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Battleground 538 and 5 other apps to increase election fever

I love election season.

I hate politicians that say stupid things and do stupid stuff. But I love elections.

Because when you think about, the democratic election process is such an incredibly unique event. Try and ignore for a minute the billion dollars worth of Koch Brothers PAC money and the racist comments and the focus on soundbites and lack of policy discussions that might actually improve lives. And focus instead on the amazing process that ends with a peaceful transfer of power in one of the most powerful countries in the world.

It’s a system that’s worked fairly well for over 200 years.

And we need to continue sharing that idea with our students. The problem? The process is more complicated than it looks. Take, for example, an article describing why Donald Trump really doesn’t have a chance of winning the Republican nomination. Like most things, the political process (especially the primary system) is much more complicated and nuanced than pundits and politicians seem to suggest.

How can we help kids start to understand the process? Use more tech. Specifically, start using mobile apps that simulate the process in ways that make sense. Today you get a few of my new favorites.

Start with the iPad app Battleground 538.

Battleground 538 is a turn-based strategy game that demonstrates how the electoral college system shapes and drives the way elections are won . . . and lost.

Players are top political strategists, tasked with deciding where to invest a candidate’s precious resources over the final 12 weeks of the presidential campaign. Each in-game week, the player receives cash from their campaign committee; as fundraising increases, players can choose to do a variety of activities, from extra staff training to complete coastal domination.

After experiencing Battleground 538, players will understand not only how many electoral votes there are (hint: 538) but how the distribution of votes among the states dramatically influences the campaign strategy of candidates.

How It Fits the Curriculum

  • Engaging tool teaches young voters about the electoral college
  • Replayability allows exploration of the concept from many angles
  • Calculating strategy addresses critical math common score standards
  • Competitive two-player game creates excitement and promotes discourse and critical thinking, addressing ELA common core standards
  • Simulation of U.S. Government creates empathy with governmental systems and promotes civic engagement

The game features four historical presidential elections:

  • Obama vs. Romney (2012)
  • Bush vs. Gore (2000)
  • Kennedy vs. Dixon (1960)
  • Polk vs. Clay (1844)

For the more adventurous political strategists, Battleground 538 also includes 3 special game modes where swing states are randomly generated – or completely up for grabs!

See the app in action:

Then check out these election apps:

“Perfect for political junkies, die-hard Democrats, and rabid Republicans alike. It is also great fun for parents and kids looking to learn more about the Presidential electoral process.


  • Pick your favourite candidate
  • Plan your campaign, fundraise, avoid the headlines and launch attack ads
  • Play against your friends via Game Center
  • Simple yet addictively fun gameplay
  • Make to the top of the Campaign Manager Hall of Fame – Leaderboards


  • Play the role of the presidential candidate’s campaign manager
  • Strategically plan out the itinerary for each week before the elections
  • Campaign in tossup and leaning states to win them over while keeping an eye on your funds and fundraise when needed
  • Get as many states moved in your favor before the Election Day and win the race to the White House

All Politics: 2016 US Presidential Election News, Polls & Results
The place for all US & World political news.


  • Political News & Views from the hill
  • Left and right talk radio
  • Political satire & cartoons
  • Live republican vs democrat discussions
  • 2016 US presidential election news
  • Aggregated and original news from Politico, Fox, MSNBC and other sources

Connect with your community around personalized civic issues. Engage with your elected representatives on trending topics. Promote meaningful change by gathering support around civic issues that matter. Keep your elected representatives accountable through open communication.


  • Stay up-to-date on trending issues in your community
  • Follow issues important to you and watch them gain traction
  • Participate in polls and see how others around you feel about different issues


  • Weigh in on issues to express your interests and concerns through polls
  • Participate in polls during civic events like State of the Union and the Democratic and Republican debates
  • Share civic issues on your social media platforms to help them gain traction
  • Gather support (“icare” votes) for causes you care about

Promote Meaningful Change

  • Learn who your elected representatives are
  • Understand your elected officials’ votes on civic issues that matter most to you
  • Keep track of which priorities they are addressing and how they are addressing them

Election Manager 2016
Try running an election on a shoestring or with an unfair advantage. Run as a Democrat or Republican, manage the Libertarian or Green ticket, or go completely independent. Let your adviser make all your decisions for you, or micromanage every decision yourself, or anything in-between. The choices are all up to you.

Election Manager 2016 is an abstract strategic election simulation game where you manage your ticket in an attempt to get your candidate elected to the office of President of the United States. Election Manager comes with a variety of scenarios, from a recreation of the 2012 election to a four-way election between independent parties. In addition, almost any imaginable two-to-four way election scenario can be designed by the player.

The Election Manager 2016 engine uses actual historical and demographic data to produce reasonable election results, taking into account factors such as partisan lean and voter elasticity. The player will not only have to consider states but also media markets, giving the game a strategic dimension due the inefficient mapping from one to the other.

Campaign Manager
Will you help the Democrats stay in power for another 4 years or will you help the Republicans move into the White House? The fate of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election is in your hands in this election simulation game!


  • Advanced election simulation model using real-world polling data, population demographics, and historical voting trends.
  • Play historical campaigns dating back to 1992. Gore v Bush, McCain v Obama, Clinton v Dole, and many more!
  • Launch television, radio, internet, and ground campaigns in any state you chose.
  • Hire volunteers to make a lasting impact in those tough battleground states.
  • Improve your campaign staff to gain national benefits and help set your focus for the national debate.
  • Watch your money and be on the lookout for fundraisers so you can keep spending.

And while mobile apps can be awesome learning tools you should also check out this great list of online resources to supplement the learning.

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