right when they said “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime you’ll find you get what you need.” And if Mr. President had a gameplay soundtrack, that song would definitely be on it.) There are a few other crisis cards like this that pop up evoking similar feelings, and having to make choices like this is one of my favorite things about playing Mr. President.

My other favorite card is Card #137 titled “Bureaucratic Incompetence,” which is one of two cards in the deck that hold this title. Both cards have different interagency and interpersonal issues listed that might arise during your presidency such as gaffes, intel failures, legislative gridlock, interpersonal issues within the cabinet, scandals, et cetera.

Card #137 from GMT Games' "Mr. President."

Card #137 from GMT Games’ “Mr. President.”

I love this card because in the early playtesting days, the image used on this card was of a cartoon baby with a smile on his face, saying “I have a surprise for you. It’s POOP!”  Gene, Luke, and I always found that hilarious and fitting.

The final art showing a man with a clown nose is great, too. But for me it’s still not quite as effective at illustrating the frustration you feel when your trusted subordinates smile and swear their loyalty, while delivering a work product that is the political equivalent of poop.

Rachel Billingsley is the Director of Marketing for GMT Games. She has a BBA degree in Marketing from Lipscomb University and worked in GMT’s Marketing Department for almost five years before taking over as Marketing Director in 2019. Rachel is also the Editor in Chief of InsideGMT and manages all of GMT’s social media presence in addition to leading GMT’s talented team of marketers.

Outside of marketing, Rachel likes to play games, has playtester credits for GMT’s Mr. President, and is part of GMT’s management team of strategic decision-makers. In her free time (what!?), she loves to travel the world in search of beautiful places and new experiences, vacation with her family, and devote time to her church. No matter what she is doing, Rachel is always in search of the world’s best cup of coffee.

[Card images supplied by GMT Games. Featured image of Mr. President components supplied by Scott Mansfield. Check out more of Scott’s work on his Twitter account and his website.]