Monday is Family Game Night at the Toliver's house! With our big crew, we often end up playing a little kid game first and then one for the bigger kids. But when The Presidential Game arrived at our house for review, we discovered a game that we could all play together!
Here's how the game works:
*You divide the players into two teams: Republicans and Democrats. For each turn you decide if you want to campaign or fundraise. Depending on what you choose, you gain or lose electoral votes according to what you roll on the dice or what card you draw.
*The pad of paper in my husband's hand is what you use to keep track of electoral votes. You can choose up to 30 weeks until the election (which is 30 turns per team). The directions say that a "30 week game" would take about an hour, but for us that would be much, much longer. Is it because we talk too much or because we have lots of little ones involved? I don't know. But we always played a shorter game and finished the election over time.
*The WebMap Calculator is a fun feature that you can integrate with the game. We actually didn't use it much at first, but then John and my oldest son played the game one-on-one and really had fun using it. It's an online resource that keeps track of your electoral votes on a map; then you no longer have to use the pad of paper and you can use your mental skills to defeat your opponent rather than to do the math!
*We played with the whole family. Since the game divides you into two teams, it was easy for the older ones to help the younger ones. On each turn, we had each team member do something - whether it was choosing "campaigning" or "fundraising, or drawing a card, or deciding how to distribute the electoral votes, or choosing a state, or rolling the dice (you can guess which age group had that job). The 4 year old and 6 year old got bored after awhile, but everyone else from age 8 on up was pretty engrossed.
*I'm all about multi-tasking. And The Presidential Game helped the kids learn in a number of areas. It did help them see how the electoral system works, why candidates return to the same states over and over, and how what a candidate (or his spouse) does can affect votes from a certain state. (Like if you go wild hog hunting, that helps your prospects in Texas!) But it also helped them with basic math skills - figuring up negatives/positives. And it really boosted their US geography skills too! We always have a US and a world map hanging in our dining room (stereotypical homeschool decor) - but this game really helped the knowledge of US states - especially for my 8 and 10 year olds.
*Now I must say the biggest controversy at our house was who had to be on what team. I won't make a political statement, but let's just say - well, we're Texans. However, the game provided great opportunities for discussing how just because someone is from a certain political party, it doesn't mean they are absolutely liberal or conservative. It also brought up discussions as to why we ARE pro-life, pro-2nd Amendment, pro-individual freedom, and so on. Not that I'm making a political statement.
*My oldest son - age 15 - loves games of strategy. This was a perfect game for him because, while there is a little luck involved with dice throws, it also has a lot to do with strategy and what states you build up with electoral votes, where you campaign or spend your money, etc.
Price: $35 - includes a 20" x 30" game board, score pad, 3 blue dice, 3 red dice, 80 politics cards, 40 "write your own" politics cards, 150 Republican votes/red chips, 150 Democrat votes/blue chips, 1 electoral WebMap(TM) calculator access code
Age: 11 and up