The Presidential Game, recommended for ages 11 to adult is a whirlwind of fun that simulates the electoral process for the Presidential office of the United States of America. For this TOS Crew Review review, two of my boys (ages 18 and 16), my husband, and I played it, and immersed ourselves into the tricky game of politics.
The object of the game is to earn the most electoral college votes and thereby win the presidential election. Two teams, Democrats and Republicans compete against each other by making strategic decisions on their turn. Campaign or Fundraise? Go for smaller states or focus on the big ones? Divide available money across many states, or build up a reserve on a high electoral vote state?
Your opponent is in perfect position to take the lead and steal a state you thought you were sure to win.
There is an online webmap to record states won, or you can keep track with a paper score board.
Garrison’s feedback: The game was very tense. Your own turns went by very fast and your opponents turns seemed to take forever. Of course, I dislike the chance aspect of the game but it keeps it simple for being able to engage whatever group or family you play with without much confusion on the rules. It was an especially good simulation of the election and will definitely help younger children understand it. I would recommend it.
Dad’s take: I felt all the same exhilaration and disappointment that I feel every four years on election night as I watch my candidate gain, and then lose, all-important swing states. The online scoreboard looks just like an election map with red and blue states. You find yourself playing this much like the real candidates, focusing most of your efforts and resources on the few states with the big votes and callously ignoring “fly-over” states. I can see this helping kids to make sense of, and even be excited by election night as they recognize the similarity to this fun game.
Benny’s thoughts: The game was fun. It represented real life politics in the sense that you watched a state go from Democrat to Republican all game long until the end. There was a lot of luck involved, but that makes it fair for first time players. The rules sounded complicated but it was really easy to pick up. I was surprised how quickly the hour went by. It will be fun to play again during a presidential elect year.
The Presidential Game is a entertaining way to grasp our electoral voting system. It is certain to stir some enlightening discussions. Both our teams focused on the states with the highest number of electoral votes such as Texas, New York, Florida, and California. We had no interest in the little guys like Delaware, Vermont, and Wyoming. We felt bad we neglected those states, but if we wanted to win, we had to get those high population states!
Anything can happen in the presidential game: when we played my team (Republicans) won by a landslide, winning California, Florida and New York. It felt good to win the election, but unfortunately the democratic team did not enjoy being defeated. They tried hard but once we pulled ahead it was just too hard for them to catch up. The game sells for $35. Families will love it, as well as classes or groups studying government. And, it can be simply enjoyed as a board game. Head over to the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog to read more reviews of The Presidential Game.