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  • Writer's pictureJared Neal

Buy the Vote! - A Game Worthy of Your Vote

Updated: May 28, 2021

(The pictured copy of the game is a print and play version I made, from a file I purchased during the Kickstarter campaign. If you want to learn more about my process for making print and play games, check it out here)

Retail Price: $35

Player Count: 2-5 (best at 3+)

Age Range: 9+ (probably could be 7+)

Play Time: 15 mins. (runs closer to 30 mins. for most of our plays)

Complexity: 2 out of 10 (consistent with our experience)

Mechanisms: Betting and bluffing, Negotiation, Semi-cooperative

Designer: Justin and Dave

Artist: Justin and Dave

Publisher: Coozies Games

Educational Value:

  • Teamwork

  • Strategic Thinking

  • Problem Solving

  • Deductive Reasoning

  • Math: Addition

  • Political Science

Flavor Text:

"Buy the Vote is a 15 minute blind bidding game where candidates win states by spending the most campaign dollars. Players are presidential candidates running for president with the goal of collecting as many electoral votes as possible. At the end of the game, the player with the most electoral votes becomes the presidential nominee and the player with the second most electoral votes become the running mate; together the presidential nominee and the running mate need 270 electoral votes to win the Presidency!"


Buy the Vote! is a bidding game about spending campaign funds on different states, in order to build your coalition for future rounds of the campaign, which will allow you to raise more funds to bring even more states on board your coalition.


  • Place state stalls 1 to 9 in the middle of the playing area

  • Shuffle the state cards and create a deck

  • Each player takes a player mat and a voting booth shield

  • Give each player $10 million in campaign funds

  • Set a 15 minute timer


Each round, state cards are played under the numbered state stalls, each of which is worth the number of delegates that it represents:

  • Round 1 - 3 States

  • Round 2 - 4 States

  • Round 3 - 5 States

  • Round 4 - 6 States

  • Round 5 - 7 States

  • Round 6 - 8 States

  • Round 7 & 8 - 9 States

Behind their player screens, players will use as their money to either bid on states, or place it on the non-bidding space. Once everyone is done, you remove your shield and reveal your bids. The highest bid on each state wins, and in the event of a tie, no one takes that state, and it gets combined with the state that is drawn for that state stall in the next round. At set intervals you will receive additional funding:

  • Round 4 - $20 Million plus $2 Million per state you have won

  • Round 7 - $30 Million plus $2 Million per state you have won

When you complete the final round (round 8), each player totals up their delegates, and the person with the highest delegate counts becomes the presidential nominee, and the runner up is the running mate. If those two players combined have over 270 delegates, then they win the White House. A how to play video and instructions can also be found here


In general bidding games rely on the fact that you have to be able to read your competitors well enough to know how they are going to bid, and Buy the Vote is no different. Each round you have new cards coming out that you have to adjust your strategy to account for, which makes it more tactical than strategic, but everyone else is having to account for those same unknowns. If you are good at reading the strategy of your fellow players, you are going to do well each and every game.


There isn’t much “art” in the artwork here, but the artwork is extremely functional, and helps make the game very easy to understand and learn for new players. Specifically, each player's player board and shield, contain what is effectively a player aid, with all the information about each round of the game, as well as the different delegate value and affiliation of each State.


This is one of the most thematic games I own. The bidding mechanic very much simulates how campaigns spend money on advertising and building a presence in states. Additionally, as you accumulate more victories in states, the amount of funding you receive for future rounds increases, which is very accurate for how candidates fundraising efforts tend to be more lucrative, once they have shown they can be successful.

Replayability/Fun Factor:

The fact that you deal out unknown cards each round, and have to bid on them against other players whose behaviors are going to vary, means this game is never going to be the same twice. This game is infinitely replayable, with the one caveat, that if you play against someone who is highly predictable in their bidding behavior, it will take away the real challenge of the game. I have had a blast with every group I have played this with, but I could see how people who don’t like uncertainty could be made uncomfortable. Also, even though it isn’t really direct, as you don’t know what other players are going for, the fact that you are all simultaneously bidding on the same group of states, can make it feel a little bit like “take that” if someone outbids you on a state you really wanted, and your money is wasted. Not to mention, the battleground states let you steal someone elses cards. So if you don’t like games that include a little bit of “take that”, then you may not enjoy that aspect of the game.


While I am someone who has always enjoyed studying political strategy and theory, I definitely don’t like the conflict that came come with trying to discuss such things with family and friends. Buy the Vote! does an incredible job of making a game that is extremely thematically accurate, very educational about how our elections work, all without touching on anything that might be perceived as confrontational or political. I think the designers have done a brilliant job of integrating a very traditional bidding mechanic, into a very interesting subject matter, and made it both very educational and thematic at the same time. I would highly recommend this game for any audience, with the only exceptions being those who don’t like bidding games in general, or those who really don’t like any “take that” in their games. Kids who are late elementary age or older, should be able to grasp the strategic decisions you have to make in this game. While younger kids could easily play along, this being a hidden information game, I think it is going to be hard to involve them unless you are literally playing on a team with them.

+ Easy to learn

+ Quick to play

+ Great simultaneous bidding

+ Very thematic

+ Educational and fun

- Not a lot of depth

- Tough to catch up if you get behind early

Final Score:

Jared - 8

Abigail - 7.5

Other Games You Might Like:

Tammany Hall, The King is Dead, High Society, Modern Art, Medici

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