Regina Glocker, Hank Stampfl and Russ and Christopher Patrick leaned around a white-cloth-covered table at the American Hotel in Sag Harbor on Saturday night, staring intently at the board game in front of them.
“Hmm, who’s winning now?” Russ Patrick mused, casually shaking a pair of blue dice in his cupped palm. “She is,” he nodded his head to the left at Ms. Glocker, who stifled a laugh.
And then in a mock whisper to his son and teammate, Christopher, just loud enough for his opponents to hear, he added, “That’s because she invented the game.”
”Oh, just roll,” Ms. Glocker joked.
The name of the game is The Presidential. It is played on a map of America, each state numbered with its respective share of the electoral college votes, a total of 538.
Two teams—Democrats versus Republicans—face off in a fight for control of the White House as they battle with dice, chips and cards to guarantee a minimum 270 electoral votes needed to secure the presidency—the same number required during an actual election.
”This whole idea started in 2008,” Ms. Glocker recalled during an interview at the hotel before hosting a game fundraiser there. “The original thought was that the world was very depressed, Monopoly was made during the Depression, so it’s time to invent a board game. And, believe me, I love board games.”
She scoured the market and talked to everyone she came across about the games they liked. After months of research, Ms. Glocker soon realized that in a world obsessed with the presidency and politics, there wasn’t a single game about the subject matter.
The rules for The Presidential are simple. On a team’s turn, the players have the choice to either campaign or fundraise.
To campaign, the team announces three states and then rolls three dice. The team decides which die corresponds to each state and puts that number of votes, represented by blue chips for Democrats or red chips for Republicans, on the map.
A team can fundraise in the four “money” states—California, New York, Florida and Texas. The players select one state and roll two dice. At least half of the total votes must stay in the fundraising state, and the rest can be applied anywhere else. Then the team draws a Politics Card and follows the instructions, which can either help or, in some cases, hinder.
”You were spotted wearing a Red Sox hat while prepping for a debate,” one card reads. “Your opponent adds three votes to New York.” Another says, “You drive American cars only while your opponent owns several foreign cars. Win four votes in Michigan.”
Strategy quickly comes into play. A team can snatch up a state controlled by its opponent by rolling a number higher than the number of chips already in the state. Moves like this with the big fundraiser states can make or break a game.
Over breakfast at the American Hotel in November, Ms. Glocker pitched her idea to friend and designer Russ Patrick, who lives in Sag Harbor and, with his son, runs Solution: Design + Marketing Communications in the village.
The father-and-son team jumped on board without any hesitation, they said, and agreed to design the game and all of the fixings that go along with it.
”At first I thought, ‘It’s an election year, it’s timely. This should work out just great,’” Russ Patrick said. “But then I realized, you can play this game anytime. This is really a timeless concept, as long as there’s an electoral college and a president of the United States.”
In January, the trio crossed paths with Manhattan-based social media guru Hank Stampfl, who really helped get the gears in motion, Ms. Glocker said. He introduced the team to promotion via Facebook, Twitter and, perhaps most important, Kickstarter, a website used to raise money for creative projects.
But there’s a catch. Every Kickstarter project must be fully funded before its time expires or no money changes hands. At press time, 159 backers had pledged $31,144 of the $35,000 goal. The Presidential’s deadline is Monday, March 12.
If the board game does not raise $35,000, all of the pre-orders will be canceled. Ms. Glocker will not owe the pledges anything, she said. Regardless, she still plans to produce at least 5,000 board games, and if successful on Kickstarter, she may up that number substantially, she said.
”It’s crunch week,” Mr. Stampfl said. “One week to inspire the world. It would be hilarious to see it in the White House. That’s when we seal the deal.”