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Review: Votes for Women

Updated: Jul 20, 2023

In1848 a group of activists held a convention in Seneca Falls, NY. The group was invited by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott. This was the spark that lit the Women's Suffrage movement. The movement would attract supporters from every corner of the country. Finally on August 18th 1920 (144 years after the US became a country) the 19th amendment was ratified. The 19th amendment prohibits the United States and its states from denying the right to vote to citizens of the United States on the basis of sex. This is the focus of Votes for Women designed by Tory Brown and published by Fort Circle.

First off I have to mention something that I love about this game and I wish more historical games had this was a lot of context and reference to what was going on historically and how it relates to the game before you. I believe this should be included with every historical and historical war game. In Votes for Women players will not only find an instruction book but a historical supplement with designers notes, and 12 reproductions of historically relevant documents. This game is full of information, making it a great tool in the classroom as well as the Saturday night game table.

The game takes place over 6 turns and on a map of the lower 48 (Alaska and Hawaii do not show up until 1959 as states). The game is two sided the Suffragettes and the Opposition . For the Suffragettes to win they need to pass the 19th amendment and have 36 states ratify it. The opposition wins if that dose not happen before the end of turn 6 or they get 13 states to reject the amendment. The game uses cards to drive the game. There is an opposition deck and Suffragist deck that will be what players use to further their causes. each of the turns consist of 4 phases Planning, Strategy, Operations and Cleanup.

The Strategy phase (skipped turn 1) is a bidding phase where the Suffragist player will announce a bid. The opposition can then decide how many buttons they will use. If the opposition matches then both spend their buttons and neither player gets a strategy card. If the Opposition player commits one more then they both spend their buttons and the opposition collects a strategy card. The strategy cards are powerful and worth perusing.

The Operations phase is the meat of the game

The Operations phase is the meat of the game this is were most of the action is going to happen. The operation phase has 6 rounds where players will play a card from their hand and may play a strategy card or a state card. There are 4 options that a player has for playing a card. Players may play the card for the event on the card, to make a campaign action, to make a organizing action or a lobbying action. Playing a card for the event may have a cost or prerequisite to it so a player may not always have the opportunity to play for the event. Events provide cubes on states, buttons, campaigners or congressional markers. All this will help a player move forward in their goals. Players may choose to discard an event card to play it as a campaigning action this will add more cubes in the region where they have campaigners. Playing the card for a lobbying action will have the player gaining or removing congressional markers. When there are 6 congressional markers out then the 19th Amendment is passed. If there are 4 cubes of the suffragist player on a state then the state gets a green checkmark. This means the state ratified the 19th Amendment (yay!). If there are 4 opposition cubes they get a red X and they voted not to ratify the 19th amendment (boo). Finally the last thing a player can do with a card from their hand is to discard it for campaign buttons (the currency of the game).

The cards in this game have a lot of historical events and people that were involved in the movement. I looked up a lot of people and events as I played.

There are state cards in the game that can be claimed when the state card is face up along the side of the board and a player places the forth cube in the state. There are only 9 state cards in place each game. There are 12 included in the box so this adds some great replay value to the game. Players will time getting the 19th amendment passed when the board is in their favor with the most states with 4 cubes of their color. The cards in this game have a lot of historical events and people that were involved in the movement. I looked up a lot of people and events as I played. The game plays best at 2-3 players where you have 2 suffragists against the opposition player. The game includes a solo mode that is also fun. There is an "oppobot" deck that included that drives the opposition player.

Votes for Women is a historically dense board game that offers easy to learn play and challenging strategies for both sides of the Suffrage movement. When you play Votes for Women you cant help but learn new things about American history. This game could be well suited in a classroom or a game night. This game will be in regular rotation on our game table. Votes for Women by Tory Brown is available at Fort Circle's website now.

Players: 1-4

Year Published: 2022

Recommended Ages: 12+

Time to Play: 60-75 minutes

A copy of Votes for Women was provided to Bert's Tabletop Games for review purposes by Fort Circle Games.



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