Notable Games about Elections and Politics
- Chuck Uherske(Chuckles)United States
And yet it seems rare that boardgames, anymore, are devoted to theme of elections and politics. There are some, to be sure, but far fewer top-flight contemporary boardgames than one might expect based on the suitability of the theme. It may be that politics, less so than war but still somewhat, strikes game designers as an unsavory subject.
This is a survey of notable political games that have appeared over the years. I hope that knowledgable players will feel free to add selections and comments.
In doing this survey, I found myself surprised by the erosion of the fashion of election-related themes over the years. To be sure, there are many games today that are about "area influence" and have loose themes of political jockeying. Two that come to mind are El Grande and San Marco. They are not, however, what I am after here. Determining who can place the most cubes in various sections of the board is not a sufficiently explicit use of theme to satisfy the purpose of this list.
This list is dedicated to those games that are truly about simulating the challenge of winning elections. Games in which you plot election strategy as do the power brokers in real life -- preferably incorporating such activities as campaigning, fundraising, advertising, developing a marketable philosophy, and forming coalitions. More often as not, games that I found that matched this description tended to be of an older pedigree.
Let me state up front three categories of games that I would like to exclude from this list:
1) Mean-spirited games whose purpose is to ridicule a class of people, a political philosophy, a political party, or a political figure. Though some might find it entertaining to play a game about President Clinton that comes in a cigar-shaped box (and yes, I found such a game on BGG), that is not at all my interest. I make one exception to this below, and reserve the right to delete those that might be added.
2) Games that are about in-game politicking without a real-world political theme. Rette Sich Wer Kann, no doubt, has real politicking going on, but it's not about real-life retail politics. There are many games that are designed to encourage politics among the players, but again, that is not what I am after.
3) Area influence games in which the political theme is quite loose and tacked on. This is a judgment call, but per above, I would put El Grande and San Marco in this category. Not sufficiently dedicated to reproducing the political processes of the systems they depict.
I hope that this list will stimulate some renewed interest in political-themed games. I don't believe that this fertile field for game development has yet been fully harvested.
- [+] Dice rolls