Has your family gotten stuck in a rut with the choices for Family Game Night? Our family recently received a copy of The Presidential Game. It is intended for those ages 11 and above, but our 9 year old was able to jump into the fun with the rest of the family. Let our review help provide some more info on what could be the newest addition to your family fun chest.
The Presidential Game is all about the election process. It is the battling of the Democrats against the Republicans building up to the final election. Sorry, there are no Independent tickets in this game. Teams take turns either campaigning or fundraising through the weeks building up to the election. Each team determines their own road to Washington as they decide which states to visit. The roll of the die determines the success in each state.
The game includes the game board, two sets of party-colored dice, chips to mark the progress of each team in winning a particular state, and cards that are used during fundraising. There is a scorecard to keep track of any changes in the accruing of electoral votes in the weeks leading up to the election. Our kids were also very taken with the Webmap Calculator. This is a electoral map of the nation located on-line that allows your family to map the progress of your game and have a “televised” update as you would see on TV on the night of the election as the votes are coming in from each state.
Our Family’s Thoughts
When this game first arrived, our kids were a little less than excited to be quite honest. They assumed this game was going to be about debates and giving campaign speeches. I think their idea of what the game was going to be is a great one, but it was totally off the mark with what this game is really about. The Presidential Game is a lot more about strategy, the roll of the dice, and how you respond to the outcome of the previous turn. In actuality, it is probably a lot like the real election process in many ways.
Our 13 year old compared it as being similar to the other strategy-based board games that our family also enjoys in that you are truly trying to capture as many states as possible, but also having to strategically determine your next moves to outposition your opponent. The kids second concern was that the game would drag on and on. This was not the case at all. Generally, it can be played in an hour or less.
Besides just being fun, I could see two uses for this game as a wonderful supplement in our homeschooling journey. First, it makes for great hands-on learning of the impact of the electoral college on the outcome of the Presidential Elections. This is a discussion that you may choose to have with upper elementary students and older. It actually stirred up some intense discussion in our home as I am sure that many of you have had in yours about the inherent fairness or unfairness of the Electoral College in concept and principal. Something that comes up in many discussions around each Presidential Election.
Second, the Presidential Game is a great resource in teaching critical thinking skills. This game is really about strategy, assessing the current circumstances, and figuring out how to respond. I teach a high school critical thinking class at our local homeschool group. The students in my class will be playing this as part of our learning this year.
Third, the playing of the Presidential Game is a great way of having some family discussion about the responsibility to vote and the true role of the President. When our children were younger, the mere singing of the National Anthem could evoke feelings of patriotism and pride in being an American. As our children are getting older, this is much more difficult. They are beginning to interpret the current events of the day, seeing how the President responds, and starting to form their own convictions and judgments. These determinations do not always reflect that of our current President and don’t always reflect our views as their parents. The Presidential Game helps to refocus back on the fundamentals of what our government is about and provides a platform for discussion of more of these issues.
If you are looking for a new game to expand your family’s choices on Family Game Night, we would recommend The Presidential Game. But as always, check out what our Crewmates have to say on the TOS Review Crew.