About the Game:

Q1. What is PolitiCraft?

PolitiCraft is a narrative-based ACTION CIVICS card game, endorsed by the National Council for the Social Studies, that guides students through varying levels of civic engagement. Through game play, students are guided by the deck to craft narratives based upon civic issues of their choosing (e.g., personal, local, national, etc.). Doing so informs students of the multiple pathways available to them to achieve real change in their community.

Q2. What is the purpose of PolitiCraft?

Civic mindedness is not something you are born with. The knowledge, skills and dispositions of effective civic engagement must be acquired and practiced in a safe environment. That is the purpose of PolitiCraft. PolitiCraft embraces the best practices in civic education to prepare students for college, career and civic life.

Q3. Does PolitiCraft meet classroom standards?

Yes! PolitiCraft facilitates student inquiry into issues that affect their communities. The Four Dimensions of Inquiry advocated by the C3 Framework are evident in the game protocol. For a detailed overview click here.

Q4. Who can play PolitiCraft?

The PolitiCraft Base deck is best for players 13 and up. It can be played in or out of the classroom!

Q5. How do I learn to play PolitiCraft?

Each deck comes with a set of instructions. In addition, you can find a set of video instructions on our website.

Q6. How can I play PolitiCraft in my classroom?

o Check out the “Getting Started with PolitiCraft” page which has everything you need to start playing the game in your classroom! There are several additional free lesson plans for introducing and playing the game on our website. We'd also love to hear from you of any other ways you might use PolitiCraft in your classroom!

Q7. Who created PolitiCraft?

The game was created by PolitiCraft, Inc in partnership with the National Council for the Social Studies and GameDesk. PolitiCraft, Inc is a nonprofit whose mission is to transform traditional civics learning by developing students’ social-emotional skills, literacy skills, systems thinking tools, and design learning mindsets, while fostering improved communication, civil discourse and real-world civic engagement both locally and nationally.

Playing the Game:

Q1. What is the object of the game?

The object of the game is to accumulate the most Social Impact points while working toward a solution to a social issue, all while telling an interesting narrative.

Q2. What is a narrative and who chooses the topic?

At the beginning of the game, each player identifies the social issue they want to address, or the issue may be assigned to them. Topics can be local, national, or global (Ex. better school lunches, public transportation, healthcare or climate change). Players use the civic engagements on the cards to develop strategies to address their issue and convey these social impacts by crafting a unique storyline that links the actions of the card(s) played in each turn. To help students choose a topic they care about, use the “Let’s Get to the Root” in-class activity or share our Sample Topics Resource list.

Q3. How do you start the game?

To get started, remove the Integrity cards from the PolitiCraft deck and place them in a separate stack. Remove the Public Figure Status Cards from the PolitiCraft deck and give one to each player. Set any remaining Public Figure Status cards aside, as they will not be used. Then shuffle the PolitiCraft deck thoroughly and place it in the center, turning over the first card to start the discard pile. Each player then draws seven cards from the PolitiCraft deck in the center to form their hand, and places two integrity cards to the side. The youngest player goes first, then turns proceed in a clockwise order.

Q4. What happens if I draw an End of Election Cycle card in my first hand?

If an End of Election Cycle card is drawn in your first hand, it should be shuffled back into the PolitiCraft deck and another card drawn.

Q5. What is an Area of Impact?

The area in front of each player where you place your cards each turn is called your Area of Impact.

Q6. What are the different cards in the PolitiCraft deck?

Standard Cards - These cards are played to the player’s Area of Impact. Social Impact points are awarded based on the point value listed on the card.
Conditional Cards - Conditional cards are cards with prerequisites listed at the top of the card that must be met before playing them to the player’s Area of Impact.
Power Play Cards - Power Play cards directly engage with other players. Follow the instructions on each card to help or hinder another player’s Area of Impact.
End of Election Cycle Cards - End of Election Cycle cards are the time marker of the game. If a player draws an End of Election Cycle card at the end of their turn, they must reveal it immediately to the other players and draw another card. Their turn is over, but all the players must follow the directions on the End of Election Cycle card. After four Election Cycle cards are revealed and their effects resolved, the game is over.

Q7. How do I know what conditions are needed to play a conditional card?

If the card has a box in the top left corner, those are the conditions needed to play the card. This means you need to have already played the cards listed on your own Area of Impact in order to play that card. For example, if the card lists two blue and one orange, you will need to have played two blue Media and Relationship cards and one orange Campaign and Elections card on your Area of Impact before you play the Conditional card.

Unless specifically indicated on the card being played, a Conditional Card can never be played on any Area of Impact unless all the conditions on the card are met by cards previously played on that Area of Impact. This is true when you are playing a card on your own Area of Impact or a fellow player’s Area of Impact.

Q8. What are the different conditions?

o In the Required To Play box you may see up to four color icons representing different types of cards you need to have already played on your Area of Impact. These icons correspond to the icons and color bar on the cards:
Blue is Media and Relationships
Orange is Campaigns and Elections
Green is Policy and Practices
Gold is Integrity
In addition, you may see a bar under the Required To Play box listing an additional requirement in the form of an elected position, accomplishment or connection you will need to have previously played on your Area of Impact in order to play that card. These include Elected Office, City Council, Legislation and Big Donor. You can find these designations in the gray boxes on the bottom of the card.

