GamePolitics notes that presidential campaigns are increasingly interested in turning the work of running for office into games. This isn’t exactly a new idea: Howard Dean’s campaign had a Dean for Iowa game, where you could allocate campaign resources, canvas, and wave signs for your candidate. But things like this are a shadow of actual engagement — they don’t actually get voters registered or voters out on election day — and they produce a shadow of the feeling of actually being part of a movement. If you want to turn campaigns into games that people are meaningfully invested in, you’ve got to go real-world rather than virtual, and to change the way you manage volunteers on the ground, or to provide alternate opportunities for volunteers. I’m no Jane McGonigal, but you could set up competitions to register the most voters with the fewest registration cards thrown out for problems with signatures or addresses, or do scavenger hunts where you only get clues if you’ve registered enough votes along the way. Any game would have to be organized to place high value on compliance with election law, and to provide appropriate training to player-volunteers. The problem with campaign work is that a lot of it is difficult and dull, oriented towards compliance rather than innovation — and for good reason, electoral law is not unimportant. So finding ways to innovate while also taking advantage of the experience and knowledge of folks who have kept the flame alive will be key not just to good experiences for new volunteers, but to keeping the process running in a way that’s genuinely useful to campaigns.