Short answer: Fantasy sports for U.S. politics.
Long answer: Fantasy Congress is an online game where data about members of congress is converted into points. Players select members of congress for their team(s) and acquire points based on real life data we collect about congress. Like fantasy sports, teams compete in small groups called leagues. At the end of the “season”, each team with the most points in their league wins.
** This information pertains to our 2018 season which focused on the midterm elections. It will be revised for the new version of Fantasy Congress planned to launch in spring of 2019. You can get more information about the new version by signing up for updates here.
First let’s go over some terms.
Player - Someone who plays Fantasy Congress.
League - Fantasy Congress is played in small groups called leagues. A league consists of 3 to 12 players.
Commissioner - The player in charge of the league. Only the commissioner has access to the league settings. A league can only have one commissioner.
Candidate - Someone who is running for office in the U.S. House or Senate.
Team - The group of candidates attributed to a player. A player can have up to 15 candidates per team and only one team per league.
Owner - The player in charge of a team.
Drafting - The process of choosing candidates for your team. This occurs during a single event, often referred to as “the draft”.
Season - The time period in which you can play Fantasy Congress. The season will run from September 4th, 2018 until November 13th, 2018. Those with Educator Access can draft any time before the election. For the general public, drafting will be available August 12th, 2018 through September 8th, 2018.
The player whose team has the most points at the end of the season wins.
After creating a free account, there are two routes you can take to get started playing Fantasy Congress:
1. Start a league
Every time you sign in, or just after registering, you will be taken to your Fantasy Congress dashboard. In the “League” section of the dashboard page, there is a blue button that says “Create”. Click the ‘Create’ button to begin the process of starting a league.
In player created leagues, commissioners will invite others to join their league. Upon invite, you will receive an email with instructions on how to accept the invitation. Invitations will also appear in the “Leagues” section of your Dashboard. Only those explicitly invited by the commissioner can join these leagues.
2. Join a public league
This option is only available before the season starts. Next to the “Create” button in the Fantasy Congress dashboard, there is a gray button that says “Join”. Click the “Join” button to sign up for a public league.
Public leagues abide by the same rules as player created leagues, but they are run by Fantasy Congress and have no formal commissioner. Near the beginning of the season, we will place you in a public league with randomly selected opponents.
In the process of creating or joining a league, you will create a team. Commissioners will set a specific day and time for drafting candidates. During this event, referred to as “the draft”, players will take turns choosing candidates for their team. The draft is a live, online event. If you are not able to attend the draft, the site will automatically choose candidates for you.
About Drafting - On the day of a draft, a red button with the text “Go to Draft” will appear on the league’s page. This button will take you to the draft application. During the draft, players will take turns picking candidates for their team. Each player gets one minute to make their pick. If a player has not submitted a pick by the end of their turn, the application will assign them a candidate and start the next turn. Each player gets a total of 15 picks. Initial draft order is random and after each player has made their first pick, the app will reverse the order for the second round of picks. This is called a “snake draft” and the app will continue reversing the draft order each round for the remainder of the draft.
Some tips to keep in mind when drafting:
- Use the latest, most up to date version of your browser.
- Make sure you have a strong internet connection and do not draft on mobile.
- Draft times are always shown in Eastern Time (EDT). Be sure to confirm when your draft will start according to your local timezone.
During the season, candidates will be worth points based on data we gather about them in three different categories:
1. Money Raised
2. Mentions in News Articles
3. Percentage of Vote Received on Election Day (November 6th, 2018)
Since we use live data, these numbers will constantly be changing. Throughout the season you will need to tweak your team by dropping and replacing poor preforming candidates. Team rosters will be locked EOD Nov 5, so all changes must be made before the election. It’s up to you to gauge how your candidates are doing against other teams in the league to achieve the best score.
A candidate’s total points is the accumulation of points acquired in the three categories listed below:
$100,000 = 1pt
For every $100,000 a candidate raises they get one point. For every $50,000 or more, we round up. Points are calculated solely off the “Total Raised” value of a candidate.
Total Raised: $275,000 = 3pts
Total Raised: $230,000 = 2pts
10 mentions = 1pt
Each single news article we record that mentions a candidate will count as 0.1pts for the media category. Points will always be represented as a round number, therefore 0.5pts or more will be counted as 1pt. For the purposes of this game, all press is good press and we will not distinguish between positive and negative news stories. Mentions are calculated and retrieved using NewsAPI.org. To determine if an article mentions a candidate, we query the NewsAPI.org database for articles containing the candidate’s name, party, and state. Media mentions will only be counted for points from the start of the season up until election day (September 4th through November 5th).
20 mentions = 2pts
35 mentions = 4pts
32 mentions = 3pts
(Percentage of Vote) x 2.25
Points attributed to this category will be calculated by multiplying the candidate’s percentage of votes by 2.25. Like the other categories, 0.5pts will be rounded up.
45% = 101pts
51.1% = 115pts
51.6% = 116pts
The number of points each candidate has for these categories on the last day of the season (November 13) will be their final value for the season regardless of races that are too close to call, ballots that are still unaccounted for, or money that has yet to be reported.
Think you got what it takes to become a Fantasy Congress champion? Get started by signing up today!