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Games About Elections
Alex Bagosy
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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There are hundreds of "Election" themed games available to the board game collector, covering a wide variety of electoral systems and nationalities.

Since I began the process of developing one of my designs a few years ago - a US presidential election themed game set in 1860 - I have been exposed to a variety of such games. Some of them I've actually played - others I've glanced at, or know only in passing. Many on the 'Geek are completely new to me.

I thought it might be interesting to list just some of the many, many election themed games that have been published over the years. I stopped at fifty. I'm sure there are more. Please feel free to add them and.or let the readers know what you think of any of the games here.

Some of these are very good, some of them are very bad, and some of them are really hard to categorize. A few are good for a laugh, whether caused by humor in the game or by the truly bad aspects of the game in question is a matter of opinion.

Remember, we're looking for Election themed games here. Nationality doesn't matter, time period doesn't matter, but an election has to be an important part of the game. As such, merely "political" games (like one of my personal favorites, Republic of Rome) should be avoided.

(And yes I'm specifically avoiding endorsing any political viewpoint here. I'm interested in the games themselves, not necessarily the merits of any particular political cause or ideology.)

-S.I.


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26. Board Game: Convention! [Average Rating:5.50 Unranked]
Alex Bagosy
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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Roll and move, with a US theme. However, this one is unusual because it focuses upon gaining a party's nomination at a convention.

 
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27. Board Game: Corrida Presidencial [Average Rating:6.35 Unranked]
Alex Bagosy
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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A game focusing on a Brazilian presidential election. This particular game uses card drafting and area movement mechanics. Interesting.

Described as follows:

"This game simulates a campaign for the election of Brazil's new president.

All the aspects of a real campaign for election are simulated: distribution of flyers, placement of outdoors, speeches, trips to each state to gather more votes and the debate where some dirty details about the candidates are exposed.

The newer version is only 2-4 players."

Note: The older version apparently supported up to 6.
 
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28. Board Game: Dail Eireann [Average Rating:5.50 Unranked]
Alex Bagosy
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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Another self-published Irish themed election game by William Whyte, sharing components with the previous entry by the same author. This particular game focuses upon the Irish parliament.

"This is a 4 hour game, with each player taking the part of one of the groupings in the Irish parliament. Play is split into 15 rounds, in each of which players campaign and fight elections. Seats won translate into victory points (necessary, because this is a game in which the parties are not of equal strength and so each has its own conversion rate), and at the end the player with the highest number of victory points wins. Each party has a percentage share of the vote. At the start these range from 44 for Fianna Fail down to 3 for the Independents, but these will fluctuate during the game as a result of electoral successes and failures and the campaigning attentions of one's opponents. Each 5 per cent, or part thereof, that you have at the start of a round entitles you either to draw a constituency card or to place a marker on the board. Owning a constituency card enables you to decide when the election will be called for the seat, and having a marker in the constituency is necessary if you are to take part when it is.

An election can not be called if a constituency contains fewer than 3 markers. Markers once played can be moved, and there is a limit to the number of markers that can be in a constituency at any one time (with a Civilization-style combat mechanism for removing any surplus). All of which makes for a lot of tactical jostling. When an election is called, players with markers in the constituency collect votes equal to 1d6 plus the number of their markers. An overall majority is needed for victory, and votes of less successful candidates are reallocated until this is achieved. Reallocation is done using a preference list mechanism, which again offers a lot of scope for tactical maneuver."
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29. Board Game: Delegate Dash [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Alex Bagosy
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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Another party convention themed game, in which the players are seeking nomination for their candidate in the US presidential race. Each player represents a "stereotypical" political candidate (the General, the Congressman, etc.) The game has a mechanism designed so that it may be possible for an NPC candidate to win the nomination.

A Piece Pack game.


 
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30. Board Game: Democratic [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Alex Bagosy
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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A game based upon Argentinian elections, using roll and move and card drafting mechanics.

"A political game where each participant is at the forefront of a political party and should undertake an election campaign, travel across the country, participate in elections, investing in advertising, and if necessary, go to the courts in defense of allegations received. All of this ends in the general election and the votes tell who will be the president."
 
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31. Board Game: Divided Republic [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:3055]
Alex Bagosy
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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My own, modest entry. The first design I've submitted for publication, and the reason I started looking into election themed games in the first place, a few years ago. This particular game is based upon the US presidential election of 1860, one of the most important in the history of the nation.

The players represent the four(!) major parties participating in the election: the Constitutional Unionists, Northern Democrats, Republicans, and Southern Democrats. Uses card driven mechanics as well as area control mechanisms and voter placement. Two to Four players. Happy to say that a publisher is currently testing this one, and chances for publication look good!

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32. Board Game: Election [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:4592]
Alex Bagosy
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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Highly spoken of by many members of the Geek. This has a UK theme.

"Someone once said: "The General Election is like a game. To win, you have to be a crafty schemer, a shrewd planner, and an accurate mud slinger."

