Monday, February 4, 2008

1960 The Making of the President

On this day before Super Tuesday, is there a better time to play a boardgame based on a presidential Election?

When I was a kid I played a game called Landslide from Parker Brothers. Players rolled dice, moved around the board, and attempt to get the most votes in each state. The player with the most electoral votes from those states is elected. While the game was fairly simple, it cemented in my mind fairly early how our electoral college works and the importance of winning in the all-or-nothing large states.

Over the weekend I played a new game based on a U.S. Presidential election. 1960 The Making of the President is based on the down-to-the-wire race between John Kennedy and Richard Nixon.

Produced in 2007 by Z-Man Games, this game uses a card-driven system, "all the major events which shaped the campaign are represented: Nixon’s lazy shave, President Eisenhower’s late endorsement, and the 'Catholic question' are all included as specific event cards. The famous televised debates and final election day push are each handled with their own subsystems. Candidates vie to capture each state’s electoral votes using campaign points in the four different regions of the country. At the same time, they must build momentum by dominating the issues of the day and attempt to gain control of the airwaves."

Because the actual election was so very close, each player has an opportunity to win.

I enjoyed this game. It didn't take long to figure out the mechanic, and just like real campaign managers, I was forced to weigh the relative value of campaigning and spending political capital in states that I could win, and concede the states that I could not, while trying to hit that magic number of 270. In this, my first, game, I played the Richard Nixon campaign, and did only slightly better than reality. I lost 292-246, whereas in the real election, he lost to JFK 303-219.

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At Thursday, February 07, 2008 , Blogger Michael5000 said...

Tooooo cool. I love the posts on the map gameboards. I used to have a collection of vintage (i.e. 50s/60s) games with map boards, but I eventually ditched because they took so much room. Great to see yours, though.


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