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?

We have several 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 chooses their own social issue to work with (or the issue could be assigned to them). Topics can be local or national, real or imaginary. Using the cards, players develop potential solutions to their chosen issue through public policy, media and elections. They convey these solutions by crafting a unique storyline that links the actions of the card(s) played in each turn.

Q3. How do you start the game?

Separate the gold Integrity cards from the PolitiCraft deck and set them aside. Shuffle the PolitiCraft deck thoroughly. Each player draws and places in their hand seven cards from the PolitiCraft deck. Each player also receives two Integrity cards which are placed 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.

Q8. What are the different conditions?

In the conditions box you may see up to four colors representing different types of cards you need to have already played on your Area of Impact. These colors correspond to the color bar on the cards:
Blue is Media and Relationships
Orange is Campaigns and Elections
Green is Policy and Practices
Gold i is Integrity
In addition you may see a bar under the colors listing an elected position or connection you will need to have on your Area of Impact in order to play that card. These include "State Office", "Big Donor", "US Office" and more. You can find these designations in the grey boxes on the bottom of the card.

Q9. 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.

Q10. Can I trade cards?

Yes! Trading is allowed at any point and does not count as a turn. It can be used for strategy as well as in cases where a player finds themselves unable to play any cards in their hand. Trades must be one-for-one, and can only be traded from hand to hand or Area of Impact to Area of Impact. You cannot trade Integrity cards.

Q11. 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.

Q12. What are Integrity cards and how do I earn more?

Integrity cards are the currency of the game. Each player starts with two 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!

Q13. 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. Conditional cards played in this way must have their requirements met by you or the player on whose Area of Impact you are playing the card.

Q14. What happens if I steal a card using a PowerPlay but I don’t meet the conditions for the cards on my Area of Impact?

If a stolen conditional card is placed on your Area of Impact by any player through a PowerPlay action and you do not meet the required conditions of the card on your own Area of Impact, the card remains in your Area of Impact BUT the points of the card do not count towards your total until you fulfil the conditions.

Q15. What is Public Figure Status?

On the first turn after the cards on a players Area of Impact totals 200 or more Social Impact points, they achieve Public Figure status. As a Public Figure, a player must play two cards each turn. At least one card must be played to another player’s Area of Impact, and NO Integrity card is gained for that action. If both cards are played to another player’s Area of Impact, one Integrity card is awarded.

Q16. 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.

Q17. 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 valid cards (only cards on which the conditions have been met) on their Area of Impact. Each Integrity card is worth an additional five points. 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!