CRISP - Simulation game

Simulation game

Elections in the USA - how to become president?

Insights to the electoral system in the USA.


Approx. 15 years and above, previous thematic knowledge not required, similar level of knowledge beneficial


Beginner, Experienced


4-6 hours, > 6 hours

Number of participants

12-20, 20-30






Democracy & Participation

The simulation focuses on the functioning of the election campaign preceding of the US-Presidential Elections. The situation in the USA is characterized by an increasing political apathy and insecurity on the part of the electorate. At the center of debate there are questions concerning migration, climate change, terrorism, as well as family policy and economy. In order to become nominated as the party’s official candidate the participants have to rally for votes and win elections in different US-states. Therefore, good coordination with the campaign advisors, the party leadership and a cunning handling of the media are required. Also, good financial preparation and moving campaign speeches are indispensable.

Scenario & Procedure

The primaries of the Democrats and Republicans are simulated for different US-states and the game ends with the election of a new president. In order to win those primaries and to eventually maybe even become the US’ next president the participants have to hold campaign speeches on specific issues. Additionally, it is possible to use other means: gather donations, launch online campaigns, organize campaign events etc. For those actions they need different resources such as money, time, and/or know how, which have to be gained during the simulation. Moreover, there is a press group that tries to maintain a well-balanced coverage of the events.


The most crucial mechanisms of the US-elections are imparted to the participants. They not only get to know the peculiarities of the US-electoral law (primaries, caucuses, Super-PACs etc.) but also get involved with current political issues that play a role in the elections. Also, the simulation deals with the general dynamics of election campaigns in the US. Apart from specific issues put on the, table charisma, money, and momentum play a central role. It becomes clear why even outsider candidates quite often get the chance of becoming a presidential candidate. During the evaluation the pros and cons of the US-model are discussed.

Learning Goals
  • Election system of the US
  • Understanding democracy
  • Teamwork and media competency