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I just didn't think this would be fitting in any other forum.
I wanted to share a quick thought about how my first game played out, not in terms of what transpired, but how the game felt.
In the music world - which is what I do for a living, performing - the cliché is that your audience will always remember the beginning of a piece of music, the ending, and how the middle..."felt." I thought this was very true for this game as well. So, here goes:
In the course of 9 (giant) turns of this magnificent game, the first 5 turns are buildup turns. The very beginning was slow going, as my opponent and I were reading the cards like mad men, carefully weighing our options (he was Tricky Dicky and I was that character from the Simpsons with the thick "Bostonian accent" )
After I got the hang of what I was doing, I suddenly felt very proud of myself for being so clever as to figure out ways in which to effectively deal with a hand that was dealt to me that was less than satisfactory. It's all about the "timing" and "order" of cards played. I also realized how excruciatingly important the issues are. This aspect was painful my first game, as I rarely one any. I still managed to keep my opponent from using his momentum markers too much, using my cunning wits. Good job, me!
The debates fell like an intermission to a grander plot. Though, this was one of the most tense-filled "intermission" I've ever had. In the music world, we relish the sacred intermission; it's a chance to reflect, recuperate, and gather our strength to go out and give a great second-half. But in presidential campaigns there is no rest for the weary. I only won a single debate, despite all my planning that I had put into my strategy hand for the round.
Then a funny thing happened, during turns 7 & 8, we played almost at breakneck speed. We were not concerned with stratigizing our last couple of hands. Rather, we were fiercely fighting over the Midwest for most of it, all for a couple/few states. It was as if we caught a second wind. We played through our hands with a burst of air, speed & strength; slugging it out, fist to cuffs over the hearts & minds of America. What made this portion of the game surprising to me was that I think we both thought that these turns were going to have a similar feel of pacing, much like the earlier turns before the debates. But when the board is mostly set up for the final push, you've only got so much time left and it ain't gonna go by any slower. So you do what you gotta do. It was exhilarating.
The election turn felt like we had collapsed in a heap of exhaustion. We applied any persistent events, and carefully tallied up our votes. In the end, Nixon had won because of a persistent event that kept me from claiming the South, unless I was able to "carry" the states. Ouch! All in all, it was terribly fun (if that's not an oxymoron), and I freaking can't wait to play this again.
Thanks for taking the time to read. I hope you enjoyed it.
"The Passionate Yet Judicious Gamer"