CLAREMONT, Calif., Oct. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Politics isn't just a
spectator sport anymore. A team of students at Claremont McKenna College
(CMC) today officially launched Fantasy Congress (www.fantasycongress.us),
a free, interactive web site inspired by the sports fantasy league
phenomenon. Players draft teams of actual U.S. legislators and pit them
against each other in competition. The Fantasy Congress creators hope the
game will inspire individuals to pay as much attention to government as
they do to sports.
"If people cared about politics as much as they care about sports, we'd
have a better democracy," said CMC Senior Andrew Lee, one of the
masterminds behind Fantasy Congress. "Fantasy Congress hopes to create a
more accountable government and a better educated electorate. Congress
needs to know that young people are watching them, just as they watch
sports teams and athletes."
The idea for Fantasy Congress came to Lee while living with a roommate
preoccupied with fantasy football. Lee, who describes himself as "obsessed
with politics," thought someone should create a similar game, where instead
of drafting quarterbacks or shortstops, players draft members of Congress
to play on their team. Lee then looked to three fellow students at the
highly competitive, small liberal arts college and used start-up funds from
a College business plan competition to help build the interactive web site.
Fantasy Congress encourages people to "play politics" by becoming
citizen- managers of teams of legislators, receiving points based on the
performance of their team's legislation. Points vary depending on the kind
of legislation and the stage accomplished by each piece of legislation. For
example, introduced bills receive five points, while bills that have been
passed and agreed to by the chamber receive 30 points. As legislators
accumulate points by doing the people's work in Congress, players can draft
new legislators, drop the least active from their teams, and even trade
with other players for more highly active legislators.
"By giving players a chance to 'do' politics online, Fantasy Congress
will help them understand Congress," said CMC Crocker Professor of
Government Jack Pitney who advised the students in developing the game.
"Fantasy Congress is a unique exercise, allowing anyone to manage a team of
lawmakers. As a classroom teacher, I've been waiting for something like
this for a long time. There are plenty of sites with information about
Congress. This one is truly interactive."
Fantasy Congress has created the most comprehensive legislative
database outside of the Library of Congress. Already Fantasy Congress has
identified a top 10 list of the most active legislators as well as the 10
least active. Topping the most active list is John Warner, Republican from
The Fantasy Congress team, which includes software architects Arjun
Lall '07 and Ian Hafkenschiel '08, graphic designer Ethan Andyshak '06
along with Lee, worked closely with a group of professors at CMC to develop
the site and its content.
The initial version of Fantasy Congress was beta-tested with Truman
Scholars around the United States. More than 50 leagues have already been
started across the country, including Brown University, Seton Hall,
Louisiana State University, and Kansas.
To find out more or to give Fantasy Congress a try, visit
Evie Lazzarino, 909-607-9099
SOURCE Claremont McKenna College