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Subject: Tied States rss

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Bruce Linsey
United States
East Greenbush
New York
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Tied states have always been a dilemma in this game. I have come up with a good system for breaking ties: a small deck of eight tiebreaker cards, each of which lists the various colors of states on the map and a tiebreaker number (higher is better) for each. For example, one card reads: Pink-3, Yellow-1, Orange-8, Green-7, Purple-5. For any given color, no number is repeated on the cards. Some colors, such as pink (which includes CA, TX, MI, NJ and NC), are far more important than others, such as purple (whose biggest state is GA). I've tried to balance the deck to account for this.

The cards are dealt out, one to each player, at the start of the game (alternate rule: they can be drafted along with the placement of vice-presidential candidates). They're kept face down (alternate rule: face up) till the end of the game. If a state is tied, whoever has the higher tiebreaker number for that color of state wins it. (Example: You and I each have 15 popular votes in Michigan. Your tiebreak number for pink is 6, and mine is 4. Therefore, you win the state.) DC doesn't have a color on the map, so it counts as purple for this purpose.

This is more satisfying than a die roll, and much better and more realistic than just splitting the state's electoral votes.
 
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Randy Cox
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Did you take into consideration that some of those big states won't be tied as often as some of the flyover states that no one ever goes to at all?
 
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Bruce Linsey
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East Greenbush
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Good point. It's hard to figure just how to account for that, though.

Here are the numbers of electoral votes represented by each color (counting DC as purple):

pink-161, yellow-118, orange-106, green-104, purple-49.

And here are my cards as they now stand:

Card 1: pink-2, yellow-7, orange-7, green-1, purple-8
Card 2: pink-3, yellow-1, orange-8, green-7, purple-5
Card 3: pink-5, yellow-4, orange-2, green-6, purple-7
Card 4: pink-7, yellow-3, orange-1, green-5, purple-6
Card 5: pink-8, yellow-5, orange-3, green-2, purple-1
Card 6: pink-4, yellow-8, orange-4, green-3, purple-2
Card 7: pink-1, yellow-6, orange-5, green-8, purple-4
Card 8: pink-6, yellow-2, orange-6, green-4, purple-3
 
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mike Lee
United States
Norman
Oklahoma
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My group and I came up with this way to break ties. Every player keeps track during the game how many political allies and endorsements he or she receives. The person with the lower total wins ties. That way lucky players during the game play lose out on ties to help even out the luck a bit.

 
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Randy Cox
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Yesterday, I created a map with four regions, almost equally distributed by Electoral Votes. Each region contained one of the big four states (TX, NY, FL, CA -- Note, this was using current electoral vote totals).

My plan is to say that ties go to the person who is a) from the state followed by b) from the region. Problem is when people are from neither. Don't know what to do there other than roll dice, which has never been a problem for me. Though I do like the keeping track of bad luck (not many surrogate days on the trail) as the tiebreaker.
 
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Randy Cox
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Bruce,

I did some analysis on your card set and it's pretty well-balanced. Cards 3 and 5 have the best net advantage in terms of extra electoral votes "against the field." The complete ranking is:

3
5
7
2 and 6
4 and 8
1

But then I played with the data some more and made my own card deck like yours with a simple distribution which brought everything even closer to equality. With this tiebreaker, Card 1 is best and Card 8 is worst (sequenced in that order).

I give each card the same tiebreaker for Yellow, Green, and Purple and a different tiebreaker for Pink and Orange.

1: Pink/Orange 1, Yellow/Green/Purple 8
2: P/O 2, Y/G/P 7
3: P/O 3, Y/G/P 6
4: P/O 4, Y/G/P 5
5: P/O 5, Y/G/P 4
6: P/O 6, Y/G/P 3
7: P/O 7, Y/G/P 2
8: P/O 8, Y/G/P 1
 
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Bruce Linsey
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East Greenbush
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Thanks, Randy. One note here: I have reverted back to using the original electoral votes, and just consider the game a simulation of an election back in the 1980s. So the analysis would change somewhat if you account for that. I also do like Mike Lee's suggestion, though further tiebreakers are of course needed.
 
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Randy Cox
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It looks like your numbers above were from the board as published. When I accounted for the changes (if one were playing with the new state electoral vote numbers), then Pink would have to be paired with Green in my version. In fact, it gets just a tiny bit more equitable.
 
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