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for the good of the family


a game by neil zumwalde

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for the good of the family


a game by neil zumwalde

JFK_funeral_-_Jacqueline_&_Robert_Kennedy_entering_limousine.png

The Game


The Clintons, Bushes, Roosevelts, and Kennedys go head to head for their family's domination of American Politics.

The Game


The Clintons, Bushes, Roosevelts, and Kennedys go head to head for their family's domination of American Politics.

In American Dynasty, family is everything. You will play as either the Roosevelts, Kennedys, Bushes, or Clintons, doing everything in your power to manipulate the political landscape in your family’s favor. The game board is composed of 5 key swing states where you will campaign your family members. Each swing state has its own voting bloc (The 1%, Feminists, Cops, etc.) who lean to the left or the right, and value different traits (Stylish, Military, Religious, etc.).

 

By pandering to these demographics, placing influence around the board, and playing media cards like “War on Drugs” and “Screw the Intern,” you can manipulate other players and increase your chances of winning elections. Oh, and eventually you’ll want to run for president, too! To increase the value of winning a state, you can pass bills and get into bed with a host of special interest groups.

You are strongly encouraged to form alliances, and perpetrate betrayals along the way!

American Dynasty is an engine building game, with twist: each player is competing to enhance the same engine according to their own agenda (just like a real election!). I was able to mathematically balance the game using simple ai scripts and spreadsheet analysis to ensure no family had an advantage overall, but each family does well using different strategies and capitalizing on different play styles.

  • The Roosevelts don't have term limits and make great military presidents. 
  • The Kennedys rely on their financial advantages and style to control the media. 
  •  The Bushes are masters of pandering to special interest groups, but don't appeal to female voters, unlike . . . 
  •  The Clintons, who use their powerful women and expansive public influence to their advantage. 
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The Vision


The Vision


American Dynasty smashes 120 years of legislation, scandals, and political events into an anachronistic 5 term face-off between 4 great American Political families. The game rewards players who display strong civic virtues like ruthless calculation, unabashed nepotism, relentless bullying, and—should the need arise—a willingness to waterboard the likes of Eleanor Roosevelt.

I set out to make a game that was simultaneously social commentary, scathing and uproarious satire, and an entertaining emulation of the Electoral College. To honor the dignity of our great nation, I wanted to inspire the average American—for just a few hours—to abandon their personal ethics in the intoxicating pursuit of absolute self-interest.