Sawbuck Gamer

Strategery 2012

Get Out The Vote

Presidential politics can feel like a game. Strategery 2012 is ready to play.

By Matt Gerardi • October 23, 2012

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In his 1993 book Out Of Order, political scientist Thomas E. Patterson argues that the news media’s perspective on campaigns has changed the way presidential bids are run. It’s shifted the focus from consequential issues to a view in which the campaign is a game, placing strategy and polls above all else and turning candidates into tacticians.

Strategery 2012 is the campaign-game incarnate. It faithfully apes Nintendo’s Advance Wars series of cartoonish military strategy games, transcribing the battlefront into the realm of American politics. You must guide Mitt Romney to a victory in the Republican primary, commanding his army of staffers, press secretaries, and rapid responders against the identical-except-for-color troops of other lovingly rendered pixel-art Republicans. A state’s delegates are won by demolishing the credibility of your opponents’ staff or being the first to reach a set number of votes, which are gained by “capturing” cities. Instead of shooting each other to death, your campaign workers trade explosive political insults like, “If Gingrich is elected, it would be an October surprise a day.”

Each candidate has a special power. Romney, for example, can build up a voter suppression attack, removing a city from play and preventing his opponent from capturing its votes. As this happens, Romney proclaims, “I love Voter ID laws, by the way.” This is one of the many lines of dialogue taken directly from the campaign trail, a fact that, along with the its literal interpretation of politics-as-game, makes Strategery a winning satire. The creator promises that Romney’s campaign is just the beginning, with a future update adding a Romney vs. Obama. That sounded appealing at first, but then I realized that no general-election smackdown is going to match the delight of dismantling Rick Santorum.

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877 Responses to “Get Out The Vote”

  1. Spacemonkey Mafia says:

    Wow.  The above image is the most biting caricature of Michelle Bachman.  Something about the very mild exaggeration filtered through that late-70’s anime television kids show stylization seems really damning of her inherent (albeit dangerous) ridiculousness.

  2. Aurora Boreanaz says:

    “You must guide Mitt Romney to a victory in the…”

    No thank you!  Not even in imaginary game form.

    • PhilWal0 says:

      “You must guide Mitt Romney to a victory in the…”

      -Miss America pageant
      -Hot Dog Eating Championship
      -Battle of the Bands
      -beer pong match

      • Bad Horse says:

        I would pay so much cash money to see Mitt Romney in a battle of the bands.

        • Moonside_Malcontent says:

           “And I just– no, Mr. President, please I’m sti– I’m not done, I– I just need to ask America if they’ve rocked enough in the last four years?  Under this president the amp was turned up to 8.  That’s not good enough.  That’s not good enough.  I think we can turn it up to 11, but to do that, we need– No, Mr. President, I just– to do that we need to stop demonizing band managers.  And that’s what it’s going to take to make this country hardcore again, and that’s why America’s ready to rock.”

      • George_Liquor says:

        Hardest kick to the balls challenge?

      • Girard says:

         -Race to the bottom of a razor-blade bannister

      • Effigy_Power says:

        -To a victory in a civil war reenactment using only horses and bayonets.

      • NarcolepticPanda says:

        -RuPaul’s drag race

  3. Army_Of_Fun says:

    It’ll be interesting to see what he does with the general election. Capturing cities would make less sense since they’ve tended to favor the Democrat in the post cold-war era. On the other hand, the city tiles really help tie the game to the Advance Wars formula. It’d be a cop-out to just call them counties or districts in the sequel.

    • Girard says:

       I didn’t have time to get into it, but I was able to skip to the general election part of the game right from the beginning – so I think you could just check it out now and see for yourself.


    that’s quite the “DURRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR” look on that lady’s face

    I’m willing to bet she’s supposed to be a Republican