Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Running for President in The Presidential Game

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We love games!  They are a wonderful way to get in some family time.  If you were to come to our house, you might possibly notice that we have a whole 3 tiered shelving unit solely dedicated to games.  We like action games, card games, board games and last but certainly not least, educational games!
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Recently we were given the opportunity to review a game called The Presidential Game.  The Presidential Game

I thought it would fit in nicely with our study of the states and presidents this year.

The Presidential Game is really neat, it is fun and it gives the kids a really good understanding of how the election process works.  It is a strategy type of game that teaches kids (and lets face it, adults too!), exactly how those electoral votes work.  The object of the game is to get to 270 electoral votes to take the win, well the Presidency.

All of the kids, ages 5-12, have played this with me, but it is suggested for ages 11 and up. 
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At the start of the game you decide how many weeks until the election, the amount of weeks you choose are actually the amount of rounds you play the game.  You split into two teams, Republicans and Democrats - this actually opened up a great discussion of what each party stands for.

There is also an optional WebMap Calculator that is available online to use during the game.  This calculator is a map that calculates the electoral votes each party has, as well as who is leading in the state or if it is still neutral.  The WebMap was a great visual for the kids, and it really added to the fun factor.  I thought that the WebMap was also a great way to help with keeping score.

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This is the WebMap Calculator that can be used online.

To get started you pick teams, ,roll and the high rolling team goes first.  During each turn, the playing team can choose to campaign or fund-raise for their party.  Both of these choices include rolling the dice and placing votes, well chips, on various states.  For each turn your team rolls three dice, when you are campaigning the each one of the dice rolled end up being the amount of votes that you can place on three states of your choice. 

When you fund-raise, you can pick either Texas, California, New York or Florida.  You roll the dice and then you can use all or at least half of your total roll for votes in that state.  We seemed to be in constant battle of the state of California, because they have the most electoral votes.  One of the added benefits of fundraising is that you get to draw Politics Cards, depending on the card these can help or hurt you.  Here are two examples:

Wisconsin Teachers Union lays off 30% of it's employees. Your opponent adds 2 votes to Wisconsin.

Your opponent appears as a guest host on a popular late night comedy show and is very stiff and not very funny at all.  Pick up 5 votes to be used any way to like.

During each turn you have the opportunity to win the vote of different states, even those that are controlled by the opposing team.  We really enjoyed this part of the game, and we all became quite competitive too! The team controlling the state is the team that has the most votes, or coins on that state.  If you add votes to a state that an opponent "controls," each chip you place on that state knocks out one of their votes or chip.  So, if you have enough chips you can take the lead and control the state. 

After the allotted weeks, or turns are up, then all the teams each roll the dice to decide who wins the neutral states.  The team with the highest number of electoral votes wins the game, and takes the presidency.

Once you understand the game, and play a few rounds it is a lot of fun!  The kids and I all really enjoyed this, but they did mention that they preferred to play with about 15 weeks verses 30. 

You can purchase The Presidential Game online for $35.00.  It makes a great addition to any study on U.S. History, presidents, states or elections.  This game would also be an excellent choice for family game night.  My favorite games are the kind that are fun and have educational value, this game has both! 

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