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Historical Games about Politics
John Lapham
United States
Glenview
Illinois
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Politics is one of the great game genres of human history, and yet the subject seems to be rather underrepresented in the field of boardgame design. Dozens of new wargames and economic games are churned out each year, while games about politics seem to be few and far between. I’m currently playtesting a game of mine relating to the ratification of the U.S. constitution, and I’m curious about other historical games that focus on politics. I’m interested in two different types of games: (1) multi-player games that include strong elements of political negotiation between the players; and (2) two-player games about important historical political events. I’ve started a list featuring some of the games that I’ve played or am looking forward to playing. Please feel free to add your own.
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26. Board Game: Junta [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:645]
Enrico Viglino
United States
Phoenix, AZ
Arizona
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Ok, ahistorical, but it does capture a certain spirit satirizing
the politics of many a banana republic.
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27. Board Game: Madame Guillotine [Average Rating:5.83 Unranked]
Brian Train
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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Political game on the Terror.
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28. Board Game: Hero of Weehawken [Average Rating:7.53 Overall Rank:3296]
Joshua Gottesman
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
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From the publisher's website:

Quote:
Hero of Weehawken is a solitaire game where you are President Thomas Jefferson at a dangerous moment in the history of the young American Republic. Your former Vice President, Aaron Burr, is disgraced in your eyes after killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel in Weehawken, New Jersey, and is now somewhere out West. Rumors abound that he is threatening the nation with conspiratorial plans for some sort of ill-advised military adventure that could bring America to war with Spain or worse! Your suspicions are that Burr might even commit an act of treason against the nation by breaking off the Western States to form his own empire or stage a coup d'etat at your very doorstep!

To forestall this disaster, you must first determine Burr’s real intentions, and then find and arrest him before he executes his plan. Along the way, you must gather sufficient evidence to convict Burr at trial. If your agents arrest him too soon, you will not have gathered enough evidence or determined what to charge him with. If you wait too long, however, you may be too late to stop his infamous expedition.

Do you have what it takes to gather the right information in time? With the destiny of The Republic and your legacy in history at stake, issue your own Presidential Proclaimation and arrest Aaron Burr now!


Its a solo game, although it could easily be played co-op.
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29. Board Game: The Cities Game [Average Rating:4.56 Unranked]
Enrico Viglino
United States
Phoenix, AZ
Arizona
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Another representational one - no specific city
is used - but this covers the interplay between
different stakeholders in a 20th century urban
decay scenario by putting players in regular
prisoner's dilemma situations.

It's not to my tastes (probably not much of a game really),
but is a unique mechanism which MIGHT be able to be
added to significantly to make a real game.
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30. Board Game: 1955: The War of Espionage [Average Rating:6.27 Overall Rank:3240]
Clare Johnson
Wales
Pontypridd
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bit abstracted possibly but still
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31. Board Game: Cold War: CIA vs KGB [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:793]
Clare Johnson
Wales
Pontypridd
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again gameplay is a bit abstracted however theme wise its political
 
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32. Board Game: Virgin Queen [Average Rating:8.16 Overall Rank:292]
Mark L
Singapore
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Sequel to Here I Stand. Grand strategy genre, so basically everything is politics, from religion to spying to marrying influential people.

Perfect example?
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33. Board Game: Liberté [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:455]
Mark Sautman
United States
Evans
Georgia
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Can't believe this one is not on the list yet.

Liberté covers the French Revolution from 1789 and the meeting of the Estates General to the Directory and Bonaparte’s coup d’état in 1799.

The game is played in four turns. In each turn there will be a variable number of rounds, followed by an election to see which faction becomes the government. There are three factions, the Radicals (red), the Moderates (blue), and the Royalists (white).

If you are looking at multi-player games, you might want to look at some of Martin Wallace's other games like Byzantium, Conquest of the Empire (2nd version), God's Playground, and Perikles. Most of these blend wargames, euro mechanics, history, and some politics.
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34. Board Game: Freedom: The Underground Railroad [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:303]
 
Joel Eddy
United States
Coeur d'Alene
ID
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Freedom: The Underground Railroad is a card-driven, cooperative game for two to four players in which the group is working for the abolitionist movement to help bring an end to slavery in the United States.
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35. Board Game: Europa 1945-2030 [Average Rating:5.94 Overall Rank:4417]
Raymond Gallardo
Canada
Montreal
Quebec
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The formation of the European Union. Lots and lots of negotiation in this game.

