6 Political Board Games to Get Your Mind Off the Government Shutdown

Alright: our government is taking a bit of a break. And that could probably have some consequences for us, at some point in time. But the reason we play board games is to get our minds off reality. In keeping with that theme, here are some of the best political board games you can play at your "democracy is ending" game night.

1. Article 27

Article 27In Article 27, players each have their own interests and agendas, but need to come to a group consensus in order to get motions passed. In a sort of darkly realistic take on modern politics, that ends with a lot of compromises; you aren't going to get your energy spending unless you leave innovation and creativity out of the equation. Players can argue their cases, but ultimately it's up to the agenda leader (a different player each turn) to decide. And, of course, it's always possible to bribe and to veto.

2. Cosmocracy

CosmocracyScrew real politics: let's do some deep space politics. In Cosmocracy, players take on the role of fictional alien races. You can play an artificial intelligence, space whales, beings of energy, and more. Your job is to convince people to take your side during a debate against another player. The catch: anything you introduce into the game is canon from then on.

Cosmocracy is not a structured game; it's mostly roleplay, creativity, and innovation (all of which are probably lacking in our actual political system). It's an extremely fun game to play with the right crowd, but it can be paralyzing for others. 

3. Secret Hitler

Secret Hitler

It may seem like more a social deduction game than a political game, but what's more relevant than trying to pass liberal agendas while another faction attempts to destroy your country from within? In Secret Hitler, fascists and liberals are pitted against each other. Fascists know who the other fascists are (including Hitler). Hitler and the liberals know nothing. The fascists want to get fascist agendas passed and eventually elect Hitler as chancellor, while liberals want to get liberal agendas passed and prevent Hitler from becoming chancellor. Secret Hitler has some fantastic and well-balanced game mechanics that make this game seemingly infinitely replayable. 

4. Twilight Imperium

Twilight Imperium Box ArtHey, why not play a game that'll probably last as long as the government shutdown does? Twilight Imperium is an eight to twelve hour game, in which each player controls a different space faction. This game is known to be complex, but it really isn't; it just happens in a number of distinct stages, over which players build, research technology, go to war, defend their territories, and... of course... make political arguments. 

5. Risk

Risk Box ArtWhy not go for a classic? Risk is the classic expansion, conquest, and area control game, in which players need to manage their troop movements and continuously push their luck. Risk shows exactly how quickly the tide can turn against a person, and its strategy is often a blend of not only understanding the game but also understanding the other players. 

Just be warned: Risk is a game a lot like Monopoly, in which it is possible to get locked into a game that will last forever. 

6. A Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones Box ArtIf you want a little dose of "hey, it could be worse," A Game of Thrones is probably your best bet. A Game of Thrones: The Board Game is just as cutthroat and competitive as the book and television series. In this game, players vie for control over the kingdom, with a combination of force, persuasion, and charisma. 

In truth, the government shutdown probably isn't going to impact most people (oh hey though, hope you didn't actually work for the federal government). Still, any time you start feeling the political situation is a little bit desperate, you can find some solace in the above fun and friendly board games.