Tonight, we managed to squeak in a session of Making the President, after I dealt with some frustrating NEW car problems, which succeeded my OLD car problems. Long story.
So, I was Nixon, Jay was Kennedy, and it was time for Nixon to try to regain his streak! Out of the gate, JFK just CEMENTED the east. I mean, by midgame, he had 4-5 support in each of the big states, while Nixon consolidated his western support while working on the Midwest, and making in-roads into the south.
Kennedy was just hammering the big states, pretty much making it impossible to try to contest them, while also focusing heavily on keeping his momentum high. Nixon slowly built up the south, and jumped on a blunder by Kennedy, which allowed him to trigger Gathering Momentum - Midwest, and fill in the rest of the area for free.
By the time the debates had rolled around, JFK had Strongholds in New York, Jersey, California, as well as a few strategic Midwestern states, while Texas was a battleground.
Nixon had been playing somewhat conservatively, catering mainly to 10-15 elector states, but the lack of opposition allowed him to spend just a little time campaigning in each to maintain what appeared to be a lead.
As predicted, Nixon was hammered in the debates. Kennedy had grabbed the Lazy Shave event, plus the +1 debate score event, and won momentum. Nixon had not planned very well, and as such, his rambling statements handed Kennedy Defense, and Civil Rights, while Nixon tripped over his words enough on Economy to actually award it to JFK via his own cards!
The final two turns were interesting, as Texas continued to be a battleground, while the candidates tried to steal small-mid states from each other, to avoid the massive capital expenditure taking the larger states represented.
Nixon was obviously fierce about JFK taking his home state of California, despite the culture clash, and attempted to establish a sneaky last-minute plan to take the state. An Election Day appeal for support, along with early returns from Connecticut almost allowed Nixon to break Kennedys hold, but JFK withstood the siege and held on.
Going to the Election Day count, Nixon looked to have won, despite not winning any large states except some Midwest 20's. The unpledged Electors hurt Kennedy in Alabama, and the final score was 290-236.
We are definitely getting the feeling that one of these two propositions are true:
1) Nixon has the advantage.
2) You CANNOT allow Nixon to maintain his western stronghold.
Great board game to be sure, but we are definitely finding its length prohibitive. I think MTP is best as an "Event Game", or as a "Main Event", if you Whhhhheeeeeeell.