The Presidential Game

We are a game loving family. Ever since the kids were younger, we've slowly been building up our game closet so when The Presidential Game came up for review, we didn't hesitate to request it. 

I'll be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect with a game that is solely based on acquiring electoral votes to win the presidency. I was afraid I'd be pulling my kids teeth to play this for the review. Boy was I blown away! Both the kids & my husband spent many hours over the last 6 weeks playing this because they wanted to!

The game comes with a sturdy, colorful game board, red & blue dice, red & blue chips, score sheet & political cards (as well as some blank ones for you to write your own). This game is for ages 11 & up but if you have younger children, they can pair up with the older ones to play. You have to have a minimum of 2 players but you can have as many people as you want to play as you split into 2 teams, the democrats & republicans. Just as an added side note, it doesn't matter which side of the fence you sit on for your real life political party, this game is neutral. 

To start, divide up into teams & decide who is going to be blue or red (I say that because some of them always wanted to be a certain political party) and then roll the dice to decide who will be going first. You also determine how long you are going to campaign for. The score sheet lists 30 weeks but we found that would take over 2 hours for a round so typically they played for 15 weeks.

Before you roll the dice for your turn, you decide if your team will campaign or fundraise. If your team decides to campaign, they will decide & announce which 3 states to campaign in then roll their 3 dice. Whatever 3 numbers come up determines how many chips you allocate to those 3 states. (each dice number goes to a separate state). The goal is to win control of a state. So if the state was neutral (no blue or red chips present) as soon as your political party has at least 1 of their chips in it, they currently have those electoral votes. The key is, both parties can keep fighting for a state which is what keeps this game exciting!

Let's say the democrats have 3 of their chips in Florida but the republicans really want that state and they choose to take 5 chips to put towards the state, 3 of their chips cancel out the democrats so the state of Florida now has 2 republican chips thus giving them control.

If the team chooses to fundraise for their turn, they announce that & choose which state to fundraise in as you can only do this in California, Florida, Texas & New York. To do this, you only roll 2 dice. You  have to put at least half that number in chips on the state you chose to fundraise in. The rest can be divided up amongst any of the rest of the states. Then you choose a card from the stack of political cards though you don't use this card during that turn but save it for a future time to take the opposing team by surprise (though a few of these cards state to play immediately). 2 examples of what these cards are "Your spouse supposedly makes some of the best mashed potatoes. The secret recipe is revealed at the Idaho Spud Day. Add 2 votes to Idaho." "A top DC lobbyist who your opponent befriended while in congress is indicted. Your opponent loses 2 votes from the state of your choice." There are also blank cards to write your own suggestions as well.

At the end of the campaign (however many weeks you chose to play) if there are any states that remain neutral or tied, a state is chosen and both teams roll a dice and whoever has the highest number claims that state. This continues on until all the states belong to one party or the other. The team that has the most electoral votes wins the presidency.

Another neat feature to this game is using the online interactive webmap where you could keep score there instead of using the score sheets. We felt this made it a lot easier to keep track of who had each state.

There was a bit of a learning curve to this game and it took a few times of playing to get it down. While it was an educational game helping the kids to understand the electoral college and the importance of strategization, it was just an overall fun game that they all have thoroughly enjoyed and perfect for all ages! This would also make a good game for a civics class at a co-op.

The Presidential Game can be purchased for $35.


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