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Subject: End-Game Scoring Variant - Debate Tokens rss

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John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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This is a variant I inadvertently stumbled on to by actually misreading the rules when explaining the game to others. Since the game still had a nice feel to it, I thought I would post it here to get some reaction.

My mistake to count each individual debate token held at game-end as equal to the number of points that faction would earn depending on its ranking based on adopted articles at the end of the game. For example, if the Federalists wound up as #1 and you had three Fed debate tokens, that would be 15 points, not 5.

Kind of makes debate tokens a much bigger deal in final scoring, but it actually led to some interesting play during some of the games.
 
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Aaron Cappocchi
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Los Angeles
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Just do the math. This variant would make 13 points available each round in the debate room, 52 throughout the game. That would make the voting floor, the main engine and historical focus of the game, severely underpowered and the Committee Room all but meaningless. It'd also make the size of the scoring track, already a bit squeezed since it stops at 30, a joke.
 
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Greg Schmittgens
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Wichita
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Actually, it could be even more than 13 points. If all four factions tied at the end of the game (3 favored articles each), they would share first place and each debate token would be worth 5 points - 20 points per turn.
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David Hoffman
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Cortlandt Manor
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We scored the game like this the first time we played -- then realized our mistake and re-scored.

It seemed to make debate tokens vastly overpowered.

I think one would need to balance things somewhat or the game will simply become a chase for debate tokens.
 
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Patrick Connolly
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Our group had a similar observation, admittedly after a small number of plays and not yet having one play with the full number of players.

I don't know the history well enough to know if the activities in the debating room overshadowed those on the assembly floor, but from a gaming perspective it seems things might be a bit more interesting if the best heuristic did not involve always pushing hard on the debate tracks before making any real attempt to call a vote.

A few of counters to the "debates first" approach
* a tie for leader on a debate track means no one gets that token for that round, unless the Committee of Leftovers event is in play. And with more players, the likelihood of having enough competition in debates to result in ties at the highest levels seems more likely.
* if one is fortunate enough to have in hand George Washington enough delegates for state voting blocks, one might try to push a vote through quickly before the debates gain energy. However, this approach is still subject to other players using their first play of the round to grab influence over the debating tracks.
* Playing The Bore event will of course greatly slow down debates, but not shut them down completely as other events can still advance a player's influence on the debating tracks.

 
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Melinda Hautala
United States
Lexington
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We also accidentally scored this way the first time we played. We played for the second time last night, and I thought it seemed like there was MORE of a scramble for the debate tokens than in the first game, because the difference was that the tokens in front of you would be worthless if any other player suddenly got one more than you. It actually seemed like people were reluctant to "use up" their delgates on the voting floor, in favor of putting them on the debate track, because if your tokens are suddenly worth zero, then your previous effort there was wasted.
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