Review: Election Night In America
Posted On August 3, 2021
Number of Players: 2-4
Time: 45-60 Mins
Gamer Type: Casual
Game Type: Coalition Building
One of the reasons that we started the Game reviews at NRN is to get away from politics. We wanted to give people a break from the constant “Think what I think or else.” mentality in the media. However, this does not mean that we are going to review good games that have an election theme. Election Night in America by Cosmic Dice Games is a great example of how people can have fun looking at the election process without smashing people with ideological attacks.
You are a candidate (or candidates handler) that wants to see them elected. Simple enough. You need to build the influence needed to move into that big ‘ol house down in Washington DC. As you play through the game you help your candidate build the political, financial, social media, and religious following needed to become the most powerful person in the world. What’s not to love. Games with simple stories can be great, especially this type of game. Particularly interesting is the fact that the game does not fixate on one of the variables and shows a more holistic view of the political process. 5.5 of 10.
I love the artwork concept. The theater is the first word that comes to mind when I look at how the card art is done. The candidates have the rosy red cheeks and fine-drawn lines that you would expect to see on a stage. What better metaphor for the political process is there than the theater? You have people who are unqualified for what they are pretending to be, saying what they are told by others to say, hoping to get a good enough reaction from the crowd to be called back to the stage for another night to tell stories that they do not believe are real. It is a perfect pairing.
Another great little thing about this game is that the box is the standard size for a medium-sized game, which allows it to be stored and transported easier. the artwork on the box is the same quality as the cards, which gives it a “through feel” throughout the game. 8 of 10.
Mechanics and Strategy
The game is a collect-and-build game. You earn cards based on the roll of a die and through the use of these cards. Now before the Euro-gamer’s heads explode, there is a lot of luck on the front end of this game. Building your currency to purchase electoral votes is reminiscent of Alambra as you sit there building an empire of one currency while you need another. This game will not appeal as much to so-called strategy gamers (who try to plan out the whole game before it starts) because you have to adjust in this game quickly based on the whims of the people- you know like real politics.
When it comes to strategy, you really have no defense- so it is missing that element; however, you can attack, rush, or sit back and build engines (simple though they may be) to win the day. Honestly, this is similar to real politics- if you play defense, you will lose. This is a gateway-style game, so the strategy is designed to open the game to all players, definitely fun. 6.5 of 10 for mechanics, 5 of 10 for strategy.
Novelty and Overall
Political games are out there on the market, there are a bunch of them. Election Night in America walks down the thin line of not alienating half of the possible customers when it makes its commentary. For this alone it deserves its 8 of 10 ratings for novelty, not ticking off half the people anymore is a miracle. It also is novel in that it is simple to play but deals with a complex topic, this is not only a game you can play with your family- but one you could play in a classroom to teach kids about politics.
With a score of 33 out of 50, this is a great game coming out of the gate into its Kickstarter run. It is a game you can pick up at any time and people can play across the political divide, which is becoming a major problem in this country. Election Night in America has the ability to get people talking, civilly, over a game about a serious issue in our country. And let’s face it, if the discussion gets out of hand, then it becomes more realistic when someone flips the board and goes home, just like the big kids playing politics do. Just kidding, libs and conservatives had fun playtesting this and it is a good game to add to any shelf. Make sure to check it out on Kickstarter.
Dr. Christopher Smithmyer is a writer for NRN, the Vice President of International Affairs at Brav Online Conflict Management, and an Adjunct Professor of MBA Business at Doane University. He is also part of the founding team at BlackWalletLTD, one of the leaders in stable coin 2.0 ecosystem maintenance. Dr. Smithmyer’s focus is international business and finance, along with reviews of board games, weapons platforms, and survival items.