Connecting dots for digital learning and teaching

8 Political Games for Educational Opportunities in the Election Season


Election related topics are hot now, educators or parents could take this chance to bring some political games to play together. With simulations on different topics available, the learning actually can delve deeper into much more than election activities and tricks. How to be a great leader of a nation, there are so many problems to deal with! And, there are many educational opportunities beyond playing the blame game.

Race for the White House – The Election Game
 – A free mobile game made by Lunagames. The App is available for iPhone, iPad, and Android phones or talbets. It puts you in the political hot seat and allows you to manage your own election campaign. Raise funds and spend your cash on advertisement, make television appearances to charm the public, or run secret covert operations to out maneuver your opponent.

election game

budget hero simulationBudget Hero: Election Edition – An interactive game that allows players to experience the challenges of balancing the federal budget has been updated for the election year. The new edition, released by MacArthur-supported Woodrow Wilson Center, illuminates the budget impact of policies championed by President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney. The game puts players in the shoes of policymakers, allowing them to see both the intended and unintended consequences of their decisions.

World Without Oil – It is an alternative reality game that people “play” by living and producing media as if the world had run out of oil. Play this game to get a feel for what life might be like during the first 32 weeks of a global oil crisis. With an eye on economic, climate, and quality-of-life issues, this game raises awareness of the unhealthy dependency on oil. There is lesson plan for teachers.

Democracy 2 – Learn politics with this strategy game that has players making decisions such as implementing green policies, raising or lowering taxes, creating harmonious foreign relations, and more. The game simulates the motivations, loyalties and desires of everyone in the country. As president or prime minister, it’s your job to balance the need for income from taxes against the demands of the voters. Do you want your country to be an eco-friendly green paradise? or a capitalist utopia? Will you pander to the patriots, the liberals or the religious pressure groups? Can you keep crime under control without destroying the civil liberties of your citizens? And can you keep good diplomatic relations with other nation states?

President Forever 2008 – Run for president in this game where you’ll learn about primaries, general elections, and more. Play 2008 or one of the past elections, including Bush-Gore 2000, Regan-Carter 1980, Nixon-Kennedy 1960, or US 2012. A large number of scenarios, from California Gubernatorial 2010 to London 2008, can be added to the game for free.

Ars Regendi – It is a browser-based online political game that lets you take the reigns of your own, realistically simulated state. You will be asked to weigh in on various matters of state and – faced with a number of choices – any decision you make will have ramifications for the well-being of your virtual populace! In addition, you will be able to form alliances with other countries, initiate reforms and adjust the budget. Ars Regendi is a highly realistic and complex economic simulation that squares you off against other state leaders and puts your political and financial abilities to the test. But beware – running a country is not as easy as you might think and if you don’t measure-up, you could find yourself out-of-office pretty soon! The basic version is free.

The ReDistricting Game – Created at the USC Game Innovation Lab – part of the USC School of Cinematic Arts’, Interactive Media Division, the Redistricting Game is designed to educate, engage, and empower citizens around the issue of political redistricting. Currently, the political system in most states allows the state legislators themselves to draw the lines. This system is subject to a wide range of abuses and manipulations that encourage incumbents to draw districts which protect their seats rather than risk an open contest.

game-based learning
By exploring how the system works, as well as how open it is to abuse, The Redistricting Game allows players to experience the realities of one of the most important (yet least understood) aspects of our political system. The game provides a basic introduction to the redistricting system, allows players to explore the ways in which abuses can undermine the system, and provides info about reform initiatives – including a playable version of the Tanner Reform bill to demonstrate the ways that the system might be made more consistent with tenets of good governance. Beyond playing the game, the web site for The Redistricting Game provides a wealth of information about redistricting in every state as well as providing hands-on opportunities for civic engagement and political action.

Peacemaker – Play this game to see what the balance of power feels like. PeaceMaker challenges you to succeed as a leader where others have failed. Experience the joy of bringing peace to the Middle East or the agony of plunging the region into disaster. PeaceMaker will test your skills, assumptions and prior knowledge. Play it and you will never read the news the same way again.

game-based learning

For more educational resources around the presidential election, visit these links in case you miss them:

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“Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I will understand.” -------- Chinese Wisdom "Games are the most elevated form of investigation." -------- Albert Einstein
"I'm calling for investments in educational technology that will help create digital tutors that are as effective as personal tutors, educational software as compelling as the best video game," President Barack Obama said while touring a tech-focused Boston school (year 2011).
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