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Subject: Turn Structure in Divided Republic rss

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Alex Bagosy
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I thought this might be interesting to some of you who are intrigued by the game. This is a general overview of a the way that a turn will work in a standard game of DR.

CARDS AND HAND SIZE

A standard game turn of Divided Republic begins with all players in control of seven cards, except on the first turn, when the players begin with eight. In a typical turn, a player can expect to expend all of his cards but one, which may be kept until the next turn, or discarded.

However, certain card effects and game events may make it possible that one player will have used all her cards, before the turn is over, since some cards are played as "Reactions", that is, they are played immediately in response to a card played by another player. A very typical example of this would be the card "Buchanan Veto." "Buchanan Veto" immediately blocks the play of the "Kansas Statehood" and "Nevada Statehood" cards, but using that card means that the player in question has used his card out of normal turn sequence.

PARTY ADVANTAGE: Republicans - The Republicans always receive one extra card on each turn of Divided Republic. This reflects their superior planning and organization.

ORDER OF PLAY

Now, the players must determine the order of play. Normally, this is resolved in order of Momentum: the Party with the current lead in Electoral Votes, as indicated on the Momentum table, takes its move first, followed by the other parties, in terms of Momentum order. If there is only one Party with Momentum, the game moves in a clockwise fashion from that player. If no Momentum has been achieved by any Party at the beginning of a turn, play always begins with the Constitutional Unionist player and moves clockwise from there.

WHAT CAN I DO?

On a player's part of the turn, that player can essentially perform four actions on behalf of his Party. He may...

* Play a card to perform a Campaign Action in a state or states.
* Play a card for the Event.
* Play a card as a Platform Speech.
* Play a card as a Regional Poll.

PLAYING A CARD AS A CAMPAIGN ACTION

Every card in Divided Republic has a numerical value of 2, 3, or 4. This represents the power of that card when used to "Campaign" in a specific state or states. By utilizing the card for this purpose, a player may add two, three, or four PCFs (Political Control Factors) to the targeted area(s).

To control a state, one must meet that state's Political Control Requirement (or PCR) AND control a PLURALITY (that is, more PCFs than any other Party) in that state. So, for example, the state of Rhode Island has a PCR of 3. That means that a Party must have at least 3 PCFs in the state of Rhode Island in order to meet the state PCR, but that the Party must also have MORE PCFs than any other Party. As such, if two states control 3 PCFs in Rhode Island, that isn't enough for either of them to control the state's political machine: at least one of them is going to have to control 4 PCFs.

Some states, however, are Strongholds. This means that they are states which are, for whatever reason, deeply influenced by one particular candidate during this election. If, at any time, there is a tie for control of a Stronghold state, and the Party controlling that Stronghold has at least ONE PCF in the state, then that state is said to be controlled by the Party which has a Stronghold there! All Parties begin the game with one stronghold. The Constitutional Unionists have Tennessee, the Northern Democrats have Missouri, the Republicans have Missouri, and the Southern Democrats have Kentucky. Note that this doesn't mean that they will automatically win these states, but having a Stronghold therein can be a significant advantage if properly utilized.


Normally, the cost of PCF placement is paid one for one. That is to say, placing one PCF in a state costs one point from the card's total value. However, this is mitigated by two modifiers:

+1 to cost if placing in a state already controlled by another Party
+1 to cost if placing PCFs in states located in separate Regions

So, if our hypothetical player were to place his PCFs in Rhode Island, and Rhode Island was controlled by another Party, he'd have to pay one extra point for the action. In addition, if he were to move from Rhode Island (a Northeastern State, in game terms) to place any additional PCFS OUTSIDE the Northeast region, he'd also be hit with additional cost.

PARTY ADVANTAGE: Southern Democrats - The Southern Democrats have "Radicalism" as a Party advantage. In game terms, this means that they ignore the +1 modifier when placing PCFs in multiple regions!


PLAYING A CARD FOR THE EVENT

A player can also use a card to activate the Event discussed thereupon. It's worth noting that, unlike many card driven games, there are NO mandatory events in Divided Republic, and it's entirely up to the players to determine which events are played, and which events are not played.

When played as an Event, the events depicted on the card are then resolved immediately. Let us take, as an example, the "COAL SHORTAGE*" card. Coal Shortage tells the players that, if the event is played, a target Party selected by the playing card must select a region to which that Party must restrict its Campaign Actions for the rest of the turn. No placing of PCFs outside the selected Region, using the Campaign Action option! The asterisk (*) is an indicator that the card, once played, is removed from the game, and will not be reshuffled. The event has occurred, and will not occur again. There are, of course, multiple occurrences of some events.

