A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this website.
Kids can learn about the job of the President of the United States. They can also learn about the President's role in law-making and the responsibilities of different federal agencies that enforce the law. Executive Command teaches a lot about what the President does, but little about how the President must deliberate over decisions.
Branches of Power paints a portrait of the president as a highly competent and effective politician, executive, diplomat, and commander-in-chief. Playing the game, you get the feeling that government works in a fair and orderly way.
Positive Role Models
All secondary characters -- like the president's chief of staff -- support the player in making "good" and "effective" decisions around policy, diplomacy, and war. Ultimately, it's up to the player to select the best decisions in each situation in-game.
Ease of Play
Branches of Power uses an intuitive point-and-click interface for movement and interaction. Players sometimes feel forced into making decisions the game obviously wants them to make.
Violence & Scariness
The player must manage a war in Branches of Power, but there is no description of violence or casualties in the game. After picking a branch of the military to deal with each wartime scenario, the player is merely informed if he or she made an effective decision or not.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
There is no sex depicted in the game.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
There is no inappropriate or hurtful language in the game.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
There is no branding in the game.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
There are no depictions of drinking, using drugs, or smoking in the game.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Executive Command is an online simulation game requiring kids to handle the executive responsibilities of the president of the United States of America. Kids will do best if they have a basic understanding of the president's duties as a politician, diplomat, executive, and commander-in-chief. Some of the president’s work will seem silly or goofy, and waging war will seem like a benign, sterile experience. Executive Command will work best with adult and peer support in recognizing "good" policies, laws, and decisions from "bad" ones. Kids, teachers, and site supporters can register to participate in social areas of the iCivics site.
Is It Any Good?
Executive Command delivers a bright, broad-strokes overview of the president's work. But because the game is meant for both middle and high school, the substance of the president's work seems centrist, neutral, and low-stakes. The decisions that you make are guided more by the game than by your own beliefs or goals. For example, it's always clear which choices the game considers to be "good" and "bad," so you have to play the game looking for the obviously "correct" answer instead of thinking critically.
Making "bad" decisions on purpose doesn't alter the game's trajectory, just the assessment of your performance. Waging war, in particular, seems uncharacteristically easy, simple, and vague. You might find yourself asking the military to act without knowing if you've asked for surveillance or an attack. Consequence, in general, rarely shows up in Executive Command outside of the scores you receive for "good" and "bad" decisions.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.