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Campaign Manager 2008» Forums » Variants

Subject: No ZNN cards rss

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Evan Stegman
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I am considering playing without the ZNN cards.

A game I played this weekend had the vast majority of cards drawn favoring McCain and that side ended up winning in a landslide. The Obama player even had the media bias card out most of the time but that doesn't help when the ZNN card is things like 'The Obama player discards two cards.'.

I am considering just playing without them. Sometimes they come out fairly balanced but other times they seem to be a big, random influence on the outcome.

Any downsides to playing without besides the media bias cards being useless?
 
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Max Jamelli
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It depends on the order in which they come out. I played as BO over the weekend and the obama loses 2 cards came out, but I already had zero cards in my hand so it wasn't a game changer. There is a card that forces McCain to drop 2 cards as well though - so there is deck balance.

I checked the ZNN deck. Of the 20 cards, 4 cards push the issue track toward defense (JM) and 4 cards push the issue track toward economy (BO).

There are two cards that affect undecided voters - making all red or blue.

The rest of the cards deal with majority/minority issues, demographics and media support.

I don't see how ZNN is a major game-changer. It is nice to have media support to be able to pick and choose what events happen to what states - but to me, that's part of the deck building strategy.

 
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Evan Stegman
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You pointed out exactly how they can change the game: some cards favor one side.

While overall the ZNN deck is balanced, the order they come out is random and not all cards come out. Obviously, random distribution can favor one side and, given the nature of randomness, will inevitably occasionally favor one side much more than the other.

And since not all cards can be affected by the media support card and both players can have it in their decks but only one can have it in play at a time, it is effectively random whether you will be helped by it or hurt by it.

Those seems like extra layers of randomness that most certainly will at least occasionally be a game decider. .

And my question was 'how would the game be hurt without them?'. That question wasn't really answered.
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Max Jamelli
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Being that the cards come out with every new state, the odds of one player being favored over the entire game is slim.

How would the game be hurt? To me, I like the historical implications that the cards bring. Will the game be broken? No. I just don't see the ZNN cards being that one-sided that I'd want to play without them.
 
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Stephen Harkleroad
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EvanMinn wrote:
You pointed out exactly how they can change the game: some cards favor one side.


Well, of *course* they do. If they affected both sides equally, what would be the point?

I don't think the game would be hurt, but it would make the game less interesting. (Although it would make most of those Media cards useless, so you'd have to account for that.) For the most part, unless one of the Media cards are in play, it just slightly shuffles the starting position of the states and the setup. To me, that's better than having the exact same setup every time a state is brought out--you have a vague idea how a state will look, but not guaranteed.

For the record, the ZNN deck evens *exactly* out--for every card, there is another equally opposed card. (There are a few that have no opposites, but I think there's at most 4).

Plus, I can't imagine any of them being a game-decider. There's not THAT many huge changes that they make.If such small changes are deciding states, it just means both players are playing active and aggressively.

Also for the record--and forgive me if this has been pointed out before--there are only ten cards that are different between the two candidates (twenty total). Without those ten, the two candidates have the exact same cards. And of those ten, seven are the exact same thing except for McCain it's defense and Obama it's economics. The remaining three (six) cards are genuinely different. This is the only issue I have with the game. After playing 1960 and TS, having two decks that are fundamentally equal makes me think there were plenty of missed opportunities. (I know drafting mitigates this, but it's still a disappointment.)
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Evan Stegman
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I am not sure why you keep saying the deck as a whole is balanced because I have never disputed that. But unless every card comes out in a game, that is not the same thing as saying that the distribution for individual games will always be balanced.

If you can't see how a card distribution is even that favors one player over the other enough to affect the outcome of a close game (e.g., the Obama discard but not the McCain comes out, the undecided become red card but not the blue, a lot more shift to defense cards than the shift to economy, etc., etc.) then this thread isn't for you. I am interested in what negative impacts to just dropping the ZNN deck I might be overlooking not people to dispute what I have seen with my own two eyes

But 'the states would always start the same' is a good point. That is what I am looking for.
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Keith Creighton
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I think thematically the game would be hurt. The real life candidates cannot completely control the press. Sometimes in a campaign they have to work through bad press and still come out on top. I am not naive enough to believe they have no media influence in real life, and I think that is reflected nicely in the media control cards.

While mechanically leaving out the ZNN cards might not change the game a whole lot, I think a lot of the "feel" of the game would be lost. If you want something that is more balanced and less random then try dropping them. If you want something that more closely emulates a real election I would argue for you to leave them in.
 
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Stephen Harkleroad
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There are no significant negative impacts, mechanic wise, if you choose to leave the ZNN deck out of play. The Media Support cards that allow a player to choose the state for the event would be useless, and Obama has two of those while McCain only has one, so he may be slightly worse off. Aside from knowing exactly what states will look like when they come out, I can't see any other impact offhand.

Of course, the two candidate decks will be different during the drafting phase, which means the two different decks will allow one player to have a modified-random advantage over the other, so you may want to look into that part of the game, too.
 
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Jeff Binning
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Quote:
I am interested in what negative impacts to just dropping the ZNN deck I might be overlooking not people to dispute what I have seen with my own two eyes.


If you drop these cards from the game, then the cards in the main deck that influence them become meaningless as well. This would affect the crucial deck building that begins the game. I think the game is well balanced as is, and eliminating the ZNN deck would diminish my enjoyment of the game, and make the deck building imbalanced.

My wife and I have learned the game together, and as far as games in general go, we are quite evenly matched. So far our games have been exciting and most have been close, with full utilization (and attempted control) of the ZNN deck. The totals so far:

Obama McCain
222 270
266 272
189 272
275 204
270 184
260 270
254 274
273 235
272 266

My advice would be to play a few more times with the ZNN deck. Though the game is balanced, there are strengths and weaknesses on both sides. We've found it incredibly fun discovering ways to exploit and overcome the different facets of the game.

I tried to edit this to space the columns out better, but it's not happening. Sorry about that.

 
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