PLAYING A PLATFORM SPEECH

A player can also play the card as a Platform Speech. There are a limited number of Platform Speeches in the game. Each Speech represents a prepared political statement circulated by your loyal stump speakers and supporters. However, folks get bored easily: they can only listen to one speech for so long before it no longer has the same impact it once had. As such, while you may always make a Platform Speech if you possess the proper card, you may NEVER make the same Platform Speech again until you've gone through the full cycle of Platform Speeches.

If the Southern Democratic player used the Platform Speech "Abolition," for example, she couldn't then play Abolition again until she'd gone through every other Platform Speech in the game, at which point her campaign has come up with a new speech on the subject, and the material can be trotted out to an admiring public.

Platform Speeches are used fairly simply. One selects a Platform Speech and then targets a region and a Party. A Platform Speech can be made FOR or AGAINST -ANY- player controlled Party in the game. So, for example, the Southern Democrat could make her speech on Abolition about her own Party's goals, OR, she could make the speech on behalf of, or against, any other party.

Regardless of target and intent, the process remains the same. A D6 is rolled, and it is modified by a number assigned to the specific region in which the Speech is given. So, for example, with the Abolition Speech, the Lower South has a modifier of 2. That means that, when giving a Platform Speech about Abolition in the Lower South, a player adds two to the result of her d6 roll, resulting in numbers between 3 and 8. Not half bad.

Once the speech is given, the targeted Party either ADDS to its PCFs in the region, if the speech is positive, or SUBTRACTS from its PCFs in the region, if the speech is negative. The targeted party always selects the states within the region from which these are added or subtracted. (But, see the Northern Democratic Party Advantage, below.) PCFs are added using the modifiers mentioned above for Campaign Actions.

PARTY ADVANTAGE: Northern Democrats - The Northern Democrats have at their disposal Stephen Douglas, one of the most gifted orators of his age. Douglas was a brilliant speaker, and often wrote and performed his own material, instead of relying solely upon stump speakers (which was the fashion at the time.) As a result, when the Northern Democratic player targets another Party for a negative Platform Speech, he may then tell that player which states that he must remove his PCFs from. ("I don't like your lead in Georgia, Gregg. Remove all four PCFs from there.")

REGIONAL POLLS

Finally, a player may opt to play a Regional Polling card. Very simply, this is a card linked to a specific Region, which allows the immediate tallying of support among voters for each candidate within the states found in that Region. Polling was a very new science in 1861, so much of this has to do with back room meetings, the sales of "official Party cigars," and other such activities, rather than always referring to a formal survey process.

Regional Polls are important because they are the only means during the game during which Momentum may be lost or gained, and the only means during the game with which a state may be "Locked."

So, why play the cards before the General Election?

Momentum, as I have already mentioned, is important for determining turn order. It might be in your advantage to change your position in line, and sometimes that may mean INTENTIONALLY targeting regions in which your position is LOW, so that you are able to move later in a turn!

Locking is the process by which a state is essentially dominated by the political machinery of a specific Party. Once locked, a state is no longer capable of being modified in terms of PCFs. No more PCFs may be added or subtracted, and the PCFs played in the state are removed for use elsewhere. It is usually more likely in smaller states than larger states, but it is nevertheless theoretically possible to do so in any one of the states in the Union. Locking a state is accomplished by controlling DOUBLE the state's PCR requirement, and having plurality in that state. So, remember Rhode Island? Locking Rhode Island would require six PCFs, but it may actually require seven or more if another Party has also doubled the state's PCR number. Locking, however, can ONLY be accomplished during polls! So, this is another reason you may wish to play a Regional Polling card - to lock down a critical state and move on to other battlefields.

New York, with 36 Electoral Votes, is highly unlikely to be locked. But what about an important state like Indiana? 13 Electoral Votes is a mighty prize, and it'd be nice to have those on election night, wouldn't it?

PARTY ADVANTAGE: Constitutional Unionists - The Constitutional Unionists have small numbers of supporters scattered in the border states, and in the Pacific West, and they can occasionally rally them for support. In game terms, this means that the Constitutional Unionist player is automatically assumed to have a Stronghold in any non-Stronghold state located within the Mid-Atlantic, Pacific West, or Upper South during Regional or Final Polling!

