Counties Work

Common Sense Media says

Free county sim teaches civics via wacky citizen requests.

Age(i)

2
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Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The sim's purpose is to teach kids about how their counties run and how they maintain the health and safety of the community.

Positive role models

You play as the head of the county and you field all of the citizen's requests. Your decisions reflect on the county and in essence, you become a good or bad role model by how you play the game. You are judged by your constituents, so you get feedback.

Ease of play

The game begins with a clear tutorial that covers most of what you need to know.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

The game is web-based, but there are no specific privacy and/or safety concerns within the game itself.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Counties Work is a simulation game requiring kids to make decisions about whether or not to support various initiatives and funding requests. Kids will do best if they have a basic understanding of the different buildings/offices in their own community and understand simple budgets. Counties Work will work best for learning if there is some outside support from a parent/educator to help the learning hit home.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Math

  • arithmetic

Social Studies

  • citizenship
  • government

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information
  • decision-making
  • thinking critically

Responsibility & Ethics

  • fiscal responsibility
  • making wise decisions

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Repetitive gameplay may lead to disengagement by students used to more complex, Sims-style gaming platforms. Amusing, but not very deep.

Learning Approach

Kids can learn about county offices, including how they work, and what they do. They can also learn about budgeting, taxes, and fiscal responsibility. Learning is by trial and error.

Support

The game starts with a quick tutorial and there is a link with clues on how to play. 

What kids can learn

Subjects

Math

  • arithmetic

Social Studies

  • citizenship
  • government

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information
  • decision-making
  • thinking critically

Responsibility & Ethics

  • fiscal responsibility
  • making wise decisions

Kids can learn about county offices, how they work, and what types of situations they are helpful for. They can also learn about budgeting, taxes, and fiscal responsibility. By playing Counties Work, kids learn to balance the services people want with how to keep taxes of the county at a reasonable level. In the midst of frenetic gameplay, kids will start to see how their county works.

This Learning Rating review was written by Christy Matte

Parents say

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Kids say

What's it about?

COUNTIES WORK asks players to take on the role of leader to a small county. As such, you'll control the budget and decide how funds are spent. Will you institute an eye exam program? Or maybe you'll supply basketball nets and balls to every household? If you're feeling very bold, you may paint all of the buildings yellow. Your citizens will arrive with requests for health, safety, finance, fun, and more. You decide whether to fund their requests and if so, then you lead them to the correct building to put things into motion. Your ratings go up when you say yes, and down when you say no. But you'll need to be careful, because if you're too generous, you'll run out of cash and have to raise taxes. If you can keep everyone happy and the budget balanced for your 4-year term, you're bound to be re-elected.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Counties Work holds the promise of a fun sim game. You may be thinking of SimCity or related games. Unfortunately, it's not that deep. But in the 20-25 minutes it takes to play this free game, you'll learn about how a county government works. You'll field request after request in a time management-style situation that gets more hectic as things move on. Some of the requests are amusing, but sometimes it doesn't feel like you're doing much. Matching the request with the correct building is sometimes a hit-or-miss scenario, but you can always pick a different building if you guess incorrectly. By sorting through the citizens' requests, you will gradually discover what services each of the county offices provide. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how simulation games can teach. What is your favorite simulation game and why?

  • Families can also talk about budgets. If you have a family budget, talk about it with your kids.

  • Talk about the role of the different government offices. Which types of services (police services, health & wellness programs, parks & recreation programs, etc.) does your family use?

Game details

Platforms:Mac, Windows
Price:Free
Pricing structure:Free
Available online?Not available online
Developer:iCivics.org
Release date:May 3, 2012
Genre:Edutainment
ESRB rating:NR for (Mac, Windows)

This review of Counties Work was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 12 years old July 20, 2012
AGE
10
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

Great Cure for Boredom

I think this is a Great game!i think Its great for kids who love to build things and own a town You also get to start again, learn from your mistakes and beat your score! But you need to be a good reader or have a parent helping you!
What other families should know
Safety and privacy concerns

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