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Subject: Thoughts after one game rss

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Brian E
United States
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I recently played my first game on The final score was

Sherman 23 < me
Paterson 21
Madison 17
Pinckney Jr 15


- I moved fourth, and I also made the game's final move (which was to play Washington). I didn't consider moving last to be a big disability.

- I had only 3 IM the whole game. Madison finished with 5, and the other two had 6. I probably should have had more than 3, but there is a PODR and you don't need tons of IM to win. In this game, the many moves my opponents spent getting IM, I spent scoring.

- The game is not broken. The Washington card is powerful, but there are downsides to his use and cards that counteract him. These include PA Morris R F, which bans others from using Washington; PA Ingersoll AF, which bans Events, including Washington; and DE Basset SS, which often steals Washington particularly if he ever becomes marked. With five VA F Delegates, it's hard for Washington to become marked, but late in a round or if a player has multiple VA F Delegates in hand, it can happen.

In my opinion, Ingersoll is a remarkably powerful card on par with Washington, completely changing player options for the rest of the turn, and there is no card to counteract Ingersoll. NY Yates AF can be another remarkably disruptive card. Bottom line is that Washington has to be managed, but he is not all-powerful.

I'd held Washington from late in round 3, when play of a VA F by Paterson removed uncertainty about Washington's location, enabling me to immediately steal it from Madison with Basset (the second time I stole a card from Madison). Entering Round 4, I was tied for the lead, but lost the tied position upon Paterson's first move; my move put me in the lead but then, I'd already moved. (For Washington to be game-winning in this situation, you have to have the lead when your turn starts, not when it ends).

I soon lost the lead. Round 4 was lengthy and clinging to Washington definitely made it harder to compete. Worse, I'd also had to cling to Ingersoll for a time (who is always a marked card), lest Washington be made unplayable through someone else using Ingersoll, and Pinckney Jr had already locked up 2 AF Debate tokens, making AF Debate a waste of cards. If I recall correctly I had to Snub Delegates after the deck turned over. Eventually I was able to create a PD situation in the SS debate category where no one stepped in to block me (to do so would, at best, probably have taken us both down and given the game to one of the other two).

In no sense was Washington a ticket to quick, easy victory. Washington had downsides. He took up space in my hand and generally reduced room to maneuver. I'd go so far as to say that if the Round 4 Assembly Article had been F rather than AF, I might not have won (or, I might have had to abandon Washington), because AF Articles are often an uphill battle for bonus points, which helped me because I was clinging to cards and not in a good position to play to Assembly. The AF Article limited the ease with which my opponents could outscore me despite effectively having more cards in their hands (because they weren't clinging to Washington), and reduced the cost to me of not having a dynamic hand.

- Debate points matter and I almost lost because I realized it too late. Debate is worth between 14 and 20 points at the end, depending on the distribution of Resolved Articles. Do not neglect cards that give you +2 in debate. These cards are valuable, and merely playing one can win the token in one blow. The most valuable such card might be SC Butler LS (he was my first move in Round 4 and ultimately netted me 4 VP) because of the paucity of LS Delegates.

Paterson was the debate king. Helpfully for him, his debate investment made him look like he had fewer points than he really did. This can also be useful when drawing NC Blount AF, which fortunately he never did, or I probably would have lost.

- Your turn matters. Every turn is a kind of risk-adjusted investment/consumption decision with an opportunity cost. Do I spend my Planner and my turn to get an IM, or do something else and preserve that flexibility? Take care not to be put in a position where your turn is worthless.

- Articles are not equal in their ability to pass, and thus, in their ability to generate bonus points on the Yea side of Assembly.

F Delegates are ubiquitous; F Articles are numerous; the congested rush to vote Yea in clusters and groups on a F article can rack up points quickly.

AF Delegates are rare; AF Articles are rare; one state (NH) cannot vote Yea on an AF Article. Similarly, LS Articles are a poor source of bonus points, with two states (CT, NJ) only able to vote Yea with their Planners and only five states having LS Delegates at all. (It's also true that only five states have SS Delegates, but they are more numerous and are distributed more favorably for scoring in clusters, while no states are precluded from SS voting).

- This game is fun and interesting, and I will be playing it often. I learned a lot I didn't know about the Constitutional Convention, and it's cool how there are 12 Articles with alternative language, showing what the Constitution might have looked like had different decisions been made. What a unique game.
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