Ready for a fun learning idea? Let's try a board game! Company Information/Product Reviewed: The Presidential Game, "the most powerful game in the world," is a board game where two individuals or teams, representing Democrats and Republicans, compete to collect the 270 electoral votes needed to become the next president.
On each turn, the two opponents decide whether they want to campaign or fundraise for their team. This game requires a bit of strategy and thinking: Do I want to maintain a strong hold on key states or do I want to reach as many states as possible? Would campaigning or fundraising be more helpful at this point in the game? Should I sink all my chips into one state or how should I split them up?
The game board comes in a sturdy cardboard box and includes the gameboard, two sets of three dice (six total), red and blue chips---representing votes (150 each), Politics Game cards (80 written and 40 blank to write your own), a score pad, the access code to the online electoral web map calculator and of course, instructions.
The instructions say that it takes about 1 hour to play 30 "weeks" (turns), but we found that we took a bit longer than that.
Age Range: age 11 and up.
How We Used It:
Following the directions on the instruction card, we set up the game and pulled up the Webmap Calculator online. We did this once on the laptop and a couple times using the iPad. Both work equally well, but we liked the iPad as it was easier to work with. All you do to use it is tap it once to make it Republican (red), tap it again to make it Democrat (blue) and once more to make it neutral (tan). The calculator automatically credits each team with the proper number of electoral votes. It also tracks how many "weeks" or turns each side has taken. Way cool.
- For us, this was a fun weekend game. It was educational without being "schoolish."
- I liked the strategy involved in playing. I played it once with my son and then my two kids battled it out a couple times. Of course, we all wanted the big states first. But as the game progressed, we began to realize that the "smaller" states were just as important.
- This gave us a better appreciation of what was involved in the election process. The Politics Cards were a humorous way to catch a glimpse of what makes or breaks a campaigner.
- This game can be played with individuals or with teams. We didn't get to use it as a team, but I think it would be a lot of fun for kids to build teamwork and strategy as a group.
- Did I mention how cool the Webmap Calculator is? Or you can use the score cards provided and manually tabulate your scores. Great for math practice!
What We Didn't Like:
Do plan on giving yourselves a little extra time to learn the game. Perhaps after you learn how to play, the game will not take as long, but it took us about an hour to play 15 "weeks" or turns. Or maybe we're just slow thinkers.
This is a fun game to supplement a government study or use in a presidential election year. I think we will try it out with our homeschool group as a team activity. We watched the Presidential election race last year and it had a similar feel--one side, then another, before one side breaks ahead. Throughout the game we had to keep track of how all our states were doing and either shore up some votes or branch out to new territories. All in all, we had a lot of fun...and it was a great way to spend a weekend afternoon!