To summarize the game play, there are two teams - Democrats and Republicans. It's a two-party system, so it's a two-team game. It can be played by just two players or more players can work as teams. The game board itself is a US map with each state displaying how many electoral college votes it has. For this game, just four states are designated for fundraising - California, Florida, New York, and Texas. On each turn, the team must decide whether to do fundraising or to campaign. If they are campaigning, they announce the three states they'll campaign in, and each state may be visited only once per turn. Roll the three dice and decide which die corresponds to which state, because those are the number of votes won. If the team chooses to go fundraising, they choose a state to work in, roll dice and pick up a politics card. Essentially, it's a lot like the world domination strategy games played on the electoral college map!
How did we use it? To my delight (and slight surprise), as soon as the game arrived, my kids opened it up and asked if they could play. I've been letting them play on their own, and they've chosen to do that during their lunch break on numerous occasions, and have taken the game along to a homeschool co-op meeting in order to play with some friends. They were able to follow the directions for play on their own, and told me that they figured it out quite easily, except for what to do about "stealing" states. They tried a couple different approaches, then re-read the instructions, and then they got that too. We didn't use the interactive webmap offered on The Presidential Game website, but Landon had no trouble keeping tabs on the vote count using the colorful tally pad included with the game.
Since I have two students, they've been playing as individuals and haven't had much chance to try the game with teams. Kennady says she thinks it would be harder with teams, because everyone on the team would have to agree whether to fundraise or campaign, and how to apportion the votes and so on. And I guess she's right - there would be some politics involved there! Kennady and Landon both agreed that fundraising was more fun than campaigning, which makes it sound like they've learned that financial backing is key to winning elections, and maybe they are right about that too.
What we liked best:
- colorful, high quality game board and pieces with great graphics
- counting the electoral college votes actually starts to make sense when presented in a strategy game! Learning about the American electoral system was made fun and competitive.
- You can play the game without having to debate anything controversial.
- You can decide how long the game will go by choosing how many weeks until the election. My kids usually went with a 12-week game, which lasted just under an hour on average.
- did I mention that it's FUN?!
- you may need to do some math if you're keeping track of your own votes rather than using the webmap tool, and if you're like us, you may need to read over the directions a couple times and refer to them during the game before you catch on to some of the details.
Visit the website at: http://www.thepresidentialgame.com/
Check out the FAQs, and read the game rules. Visit The Briefing Room to find links to The Presidential Blog, photos, contests, and more.
Pricing: The Presidential Game may be purchased through the website's shop for $35. They also offer a "New Deal" package, which is the game and a hat for $50. See The Presidential Game website for a list of retailers that carry the game as well.
Recommended Ages: 11 years old and up.
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Visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog for more information and to read other Crew member reviews.
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