Q9. What if a card is stolen from me that was necessary to meet a condition on another card I played on my Area of Impact?

Conditional cards already played in your Area of Impact are not affected when cards are stolen from you.

Q10. What do I do on my turn?

Each turn you can either play one card to an Area of Impact, or discard a single card face-up in the discard pile. When a card is played on your own Area of Impact, you explain how the action impacts your cause. When played on another’s Area of Impact, describe how it relates to that player’s issue. At the end of each turn, draw from either the PolitiCraft deck or the discard pile until you once again have seven cards.

Remember, unless specifically indicated on the card being played, a Conditional Card can never be played on any Area of Impact unless all the conditions on the card are met by cards previously played on that Area of Impact. This is true when you are playing a card on your own Area of Impact or a fellow player’s Area of Impact. Also, Conditional cards already played in your Area of Impact are not affected when cards are stolen from you.

Q11. Can I trade cards?

Yes! Trading is allowed at any point during the game and does not count as a turn. As a player begins to develop their strategy, they may wish to trade with other players to build towards their goals. In addition, trading can be used in cases where a player finds themselves unable to play any cards in their hand. Trades must be 1-for-1, and can only be made from cards held by the player, not cards already played on an Area of Impact.

Q12. What if I can't play a card?

If a player is unable to play a card and trading is not an option, they may choose to discard a single card to the discard pile and then draw a new one. This counts as a turn. The cards in the discard pile remain face-up, with the most recently discarded card on top. When a player draws a card, they may opt to draw from the discard pile rather than the face-down PolitiCraft deck.

Q13. What are Integrity cards and how do I earn more?

Integrity cards are measure that reflects either the positive impact or negative consequences of a player's actions . Each player starts with two Integroty Cards and can earn or lose them throughout the game based on the actions they take. Integrity can be earned in two ways. One is by completing positive actions listed on the PowerPlay cards. The other is through Allied Actions. Keep in mind you must have at least one Integrity card at the end to win the game!

Q14. What is an Allied Action?

An Allied Action is the act of helping another player by playing a Standard or Conditional card to their Area of Impact. Each card played as an Allied Action earns one Integrity card, unless you are a Public Figure. Conditional cards played must have their requirements met by cards in the Area of Impact of the player on which you are playing the card. Playing a Power Play card is not considered an Allied Action and only earns an Integrity card if the Power Play card specifically states an Integrity card is awarded.

Q15. What happens if a PowerPlay card says I can steal a card, but I don’t meet the conditions on my Area of Impact for the card I am planning to steal ?

Since a Conditional Card can never be played on any Area of Impact unless all the conditions on the card are met by cards previously played on that Area of Impact, you cannot steal and play a conditional card unless those conditions are met. This is true when you are playing a card on your own Area of Impact or a fellow player’s Area of Impact.

Q16. What is Public Figure Status?

On the first turn after a player exceeds 200 Social Impact points, they achieve Public Figure status and must immediately turn over their Public Figure Status card to inform all players. As a Public Figure, a player must play TWO cards each turn, with one card (which cannot be a Power Play card) played on someone else’s Area of Impact. If both cards are played to other players’ Areas of Impact, and neither is a Power Play card, one Integrity card is awarded. Conditional cards played for another player must have all requirements met in that player’s Area of Impact.

Q17. Which cards do I count to determine if I am a Public Figure?

Only the cards played in your Area of Impact are counted to see if they exceed 200 points. The cards in your hand and your Integrity cards are counted to determine Public Figure status.

Q18. What happens if I am a Public Figure but a card is stolen that takes me under 200 Social Impact points?

Your Public Figure status is determined on each turn by the number of points in your Area of Impact. So, you are only a Public Figure on those turns where you have 200 points on your Area of Impact.

Q19. When is the game over?

The game is over once the action on the fourth End of Election Cycle card is complete. At the end of the game, players add up the points on all of the cards on their Area of Impact, including their Integrity cards. The player with the most Integrity cards also receives a 100-point bonus. If there is a tie for most Integrity cards, each player in the tie gets the 100-point bonus. The player with the most points and at least one Integrity card has achieved the most Social Impact related to their cause and wins the game!

Q20. What is the point value of an Integrity card?

Integrity cards are worth 5 points each at the end of the game. Earlier editions of the game did not show the 5 points on the card itself, unlike later editions which display the point value in the same manner as all other cards. Whether the 5 points are displayed or not, each Integrity cards is worth 5 points at the end of the game.

Q21. My instructions say Integrity cards are worth an additional 5 points at the end of the game. Is that in addition to the 5 points printed on the card?

No, those instructions are referring to an earlier edition of the game in which Integrity cards did not have the point value printed on them. Integrity cards are worth 5 points each at the end of the game, whether or not the 5 points are printed on the Integrity card. The instructions have been updated to eliminate this confusion and the current instructions can be downloaded here.