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Subject: Adding a little less luck to this very good game rss

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Eamon Bloomfield
Germany
23569 Lübeck
Schleswig Holstein
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In the early eighties I regularly visited Sid Sackson at least once a year. We talked about this game and Sid thought it was too lucky. So he had a suggestion or two, with the result that I worked out a few rules. As a matter of interest, I first acquired this game as a freebie from GDW, who decided to clear the shelves by giving this game to anyone who bought another game from them. This is a very untypical game for GDW so, maybe, they had trouble selling and distributing it.

The variant rules:

Sort out the campaign cards into five piles by type, Endorsment, Political Ally, Crisis, Air Tickets, and Special Meeting. Then shuffle each pile and deal out one card from each pile to every player. No-one can look at these cards. The undealt cards are placed in a stack to the side of the board. Every one shuffles their stack of five cards and places them face-down in front of them. Whenever a player rolls a double on the white dice, he draws a card from his own stack. Thus, each player could roll doubles five times and use up their private stack. If you roll doubles more than five times, then you draw a card from the unused card deck. This amendment means that the luck element in drawing cards is less, because everyone will have the chance to draw a card of each type, rather than running away with the game because they drew a total of 4 Endorsements, for example.

Now Sid's contribution. Play the game over 25 turns each (someone should tick off a turn at the end of each round. At the end of the 25th round, the ballot-boxes are closed and there is no more campaigning.

Now, the election. Tied states are decided by rolling a die, the winner getting the state. This is too much luck, particularly on a big state like California. So, in a unrealistic way, but better as a game, divide the state's votes equally between the tied players. Then dice for the remaining undistributed electoral votes. If a player is knocked out of the election, remember that lost votes in a tied state will go to the next highest candidate in the state, absolutely as usual.
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Dick Hunt
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Ovid
Michigan
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I love the first part, about divvying up the event cards; my group hasn't played this game in years because of its huge luck factor from the events deck. However, before we realized how bad that was, we enjoyed the game immensely. For us, I think the luck factor was exposed by someone drawing lots of free air tickets and then hopping all over the map practically at will and easily winning the game.

This variant just might make this game playable again for us!

However, I'm not so hot on the idea of dividing up electoral votes from the states. As you pointed out, that isn't done in real life. Furthermore, if you played the game for 25 turns, the odds of a big state like California ending in a tie would be fairly slim. For this game, 25 turns would be a pretty long game!
 
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Eamon Bloomfield
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Yes, you are right. A big state is highly unlikely to be tied. But I was looking at it from the view point of it being a game, and I wanted to make it fairer somehow. Sid Sackson was very keen not to play it as a time-limit game. Some players are fast, some slow, so with one group you might get in 15 turns each, with another group you might get 10 more turns. Sid was a great fan of election games, so that is why this game came to the attention of the great man. By the way, in our early games it was drawing several Endorsements that won you the game. No hiking around the West in the search of 4 electoral votes!
 
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Dick Hunt
United States
Ovid
Michigan
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loopoocat wrote:
By the way, in our early games it was drawing several Endorsements that won you the game. No hiking around the West in the search of 4 electoral votes!


Yes, we quickly learned that lesson, too. The endorsements make it a waste of time to visit a lot of the small-vote states; West Virginia always went to the Mine Workers endorsement. And yes, we saw a game or two won the same way you did.

We were lucky, though; we played this game a lot and enjoyed it immensely before the luck factor reared its ugly head enough times to ruin our fun.
 
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Bruce Linsey
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East Greenbush
New York
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I agree that the original game was far too dependent on the luck of the cards. My friends and I use a totally overhauled deck which doesn't skew the game so much, and we've added a number of other houserules to make the game more fun.

For a better way of breaking ties, please see my post titled "Tied States."
 
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Bill Snavely

California
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Thanks for the comments. As a co-designer of the game, I like your solution of the 5 card deal. As for splittling the electoral votes - no, we would never do that. If it's an important state, you make sure it's not tied If we do another edition, I'm sure we will revise the rules. Thanks for your suggestions!
 
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Randy Cox
United States
Clemson
South Carolina
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I like the deck change idea, but not the splitting votes. The people I play this with at conventions insist on splitting electoral votes, so I do it with them. But I hate it. I think that it should be random as to who gets South Dakota's three electoral votes (we don't have ties in big states very often, not that I'd want those to be split either).

And we play for either 1 hour or 90 minutes and have way, way, way more than 25 turns. In fact, between turns, we usually don't have time to record our votes from those cards that give you 1, 2, or 3 votes in a bunch of states. Gotta play this game fast and loose, like in a real election. Throws in more uncertainty--which is a good thing.
 
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