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Subject: PC Markers - Declaration of Independence and Control rss

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Donovan K. Loucks
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I finally got around to playing this classic with my wife a few days ago and we both really enjoyed it. And for it being our first time, I was surprised that we got everything right. Though we do need a couple of clarifications...

First, the Declaration of Indepdence card states: "The American player places one Political Control Marker in each of the Thirteen Colonies (if possible)." May the American player forego placement of any of these Political Control Markers to avoid subsequently losing them due to isolation during the Political Control Phase?

Second, section 12.0, "Winning the Game", states: "A player controls a colony if he has more PC Markers in it than his opponent. If both sides have an equal number of PC Markers in a colony it is considered to be controlled by the American player." Does the American player control a colony in which neither player has any PC Markers?

Thanks!
 
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Brad Miller
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Not an expert, but I would say no and no.

On the first one, why would you care? Can't hurt to have one there, even if it is going to get removed during the PC phase can it?
 
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Donovan K. Loucks
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If it's the final turn of the game, it can cost you control of a colony.

Heck, on any turn it can cost you control of the militia.
 
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Donovan K. Loucks
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Brad,

It occurred to me that I wasn't as clear as I could've been with my original question. I wasn't so much concerned about losing the individual PC Markers that were just placed as a result of the Declaration of Indepdence card, but about the loss of several PC Markers due to the placement of just one.

The rules include an illustration which shows an example of political isolation. Imagine that the southernmost American PC Marker -- the one in St. Mary's -- isn't there. Because the American PC Markers in Augusta and Savannah can trace a path to an empty space, they remain. But if a player is forced to put an American PC Marker in St. Mary's, they'll all be removed during the Politcal Control Phase due to their isolation.

I hope this makes more sense.

Donovan
 
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Dave Rubin
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1) Definitely, no. The placement is mandatory, if possible.

2) Never saw this before, but 0-0 is equal -- I'd think the answer is yes.
 
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Robert Crawford
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I've played this game a lot and I've come to appreciate--after plenty of rule blunders on my part--that Mark Herman's rules mean what they say. Taking the rules literally: 1) the Declaration card forces you to place a PC marker if possible (and, yes, I've seen all of New England's blue get swept away during the isolation check because the last neutral, commercially active, unpolarized,"empty space" was taken over by Sons of Liberty thugs celebrating the DoI); and, 2) since 0/0 is "an equal number," a colony with zero PC markers is counted for the Americans. (Any rule's lawyers out there that want to start arguing that zero is not a number?
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Donovan K. Loucks
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Thanks, gents! I suspected that a literal interpretation was the best approach. I'm looking forward to playing this again!
 
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Brad Miller
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DonovanLoucks wrote:
Brad,

It occurred to me that I wasn't as clear as I could've been with my original question. I wasn't so much concerned about losing the individual PC Markers that were just placed as a result of the Declaration of Indepdence card, but about the loss of several PC Markers due to the placement of just one.

The rules include an illustration which shows an example of political isolation. Imagine that the southernmost American PC Marker -- the one in St. Mary's -- isn't there. Because the American PC Markers in Augusta and Savannah can trace a path to an empty space, they remain. But if a player is forced to put an American PC Marker in St. Mary's, they'll all be removed during the Politcal Control Phase due to their isolation.

I hope this makes more sense.

Donovan


Makes perfect sense. I had forgotten about the empty space preventing isolation...
 
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Richard Young
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I agree with most of the points here - but the more I think about it, the more I am wondering about the 0/0 situation. Since the Revolution was won on the strength of about a third of the local populace feeling strongly about forming a Republic (as in most situations the majority pretty much sit on their hands or vote with their feet), it strikes me that in the absence of any political influence, there is little upon which to base the notion of control. Zero in this case, while admittedly being a number, indicates a lack of something, anything regarding a preference.

So, I think you could argue thematically that for either side to be able to count a colony they must have at least one PC marker in it and, if tied, control is awarded to the American player.
 
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Donovan K. Loucks
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Richard,

I know what you're saying - I'm conflicted on this. At the beginning of the game there are very few PC markers on the board and I was concerned that the British player might remove a couple of American PC markers and inadvertently lead to an American win. But the game can't end until 1779 at the earliest (barring the elimination of Washington or all British units), and by that time there are so many PC markers on the board that it probably wouldn't make much difference.

Since the American player needs control of 9 colonies, the British player needs 6, the American player controls on ties, and isolated American PC markers are removed before British ones, the likelihood that this will help the American player seems unlikely. What it might mean is that the American player gets to a point where he controls 9 colonies and during the Political Control Phase he loses a bunch of PC markers but still ends up controlling those 9 colonies, which would aggravate the British player. The solution to that would be making sure there's at least one British PC marker in each colony that can't be isolated.

Donovan
 
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Donovan K. Loucks
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I decided to check out the rules for the forthcoming Washington's War just to see if this issue was clarified there. (This wouldn't necessarily be a definitive answer, but I thought it might give an idea of Mark Herman's intent.) Here's a quote from the victory conditions:

Quote:
The side with the most Political Control markers in the colony controls the colony. If tied, neither player controls the colony.

Nope, that didn't help...
 
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Donovan K. Loucks
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Ah! But the Washington's War rules do make a clarification about the Declaration of Independence card:

Quote:
Declaration of Independence
This event requires the American player to place one PC marker in each of the thirteen colonies (excluding Canada) where placement is possible. Such placement is NOT optional, although the choice of which space if there is more than one possible space is at the option of the American player.

Design Note: In some cases, play of the "Declaration of Independence" can potentially result in losses of American PCs during a subsequent PC Isolation Phase (10.3). This is intended. This event was pivotal and crystallized strong feelings on both sides of the issue as well forcing many undecided Americans to commit. Such large swings of popular support are modeled by the PC Isolation mechanic. In some games the Americans will benefit strongly, in others the British may. It depends on the skill and luck of the players.

Again, even though these are the rules to Washington's War and not to We the People, I'm content with this answer.
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