Play this competitive, smart and well-designed game, even just a few times, and you’ll learn more about how the Electoral College determines the outcome of U.S. presidential elections than most voters.
But understanding the Electoral College isn’t all to be learned! Two players or two teams start by choosing one side or the other of the color-coded U.S. Electoral College map gameboard. The “addition side” is easier and a good place to start for younger players; flip it over to the “multiplication side” and its deck of strategy cards for a more complex path toward winning the White House.
Each turn, players roll four large 12-sided dice, and choose two sums (addition) or two products (multiplication) from the four numbers rolled. Some states represent higher Electoral tallies than others. Should players try to accumulate the easier-to-grab, lower-Electoral-vote states that can be taken with one turn? Or, should they go for larger states (like California, New York, Texas and Florida) whose Electoral votes require multiple turns to win but have bigger impact? Or should they find a strategic mix?
As players accumulate states, dry-erasable markers (red and blue of course) track their wins and Electoral tallies (keep your elbows off the gameboard or you’ll erase the marks). Win enough states to total 270 Electoral votes and win the game.
Election Night! isn’t about presidential politics, it’s about the process that elects a president. In the heat of this competition, kids are practicing their math skills while learning the names, abbreviations, and locations of the states. The educational value is exceptional; replay value is high since no two games progress the same way. This game is an Electoral and Educational win-win.
Don Oldenburg ©2019 Parents’ Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of “The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion” (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.. .