- John Lyons BeckUnited States
WashingtonHey man-- smell my finger!
I bought this game in 1987, and have played it constantly over the years. (This was the 1985 "Second Edition," but all my references go to when I bought it: '87.) My edition reflects it's long use: the box is missing a side, the rules have no staples & lots of writing on them, the cards are sticky from the sweat of nearly a hundred different hands, the original dice disappeared a long time ago, and I still play it. I love this game, it's easy enough for non-gamers to pick it up, no one is ever really out of it, and for pure fun & laughs it's up there with the best of them.
As I said, I still play this game, and I finally realized I needed a new copy. (A better job also helped.) I bought the Third Edition by Purgatory Publishing, and here's my review/report on the changes. I haven't played it yet, so these are only opinions, not my experiences.
The new map has computer-created graphics, slick & clean, but the central spaces (esp. the all-important Presidential Palace) are smaller.
The titles of each space sit on top of the graphics, and not in a clear space, so they are hard to read.
Judgment: C+. Looks nice, although slightly impractical.
-They are thinner, less than a half in thickness compared to my '87 game. I'm not sure they would survive 20 years of constant play like my old game.
-Instead of 'bullets' to signify the unit is armed, you have #'s in parenthesis, (1) & (1/2) & (1*) for the Palace Guard.
-There are no more "Rioters", only "Students, Strikers & Demonstrators," yet the Event Cards still refer to "Rioters." An obvious mistake.
-The graphics on each unit are far less "active." The '87 "Student Mob" has a guy holding a sign & waving his fist in the air. The new version is just a guy holding up a sign that says "NO!". That's the most active of any of them: Strikers just have a sandwich-board sign & the Demonstrators are a bunch of signs in a group with no people.
-The same amount of inactivity & stiffness is on all the rest of the pieces. The soldiers look like chessmen instead of under-trained cholos trying to hold a steady rifle, or the Bank Guard checking to see when is his next coffee break, the Home Defense League & Christian Militia standing ready against the incoming sea of Godless Communists & Dirty Hippies. The only change that goes against this trend are the cops. They're still holding their riot shields, but they've got billy clubs raised to crush Intellectual skulls & boots raised to kick Trade Unionist ass.
-The pieces are blank on the opposite side (see Rules Changes, below.) This means that the pieces will become more confusing to organize if you don't have a counter-tray or many plastic bags/pill bottles to put them in.
-The Player markers are "toughened-up," where the Sunglasses now has a nasty pair of eyes looking over them, the Fedora is now a shady character, the Martini is being spilled (probably the holder is ducking under the table to avoid an assasination attempt at the Nightclub), the Cigarette Holder is now a cigar and the Goatee is now a sinister-looking version of a Groucho Marx mask. The Pocketwatch & Diamond Pin (my favorite) are relatively unchanged, except for the color of ink.
-The Mistress location is now 'Paramour.' I think this change is silly, and blame the Christian Extremists for their puritanical expunging of all things sexual.
-If you're like me, you wrote "Bank Closed for Lunch", "Bank Closed for Holiday," and "President's Brother-in-law" on the extra pieces provided because you need them & the game doesn't have them. Well, these additions are included, although it's now the President's "Cousin." (They're cousins! Identical cousins! What a crazy pair!)
Judgment: D. This is the worst aspect, and I don't feel there was any 'improvement.' With the flimsiness and lack of back-printing, it's a major step backward.
Money & Cards:
-In my '87 version, the money (& political cards) came in sheets separated by perforations. I had to fold back & rip them carefully. They still have their perforated edge. The new cards are professionally done, and are much nicer. Will they hold up to another 20 years of sweat, bloodstains & abuse? Only time will tell, but I'm guessing they will.
-The Political Cards are now an actual deck, they're on better cardstock, larger & easier to handle. My old set's cards are very difficult to shuffle, and these are a definite improvement.
-There are no "new" cards. Instead of turning your position card over to indicate you're a rebel, there are two cards for each Position. This is a step backwards: you could always tell the position cards from the political cards by looking at the back. Now, they're all the same, and I'm sure someone will want to play the Rebel Minister as an Event Card or an Assassin.
-I'm figuring it's a mis-print, but it's a doozy. The Church is now a Vote card, not an Influence card. The Christian Democrats card still refers to The Church Influence card, but The Church still says "Discard after use."
-The Vote & Influence (unnecessarily, imho) state "Votes from this card cannot be split." Yep, says so, right in the rules. And your point is....?