PASSING

A Party may always choose to pass. To do so, however, the player must discard a card from her hand, if she has any remaining.

PERSONAL APPEARANCES

During the 19th century, a candidate did not "run" for office; he "stood" for office, as campaigning was seen to be beneath the character of the office to which he aspired. As such, candidates did not, as a general rule of thumb, make their own speeches (even if they wrote them), nor did they openly discuss the campaign. By the 1860s, this practice was already beginning to fall away, as several elections had seen increased instances of candidates making "unscheduled appearances" at various rallies and occasionally delivering speeches, even though doing so was still considered to be highly unethical.

During the Election of 1860, three of the four candidates made personal appearances. After nomination, only Abraham Lincoln remained aloof from this, receiving private visitors at his law offices in Springfield Illinois, but steadfastly refusing to break protocol.

In game terms, all of the Parties but the Republicans are permitted to make ONE Personal Appearance per game. A Personal Appearance may be used at any time to perform one of the following actions:

* To cancel another player's Campaign Action
* To double the PCF value of a card played as a Campaign Action
* To prevent the play of a card, AND
* To cause any die roll in the game to be re-rolled.

One card, "Speaking Tour", can be played as an event to allow every Party to make one additional Personal Appearance; this is the only means that Lincoln may use to make a Personal Appearance over the course of the game.

CARD PLAY CONTINUES

Once a player has selected and played a card, play now moves on to the next player in turn order. Play proceeds around the table until all players have performed six actions. Then, each player chooses to discard or keep his/her remaining cards, and draws up to the hand limit for the next turn.

Play continues in this fashion until all seven turns have been resolved. At the end of the seventh turn, the General Election is held, and the Regional Polling cards are used as a guideline to resolve final control of the states. The winner will be the Party which has collected 152+ Electoral Votes!

OR...

If there is a tie, and more than one Party has achieved 152+ OR no Party has achieved this number, the Election is thrown to the House.

The Party that controls the most states then wins the presidency!

OR...

If even this fails to occur, then something rather predictable happens. The Election goes to the Senate where, dominated by the Vice President, the Electoral College will immediately go to Vice President John Cabell Breckinridge and the Southern Democrats win!


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Jason Carr
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Wow, thanks for the great description! I can tell that a lot of time has gone into how to explain the game - I feel like I could sit down and play it right now!
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Aaron Cappocchi
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Sol Invictus wrote:

WHAT CAN I DO?

On a player's part of the turn, that player can essentially perform four actions on behalf of his Party. He may...

* Play a card to perform a Campaign Action in a state or states.
* Play a card for the Event.
* Play a card as a Platform Speech.
* Play a card as a Regional Poll.


To be clearer, this section could definitely say "perform one of four actions" or "one of the following four...". The way it's written right now could lead some to believe that you can play four actions or even four cards on a single turn.
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Cristian Cano
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agentzen wrote:
Sol Invictus wrote:

WHAT CAN I DO?

On a player's part of the turn, that player can essentially perform four actions on behalf of his Party. He may...

* Play a card to perform a Campaign Action in a state or states.
* Play a card for the Event.
* Play a card as a Platform Speech.
* Play a card as a Regional Poll.


To be clearer, this section could definitely say "perform one of four actions" or "one of the following four...". The way it's written right now could lead some to believe that you can play four actions or even four cards on a single turn.


You're right but I believe that not always is possible to take this 4 actions, because there are some cards that allows you to make a Platform Speech but it's factible that you don't have any Platform Speech card in a whole turn...
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Alex Bagosy
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bravucon wrote:
agentzen wrote:
Sol Invictus wrote:

WHAT CAN I DO?

On a player's part of the turn, that player can essentially perform four actions on behalf of his Party. He may...

* Play a card to perform a Campaign Action in a state or states.
* Play a card for the Event.
* Play a card as a Platform Speech.
* Play a card as a Regional Poll.


To be clearer, this section could definitely say "perform one of four actions" or "one of the following four...". The way it's written right now could lead some to believe that you can play four actions or even four cards on a single turn.


You're right but I believe that not always is possible to take this 4 actions, because there are some cards that allows you to make a Platform Speech but it's factible that you don't have any Platform Speech card in a whole turn...


Indeed, thus the reason for my choice of words. However, this is an informal introduction, after all. The rules themselves are a little more clear on the subject.:)

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