The definitive 2020 list of the best board games about the presidential election. The US presidential system is not without its controversy, with electoral college debates, gerrymandering and unseemly practices like voter suppression. That doesn’t mean it cannot be great and some say that this level of democracy is worth fighting for. Anything great is. Depending on what you think and where you align, we should all be able to agree that board games are great. These are 10 board games about the presidential election.
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#10 | Basket of Deplorables: The Board Game
The Basket of Deplorables makes the list of board games about the presidential election because it a light-hearted, humor-filled, game about the state of politics from 2016 to 2020. It is liberal leaning but is not meant to be an insult to Trump supporters, rather they are ghoulish caricatures of people in the Trump inner circle, i.e. Steve Bannon, Rudy Giuliani, Vladimir Putin, etc.
The players navigate the campaign trail and participate in debates, compete in primaries/caucuses, navigate scandals, seek endorsements, confer with pollsters, decide whether to run as an independent, etc. Deplorables can be drained from The Swamp and placed in each player’s Basket. For 2 – 4 players, games run 60 – 90 minutes.
#09 | The Presidential
The Presidential makes the list of board games about the presidential election because it does a fantastic job of capturing the journey from announcing running for president through all the steps of hopefully winning and taking office. It is both educational and fun.
Two teams, Democrats and Republicans, fight for control of state delegations to ultimately win more than 270 electoral votes. There are phases for fundraising, politics, campaigning, and ultimately voting. You may not know how the Electoral College works, but you’ll enjoy the excitement of playing for the most powerful job in the world. For 2 players, games last about 45 minutes.
FOR MORE: Buy The Presidential
#08 | Campaign For President
Campaign For President makes the list of board games because this is a light dice and card game about running to become the President of the United States. Players are candidates on the road to the White House and the game revolves around your political campaign’s ability to woo voters before Election Day.
Player candidates play cards in an attempt to maintain political momentum by rallying support while diverting that same momentum away from rival candidates. Through a classic draw-and-play mechanic, players can challenge each other to debates, attack one another’s public integrity, or directly appeal to the voters for support in their bid to become President. When the Election Day card is drawn, time is up and the candidate who gathered the most voters will win. For 3 – 6 players, games last 20 – 30 minutes.
FOR MORE: Buy Campaign For President
#07 | Election
Election makes the list of board games about the presidential campaign because it is a great game of campaign strategy for the whole family. Plan your campaign, win votes and battle for victory in each State. Win enough Electoral College votes to become the next President of the United States. Teaches Electoral College system, politics, geography and strategic planning.
Careful campaign planning and management of campaign funds is required to defeat your opponent. Conduct polls to discover which candidate each state favors. Be sure to read the Daily News card and watch out for the “Dark Horse” candidate that can steal your Volunteers. Recruit volunteers, hire consultants and buy campaign ads. Raise money from campaign donors. Conduct polls and travel. Place votes on each State and battle for victory. For 2 – 4 players, games run about 40 minutes.
FOR MORE: Buy Election
#06 | Election Night
Election Night makes the list of board games about the presidential election because it is a wonderful title where Players battle for critical Electoral Votes in a run for the presidency. This is a great mash up of many things that boil down to an area control game driven by dice rolling.
Players use the uniquely numbered PlaySmart Dice system to create dice pools which produce numbers that can be added or multiplied to each other, and then assigned to numbered state groups on an indexed Electoral College game board. States with more electoral votes require more sums or products to be assigned to them before they are won by a player or team, and a electoral vote counter lets players keep track of their votes. For 2 – 6 players, games last about 35 – 50 minutes.
FOR MORE: Buy Election Night
#05 | Electoral College Combat
Electoral College Combat makes the list of board games about the presidential election because it is an exciting and unpredictable title that combines strategy and chance as players amass Electoral College votes. You must navigate Fake News, Russian collusion, recounts, celebrity endorsements, and swing states to become President of the United States.
The game is designed to simulate the wild swings and uncertainties of election night. A sound strategy–like a well-run campaign–does not guarantee results. That’s all part of the fun. While not a gambling game, Electoral College Combat finds its roots in video slots/poker where the wild cards activate bonus rounds. For 2 players, games run 10 – 15 minutes.
FOR MORE: Buy Electoral College Combat
#04 | ZooCracy
ZooCracy makes the list of board games about the presidential election because it is a highly interactive and language independent political strategy game that utilizes many of the key strategic principles it takes to be president. It may venture specifically outside of the US, but has similar key things to keep in mind.
Each player will lead one of the animal parties using a clever strategy and their best negotiation tactics to make it successful. Trust your animalistic instincts to win elections and hold political offices or plot and pressure the government from the opposition. In the end, whoever has implemented the most political goals, will win. For 2 – 6 players, games run 60 – 120 minutes.
FOR MORE: Buy ZooCracy
#03 | Race to the White House
Race to the White House makes the list of board games about the presidential election because is a sophisticated simulation of the heated race. Its mechanics are board-and-card driven with some dice-influenced results; the game flow is controlled by action and reaction cards, dice rolling, hand management, and area influence. A quirky, humorous tone keeps the mood light, despite the deep gameplay.
The game takes place over the final eight weeks of the campaign and concludes with the assignment of electoral votes on Election Night. Each player chooses a candidate they are trying to propel to victory. Play as one of the leading lights of the 2016 campaign, or bring back a proven winner! Some candidates are better at speaking, some bring more skill at fundraising, some are from swing states, and others are simply rich. For 2 players, games run 30 – 90 minutes.
FOR MORE: Buy Race to the White House
#02 | Mapmaker: The Gerrymander Game
Mapmaker: The Gerrymander Game makes the list of board games about the presidential election because it surrounds one of the most important topics surrounding elections, Gerrymandering. You are a mapmaker, which means you make maps… and determine who wins elections.
You belong to a political party: Red Elephants, Blue Donkeys, Yellow Porcupines, or Green Leaves. Your only job? Make sure your party wins the next election. You get to redraw the districts. But so do the other mapmakers. Players each place four district borders per turn. When a district gets closed off, whoever has the most voters inside claims it. At the end of the game, the entire board will be sectioned into districts. The party with the most districts wins. For 1 – 4 players, games run 30 – 45 minutes.
FOR MORE: Buy Mapmaker: The Gerrymander Game
#01 | 1960: The Making of the President
1960: The Making of the President may not be the most timely games of the list of board games about the presidential election but it easily takes the top spot because it is the actual best board game here. If you are looking for the most fun gameplay, this is the title to look at first. The game is educational and a great ride through a significant time in history but above all else, it is an A caliber production.
It is 1960 and this is the story of the showdown between presidential candidates John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon. You take on the role of one of these great protagonists vying for the right to lead his country into the heart of the Cold War. Using a card-driven game system, all the major events which shaped the campaign are represented and the famous televised debates and final election day push are each handled with their own subsystems. You need to capture electoral votes and you need momentum. For 2 players, games last 90 – 120 minutes.