-The vote totals on Influence, Vote & Position cards is in the same size font as the rules printed on the card. They are not in LARGE RED LETTERS easily read from across the table.
-Overall, the graphics on the cards have improved. The Looney Left is even more looney, the Solid Middle Class is ever-so-solid, and the Right Wing Fascists are very threatening & sinister. Every card has it's own unique caricature (I particularly liked the "Power Failure", "Rigged Voting" & "Socialists" cards.) There are only two I have issue with, and they are two Assassin cards. The Amateur is no longer some peasant throwing the pin while holding the grenade: It's a buxom Salma Hayek look-a-like being pretty effective, and hardly "amateur." The other change I dislike is the Psychotic Assassin. Gone is "John Hinckley" & his replacement is a guy whom Lord Humungus would reject as a follower. This guy would be arrested just walking down the street.
--(Side Note: In my House Rules, the Psychotic Assassin can't be bribed. This invulnerability is balanced by the danger to yourself in using him. It's also common sense-- No amount of money is going to make Jodie Foster love him: he kills for a Higher Purpose.)
Judgment: A-. The new caricatures are fresh & fun, and for an old pro like me, I know the vote totals on every card. (Simple math is The Church + Conservatives + Black Marketeers + Anarcho-Syndicalists = 23) Still, the extra Position cards are unnecessary (and potentially confusing).
-The biggest rule change is the elimination of First Fire. Hence, the units aren't printed on both sides. Everyone shoots in every volley.
-The rules on retreats are clarified & modified slightly. If the victor of a combat grants permission, you don't have to retreat. Retreats are handled in Move Order if there is a question that a stack may be eliminated due to an unavailable retreat space.
-Players can now transfer their units during a Coup Phase. This takes place during your turn, and (obviously) that unit cannot move if it has already done so.
-There are new Optional Rules, to make the game longer or shorter. To speed it up: a) You must be at your Headquarters to start a Coup, and have a Coup Excuse. b) Every player has 30 seconds to act. A failure to do so is a forfeit for that phase/turn/action/vote. To lengthen the game: a) Any money paid for bribes/assassins/etc. are shuffled back into the deck.
-Gone are the fun pictures in the rules, which is a loss, imho. I always liked the confused assassin in "Where to go? What to do?"
Judgment: I haven't played it yet, so I can't say! The elimination of First Fire will make battles more bloody, and the few that are left will have greater impact. I'd give it an (unexperienced) A. The elimination of the cartoons brings it down to a B+
So that's it: nothing big, nothing major, no new breakthrough. Some things are improved, some things aren't. If you're happy with your edition, I'd say stick with it: there's no big reason to 'upgrade.' When I play next, I think I'll use the new cards & board, but keep the old pieces. I don't feel the new ones will last as long as the ones from '87 have, and they'll be much easier to set up & put away.
- [+] Dice rolls
- Frank HusseyUnited States
Great assessment John!
I agree with your criticisms of the bits and the map. However, I'd rather have good cards and poor chits than the other way around. The map I think is ugly and not as practical as it could be.
My solution for the poor and hard to grasp chits was to buy a couple copies of Scrabble at Goodwill and Modge-Podge the chits on to them. The game looks much nicer this way and is a lot easier to play as well. And they should last for at least 20 years.
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- Nathan LarsonUnited States
- I think the reason for using "Paramour" instead of "Mistress" is that a paramour can be male or female.
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- bestia immondaItaly
I agree, the counters are meh, but I think the mounted map is a big improvement.
I think the "Burglars" card has changed: now if they find you at home you're killed, otherwise they steal 2 Mio.
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- John HinesUnited States
IndianaI'm afraid the DEFLECTOR Shield is..... Operational!
- I have the 2nd edition of the game and am disappointed with the quality of the components. I played the 3rd edition (English) and liked the cards and money but not anything else. I don't like the map on either English versions. I saw the German version and fell in love with everything! Why can't they make American games with the same detail and quality? Ideally, I would use the German board (write English names), the 3rd edition cards, and make my own thick counters or use figures for this game. It's a shame that they went sooooo cheap on reprinting this game. It would be a 10 if it had good components!
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- Tracy Johnson(tmjva)United States
Anyone notice you can no longer go into exile during a coup if you have a unit in an embassy? (Or if the rule is there I can't find it.)
Apparently you can now only go into exile during the Choose Location phase prior to a coup.
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