Down the Ballot

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Political Games: Mr. President (1967, 1971)

In the past I have written about the games of politics. Not the metaphorical games, but the actual games. These are games that are best played with friends who enjoy a good laugh at themselves and our political process. Over the years I have acquired many different games that simulate our electoral process in all its' glory. Let me share with you a few of them. Mind you some of these are really great games and others...well playing once is probably enough for most of us. Let's start with my favorite: Mr. President.

Courtesy of BoardGameGeek
This game was designed in the late 1960s by  Jack Carmichael a game designer working for Carmichael Lynch Advertising. He submitted his prototype to 3M Games and a political classic was born. Two editions of the game came out, one in 1967 just in time for the holiday shoppers and the attention the Nixon-Humphrey national campaigns that year. The second version came out just in time for the Nixon-McGovern race.

Mr. President is good for 2-4 players. You guessed it; one person plays the presidential nominee and another person plays the VEEP nominee. One may play as either the Republicans or Democrats. The players vie for four regions of the country and place cards with votes on them into a particular slot. Once everyone has one more cards you count the votes. Simple and easy to learn. A usual game takes about an hour.

Courtesy of BoardGameGeek
All the candidates are fictional and very fitting for the time period in which the game was created during. They all have varying skills and attributes. These can hurt and help you during your campaign. There is even a candidate from Oregon!  His name is L. Eugene Beaumont, the Governor of Oregon.

As one of the 3M Bookshelf games the portability of this game a big benefit and makes for an excellent travel game.  Aside from a few minor issues with making campaign stops and missing turns if you pull the wrong card this is a very good game. Being vintage is also a plus as it allows some of us whom are a bit younger to play in the pre-1968 electorate where the South was in the hands of the Democrats, and the Midwest and East was more or less Republican. If you ever get the chance you should sit down for an hour and have a go at running for President of the United States.

There are not many differences between the 1967 and 1971 versions. Regardless of version your basic game play is the same.  Next Political Games post we will look at a computer game called, 'The Political Machine'.

Gameplay Courtesy of BoardGameGeek
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