Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Presidential Game {A Review}

A board game that combines learning with fun.

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The Presidential Game

The Essentials - What you need to know

  • The Presidential Game
  • Age Range: 11 to adult 
  • A board game with a board, pieces, and rules. There is also an optional tool to help play the game online. 
  • $35

The Review

 photo GameImage_zps8848e8d7.jpg It was an exciting day when the Presidential Game showed up on our doorstep.  Zippy asked what the big box was, I said a game.  It was like Christmas.  She could not get the box opened fast enough. There was ooohing and aahing over the quality box and its contents.  She opened all of the plastic baggies with pieces (there are a lot of pieces) and organized them. Then the questions started.  How do you play, what are the rules, what are all the pieces for?  Well, there nothing for it but to break out the rules and play a game.  But first I had to find something for my four year old son to do.  This game is definitely for older children to adults.  The recommended ages are 11 to adult, but I could see a smart 9 or 10 year old getting the concept.  It can be simple, but it can also be complex depending on the people playing.  

In the blue box we found a quality cardboard game board with a map of the United States.  Each state has a circle on it.  Most states are a solid color, but four states had a picture of George Washington on them.  There is also a nice plastic organizer which holds red and blue round plastic chips, 3 red dice, and 3 blue dice.  There are also thin cardboard square that say "Vote Democrat" and "Vote Republican".  These cardboard square fit nicely over the square plastic containers that contain the pieces and dice.  There is also a deck of cards, a score keeping notepad and the election rules, the rules of the game.

Before the game the players decide if they are going to be Republican or Democrat and how long the game is going to be.  According to the directions 30 turns, which is the most on the score card, takes about an hour.  We played much shorter games.  The basic idea of the game is to secure at least 270 electoral votes at the end of the game.  Each state clearly has noted on it how many electoral votes it gets.  The players secure the states with votes, each chip representing a vote. Votes are gained (or lost) by the roll of the dice.   There can be a fair amount of strategy with the votes.  Zippy played several times learning a little more about strategy each time.  One time she played with her dad she decided to forcefully go after the states with the biggest number of electoral votes, she lost because she concentrated so hard on the big states that she lost sight of the bigger picture and lots and lots of little states added up to more votes.

 photo GameImage_zps8848e8d7.jpgThere were two options for play every turn.  One option was very straight forward, roll the dice and put your votes down.  The other was a little more random.  There were more choices where votes can be put and there was a politics card.  These cards were my favorite part of the game.  They added a little randomness, and some of them rang quite true of our political system.  An example of a card would be "The United Auto Workers (UAW) just endorsed you.  Add 5 votes to Michigan".  They could also take away votes, so it is a risk to play with them. The cards can be funny. They also have a lot of local flavor, some references were so local I had to look them up learning something in the process.   Fair warning there are some touchy political subjects in the cards including legalizing marijuana, immigration and  racism.  They also touch on some moral issues such as alcoholic drinking,  gambling, and marital indiscretions.  While I, personally, did not agree with some of the political views, they represent the views of certain political entities in the United States.  Frankly, they led to a lot of discussion.  Many, many why questions were asked and answered and I believe that my daughter now has a better grasp of our political leanings and why we choose to vote the way we do.

This game was a lot of fun to play. We have played it several times.  I look forward to the next big family gathering (either Thanksgiving or Christmas) because I know this game will be a big hit.    


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