I really enjoy politics. I know… I know… I’m a bit of a freak. I enjoy the debates, the running around from state to state, and the careful math games that go on in an attempt to get those elusive 270 electoral college votes. I watch debates with the excitement and attention that others give the Super Bowl. So when I ran across an old Avalon Hill Bookcase game about politics, I scooped it up in a hurry.
Part of me was excited by the prospects that this game offered, part of me was prepped for disappointment. What I got was a little bit of both. The game can play two people, or four people in teams. Teams always feel unwieldy to me, so the first time through it was just myself and my husband battling against each other for those elusive votes, and the game was, well, a little bland. It wasn’t bad, but it had no pizazz. The next time around we tried it in teams: My oldest brother and I versus my husband and our good friend Sho. That was a much more exciting game filled with lots of plotting whispers and conniving. The third game of it that we tried was my brother and I once again, but this time versus my husband and my mother: not nearly as much fun. The game seemed to drag, the whispering and conniving were not nearly as strong, and thus the game was not half as fun.
The mechanics of the game have you traveling around to different regions, rolling dice to see what states you actually go to in that region, and then if you have ballot cards in your hand of that states type, dumping them in the ballot box. Each side has a board to keep tally of how many ballots they have dropped in a state and how many their opponents have dropped. Of course no one knows how many actual votes have been cast in any one state, simply that a certain number of ballot cards have been dropped there.
This game was published in the 1960’s and feels like it. All of the potential candidates that can be played are old white guys, republicans have an advantage in California, and democrats debate strongly on national defense. For someone who didn’t grow up in that era, it’s kinda Twilight Zone-ish. This doesn’t detract from the game, however, it would be great to see Wizards of the Coast (who now own Avalon Hill) revive this game with updated information.
The long and the short of it? It’s a fun game if everyone involved is enthusiastic about it. Without the conniving and whispering the game goes from ‘Great!’ to merely ‘OK’, so save this one back to be played with that special group of smooth talking, back stabbing, cutthroat group of friends you know.
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