I'm not sure how historically accurate this game is. Players represent a "European Political Party" with apparently no allegiance to a individual country. Players earn victory points by being a part of the coalition that successfully gets a country to join the EU (which suggests the game has a huge bias towards the EU).

However, the difficulty and order in which countries could join the EU is somewhat historically accurate (rarely does Switzerland join the EU), and there's an attempt to model the conflict in Eastern Europe in the early 90s.
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36. Board Game: Revolution: The Dutch Revolt 1568-1648 [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:745]
Raymond Gallardo
Canada
Montreal
Quebec
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From the rules of the game: "Revolution: The Dutch Revolt 1568-1648 is a game that simulates, in very broad terms, the independence movement in the Spanish Netherlands."

I've only played this game three times; it rarely gets any play because of game length and complexity of the rules. The game consists of only five game turns, but each turn consists of 20 game phases. All of these phases are interconnected with each other in ways that are not readily apparent. Consequently, in our games, we didn't take full advantage of the fact that players can make deals throughout the game.

The only kind of negotiation I remember we did was spending money to convert the allegiance of a city; more than one player can contribute.
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37. Board Game: Holy Roman Empire [Average Rating:6.48 Overall Rank:5404]
Lars Berggren
Sweden
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Old, and hard to get, i guess. But from what I remember it is a pretty good take on the situation in Europe during the thirty-years-war period.
I remember a bidding mechanic for control of some territories, and he who controlled the most electorial seats, could crown his faction as Holy Roman Emperor.
Or some such. It has been a long time since I played this.
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38. Board Game: Crusoe's Planet [Average Rating:7.52 Unranked]
 
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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Political science class in an envelope. Offers players experiment with Communism, capitalism, slavery... very odd thing, this one. Not historical, though.
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39. Board Game: 2010 Swedish Parliament [Average Rating:6.90 Unranked]
Jasper
Netherlands
Leiden
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Try to win the Swedish parliamentary election. Haven't played this but it seems to be about as political as you can get.
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40. Board Game: Weimar: German Politics 1929-1933 [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Timo Haas
Germany
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German politics in very difficult times, ending in the Third Reich.
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41. Board Game: In the Shadow of the Emperor [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:538]
Joseph Leonard
United States
McAllen
Texas
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Here's one for the second group. The game is about acquiring VPs, which are acquired by controlling voting blocks for the Holy Roman Emperor (which the player can be elected to).
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42. Board Game: Koalition [Average Rating:6.37 Overall Rank:3819]
Jason Matthews
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
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A decent negotiation game about building coalitions within EU governments. More players the better.
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43. Board Game: Democracy under Siege [Average Rating:8.27 Unranked]
Luca Cammisa
Italy
Monza
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Democracy under Siege is a card-driven strategy game that reproduces the geopolitical conflicts and political struggles that led to the Second World War. The game covers the period spanning from 1933 to 1940 and is designed for two or three players. Each player takes the role of one of the three Ideologies that led the major struggle for power during the time-line covered by the game: Democracy, Nazism and Communism.
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44. Board Game: Pax Porfiriana [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:387]
Jordi Cairol
Australia
Brisbane
QLD
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Kind of abstract simulation of politics for Porfirio's period.
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45. Board Game: Swing States 2012 [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:4621]
Joshua Gottesman
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
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Solo game on the 2012 presidential campaign. You can play as a generic Democrat or Republican, or choose from a number of actual possibilities for candidates. You have to deal with the economy, scandals, debates, limited finances and a lot of other issues. Great fun and challenging.

Disclaimer: I am VPG's Business Manager.
 
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46. Board Game: The Republic of Carthage [Average Rating:8.83 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.83 Unranked]
Founding Fathers: try your hand at being President.
United States
Bay Area
California
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Expansion kit for The Republic of Rome

Update: now fully playable standalone as well
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