The elections are over, the people have spoken... and for you and your fellow Senators, the result was a bloodbath!!! You find yourselves in the minority after sweeping changes to the Senate and a transfer of power at the White House.
You're all that stands against a legislative agenda that promises to up-end Democracy as you know it...
Now you must stand together and help each other use the most powerful tool you have to block upcoming policy votes - the Filibuster!
Filibuster! is a semi-cooperative game card for 3-5 players acting as a group of minority Senators in the Upper Chamber of Congress.
The White House and new majority are aggressively pushing a new set of policies that you must work together to prevent by utilizing the tried-and-tested political tools of Influence and the Filibuster.
Each policy in question acts as a round of play, and is resolved through a Bidding Phase to determine the Senate Minority Leader, and a Filibuster Phase to execute the Filibuster.
- 20 Tarot-sized Policy Cards
- 24 Poker-sized Time Deck Cards
- 58 Poker-sized Action Deck Cards
- 5 Tarot-sized Player Reference Cards
- 5.5" x 8.5" Game Board
- 30 One-Influence Tokens, 20 Five-Influence Tokens, 10 Ten-Influence Tokens
- 1 Failed Vote Token
- 5 Aye/Nay Tokens
- 5 Election Tokens
- 1 Difficulty Tracker Token
- 1 Time Tracker Token
- 1 Senate Minority Leader Marker Meeple
- 1 Supporting Senator Marker Pawn
- 1 60-second Sandtimer
- 8"x10" Rules sheet
Object of the Game
Players must successfully block 4 out of 7 policies from being enacted by filibustering for a certain amount of time.
One player (The Senate Minority Leader) actively works on the Filibuster while the other players support the Filibuster through special actions, gaining influence behind the scenes.
Players complete all 7 rounds unless they fail to block 4 policies. if 4 policies are enacted at any time, all of the players lose and the game ends!
Of course, if the players stop the majority's policy agenda in its tracks, the minority Senator who managed to accrue the most influence during the game is the true winner!
Policy Peck - The policy agenda laid out by the current White House and majority Senators. Policies the minority Senators (players) are trying to prevent!
Time Peck - Played by the Senate Minority Leader. This deck dictates the round length, containing cards that allow play to continue, reduce your Influence, stop the Filibuster dead in its tracks, and every once in a while. help you out!
Action Peck - Cards used by the players to increase the length of their Filibuster, gain influence within their Party, and assist the Senate Minority Leader.
Influence Tokens - Used during the Bidding Phase to determine the Senate Minority Leader for each round after the first.
The player with the most Influence at the end of the game (if 4 or more policies are blocked) is the game-winner. Come in values of 1, 5, and 10.
Filibuster, Difficulty, and Voting Game Mat with Tokens - Tracks the progress of each Filibuster, round difficulty, and voting mechanic.
"Aye" and "Nay" Cards - Each player receives an "Aye" and "Nay" card to use for voting on the voluntary ending of Filibusters.
Shuffle the Policy Deck. Deal 7 policies face down in the center of the play area, with 4 policies in the first row, and 3 policies in the second.
Place 3 influence on the 5th policy, 5 influence on the 6th policy, and 7 influence on the 7th policy. Shuffle the Action card deck and deal 4 cards to each player.
Each player also receives 3 influence and an "Aye" and "Nay" card.. Place the game mat in the play area below the policies, with the Time Deck and Action decks on either side of it.
Flip the policy proposal in the first slot face up to indicate it is "in play". For the first round, the bidding phase is skipped - the last person to visit Washington, D.C. is the Senate Minority Leader. if this cannot be determined, decide the Senate Minority Leader randomly.
Shuffle the Time Deck at the beginning of each Filibuster Phase. The Round Difficulty is determined by the number of successes the minority already has.
The initial difficulty requires the minority Senators to reach a Filibuster time of 6 hours. Each successful Filibuster raises the minimum time needed to successfully Filibuster by 3 hours.
When a Filibuster fails, the difficulty for the next round does not increase. Difficulty caps at 24 hours. Use the Filibuster Track to keep track of round difficulty.
Play begins with the Senate Minority Leader. During their turn, the Senate Minority Leader first plays a card from the Time Deck.
The Senate Minority Leader must then play an action card from their hand that increases the length of the current Filibuster, provided it has not been ended by the Time Deck.
The Filibuster length is increased by the amount found in the upper left portion of the card played. if the Senate Minority Leader has no cards, or they only have cards with the Assist keyword in their hand, the opportunity to play a card is forfeit.
Use the Filibuster Track to indicate progress on the Filibuster each round.