Now the General Election is a game. An entertaining game for adults and older children based authentically on the British General Election. You're one of 6 parties: Independent, Nationalist, Conservative, Socialist, Labour, Liberal.

As you move from area to area fighting for votes, you challenge other players parties. Can you, for instance, counteract the Socialist' appeal to workers in the North East? Can you reduce the Independents' support among housewives in the midlands?

Is a combination of a slur campaign and brilliant TV broadcasting enough to shift white collar workers in the South and West to your party?

Your objective is to win enough votes to get a majority of the 635 seats in Parliament. And if you have to make a few hollow promises . . . well that's politics. This game is about as realistic as it's possible to be, in fact. There are no dice of course. Who ever heard of an election with dice?

GAME CONTENTS:
Playing Board
6 Party Leaders
6 Indicators for Popularity Index
25 Absentee Vote Tokens
138 Electoral Tokens (23 For Each Party)
24 Floating Vote Tokens
50 Campaign Cards
Instruction Book."

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33. Board Game: Election Day [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Alex Bagosy
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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An influence building mechanic is used in this ca.1996 US presidential election game.

"Players move around the map campaigning in the various states. Each time they pass through a state, they increase their influence. Once the campaigning round is over, dice are rolled for each state, the roll is modified by the player's influence, and the winner for that state is determined. Whoever has the most electoral votes is the winner. A deck of cards adds random events to keep things interesting."

Note that, in the actual US electoral process having "the most" electoral votes is not sufficient for winning the presidency. If a candidate does not have the determined number of electoral votes (half the electoral votes in the nation, plus one), the situation is referred to as an "Electoral Tie", and the election is thrown to the House. Failing resolution in the House, the election is thrown to the Senate.



 
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34. Board Game: As Eleições e os Partidos [Average Rating:6.40 Unranked]
Alex Bagosy
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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Another parliamentary election game. This time set in Portugal. Card based. One of many games in the genre that claims to be ultra realistic.

"Your objective is to win enough votes to get a majority of the 250 seats in the Portuguese Parliament.
This game is about as realistic as it's possible to be. There are no dice, only cards. Who ever heard of an election with dice?
And if you have to make a few promises . . . well that's politics."


 
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35. Board Game: Europa 1945-2030 [Average Rating:5.95 Overall Rank:4351]
Jason Matthews
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
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An interesting negotiation game about the advancement of the EU throughout Europe. Some of the most ill-fitting cover art ever, unfortunately for the game.
 
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36. Board Game: Founding Fathers [Average Rating:7.94 Overall Rank:3862]
Founding Fathers: try your hand at being President.
United States
Bay Area
California
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Every four years
 
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37. Board Game: Free Choice [Average Rating:6.20 Unranked]
Alex Bagosy
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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A US themed game with a roll and move mechanic that uses unusual dice.

Described as follows:

"The object of FREE CHOICE is to win enough support to become president of the United States.

Players move about the board and try to get enough electoral votes to overtake the other players.

Most unique aspect of the components: one die has red dots and carries the numbers 1, 1, 2, 2, 3 and 4. The second die has black dots and carries the numbers 3, 4, 5, 5, 6 and 6. A player may choose to roll only the red die, only the black die, or both on each turn."
 
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38. Board Game: Der Fuhrer [Average Rating:6.77 Unranked]
Alex Bagosy
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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Now this is is an interesting theme. Set in the 1920s-30s in Weimar Republic Germany. Players compete as various political parties attempting to win seats in the Reichstag. If no winner is determined by the pre-set ending, the game assumes that President Hindenburg has restored the monarchy.

Very interesting, though I think I'd pass on playing the National Socialists.
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39. Board Game: Game of Politics [Average Rating:5.31 Unranked]
Alex Bagosy
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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A dice rolling game published in 1935.

"The playing board represents a map of the United States showing each state and its capital. On a player's turn, they roll 3 dice (1 colored, 2 white) - the colored dice tells the player which states to be worked in this turn and the white dice tells the player how many "counties" (4-7 in each state) they win.

An official "vote" is taken when all the states have at least one candidate in it and someone rolls doubles. The player who has the most counties in any given state wins all the electoral votes from that state. If one player does not have a majority of electoral votes (269), only the two players with the highest votes continue - the rest are eliminated. It continues until another official vote is taken and a winner is determined."
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40. Board Game: Hat In The Ring [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Robert Neff
United States
Culver City
California
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A game where players run through a primary system. Interestingly this uses a large board which has chips on it for winning various states. Makes for a nicer way to play but requires more space.
 
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41. Board Game: The Hustings [Average Rating:4.50 Unranked]
Alex Bagosy
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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So here's an unusual one. A UK parliamentary theme, but instead of covering the entire UK general election, this is focused specifically upon control of parliamentary wards in a specific constituency ("North Hustingshire.")

Described as follows

"Welcome to the Hustingshire North Parliamentary Constituency, where your campaign to become its duly elected Member of Parliament is about to commence.

The Hustings is a fast moving and exciting game which follows closely the British electoral process and gives its players the chance to become candidates and experience the thrill and tension of participating in an Parliamentary Election.

