Type: Party Game

Players: 5 upwards (20 is ideal)

Duration: ~20 minutes

Equipment: Paper and pencils

Complexity: Simple

Risk of Conflict: High

44 Per Cent is a fun and educational party game that takes its name from the fact that in the 1933 German General Elections, Hiter’s Nazi party achieved a 44% share of the vote, on a highly populist platform that combined violence with the following broad themes:

  • An emphasis on rhetorical appeals to emotion over logical appeals to reason.
  • A rejection of conventional economic and political theories, and of the “experts” that expounded them.
  • A commitment to make Germany “great again”.
  • Assertions that Germany was the greatest country in the world.
  • A belief that Germany’s problems were not internal in nature, but instead had external causes:
    • Persons living in Germany who were deemed to not be German in culture and ethnicity (i.e. Jews) and who supposedly therefore did not have Germany’s interests at heart.
    •  Other countries (chiefly the United Kingdom and France) who were actively conspiring against German interests for their own advantage.
  • A belief that the rule of law and established political structures should be subordinate to anything that might be deemed “the will of the people”.
    • A belief that anyone (such judges or politicians) who attempted to block or defy measures that had the support of the people were “traitors”.
  • A belief that there existed an “establishment” which served to promote its own selfish interests at the expense of the people.
    • A belief that anyone who might be termed an intellectual or progressive, including artists and academics, was likely to be a member of that establishment.
    • Assertions that existing political parties and movements were part of the establishment, even those that purported to represent the working classes.

Participants

44 Per Cent is best played in a mixed group that contains participants from a range of political persuasions and demographics. Family gatherings are particularly ideal.

Setup

The setup of the game is simple:

  1. Count the number of players and calculate (rounded to the nearest whole number) what 44% of that number is. This is the Nazi Voter Number. For example, if you have 9 players, then the Nazi Voter Number is 4.
  2. Read the above description of the Nazi’s party’s 1933 populist platform to all participants.
  3. Two participants should be selected to serve as vote counters.

The Game

Each participant is given a piece of paper and a pencil. They must then write on that paper a list of other participants of a number equal to the Nazi Voter Number.  For example, if there are 9 players and the Nazi Voter Number if 4, then they must write the names of 4 of the other 8 players on their list.

The participants they select should be those who they feel would have been most likely, had they been living in Germany in 1933, to have voted for the Nazi Party’s populist platform. Participants should not write their own names on the lists (i.e. the lists should be anonymous).

If prepared in advance, pre-written lists can be made where participants merely have to put ticks against names.

Once all lists have been written, they will be folded and then gathered up (in a hat or other suitable container). The vote counters will then count the “votes” for each participants, then rank them in order, highest to lowest, and then select the Nazi Voter Number highest names. These names will then be revealed to the participants as the people who would have voted for the Nazi Party in 1933.

For example, in a game with 9 players, 4 players will be declared to be persons who would have voted for the Nazis.