After the Senate Minority Leader completes their turn, play passes to their left. Note: When beginning a new Filibuster Phase, after the new Senate Minority Leader begins the round, play begins where the last round left off (moving to the next player in sequence).
If the new Senate Minority Leader was the next person in sequence, play passes to their left as normal.
Minority Senators do not play a card from the Time Deck during their turn. Instead, Minority Senators begin their turn by drawing one card from the Action Deck. They may then take one of the following actions:
- Draw an additional Action Card
- Play an Action Card with the Assist Keyword
- Pass a non-assist Action Card to the Senate Minority Leader
Minority Senators may only play action cards with the Assist keyword; they may not play cards that directly increase the length of a Filibuster for the Senate Minority Leader.
Playing an action card with the Assist keyword rewards Influence tokens equal the value shown in the star in the upper left portion of the card. The player simply follows the directions printed on the card when playing an Assist.
Minority Senators who pass a card to the Senate Minority Leader are rewarded influence equal to the value in the clock in the upper left portion of the card.
The Senate Minority Leader takes the first turn in each Filibuster Phase, returning to the Senate Minority Leader after each minority Senator's turn. For example, a 4-player game with players A, B, C, and D would like like this if "A" were the Senate Minority Leader:
A B A C A D A B A C A D A, Etc, etc.
Play continues on the Filibuster until a card is drawn in the Time Deck that ends it, there are no more Time Cards to draw or players
successfully reach the maximum Filibuster time of 24 hours, at which time the Filibuster immediately ends in success.
Once the Filibuster is ended, players check to see if the Filibuster was successful (The length of the Filibuster is greater than or equal to the Round Difficulty).
if the Filibuster was successful, the policy is blocked. Turn the Policy so the Reward is on the bottom of the card - you've stifled the Majority's agenda! You receive the Reward as described on the Policy card..
if the Filibuster failed, turn the Policy so the Setback is on the bottom of the card - the policy is enacted! Players suffer a
Setback as described on the card, which must be implemented immediately!
The Senate Minority Leader is awarded influence equal to the length of the Filibuster at the end of the phase, regardless of the outcome. Any cards or tokens players have remained in their possession. There is no limit to hand size or number of influence tokens a player may have.
Voting to End a Filibuster
At the beginning of their turn, the Senate Minority Leader may, twice per round, attempt to end a Filibuster voluntarily by calling the Senators to a vote.
Players may discuss the idea before casting a vote with their "Aye" or "Nay" card simultaneously in the play area. The Senate Minority Leader must vote "Aye" when calling a vote.
An "Aye" vote must be unanimous to take effect!
Discussing a vote is the only time players may offer trades or "incentives" to other players in order to earn their votes. Players may "buy" their fellow senators, with cards or influence. However, you cannot manipulate turn order as a bargaining tool.
If the "Ayes have it", the Filibuster immediately ends as a success, however, the players for-Fert the reward for the round and the Senate Minority Leader earns half the value of the influence earned, rounding up.
If the "Nays have it", each player who voted "Nay" gains influence equal to the policy round. Play then continues as normal.
Votes may only be successfully carried out twice per game, after which this option is no longer available.
Bidding Phase - Snap Elections
After a Policy is enacted or defeated, a new round begins, starting with "snap elections" for Minority Leader and a new Bidding Phase.
Every round after the first starts with a bidding phase that determines which player will act as Senate Minority Leader, and therefore take the responsibility (and credit!) for the upcoming Filibuster. The previous Senate Minority Leader places the opening bid.
Each player, in turn, may bid influence tokens to attempt to become the next Senate Minority Leader. Alternatively, a player may choose to pass, saving their influence for other purposes.
Bidding continues in a clockwise motion until each player consecutively passes. if you pass and bidding comes back around to you, you may either pass again or choose to place a bid.
Once all other players consecutively pass after the last bid is placed, the player with the highest Influence bid is elected Senate Minority Leader and will Filibuster the active policy.
All influence bid by all players is paid to the Treasury. The bids represent each player spending their political influence to gather votes - they still spend the influence and get the votes, it simply may not be enough to get elected.
After bids have been paid, the next policy is turned face up to indicate that it is in play. if players are starting the 5th, 6th, or 7th, Policy Round, the elected Senate Minority Leader will earn the influence reward that was placed with the policy at the end of the Filibuster Phase.
Finally, except for the newly elected Senate Minority Leader, players with fewer than 4 cards in hand draw cards from the Action Card deck until they have a hand of 4 cards.
Play on the next Filibuster phase then begins.