European Union is an abstract simulation of European political activity since the Second World War. You control a political party or faction during the 1945-2000 period and use its resources to win Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). The player with the most MEPs at the end of the game wins. The factions are the Communist, Green, Socialist, Liberal, Conservative, Rightist, Eurosceptic, and Regional parties. Not every party will be taken by a player in every game. European Union is played on four Round Sheets which are divided into areas representing countries.


The class is divided into groups. Each group has a moderator who runs the game and keeps records for that group. Each remaining student chooses a faction in any mutually agreeable fashion. If players cannot agree on party allocation, then the moderator will assign them to the players. Parties not chosen by the players are referred to as "nonplayer parties" in the rules.


European Union consists of four Rounds. Each Round is divided into five Phases. A Round proceeds as follows:

Phase 1: Negotiation

Time is allocated in each Round are for negotiation among the players.

Phase 2: First Political Strength Factor (PSF) Deployment and Conflict:

The first player, as specified in the Round instructions, receives Political Strength Factors (PSFs) and deploys them. The number of PSFs each player receives is specified in the Round instructions. The player then conducts attacks against the other players' PSFs. This completes the player's phase.

The remaining players receive PSFs, deploy PSFs, and then attack with their PSFs in the order given in the Round Sheet's Order of Play.

When all players have taken their turns, Phase 2 has been completed.

Phase 3: Second PSF Deployment and Conflict

Repeat Phase 2.

Phase 4: MEP Allocation

Using the MEP Allocation Chart, all players receive seats in Parliament, and record them on the Round Sheet. They are totaled and placed on the Sheet for the next Round.

Phase 5: Forming Coalitions

Players can form coalitions in each country. They receive bonus PSFs in the next Round for doing so. These bonus PSFs are recorded on the next Round's Sheet.

This completes the Round.

Each game lasts for four Rounds. The game is over after all of these have been completed. The players then total the seats won in each Round and the winner is determined.


Political Strength Factors (PSFs) represent a party's leadership, ideas, political strength, and its willingness to use these. PSFs are similar to the pieces in Risk and checkers.

Your goal is to win Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). You do this by deploying PSFs. Each Round you will receive a certain number of PSFs. You then deploy your PSFs in any country. You must deploy all PSFs received in a Phase in that Phase. You cannot move PSFs after deployment or give them to another player. After deployment you may use your PSFs to attack PSFs belonging to another player.

To deploy PSFs, tell the moderator where you want to put them. The moderator will then record your deployments in the column under your party's name on each Round's Sheet according to your instructions. The moderator will deploy a nonplayer party's PSFs evenly among the countries on the Sheet.

Each faction starts the game with PSFs already deployed on the Sheet. These represent the intrinsic strength of each party. You can add new PSFs to them as the game progresses.


After placing PSFs, you can use them to attack your opponents. These attacks represent everything from simple threats to legislative action to major political campaigns. Attacking is never required. Attacks can be made when you and another player have PSFs in the same country. In other words, you attack horizontally. You attack by first indicating your target (the defender). Both you and the defender remove an equal number of PSFs. You decide how many PSFs are removed. The moderator records this on the Round Sheet.

After you are finished with this attack, you may attack a different opponent's PSFs in that country if you have any PSFs left there. You may attack in as many countries as you wish, as long as you have PSFs in them. You may attack a nonplayer player.


After the Second PSF Deployment and Conflict (Phase 3), players consult the MEP Allocation Chart to determine how many MEPs (seats) they have won.

Look for the country's line, determine rankings (i.e. largest party, second largest, etc.), and look up each party's number. For example, the largest party in Spain wins 24 seats, the second largest 18, the third 8, and so on.

If two parties are tied at any level, then add the seats together and divide them in half. For example, if two parties in Spain are tied for the largest party, each would receive 21 MEPs. Drop fractions.

If not all parties are present in a country, divide the unallocated seats evenly among the parties that are present. Leftover seats go to the largest party. For example, if there are only three parties in Spain, the remaining fourteen seats need to be allocated. Four MEPs would go to each party present, and the remaining two to the largest one.

Do this for each country in the Round. Record the total seats won in the Round on the Round Sheet and in the appropriate space on the next Round's Sheet. The moderator will do this for the nonplaying parties.

If the Eurosceptics are the largest party in any country, then that country does not join the Union. Remove its seats from play.


The party with the most PSFs in a country receives 5 Bonus PSFs in Phases 2 and 3 in the next Round. You get this bonus for each country that you dominate. If two parties tie, no one gets this bonus.

Two players may agree to form a coalition in any country. Simply announce that you are doing so. If the coalition becomes the largest faction in that country, then the coalition receives the 5 extra PSFs. The coalition members divide the 5 PSFs between them in any mutually agreeable fashion. If there is more than one coalition in that country, then the largest one receives the 5 PSFs. You cannot coalesce with a nonplayer party.


A party can only ally with certain others. The following coalitions are allowed:

Communists, Socialists, and Greens may unite with each other in any combination.

Liberals may coalesce with either the Socialists or the Conservatives, but not with both at the same time in the same country. The Liberals will not join a coalition that includes Communists.

Any party can ally with the Regionalists.

