FAQ: How does the game work? Check out our Game Play page.
FAQ: I need more details on how to set up the board. Separate the two decks, red/elephant and blue/donkey. Choose who will play which deck. Separate out the legislation cards as its own deck. Shuffle the remaining cards as your draw pile/main play deck. The table will be clear until you draw voter and platform cards, then the board will start to form.
FAQ: Why are there only two parties? We are a two party system in America, and they both have specific and lengthy platforms which drive their goals and legislation in government. We plan to create expansion packs for third parties.
FAQ: Can it be played with more than two players? We've played the game a number of times with groups of friends and it's engaging and entertaining for those watching as well as for those actively playing. Team play is possible and you can self-organize.
FAQ: Do the legislation cards cover the entire platform? No there are some platform goals, like Defense and Agriculture, that we are waiting to create via "expansion packs" if we reach our goal.
FAQ: Are there any other games like this? Though there are great online tools for civic education we haven't found any tabletop and/or card games that focus on American Democracy. Nothing exists that can be used as both an educational tool and a fun icebreaker to heal the divide that exists in America.
FAQ: Why a card game and not a board game? We wanted this game to be as affordable and accessible as possible. It's small and light and easy to travel with!
FAQ: What do you hope to accomplish? Two main things that we would like to accomplish with the game are to create a fun way for people to learn about and experience Democracy and to provide a way for families, friends, and neighbors to discuss politics in a safe and fun way. The game provides an icebreaker for people of different views to come together to discuss differences, talk about important issues, and find common ground.
FAQ: What are your long term goals? Our long term goals are to continue to keep the game relevant. We will have new editions, but especially publish expansion packs so that players can keep their decks updated with legislation cards that reference the current party platforms. We would really like to see the game implemented in school curriculum and have even posted some suggested study/discussion questions on our website to accompany the game as a learning tool.
FAQ: How do we start the game? The intent is for players to take turns going through all of the turn phases. There is a slight advantage to going first. If a player is fortunate enough to draw an elected official and a voter on their first turn, then it is an easy path to electing one of their party's candidates - this player essentially has 100% of the vote supporting their candidate (the opponent better focus on getting out their voters in subsequent turns).
FAQ: If you draw voters/platform and play immediately do you replenish your hand? You do not replenish your hand after playing voter and platform cards.
FAQ: Explain more about the strategy behind the draw and discard steps of my turn. It is not uncommon to only draw and discard in a turn, especially if your party has a strategy in mind (e.g. are you trying to get out the vote, find good candidates, find ways to pass legislation without having a majority - via Action cards). I tend to discard a lot early on to get out voters and find candidates, then later in the game, once I have Senators and Reps, I focus on passing legislation and playing Action cards to disrupt my opponent's progress.
FAQ: Are the game play turn phases mandatory? You can pass on any phase of your turn
FAQ: How do I know when to run for office? Before running for office, you need to know how many voters there are and how they will likely vote. In the real world, both parties study voter registration data, canvass, phone bank, door knock, etc and keep track of this in a database so they know how many base voters they have, how many base voters their opponents have, and how many persuadable voters there are to change parties during the election with campaigning. Both parties also know how many voters they need to get out to vote, which is why the PCO's are so important to organize "get out the vote canvasing/events" and voter registration days. Another part of the strategy when deciding to run, is do you think you can out-campaign your competitor (do you have enough campaign cards?). You don't need to have voter majority to win an election if you can persuade enough voters through campaigning (aka campaign cards). In the game, you need to also pay attention to whether or not your opponent has the SuperPAC in play (this could mean they have a hand full of campaign cards).
FAQ: What if I don't win the election? When an official runs but is not elected, they are placed in the discard pile and will come back into play later in the game. Once you go through your deck, the discard pile is shuffled and then becomes your deck. This puts a lot more pressure on making sure you perform the checks described above to be sure you don't waste a good candidate on an election they can't win. At the same time, sometimes you will run a candidate for a race you don't need to win just to try to get my opponent to "spend" their campaign cards so I have a better chance of winning a race that I need to win ("every race every place" - this is a strategy used in the real world as well to ensure the opponent's party doesn't have "free" uncontested races - which means they have more to spend on other races).
FAQ: Can legislation be passed even without the platform card on the table? in order to pass a piece of legislation completely (to count as one of your 3 towards winning the game), you need to have the matching platform card in play. The intent here is that, your political party and elected officials will likely not pay as much attention to proposed legislation if it is not a part of their platform (which is supported and drafted by their constituents). You can still pass legislation through the House, Senate, And President, (one per turn) but it can't count towards your goal of 3 pieces of legislation passed until you have the platform card on the table.
FAQ: How does legislation pass through the house or the senate? You aren't required to play legislation each turn. It is best to wait until you have majorities in congress, the president to pass executive orders, or an Action card to help you pass the legislation. The intent is that you make one legislation move per turn - so either bring a new legislation to play from committee or move an existing legislation from House to Senate or Senate to President. The way this works in the game - organize your elected officials as shown on the back of the rules - place the legislation in the branch where it is passed. So, if I have passed legislation in the House on one turn, the next turn, I can bring it to a vote in the Senate - it passes and physically moves to the Senate if I have majority or the right Action card to get it through.