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Subject: When does muckraking happen? Can muckraking block a victory? rss

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Arthur O'Dwyer
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(3 of 4, in a series of rules questions I'm emailing to the creator)

In the "Bad Old Days" scenario, does muckraking take place at the start of Fall or at the end of Fall? The rules are contradictory on this point.

Page 5: "At the start of Fall, before any region makes purchases, each region may spend 1 Cash to expose scandals in another region. ... Turn sequence for muckraking is the same as others."

Page 6: "Muckraking — After all regions complete 1–3: Each region may do this once per fall."

No matter which page you believe, the rules clearly state that muckraking is part of the Fall season. This is also the season in which people buy Social Spending and Tax Cuts, which can lead to victory.

Suppose we believe page 6, that muckraking happens after purchasing but before the end of Fall. Then suppose:

(1) NorCal's approval rating is at 95%. During Fall, NorCal purchases a Transit System (+10%). CV and SoCal both intend to muckrake against NorCal in the post-Fall muckraking phase.

- Do CV and SoCal get the chance to muckrake, or does NorCal simply win the game with 105% approval?

- If NorCal does not win, is NorCal's post-muckraking approval rating 90% (100% minus twice-5%) or 95% (95% plus 10% minus twice-5%)? In other words, is it possible to temporarily go above 100% approval rating, or is approval rating "capped" at 100%?


My group solved both of these problems by house-ruling that muckraking shall take place after Fall (i.e., we hew more closely to the graphic on page 6 than to the text on page 5). However, we also play it as if it were a fifth season with only a single phase; turn order is determined according to Water Right ownership at the start of the muckraking season (which might be different from the Fall turn order, if any Water Rights changed hands during Fall). This means that if your approval rating is 100% immediately prior to the start of muckraking, you simply win; you cannot be knocked back to 95% by muckraking.

We are reluctant even to try the rules as given on page 6 (muckraking at the end of Fall, but still part of Fall), because we don't see how that could fail to suffer from the "Munchkin effect": Any player attempting to achieve 100% could trivially be knocked down to 95% for a dollar or two, so the game would drag on for too long.

Alfred, could you comment on #1? When is muckraking supposed to happen, and how does it interact with the "end of a season" game-end conditions?
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A Twu
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Hi Arthur,

I hadn't thought about this one, but the way your group solved it - by making it a 5th season (let's call it "Holiday") makes sense.

Alfred
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