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1960: The Making of the President» Forums » Sessions

Subject: 1960: The Making of the President (The Rematch) rss

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Matt Cross
United States
Stoughton
Massachusetts
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This session report is from the blog of my group, the Metroburb Gamers http://metroburbgamers.blogspot.com and appears there along with other content. This one is written by my man Jam-master Jake.

Jumping in the Wayback Machine (on loan from Mr. Peabody), MattX and I traveled back to 1960 for a rematch of our 1960: The Making of the President, which was decided in Kennedy’s (played by yours truly) favor during our contentious inaugural go around in May. A perennial malcontent, Mr. Nixon demanded a recount, and Kennedy was happy enough to oblige, confident that justice and history would validate the first ballot. Oh, but the fickle hand of fate had other plans for our toothy, oversexed Senator from Massachusetts


Playing the same roles as last time, and more confident and cognizant of the wending rules of the game (which can seem picayune in places, except when they are not, e.g. remembering to do support checks, remembering to move your candidate to the state he is campaigning in two fairly major points we blithely ignored the first time), we settled in for another slugfest of a campaign, I as Kennedy, MattX as Nixon. Matt is convinced that Kennedy has a distinct advantage in this game, both in terms of starting position (heavy support in the vital North East) and in the cards. I partially agree the first time through I seemed to get every single heavy Kennedy event card, either in my own hand or to play out of Nixon’s, and worked it to a landslide. And it’s true, that Kennedy has some majorly aggressive, game changing offensive moves (e.g. several which allow for heavy placement of support) as Events, but with careful management, prevention and luck, Nixon can defuse many of these (which he did this time). Nixon’s heavy Event cards seem more skewed towards undermining Kennedy, which is just as important and can be majorly demoralizing, especially when played immediately after a strong move by Kennedy.


In the early going, we both seemed mostly to play cards for Events, which seems to favor a style of slow attrition. It’s a good way to spread out some support (some Event cards will often let you seed a region with say 5 or 7 support cubes, but no more than two per state, so it gets you on the board in many places, without piling on in one and tipping your hand too early), and lay the ground work for what’s to come. Nixon got an early lead in the Issues track, which he was slow to relinquish as the game went on. It’s impossible to overstate the importance of keeping cubes on the issues track, and winning as many as possible at the end of each turn. The awarded Momentum Markers are vital both to prevention of Events, and playing off your opponent’s cards, and are one of the primary difference makers in the game (in our first meeting, I won this portion of the game, and am convinced that’s what led to eventual victory).


As the turns led up to the Debate Round (the emphasis on which seems disproportionate to the actual benefits conferred), things looked pretty even. After shaking out Event Cards the first couple of turns, we both seemed to start playing cards heavily as campaign points, and we both started to hone in on the Northeast, especially the key battleground states of New York and Pennsylvania, which between them, boast a game deciding 75+ electoral votes. Kennedy had gained media support in the North East, which confers the benefit of not having to do support checks in any state in that reason, even if the opponent has full support (4+ cubes) or occupies the state. So basically, for a good stretch Kennedy was able to immediately counteract any of Nixon’s incursions into NY and PA. In the final turn before Election Day, a seemingly whimsical and arbitrary play by Nixon wiping out Kennedy’s media support proved to be the death knell of his (Kennedy’s) campaign.


Shorn of his immunity to support checks, Kennedy was forced to relinquish New York and cede it to Nixon. That, coupled with Nixon’s Endorsement advantage in the North East (also supremely vital), tipped New York and Pennsylvania to Red in the end. A late push into the Midwest late in the game was not enough to even come close to saving the Kennedy campaign, and Nixon rolled to a decisive landslide victory, of some 290 electoral votes to Kennedy’s paltry 220. Once again, the combo of NY and PA carried the day, though if Kennedy had been able to wrest just one of them away from Nixon, the election would have gone the other way.


The fact that the fabric of reality has remained unaltered (for now) means that, with the standings at 1-1, a decisive, a final replay/rematch/remix is required to determine the fate of the free world.


I am unanimous with MattX in extolling the brilliance and excitement of 1960. It’s a challenging, exhausting game that places equal emphasis on strategy, deliberation and luck, and is fairly nerve wracking and gut wrenching, with wild swings of fortune and disaster, and seems to always come down to the last few plays. Definitely the best two player game I’ve played (out of well, this might be the only one, so take that for what you will), but also one of the best games, period.
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Matt Cross
United States
Stoughton
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Just a couple of additional points.

1) The unclaimed electors event proved somewhat important. It says that if Kennedy wins three southern states without carrying them they go to neither Kennedy nor Nixon. I think this accounted for 30-isn non-votes for Kennedy.

2) My removal of Kennedy's media support in the northeast and my subsequent takeover of New York was aided by an event that Kennedy actually played and that was favorable to Kennedy but for some reason had a component that allowed Nixon to retrieve a card from the discard pile. This card proved critical in Nixon's takeover of New York in the final turns.

3) Nixon lost California AGAIN! I don't get it but I cannot seem to hold this state.

4) Election Day was great. I had both NY and PA cards and Nixon lucked out turning PA on election day via support checks. This is in stark contrast to the previous support checks I did which yielded zilch but probably ended up helping me with the PA support check in the end.

5) Nixon pretty much owned issues. Almost to the point that I was worried about just not having enough support in states to do anything reasonable.

6) I thought Nixon would own the debates but ended up utterly failing.
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Richard Maurer
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Illinois
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Great session report on a truly excellent game.
 
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