How Board Games Have Prepared Us to Vote

The upcoming presidential election has been called the most important in our lifetime—a phrase not heard since the last election, or the one before…or the one before. Still, the main message politicians are trying to convey is the importance of voting, regardless of candidate. We agree. Without voting, the game Avalon would be reduced to a tile-placement simulator and the Forbidden series might mostly function as a one-player experience. In fact, board games have prepared all players for November 3 by demonstrating just how easy it is to vote. Here are some of the ways they accomplished this goal:

Games often require pencil and paper

For those of you born after 2006, paper is what they made books out of before they made e-books, and pencils are like what would happen if you used the pencil tool in Photoshop but in real life. Games often lack the resources to offer a fully digital, mobile experience, which means scorekeeping is often taken care of the old-fashioned way. Practice your pencil-holding form and perfect your signature by offering to keep score the next time you sit down for a board game. For best results, fill in all the Os on scorecards with pen.

Games require weighing two options

When the United States liberated itself from Britain, it adopted a two-party political system that continues to this day. In fact, while the UK and others have expanded their government to include multiple party choices, the US finds itself even more deeply entrenched in the feud between Democrats and Republicans, primarily. Alliances in board games can form or disintegrate at a moment’s notice, meaning us players already understand how to gather clues and weigh them against the binary: Is this person telling the truth, or are they going to backstab us? Much like our elections, there is no realistic third choice, as much as we would like to believe so.

Games present dramatic scoring rounds

We all start board games with the intention of keeping close score, but juggling that and multiple strategies often proves cumbersome. Thus we often abandon this task and relegate it to the end of the game—target the most victory points right now and hope for the best. Elections function the same way in that votes are tallied only when all have been accounted for; there only exists a vague idea of who is actually winning as the day goes on. Embrace that ambiguity on November 3 and rest easy knowing the results will shake themselves out.

Games can be played by those young and old

While board games often post a minimum age for maximum enjoyment, there rarely exists an age at which point games stop being fun. Play with seniors and juniors alike! Voting is a right extended to everyone of age in our country, and therefore it’s worth recruiting as many players as possible. Board games, like democracy, are less fun when done alone.

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