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Nick Knack
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I adore The Resistance and its general logic-based social deduction ilk.
Given that so much of the game revolves around drawing information based on voting records and influencing members of the table with rhetoric, I thought it would be interesting to watch a Let's Play with people who do it professionally. I refer to, of course, career politicians. (preferably congress.)

However, I seem to be coming up short in finding any such on google. Surely there are members of government within the board gaming community... and I'd wager that at least one or two enjoy a bit of playful social deception from time to time.

I'd love any links/pointers with regards to politically minded session reports, or video content.

Failing that, are you a politician who's played a round or two? What are your impressions regarding reading and influencing people's intentions and voting patterns? I'd love to hear from you.


 
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Frank de Jong
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Well two disclaimers first:
First off, I only played The Resistance once (simple version, 5 players) and it did not really work very well in our group back then. To me it seemed a bit too simplistic and not that much decisions to be taken really. But, since I did not really get to play it thoroughly, that is a very uninformed first opinion.

Second, I am not exactly a member of congress, but I did work within a young political party and still am active in politics. In this capacity I frequently talk with European members of parliament from my party (the Greens) and sometimes other parties. And I have played some games of Secret Hitler, quite some games of Werewolves (and variants) and play a lot of other boardgames. So perhaps you are still interested in my take on your question?

Now, your question is already based upon a few assumptions:
- Politicians try to influence people with rhetoric.
- Politicians try to deduct something based on voting behaviour of their colleagues.
- Politics has something to do with 'social deception' (I.e. hiding your true intent/nature).

The first one is mostly true, although there is much more to the work of being a politician. Also, what some people see as politicians is different from what others define as a politician. Like I said: I work in a political party and used to also form opinions on different subjects, plan political actions etc. But I also organized field trips, did research, worked on internal party structure and statutes and more. So am I a politician or not? Some would say yes, some would say no. Even within parliament, you have lots of tasks and task-divisions among party members.

The second one is not so much true. Most of the times you already know what people will vote, based on their stated preferences, the debate, the discussions you had with them or their party allegiance. There is no guessing people's next action in politics based on voting patterns, like in the games mentioned above. This is mostly because people are not bad and good guys, like in these games, with set-preferences based on their win conditions.

The in-applicability of the last assumption is tied to that: people usually do not go into politics because they want to fuck things up. There are no wolves in sheep clothing, people that are just there to frustrate any and all attempts at law-making etc.

That being said, the practice of politics does have elements in it that these games also use. Sometimes members join a committee, just to frustrate it, because the expected result of the committee does not align with their party goals. Or they filibuster parliament. Sometimes colleagues are not clear about their (long-term) intentions and you need to read their actions. Or you need to weigh someone's input or advice based on where they come from and whether you trust them/value their opinion.

But most of the work of politics, in my opinion, is about forming coalitions and reaching majorities for a plan. Hence, I would argue another type of games comes closer to the actual work of a politician: Diplomacy, and its spin-offs. Why? Because you need to negotiate with people, convince them your plan is good for them as well and thus should have their support. You try to reach coalitions by doing favours, influencing others' behaviour and changing positions at the time it most favours your own cause. This, to me, comes closest to the actual political realm, although of course in politics, stabbing is much less simple and efficient, simply because you will need their help later. Above that, Diplomacy is in essence a zero-sum game, which politics almost never is.

One of the reasons I like playing board games is coming up with plans, adapting them, and execute them to achieve goals. Some games (can) include finding partners to help you and to ditch when you do not need them anymore. This does have some overlap with politics, and perhaps that explains my passion for both.

Hope you found my contribution interesting.
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Wim van Gruisen
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Very much what Frank said. While I'm not a politician, as a journalist I cover Dutch and EU politics, and I agree with Frank's assessment. In politics (well, Dutch politics anyway), there seldom are hidden roles and about guessing other players' true intentions. If you want to get a taste of politics, don't look at social deduction games, but at negotiation games instead - but not Diplomacy, as backstabbing others generally does not improve relationships with your negotiating partners.

