Race to the White House is a sophisticated two-player simulation of the upcoming presidential election. Its mechanics are board-and-card driven with some dice-influenced results; the game flow is controlled by action and reaction cards, dice rolling, hand management, and area influence. A retro, ironic tone keeps the mood light, despite the deep gameplay.
The game takes place over the final eight weeks of the campaign and concludes with the assignment of electoral votes on Election Night. Each player chooses a candidate they are trying to propel to victory. Play as one of the leading lights of the 2016 campaign, or bring back a proven winner! For that matter, with our stretch goals, you can bring back a proven loser! Some candidates are better at speaking, some bring more skill at fundraising, some are from swing states, and others are simply rich.
Each week is divided into two turns, one for each player, and is affected by an environment card that may temporarily alter the cost or effect of your actions. You’ll begin with five action cards, representing various things you can do during that week’s campaign, such as uncover a scandal, criticize Cuba, collect an endorsement, or even start a war. You’ll also start with five state cards, which determine where you can play your action cards. Each week gives you the opportunity to draw or purchase new and more powerful action cards, some of which can be combined to extraordinary effect.
Each week you’ll spend time and energy visiting swing states, building up influence points that hopefully will lead to winning that state on election night. If you build up enough influence, you’ll get momentum in that state, which will make it harder for your opponent to come back—but be careful; spend too much time in any one place and they’ll start to get sick of you.
Have you sold out to major donors to finance your campaign? Of course you have! This gives you money, which you can spend on state or national advertising. Again, this can give you momentum, but you risk overexposure.
You can do all sorts of things in Race to the White House by playing Action Cards. You can come out against the Keystone XL pipeline (if you’re a Democrat) or promise more mining permits (if you’re a Republican). If your party is in office, you can start a war, or respond to a major natural disaster—but be careful; either one can backfire badly, and your opponent might have an October Surprise ready. You can cheer for a swing state’s baseball team in the World Series, or you can stick your opponent with bad weather. You can uncover a scandal in state government that puts a safe state in play, or you can send hecklers into your opponent’s rallies that neutralizes their effects. It feels just as crazy, exciting, and dirty as an actual campaign!
Over the course of eight weeks, you’ll build up a strong position in some swing states, and if you’ve been smart about it, you’ll have managed to play defense and prevent your opponent from doing the same. But you never really know, do you? When election night rolls around, you’ll be on the edge of your seat waiting for the networks to call the states in the order that their polls close. Some states will be easy, but others will be too close to call, potentially until early in the morning. If you’re behind, do you concede and save some victory points? Or do you hang on until the bitter end? It’s all up to you…in Race to the White House!
What’s in the Box
- Gameboard showing the United States
- Rule book
- A pack of bills representing Money Points in various denominations
- 72 Action cards
- 56 State cards
- 20 Environment cards
- 10 Candidate cards
- 2 Candidate markers
- 100 plastic influence counters
- A sheet of tokens to track turns, saturation, momentum and National Influence
- A quick reference card
- 2 six-sided dice
- Scoring sheet
Each backer who contributes over $30 will receive a copy of the game, any additional items listed at their pledge tier and all stretch goals.
KICKSTARTER EXCLUSIVE! You receive an additional four past presidents as candidates. Not available anywhere except Kickstarter!
$5k - We’ll kick things up a notch by replacing the existing pawns with Meeples. Goal achieved!
$10k - This level unlocks three new action cards that combine to make a powerful combo. We won't tell you exactly what the combo is--that would spoil the surprise--but we can tell you the title: "Dr. Strangelove." What could it be? Intriguing! Goal achieved!
$15k - New candidate cards allow you to offer a second chance to a few presidential hopefuls that didn’t make the cut: Romney, McCain, Al Gore, John Kerry. Admit it, you think about John Kerry all the time.
$20k - Presidential throwbacks: adds candidate cards for historical candidates from way back when: Teddy Roosevelt, William Taft (of course), Woodrow Wilson, and--most importantly--Warren G. Harding.
$25k - Now things are really getting interesting - at this level we provide a ‘theme deck’ with new action and environment cards relating to a historical scenario. That scenario is either going to be the Cold War, or--if you are really lucky--the debate around the passing of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913. Okay, maybe the Cold War sounds like more fun.
$50k - Everyone gets a digital map and physical cards to replay the 1860 presidential election! California with three electoral votes? That's a thing.
...and if funding keeps going, we'll keep going!
Risks and challenges
Risks? The game design is complete, including all the graphic design. So the only real risk is a manufacturing timetable slippage...but we've shamelessly padded the delivery date. So we'd be very surprised if this went seriously off-track.
If the United States suffers a massive revolution, or some kind of invasion by aliens (space or undocumented), the game might be less topical.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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