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Fun and games: TwoSeventy political strategy game is teaching Americans about Electoral College

An online game of political skill is engaging players not just from across America but from all over the globe who are learning about the American political system. Creator Mark Penn shared comments.

A unique online game of political skill is engaging players and users not just from across America but from all over the world — who are learning about the American political system, including the Electoral College, especially as the 2024 presidential election season heats up.

Mark J. Penn, chair and CEO of Stagwell Inc., is the creator of a virtual political game of strategy called TwoSeventy

"This is more or less the only serious political online game right now," Penn told Fox News Digital in an interview. 


"There are online games in which you can catch sharks, kill Mafiosi, shoot people — but it's pretty rare for you to be able to play a sophisticated political game where you take on the characters in the campaigns and aim to become president," he said.

A former Clinton pollster and a Fox News contributor, Penn detailed the way the game works.

"Players get $250,000 a day, and you distribute your money across the states to run your campaign." 

Just as in actual presidential elections, "you also have debates where you have to answer tough questions."

Said Penn, "You learn about the Electoral College and how it works. You can play against the computer, or you can play against real people. And your strategy is determined somewhat by your candidate" — whether that candidate is Joe Biden, Donald Trump, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. or anyone else. 

"And each candidate has a personality that makes for the strategy," said Penn.

The team at TwoSeventy said players are learning about the Electoral College vs. the popular vote as they play. They're learning "how you allocate across the states. Then, if you get national or state groups behind you, you earn extra money," said Penn, who is based in Washington, D.C.

He called TwoSeventy "a rarity in the world of gaming. For all these people who are so politically involved, we have about 60,000 players or more right now, and it is growing organically as we move closer into election season 2024." 

The game, which is adding about 1,000 new players every day right now, is available everywhere: iOS stores, Android, Steam, computers. Players of the game are able to choose not just among some 100 different candidates — but all 45 U.S. presidents of the past.

Yep, "all 45 presidents are now playable in the game," said Penn and his team. "It's the only game around that has this feature."

The game launched around the time of the last presidential election. By now, said Penn, "we've really matured the game over time." 

Among the players, he said, are those "whose parents are involved in politics in some way — they're playing the game right now. They're looking for something that's in line with what their dad or mom is doing."

People's names are anonymous — they're usually known by their game names.

"You have leaderboards, and then you advance depending — all the way from press aide to campaign manager and so on. And we have tournaments as well, plus a robust Facebook page for the community, with thousands of people who are talking about the game."

As far as Penn's reason for creating the game: "I tried to apply my political knowledge. I designed the game; I designed the math behind the game. So I know how it works. But there could be thousands of different strategies based on one candidate versus another candidate — and then, who your VP may be," for example.

That decision and others by a candidate can change "everything" in the game, he said.


"Everything you do changes your ability to win certain groups — which then changes the right strategy."

One avid player is a young dad from Sedalia, Missouri. He teaches 7th grade social studies, including early American history, he told Fox News Digital — and estimated he's played over 20,000 hours of the game to date.

Brendan Borman, age 32, said, "I love that it is a game of skill that challenges players to think critically. You can play people from all over the world with different political views, recreate historical or fantasy, like matchups — and the adrenaline rush of game-changing steals and exciting ballot rounds bring me back for game after game."

He said he first downloaded the game back in 2016. 

"During the COVID lockdowns, TwoSeventy became such a great way to interact with a community that was passionate about politics, competition and creativity," said Borman. "The community-run tournaments have greatly supplemented the in-app tournaments and keep bringing me back to the game to this day."

Can anyone — not just political geeks — learn how to play TwoSeventy?

Borman said yes. "The game involves skill and a little bit of luck sometimes, but learning the game mechanics and practicing against the AI are great ways to learn how to play."

He said the game has also given him "a platform to connect with people all over the world. I have friends in the United States, England, China, India, Australia and many more places through playing TwoSeventy."

While the game is adding new candidates all the time, Borman said his "favorite candidate" is George Washington. "He was actually a candidate I was able to design to be unique from others. Other strong candidates I like include ‘Ronald Reagan 84,’ and ‘Teddy BullMoose Roosevelt.’"

Added Borman, "It is also fun to play with local Missouri candidates like Harry S. Truman, or novelty candidates like Santa Claus." 

He said the game is fun outside the presidential election cycles as well. 

So who is the G.O.A.T. of TwoSeventy, in his view?

"This is an ongoing debate among players and the answer may differ depending on who you ask," replied Borman. 

"But many players have gone above and beyond to promote community. Others just play the game. Some win over 99% of the time they play. I would gladly throw my hat in the ring against anyone!" he said.

Anyone can learn more about it here

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