By Christy Matte,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Free county sim teaches civics via wacky citizen requests.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this website.
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.
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.
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.
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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?
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.
Talk to Your Kids 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?
- Subjects: Math: arithmetic, Social Studies: citizenship, government
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, decision-making, thinking critically, Responsibility & Ethics: fiscal responsibility, making wise decisions
- Genre: Educational
- Pricing structure: Free
- Last updated: February 24, 2020
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Our Editors Recommend
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