Politicians generally only become visible to the public at large during elections, but most of the actual work of politicians is done between those elections. And because during elections, politicians have to make exaggerated promises to draw votes, and then cannot deliver completely on those promises, the public sees them as liars. But that is mostly based on the election circus, and it is the fault of the public.

Say, there are two politicians. One claims: "I will try to get more jobs in this city, so provided that the economy improves, employment will rise." The second one: "I will make sure that a new factory opens here, so that you all will earn a better income!"
The first politician makes the more reasonable claim, but the second one will get the votes. People vote for the more unrealistic promises, and thus for politicians who are less able to fulfil their promises.

But anyway, the election circus is only a small part of politics. Most of it is, next to informing yourself on what is going on, getting majorities for your ideas. Building alliances. Negotiating. And, unlike in boardgames, there is no clear score track that says who is winning and who isn't.


But that is Dutch politics. The OP is from the US - perhaps American politicians are the conniving, double-crossing and backstabbing bastards that fits the stereotype :-)
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Nick Knack
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Lil Blue Spider wrote:
There is no guessing people's next action in politics based on voting patterns, like in the games mentioned above. This is mostly because people are not bad and good guys, like in these games, with set-preferences based on their win conditions.

Lil Blue Spider wrote:

Most of the work of politics, in my opinion, is about forming coalitions and reaching majorities for a plan. Hence, I would argue another type of games comes closer to the actual work of a politician: Diplomacy, and its spin-offs.

Whymme wrote:

Most of it is, next to informing yourself on what is going on, getting majorities for your ideas. Building alliances. Negotiating.


These are very good points.
I had made the overdramatic assumption that one's political intentions might be veiled somewhat, and voting behavior was a keener barometer of motive than banter.
But in reflection, it makes much more sense in a professional setting to just be overt about one's interests, setting a clear stage for negotiation.


Allow me to alter the question then:
Do you have a personal favorite among games in the style of Diplomacy, Intrigue, Archipelago, Chinatown, Tammany Hall etc. where information is (almost) perfect, and victory requires constant ongoing negotiations?
 
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Wim van Gruisen
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My favourites are Diplomacy (if I have the time to play it) and Chinatown.

But Chinatown is not really about forging coalitions. And Diplomacy is too single-issue to be a good model of the political process.

You could have a look at Article 27. While not my favourite negotiation game (in fact, I got rid of it last month), you have things there like multiple issues, where with each issue your interest aligns with that of some other players, so you could act together.
 
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Stephen Miller
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Newport
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I'd be curious as to what your impression of Die Macher is generally about politics, rather than just specifically for the German political system.
 
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Nick Knack
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Whymme wrote:

You could have a look at Article 27. While not my favourite negotiation game (in fact, I got rid of it last month), you have things there like multiple issues, where with each issue your interest aligns with that of some other players, so you could act together.


Thanks! I'll give it a look!
The way you phrased that reminded me of another game I've played recently called Dogs of War. The negotiation side of it isn't terribly complex, but each of it's 4 rounds creates multiple battlefields with many interests at play.
Two players can be dire enemies throwing all of their resources against each other on one side of the board, while standing proudly in a united effort on the other. I find it fascinating.

 
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Gunky Gamer
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Gardiner
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It took me a little while to remember where I heard it, but the U.S. public radio show This American Life did an episode where it dragged former ambassador David Ross to a Diplomacy competition and got his thoughts on it. You can listen here:

https://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/531/...
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Frank de Jong
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realityfoible wrote:

Allow me to alter the question then:
Do you have a personal favorite among games in the style of Diplomacy, Intrigue, Archipelago, Chinatown, Tammany Hall etc. where information is (almost) perfect, and victory requires constant ongoing negotiations?


Unfortunately, I cannot answer this question, since I only played Diplomacy out of all of those.

But adding a bit of information to the discussion still: it is said Henry Kissinger was a fan of the game Diplomacy. Perhaps you can find something on that if you would be interested in his view of the matter?
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