Junta is a hilariously light game of bribes, political influence, and assassination. Unfortunately the game suffers from long, drawn-out combat when (not if) a coup occurs. Quick rounds of bluffing and payoffs are replaced by excruciatingly long dice rolling and chit conflict. To resolve this issue, we tried playing with the following variant.
We played the game as normal, up until a coup was declared. When the coup was declared and rebels chosen, we went around the table twice (as per normal voting rounds) bidding military power as votes. Each general received a number of votes equal to the units they would have controlled. Players could bid for or against the rebels. After two rounds of bidding, The First Rebel and El Presidente each rolled 1d6 to add to their respective totals. The higher number won the coup, and play continued as normal.
The upshot of this variant was that the game played much more quickly, and focused more heavily on the voting dynamic. The unfortunate side effect was that the inevitable coup was much more anti-climactic. Tension built as dissatisfaction with the regime increased... but then the coup was just another voting round.
Junta is one of those games I WANT to love, but the combat is just so slow and fiddly that it kills the mood. Does anyone have other variations that might fix the combat/coup phase and keep the spirit of the game?
I posted an (untried) variant here:
(it's not under 'variants' because the different headings didn't exist yet).
It's not unlike yours, but tries to take into account some more of the coup rules, like the playing of cards, and the early decision to become rebel or loyalist (which has nothing to do with being pro-president or pro-junta, but affects who can choose the new president, or alternatively, who can be sent to the firing squad).
I'll work on this again, if you'll borrow it back to me. I still really want to try a full-length game.
I'm wondering if the way to do it might not be simplifying the combat system. Keep the chits as-is, but significantly streamline it so that coups take about half an hour. I'll bring it to Thanksgiving, and you can borrow it for as long as you like.
Alternately, you could just use ASL rules and make a full-day game out of it.
A suggestion for Junta Quick Coup Rules
You’ll need a bunch of d6 dice for this variant.
1. The coup begins and the First Rebel is chosen, as per the usual rules.
2. Starting from the First Rebel, players declare themselves as Rebel or Loyalist, as per the usual rules.
3. Instead of placing units on a map, each player receives a number of dice according to the positions held by members of that player’s family.
President – 4d6
First, Second, and Third General – 6d6
Admiral of the Navy – 2d6
Air Force Commander – 4d6
Minister of Internal Security – 2d6*
* Minister gets two extra dice if he either forced the President’s budget through this turn OR if any player plays a card generating students, demonstrators, or strikers.
4. A player that has been assassinated or a player whose family member has had a card like “Pretender in the Province” played on them may not receive dice for the appropriate government positions.
5. Players play coup relevant cards at any time, in any order.
6. Cards allowing the use of students, demonstrators, or strikers give the player an extra 1d6 for every two of these units. All fractions are rounded up. Units are not placed on directly on the map as a result of these cards.
7. Cards allowing the use of the Helicopter, Home Defense League, Christian Militia, or Bank Guard give the player an additional 1d6 for each of these units. Units are not placed directly on the map as a result of these cards.
8. Before the coup begins, each player should hold the appropriate number of dice in a dice pool. The number of dice each player has is public knowledge.
9. The object of the coup is for either pro-President or pro-Rebel players to control at least three of the five red civic areas on the gameboard. (Presidential Palace, Railroad Station, Chamber of Deputies, Central Bank, Radio Station)
10. Coup play begins with the First Rebel and proceeds clockwise.
11. On each turn, a player chooses any number of dice to roll, but must roll at least as many dice as positions held by that player. For example, a player controlling the President must roll at least one die. A player controlling both the Third Army and the Admiral of the Navy must roll at least two dice.
12. Once the player rolls the chosen number of dice, he must assign each rolled die to any red civic area and places a spare control marker (home, nightclub, etc) with each one.
13. If other players’ dice are in that particular area, they must fight unless both players in that area agree to consolidate the scores on their dice.
14. If there is a combat among dice in an area, the player with the bigger aggregate number wins. The smaller value of dice are removed and the bigger valued dice are turned down by the number on the smaller dice. For example, if player A has 2 points of dice in the Chamber of Deputies and player B puts a die with a value of 5 at that location, player A’s dice are removed and player B leaves his die at that location with a value of 3. Player B should put a spare control marker at that location to show ownership.
15. If both players agree to consolidate dice, the values are added and either player takes ownership of the full value of the dice. The other player's control marker is removed. Typically, the owner of the bigger army takes control of the full force.
16. If a player has no dice remaining on his turn, his turn is skipped.
17. If all dice are removed at any location, the ownership token of the area’s original owner remains in place.
18. Once all dice have been placed, starting with the First Rebel and proceeding clockwise, all players must declare themselves either pro-President or pro-Rebel, as per the usual rules.
19. If pro-Rebel forces control at least 3 out of 5 red civic areas, the coup is successful.
20. Proceed to the Coup Aftermath phase.
Special Rules for particular cards:
Influence – Rigged Voting: This card is worth 5 points of Influence but may be played only when the player controls the Chamber of Deputies area at the end of any coup. Discarded as normal.
Bribe cards: Bribe cards may be used to “steal” dice out of the appropriate player’s dice pool. They may also be used to “steal” one die from the appropriate player on the board. If this forces multiple players’ dice to occupy a single location, those dice must enter combat.
Farm Strike: Any players using these units get extra dice up to the total level of 1d6 per additional unit.
Vote – The Church: This should be an influence card and not a vote card. This card is not discarded after a vote ends.
Influence – Christian Democrats: This card is not discarded after a vote ends.
More “free dice” for the President to simulate advantages for him at the beginning of the coup?
Maybe one free die for the President at the Presidential Palace with a six at the beginning of the coup?
Roll dice only AFTER declaring where those dice will be deployed?