As part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received The Presidential Game game to review. The Presidential Game is a fun way to learn about the presidential election and the electoral college.
The Presidential Game, which sells on the website for $35, is for ages 11 to adult. Since the game is played with teams, younger children can be included on teams with adults. This is a great family game.
While the description below may make the game sound complicated, it really isn’t. Once you get the hang of the game, each teams turn will only take about a minute or less. The game does go pretty fast. There isn’t a lot of down time, so the game holds everyone’s attention.
Players are divided onto two teams, Republican and Democrats. The game comes with little signs to display while you’re playing. You can decide how long you want the game to last, I really liked that aspect of the game. A full game, which is 30 weeks leading up to the election, will take about an hour. We’ve played games as short as 10 weeks, and it still is lots of fun. Each team gets one turn for each week of the game.
On each turn, teams decide if they want to campaign or fundraise. To fundraise, you pick from one of four states, New York, Florida, Texas, and California. The team has to announce the state before rolling the dice. You then roll the dice, with the count on the dice being how many votes you get to distribute. At least half of the votes must go to the state you chose for to fundraise in. Your team decides how to distribute the rest of the votes. Before your turn is over, you choose a Politics Card. These cards tell you something that happened during the campaign, and what to do. Many times, putting a number of chips onto a certain state. Then your turn is over.
If your team chooses to campaign, your team chooses three states to campaign in, and announces them before you roll the dice. After you roll the dice, your team decides how to distribute the votes, one die to each state. You don’t get a Politics card when you campaign.
When you are putting your chips on the states during your turn, you can remove the opposing teams chips to add your own. This makes the game very competitive, and fun. The control of states can change on every turn!
There is a pad of score sheets included in the game. You keep track of how many electoral votes each team gains or looses on each turn. Included with the game is a code that can be used on the website for an electoral Webmap. It can be accessed from your phone, tablet, or computer. If you only have a desktop computer, you can set the game up near the computer to take advantage of this online map. I found it to be much easier to keep track of the electoral counts while using the Webmap. It is also much more visual for the whole family to see who is winning, as opposed to the paper score sheet. It makes you feel like your really getting reports like they show on television on election night. Here’s a screen shot of the Webmap in use.
After you have played the number of weeks you chose to at the beginning of the game, you determine who won. If you played a shorter game, and not all of the states have been won, the directions cover how to quickly decide which team gets control of which state. Then whichever team has the most electoral votes wins!
This is a great game to play leading up to an election. Playing in between elections will help kids learn more about electoral votes. So when election year comes around, they will have a better understanding. I think it will really help my kids to be more involved by watching the coverage, including the electoral maps, on election night.
My family, including four teenagers, had fun playing The Presidential Game. My 18 year old son was even seen raising his fist in the air, saying, “I conquered the United States!” lol