My pal Tony just invited me to join his "Fantasy Congress" league. I was a bit dubious about this effort to make the US legislative process into a game, but it seems actually quite well thought out. From the FAQ:
Fantasy Congress™ offers you the power to "play politics." As in
other fantasy sports, you – the Citizen – draft a team of real-life
legislators from the U.S. Congress and score points for your team’s
successes. Join a league and compete against other Citizens, or form a
league of your own! Play against your friends, family, bloggers, fellow
politicos, or even a sitting U.S. Senator (one could be playing
incognito, you never know!). On weekends, move Members of Congress into
your active line-up or off your team to strategize for the upcoming
week of legislation!
Points are scored in the game by actual real life bills moving through the legislative process. Point values range from "introducing a bill" (5 points), getting it past mark-up (15 points) to getting it signed into law by the President (50 points.) The scores are updated daily from the real Congressional record.
Never having played any of the fantasy sports league games, I don’t know how well Fantasy Congress compares. But it does seem like an interesting new way of getting people to pay attention to how effective their legislators are at getting laws passed, which is certainly an important barometer of their success as politicians. And it’s an instructive tool for showing how the legislative drafting process operates in this country. Certainly could be a really cool classroom exercise for civics and government teachers.
I have this image of Fantasy Congress players poised around their TVs tuned into C-SPAN as a bill is marked up in Committee, rooting for their favorite junior senator as she defends her draft text. Cheers erupt as the chair announces that the bill is being passed on to conference with the House. Boo-ya!