Care to put that to the test?
You can do just that in with these election-themed political games, which range from highly realistic recreations of famous U.S. election races to tongue-in-cheek simulations of the political hustle and bustle of running your own banana republic. Democrat, Republican, or Independent, you're sure to find something worth your vote.
Pick your candidate, be he (or she) a famous front-runner or a little-known also-ran, decide where you stand on the issues, and get ready for a lot of tough choices. For detail and realism it can't be beat, but it's not exactly a lightweight play; it's hard to learn and can be almost overwhelming at times. Right now the game simulates the elections of 1960, 1980, 1992, 2000, 2004, and 2008 — but a 2012 update is in development now and should be released this summer.
The only drawback? The game's latest update was in 2008, and as yet there's no sign of a new edition featuring this year's campaign. Still, if you can face reliving Obama vs. McCain another few times, it's available for download for a measly $10.
Balance of PowerOf course, the real work doesn't start until after the election is won.
Geopolitical simulator Balance of Power gives you the unenviable task of taking the helm of one of the Cold War powers, with the simple aim of avoiding World War Three. This is not as easy as it sounds. In fact, it's extremely difficult. A seminal piece of game design, Balance of Power's theme is dated but the gameplay is still as gripping as it ever was. Best of all, it's "abandonware" — nobody really knows who owns the publishing rights, so you can download it for free if you know where to look. (Here, as it happens.) It's easier to install on older versions of Windows, so blow the dust off that old laptop and get nuking.
Sure, you'll have to run the place, balancing the interests of competing factions both domestic and international, while managing the island's economy, defending it from rebels, and maneuvering your way to success in its periodic elections. But life ain't all bad for El Presidente: if you can siphon off enough cash into your personal slush fund, you're guaranteed a luxurious retirement. Provided you live that long.
Board game 1960: The Making of the President, which depicts the 1960 race between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy, should disabuse you of any such rose-tinted recollections. From Nixon's infamous pre-debate "lazy shave" to the signing of the 1960 Civil Rights Act, this two-player game recreates the drama of this celebrated face-off, and lets the actions of the players decide the election's nail-biting outcome.
- Politics & Government/Elections
- Politics & Government