Choose your Party, secure your nomination, and get your campaign underway as the race hots up in the pursuit of the votes available in the fourteen Wards of Hustingshire North. On your way, however, beware of the ups and downs and decisions you may have to make, all of which could affect the number of votes you secure.

Once all of the votes have been cast and the postal votes collated, candidates face the nail biting wait for the Returning Officer to open the ballot box, complete the count and declare the result of the Election.

The Hustings is easy to play and yet totally absorbing, great fun and educational at the same time. Above all it will provide hours of fun and excitement for al the family.

Experience the true flavour of the British electoral system and play The Hustings today. It's sure to get your vote!"

To my knowledge, there are no US election games that focus upon Congressional candidacy or control.
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42. Board Game: I Wanna be President [Average Rating:5.57 Unranked]
Robert Neff
United States
Culver City
California
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A fun & simple board with a role die/move pawn mechanic. What is different with this game is that the country is instead broken into four regions and players try to gain positive votes (vs negative votes) in each region .... and place them in ballot boxes which are opened at the end of the game and counted.
 
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43. Board Game: Indecision 96 [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Alex Bagosy
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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A comedic game about the US presidential election of 1996 published by Comedy Central. The title should properly be "Indecision 96"

 
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44. Board Game: Koalition [Average Rating:6.37 Overall Rank:3804]
Jason Matthews
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
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Interesting little negotiation game about building coalitions in the European Parliament. Highly regarded in the early Euro days.
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45. Board Game: Landslide [Average Rating:6.03 Overall Rank:5705]
Alex Bagosy
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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Another US election game. A roll and move that also uses some auction type mechanics. This one also awards the presidency to the player who has the "most" electoral votes. The text of the game justifies this as being "easier" since there more than two players.

"In an actual Presidential election, one candidate must obtain at least one more than half of the total number of electoral votes in order to be elected, or the vote goes to the House Of Representatives. However, for the convenience of this game, as there may be as many as four candidates dividing 538 electoral votes, the winner is the player with the highest number of electoral votes at the end of the game.

Oddly, the game uses "votes" as if it were money, and the players bid for states --they can even attempt to steal already "bought" states from each other."
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46. Board Game: Lie, Cheat & Steal [Average Rating:5.27 Overall Rank:10232]
Charles M. Hannum
United States
Winthrop
Massachusetts
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The classic game of buying your way into the Oval Office. Originally written as a satire of Nixon, it's still pretty accurate today.
 
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47. Board Game: Die Macher [Average Rating:7.68 Overall Rank:94]
Alex Bagosy
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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Considered by many to be the finest electoral/political game ever devised. This game simulates German electoral and parliamentary politics, and was originally released during the Cold War and covered West Germany. Over time, it has evolved to consider the politics of the united German state.

I have yet to get a chance to play this one, but it's very highly recommended, and is apparently worth a play, even if you know nothing about German politics.

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48. Board Game: Margin Of Error: A Presidential Election Game [Average Rating:7.41 Unranked]
Alex Bagosy
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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A US themed game based upon the most recent presidential elections. Uses area control, dice rolling, action points, etc.. Web published.

"It's nine weeks before Election Day in the United States and the race is too close to call! Twenty states remain hotly contested. Can you guide your candidate through the final weeks of the campaign to the White House?

Each week you will allocate each day of the week to one of several actions. These actions include media appearances, scheduling fundraisers, going on the campaign trail and advertising in regions. After each action, a roll of the dice simulates the percentage of voters persuaded by your cause. After each week, your opponent campaigns increasingly in an effort to exploit weaknesses in your campaign strategy. At the conclusion of the ninth week, the voters go to the polls and any final swings are resolved. If you get 270 or more Electoral Votes, you have won the game!

This is a free game. The items you need include:

* The rules and boards. The instructions are 10 pages long and have several illustrations. The game board is printed on three letter sized sheets of paper.
* Three regular dice (preferrably two different colors).
* Use either this token sheet or the following assortment of tokens (about 1 cm or less):
** 20 yellow tokens, 7 green tokens, 5 red tokens, 3 black tokens, 8 white tokens and 1 blue token. (12 more tokens are required for 2 players)"
 
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49. Board Game: Milton Keynes [Average Rating:6.40 Unranked]
patrick stevens
United States
Los Angeles
California
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Campaign "contributions"
 
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50. Board Game: Mr. President [Average Rating:6.41 Overall Rank:3262]
Alex Bagosy
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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Quite an interesting game, this one. Published in 1967 by 3M games. Can handle two players, or four players, who are assigned candidates with various pre-determined strengths and weaknesses. Uses a blind voter placement mechanism, so it's hard to tell who will win until the whole matter is settled in the final turn.

One of the more interesting parts of the version is that the map is very much a product of its era; the south is still a Democratic stronghold, while the Republicans dominate most of the areas now recognized as Democratic strongholds, respectively.

The entry notes that the second edition, published in 1971, is quite different, but I cannot comment, having only played the '67 version.
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