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Subject: Variant for committees phase rss

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J. M. Lopez-Cepero "CP"
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Hi all

I am personally happy with the way the committees phase works, but I have been discussing it with a friend who is not sold on it and I have come up with a variant that, I think, is well integrated thematically with the rest of the game. I haven't had a chance to test it yet, but here it is in case it's of interest.

What you need: a largeish number (I guess about 30 should be more than enough) of small tokens (cubes, mini chips, real or game coins, whatever). A small screen for each player would be nice, but it's not mandatory.

Variant: At the beginning of each committees phase, all players receive a token; the election committee chairman receives an aditional token, for a total of 2. The tokens are Influence Tokens and represent your political leverage.

Then, all players do a blind Influence Token auction (hide any number of their tokens in their closed fists, put their fists in the middle of the table, then reveal the bid amount simultaneously). 0 is an acceptable bid.

Players choose their next committee in auction order (highest bids first). In case of a tie in the bid amount, the player who currently sits in the leftmost committee chooses first.

All Influence Tokens bid go back to the reserve. The rest remain in the reserves of each player, ready for usage in subsequent turns.

This is reminiscent of Sylla, where it works well. Thematically it represents you earning the favor of friends during your time in office, then calling them to put in a good word about you when the time to renovate positions comes around. The leftmost committee tiebreaker is there because it's a simple solution which also tends to put the 4th and 5th committees (which seem to be pretty coveted positions) at a slight disadvantage in the following turn.

I think it has a decent chance of working well in practice. Perhaps it will have to be tweaked with 2 or 3 players, but I guess that it will work fine with 4 or 5. The extra Influence for the Election Committee compensates the fact that its power is diminished quite a bit - a few turns in the EC may set you up for a well-timed assault to the Executive Committee to get a specific building you need in the game, for example.

Other avenues worth exploring include awarding Influence for specific achievements, such as having a plan approved or completing a Favor card, but I'm afraid that these options will tend to favor people who are already in the lead.

Comments welcome!
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