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Top 10 US Election Games
Robert Carroll
United States
Lawrence
Kansas
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The 2012 US Presidential Election is now in full swing--both conventions are done and the campaign trail is packed with politicians, press, pundits and pollsters. Why not a Top 10 list? Below is my Top 10 list of games involving political elections in the USA. These are games that meet substantially all of the following criteria: (1) political election is the central theme or focus of the game; (2) in the USA; (3) compelling "theme" where the election, campaign, or political process in the USA is addressed; and (4) fun to play. This is a list of the BEST! As always, your mileage may vary and some entries may be "controversial." As such, please feel free to comment, debate, or just express your own point of view. Feel free to thumbsup this list (to draw attention and more comments) or any pleasing, interesting or thought provoking entries. If I missed one that you feel is essential or I am "insane for not listing" (trust me, it has been said before), then by all means let the comments fly . . . just be civil. FYI - I am a sucker for comments and discussion and usually thumbsup most if not all of them.

I find that these lists sometimes are helpful for others seeking similar games and the more rich the discussion for more useful the list.

For a complete listing of my Top 10 lists, see--MetaList: Nap's Top 10 Lists.

Thanks for reading and participating!
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1. Board Game: 1960: The Making of the President [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:109]
Robert Carroll
United States
Lawrence
Kansas
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Brilliant game. Gorgeous production. Plays similar to TS in that the challenge is managing the damage of your opponents events; however, 1960 provides some alternate means of overcoming the worst by forcing or blocking events with momentum markers. The trick is knowing when to expend your limited momentum markers to thwart disaster. Furthermore, 1960 does not have the constant tension of TS as the victory point track with the possibility of an early win is gone. A winner is not determined until the last turn during election day. Theme integration is as good as it gets. I can't wait to play this with my kids when they begin studying politics.

--Ronald Hundertmark (Ron 100mark)
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2. Board Game: Campaign Manager 2008 [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:807]
Robert Carroll
United States
Lawrence
Kansas
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What a smart and snappy design! On a meta level, this reminds me of one of my favorite card games: Blue Moon. Constrained deck building resulting in specialized asymmetrical decks. Each player then tries to mitigate what the opposing deck can do while maximizing his own potentials.

--Matthew M Monin (Octavian)
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3. Board Game: Divided Republic [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:3037]
Robert Carroll
United States
Lawrence
Kansas
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I am not 100% sold on the two player game yet, but with four players this game is great. It is brutal, mean and cut throat. Fortunes can swing wildly and there is a lot of unpredictability. The political theme and the historical flavor are captured very well.

--sean johnson (SeanXor)
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4. Board Game: Mr. President [Average Rating:6.41 Overall Rank:3263]
Robert Carroll
United States
Lawrence
Kansas
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An underrated gem from the heyday of 3M Bookshelf Games--the 1960's. Players are dealt a hand of party hotshots and must choose which candidates to run for President. The game consists of back and forth casting of vote cards in various states. Your opponent doesn't know just how many votes are one ach card though. This creates a tense, competitive game that still retains a lightness and is easy to teach to others. A fantastic game that can be purchased on the cheap.

--RR Kelley (WriteGamer)
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5. Board Game: Tammany Hall [Average Rating:7.33 Overall Rank:400]
Robert Carroll
United States
Lawrence
Kansas
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Stratamax Version with a beautiful map. Area control game with a political theme (New York City politics in the latter half of the 19th Century - the days of Boss Tweed). Rules are very simple and most are displayed clearly on the board. But the gameplay is not simple as confrontational tactics rule in this game. Players are ward bosses bringing immigrant groups (Irish, English, German, and Italian) into various wards in NYC and thereby gaining political favor with those groups. In a 16 year game, an election is held every 4 years (ward by ward) in fierce contests to determine the Mayor for the next 4 years. The Mayor gets more points than the others but must then dole out powerful roles to the other players who use those roles to attack the mayor and each other. Very high replayability. Supports 3-5 players but first timers should start with a 3 player game as there is less chaos with only 2 other opponents and part of the map is used early on, and then expanded as the game progresses. Great game with 3, 4 or 5.

--Paul Marshall (DaMarsh)
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6. Board Game: Road to the White House [Average Rating:6.01 Overall Rank:4826]
Robert Carroll
United States
Lawrence
Kansas
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We played this as a family in October 2008 for the Obama-McCain election. Players were me, spouse, and 9 year old son. The goal was to teach my son something about electoral votes, campaigning activities, and importance of certain cities/places towards winning. We did not play with the advanced rules. Surprisingly enough, my son came in second, beating my spouse (to her chagrin) through a shrewd west coast strategy.

Game was played in two sessions when we had available 'family game night' time. Overall, the game accomplished the objectives of teaching a nine-year old about electioneering in the US. It is unlikely we'd play again until 2012 where it will once again be topical.

This is a well put-together game with fast turns and rules manageable for a reasonably bright child.

--Henry Cabot (cropredy)
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7. Board Game: Swing States 2012 [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:4656]
Robert Carroll
United States
Lawrence
Kansas
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Very, very difficult solitaire game that sometimes feel like you're trying to put out too many fires at the same time.
Probably simulates very well what it is to be a campaign manager where things seem to be constantly going wrong and you don't have quite enough resources to deal with all the problems.
The origins of this game in the State of Siege system are apparent once you start playing, with the five tracks constantly going down and having to pay to attempt to bring back up (warning: low rollers please abstain as if you cannot roll above a 2 this game will chew your ass...)
Interesting design and I will have to revisit often. Quick playing, with rules that are fairly simple with some rules that are easy to overlook the first time you play (I'm looking at you, flip on odd result when defending and especially you, economic platform rules).
Well worth trying, either in this version or the upcoming iPad version.

--Stephane Brochu (Downblaw)
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8. Board Game: Campaign Trail [Average Rating:6.53 Overall Rank:4582]
Robert Carroll
United States
Lawrence
Kansas
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The best election game I have ever played by far. The gameplay is deceptively simple yet deep. Similar to a real campaign, you have to start with an overall strategic plan, then adapt to changing conditions and events. The endgame is incredibly tense, perhaps the best of any game I have played. Scales well for any # of players and is especially intriguing for four to six players. An underrated classic.

--Tim Thomas (Socal Tim)
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9. Board Game: Margin Of Error: A Presidential Election Game [Average Rating:7.41 Unranked]
Robert Carroll
United States
Lawrence
Kansas
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Very tight, tense little solo game with a clean and tidy "AI" that makes sense and provides good opposition. This does a good job of blending Euro choices with good random events.

--Jon Hall (Hawaiiirish)
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10. Board Game: Candidate [Average Rating:5.53 Overall Rank:9029]
Robert Carroll
United States
Lawrence
Kansas
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Fairly decent political game. A bit different than others in that this is the primary, not the general election. A few too many rules, but much cleaner than previous AH attempts at non-wargames. Unfortunately, the game is mostly bluffing and card-drawing, which isn't bad but has little political flavor.

--Tom Pender (Coase)
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