Election Day
Designed by Joe Mucchiello
Players 3-5
Length 20-30 minutes
Extra Material None

An influence the outcome game for 3-5 players


Rule of the land was benevolently shared by the six Crowned Princes. Every five years the people would elect one of the Princes to lead the land for the next five years. Before the election, the Princes would hold a series of debates in which they would demonstrate why they were most fit to lead for the next five years. The debates were always reviewed by the three major newspapers and typically two of the papers' editors would agree that one of the Princes won the debate while the third paper's editor would choose someone else as the clear victor. In the end, the people would vote and a new leader would rule peacefully for another five years.


  • Remove the Crowns and Aces from the deck. Place the six Crowns vertically somewhere in the middle of the play area. This is the score track and it extends to one side of the column of cards. Leave about a foot (30cm) of space for it.
  • To the other side of the score track is the debate area.
  • Deal out a single Ace face down to each player and return the remaining Aces to the deck. Players should look at their Ace but they must leave it on the table face down in front of them.
  • Decide if you want to include the Extended deck in the game. Any or all of the extension cards can be used in Election Day.
  • Shuffle and deal out all cards evenly to each player, face down. Players should pick up their hand. They may arrange the cards in any manner they wish.
  • Any undealt cards are left in the middle of the debate area to be drawn as described below.

Game play


The game is divided up into a series of debates. The face down Ace in front of each player indicates what Prince that player hopes will win the election. This can change over the course of the game.

At the start of each debate, if there are any undealt cards remaining turn the top card over and place it in the debate area. Starting with the dealer and continuing clockwise around the table, each player takes an action. They may either further the debate, consider changing which Prince they are backing in the debate, or they may pass.

  • To further the debate, the player takes a card that is not an Ace from their hand and places it face up in the debate area. Cards are placed in the debate area so that every player can see every card.
  • To consider backing a new Prince, the player must have an Ace in their hand. The player removes an Ace from his hand and sets down the rest of his hand. He then picks up the face down Ace in front of him so that he is holding two Aces. He may take either Ace and place it face down in front of him and then hand the remaining Ace to the player on his right. The player is not forced to change whom he backs. This is the only way to remove an Ace from your hand.
  • The player may also choose to pass. A player with no cards left must pass. A player may pass on one turn subsequently take an action on another turn.

Ending the Debate

If all the players pass in a row the debate has ended. If all but the same player passes twice in a row, the debate has ended. So if Bob plays a card, Carol passes, Don passes, Alice passes, Bob plays a card, Carol passes, and Don passes. The debate will end if Alice now passes.

Scoring the Debate

At the end of the debate go through all the cards in the debate area and determine which two suit symbols occur most frequently. The suit symbol that occurs most frequently indicates which Prince won the debate. Go through the cards having the Prince's symbol on it and place the two cards with the highest rank on them to the right of the Prince's Crown card. For the second most frequently occurring suit, place the one highest ranking card to the right of that Prince's Crown card.

Aces, Pawns and Courts have a value and rank of zero for scoring purposes. They only contribute to the suit symbol count.

In the case of a tie for first, only one card is award to each Prince and there is no award for scoring second. If the tied Princes share the same high ranking card, set it aside and use the next highest ranking card for each Prince. If there is a tie for second place, no second place cards are scored. If for some reason not enough cards are available to indicate who won the debate, the affected Prince(s) do not score on that round.

Example: Suppose an entire debate consists of the 4 Wyrms/Knots, 9 Water/Wyrms and the 4 Moon/Sun. The winner of the debate is the Prince of Wyrms with 2 symbols. The 9 Water/Wyrms and 4 Wyrms/Knots would be placed to the right of the Wyrms Crown. All the other suits have but one symbol and thus tie for second and do not score.

Continue Debating?

After scoring a debate, if the number of players with cards left in their hand is two or fewer the game is over. Otherwise set aside any cards in the playing area, they will not be used any more, and start a new debate.

The game also ends if no one played any cards during the debate

End of Game

Once the debates are over the election takes place. Add up the ranks of the cards next to each Crown Prince in the scoring area and the Prince with the highest total is elected. If there is a tie, the most number of cards next to the Princes who are tied is used as a tie breaker.

Once the Prince has been elected, the players turn over their face down Aces and the player whose Ace matches the elected Prince is the winner. If no one has the winning Prince's Ace, no one wins (or you may choose the winner based on who Ace score the most points).

The extended deck

You may freely add or remove the extended deck to Election Day. Like Aces, Pawns and Courts do not have a rank and value of zero when scoring. They only contribute suit symbols to the debates.


  • If there is no winner, you could decide the winner is whoever's Prince was closest to first place was the winner.
  • If an uneven number of cards are available when the cards are dealt, you could just no use the extra cards rather than seeding the debates with the remaining cards.


Does the game end as soon as only 2 people have cards left?
No, only check this condition once the debate has ended. Someone might pass the player with no cards an Ace and that player may not wish to end the game immediately.

Does a left over card have to be played every debate? Does the game end if there are no more left over card to start a debate with?
No, the left over cards are not important to the debate structure. The reason only one card is added at the beginning of the debate is so the first debate is not overwhelmed with random cards.

Does the left over card pile count as a player for determining if the end of game condition has been reached?

Why would I play The Excuse card?
It gives you a way to continue a debate without having to play a meaningful card from your hand. Besides, what's a debate without some excuses?

How can an Ace end up in the debate area?
Aces that end up in the undealt pile are the only Aces that can end up in the debate area.


Original Design: Joe Mucchiello

Play Testers: (Anyone??)



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