Ramping up my reviewing.
Happily playing games for many, many years.
Following dinner came the centrepiece of the day: our first game of Die Macher.
* Merric (me) as Die Grunen - I also own the game (the new Valley Games edition)
* Randy as Die Linken
* Rich as CDU/CSU
* Troy as SPD
Although I'd read the rules, had a handy summary sheet from this site handed out to the players, and had examined the game thoroughly, it became quickly clear that none of us really had a very good idea of how to *play* the game. Some us picked it up quicker than others, though. Upon seeing the third election would be in Hessen (48 pts), most of our initial set-up was in that region...
First Election: Hamburg (22)
This election was characterised by a lot of fumbling about, and a coalition between the Greens (Me) and SPD (Troy) that somehow still saw us accrue less votes than Die Linken (Randy). Go figure... we certainly couldn't. Or calculate votes, obviously. Randy moved his media marker up to the national board, plus the 2 issues of his choice, and we were away.
This round took us a long time - over an hour. Later rounds took less time as we became more aware of how the game played, although the most mind-bending thing was always determining what policy to change for the next election!
Score: CDU/CSU: 0, SPD: 4, Die Grunen: 10, Die Linken 19.
Second Election: Meckleburg-Vorpommern (24)
Rich got into the game at this point, in an election that most of the rest of us ignored. He achieved the full 50 votes, and thus scored fully here. The rest of us paid attention, but not that much.
Score: CDU/CSU: 24, SPD 7, Die Grunen: 9, Die Linken: 3
Third Election: Hessen (48)
I gave up on this election, as did Rich. Meanwhile, Randy and Troy stormed forth and doing amazing things. Randy won the election in the end - my notes indicate he did so "by a nose", though I may have given Troy more points than he actually achieved. With two elections under his belt, Randy was now dictating the course of the game, and things were not looking good for Rich or me.
Score: CDU/CSU: 8, SPD 48, Die Grunen 15, Die Linken 48
Fourth Election: Bremen (15)
No-one cared about this electon but me. I hoped that the influence it would give me later would count for something, but I didn't really count on the dominance Randy was building in the later elections. The game was moving faster now, although it still wasn't a really quick process.
Randy was also in a poll-frenzy - every poll he successfully bid for seemed to want to reduce his popularity by 2! He gained membership instead. Rich, meanwhile, was discovering the dice really, really hated him. He was rolling 3 dice and getting 1 extra member - and he did this more than once. Ouch. At present, I had the highest membership, but Randy was gaining on me.
Score: CDU/CSU: 0; SPD 0; Die Grunen 15; Die Linken 2
Fifth Election: Brandenburg (28)
Finally, Troy came into his own and won this election; I did my best, but could achieve no more than second place. Looking at my non-existent popularity in the last election (currently at -3), I didn't rate my chances much. Randy, however, was looking very strong, and had a lot of money as well. One more round to go... could I swing it my way?
Score: CDU/CSU: 7; SPD 28; Die Grunen 16; Die Linken 9
Sixth Election: Berlin (40)
Two big elections to finish the game, and I didn't have enough of a Shadow Cabinet left - only one card (the best), but I wanted more. I bid a lot of euros to choose who would go first (Troy, so I could go last and possibly win from behind), but it wasn't going to be enough. Randy had managed to change enough of the issues through his control of the media to make my correspondence low indeed.
The last two polls auctioned were big... Rich bought the first, beating Randy - which was deadly for me, as it meant Randy could put all his money into beating me for the second. His popularity in the last election moved to +3, and my chances of winning slipped away.
Rich did better in this election, but SPD and Die Linken formed a coalition, and swept into power. Their policies were lining up, and Rich and I found that the national policies helped us little... and we weren't going to be able to influence the last election.
Score: CDU/CSU 20; SPD 12; Die Grunen 6; Die Linken 32
Seventh Election: Baden Wuerttemburg (54)
A huge election to finish the game, and as there was nothing more to do after the sixth but score the seventh, we did so. I watched in horror as Troy's membership moved past mine, as Randy had already done so... the election result and national issues just cemented the loss for me.
At least Randy had no media here, and so couldn't get yet more points. Not that it mattered!
Score: CDU/CSU: 0; SPD 18; Die Grunen 47; Die Linken 54
Media: CDU/CSU: 20; SPD 15; Die Grunen 15; Die Linken 57
Membership: CDU/CSU 21; SPD 57+6; Die Grunen 51; Die Linken 72+10
Issues: CDU/CSU 15; SPD 62+5; Die Grunen 15; Die Linken 82+5
CDU/CSU (Rich): 115 points
Die Gruenen (Merric): 217 points
SPD (Troy): 256 points
Die Linken (Randy): 393 points
So, Randy was an absolute runaway winner. The game had taken us about four hours - Randy having his revenge on my for the four wins I'd had in the games we'd played before dinner. I found it a very interesting experience, and look forward to our next game... whenever that may be.