Any party, except the Liberals, can join with the Eurosceptics. However, if you do, you cannot ally with anyone else.

The Rightists can group with the Conservative, Eurosceptic, or Regional factions. Anyone joining the Rightists cannot ally with anyone else.

Players may bid for control of nonplayer parties during Phases 2 and 3. Deploy PSFs in the appropriate country and party box, and note that you own them. If you have the most PSFs in a nonplaying party box, then you can coalesce with them if you wish.


You cannot win European Union unless you negotiate with the other players. Whoever makes the best deals usually wins. However, trust no one! Lies, betrayals, threats, broken deals, and bluffs are all allowed and encouraged. It is recommended that you read through Machiavelli's The Prince before the exercise. Always remember: you and your opponents are politicians.


A game of European Union lasts four Rounds. After the last Round, the players total their seats in Parliament. The player with the most MEPs at the end of the game wins.


Countries are assigned to Rounds depending on their EU entry date.

Intrinsic PSFs are based on a party's average electoral strength in this era. The number of MEPs in the game is the current number in the European Parliament (626). The high Eurosceptic intrinsic strength in Norway reflects that country's rejection of EU membership.

European Union is based on Secession, an antebellum political simulation designed for American History courses. It can be found here.

European Union is designed by Peter L. de Rosa, and is Copyright, 2000-2001. All rights reserved. Reproduction allowed for nonprofit educational use as long as this copyright notice is included.


Any of the following can be used either singly or in combination. Make sure everyone knows which rules are being used in a particular game.

PSFs can be deployed simultaneously. The players write their deployments down and give them to the moderator who will record all of them at that time. Resolve conflict in the normal player-order. Repeat this each phase.

Players may communicate with each other only through written messages.

Normally, one player controls one faction. To simulate the problems some political parties have in making decisions, more than one player can be assigned to a faction where internal disunity is a significant factor.

The instructor can require all players to record their negotiations with other players. They are collected at the end of the game and analyzed. Information from these documents can be interesting.

An attacker loses one less PSF in an attack than the defender. For example, the attacker could destroy 4 defending PSFs, while losing only 3.


To make Conflict Resolution more unpredictable, resolve attacks as follows:

After PSF deployment, the attacker identifies the defender. The number of the attacker's PSFs is compared to the number of the defender's PSFs and the odds are computed. Divide the number of the attacker's PSFs by the number of the defender's PSFs to get a ratio. For example, 10 PSFs attacking 5 PSFs would be 2 to 1. Always drop fractions. For example, 14 PSFs against 5 PSFs would still be 2 to 1. 15 vs. 5 would be 3 to 1.

After computation, roll a die and resolve attacks on the following table:

Die Roll 1-2 1-1 2-1 3-14-15-1+
1 X D D D D D
2 X X D D D D
3 X X X D D D
4 A X X X D D
5 A X X X X D
6 A A X X X X

Example of Play

After several Game-turns, the situation on the Round Sheet looks like this:

Greens Socialists Liberals Conserrvatives
Xenophobia 5 10 8 5
Yurt 6 - 2 5
Zen - 5 - 11

The Greens get 10 PSFs per turn. They put 5 in Xenophobia and 5 in Yurt:

Greens Socialists Liberals Conservatives
Xenophobia 10 10 8 5
Yurt 11 - 2 5
Zen - 5 - 11

The Greens then attack the Socialists in Xenophobia with 5 PSFs (each loses 5 PSFs) and the Liberals in Yurt with 2 PSFs:

Greens Socialist Liberals Conservatives
Xenophobia 5 5 8 5
Yurt 9 - 0 5
Zen - 5 - 11

The Greens next attack Liberals in Xenophobia with 2 PSFs. (remove 2 PSFs from each):

Greens Socialists Liberals Conservatives
Xenophobia 3 5 6 5
Yurt 9 - - 5
Zen - 5 - 11

Now it is Socialists' turn. They get 15 PSFs. They put 4 in Yurt and 11 in Zen:

Greens Socialists Liberals Conservatives
Xenophobia 3 5 6 5
Yurt 9 4 - 5
Zen - 16 - 11

The Socialists then attack the Greens in Yurt with 4 PSFs, and the Conservatives in Zen with 11:

Greens Socialists Liberals Conservatives
Xenophobia 3 5 6 5
Yurt 5 0 - 5
Zen - 5 - 0

The Liberals now receives 20 PSFs. They put them in Xenophobia:

Greens Socialists Liberals Conservatives
Xenophobia 3 5 26 5
Yurt 5 - - 5
Zen - 5 - -

The Liberals attack the Socialists with 5 PSFs, and then the Conservatives with 5 PSFs, all in Xenophobia:

Greens Socialists Liberals Conservatives
Xenophobia 3 0 16 0
Yurt 5 - - 5
Zen - 5 - -

If this were the end of the game, the Liberals would have a Influence in Xenophobia, the Greens and the Conservatives would have Influences in Yurt, and the Socialists would have one in Zen.

Round 1 Sheet

Round 2 Sheet

Round 3 Sheet

Round 4 Sheet

Members of the European Parliament Allocation Chart

Political Parties

European Parliamentary Election Results