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Subject: Locking States rss

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wendigo song
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How viable of a strategy is it to attempt to lock up smaller states early on while other players are vying for control of larger states? Is this a viable way to win or are players likely to attempt to thwart this approach. Additionally would this strategy work better with one candidate than another?
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Alex Bagosy
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harlemsushi wrote:
How viable of a strategy is it to attempt to lock up smaller states early on while other players are vying for control of larger states? Is this a viable way to win or are players likely to attempt to thwart this approach. Additionally would this strategy work better with one candidate than another?


Took me a while to get to this, and I apologize for that.

It is certainly a viable strategy to try to luck up certain small states. While I have seen it used by all parties, it seems to me that the parties that benefit most from it are the two that begin with their holdings closest to states with relatively small PCRs - specifically, the Constitutional Unionists and the Southern Democrats. Whilst it is possible for anybody to win by pursuing a small state strategy, these guys in particular have plenty of such states in their "back yard," so to speak, and really have the incentive to go after them early, particularly as many Republican and Northern Democratic Players will be looking to shore up the larger prizes in the Northeast and the Middle West.

There are two weaknesses to such a strategy, however:

1. Because their are no mandatory events in Divided Republic, it's entirely possible that you may find a situation whereby few polls will be played. Every player who tries the game seems to have a different opinion on them. Some will tell me quite frankly that polls seem to be a waste of time; others will tell me that they believe polls are critical to making wins really "stick" with the locking mechanism. I think turn order is equally important, but your mileage may vary, particularly depending upon the party you play.

Anyway, the point here is that you can really only count on locking states when you play the poll in which they will be locked. Other players may well play such polls, but ultimately, if you have the poll and choose not to play it, you have thrown away the opportunity and it may not come up again.

2. Locking a state, even a small state, takes a lot of work. Consider the case of Texas. Worth 4 Electoral Votes, but sometimes worth locking up depending upon the situation. With a PCR of two, it requires four, plus plurality, to be locked. It could, potentially, end up being a huge drain for points best spent elsewhere, however, particularly as the margin of victory is so slim in Texas where, conversely, a leader must have at least 14 PCFs to lock New York, meaning that the opportunities to lock will be fewer and far between there.

There are those who will use that same logic to defend locking up the small states, however, since they will argue that the smaller states are too chaotic and easy to lose control of. Certainly, before the locking mechanic was invented by Mike Sterling (and it was quite a bit of inspiration on his part), such states could be even more chaotic, such that it was sometimes -impossible- to control certain states for any meaningful period of time.

So, the question is, is the energy worth the payout in a strategy to lock up the small states? Ultimately, I think it really depends upon each game session, which I would proudly chalk up as a success (variable games every time = lots of replays, which is a quality I look for in games), rather than a weakness in the design.

-Alex
 
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Kurt Rompot
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Is it possible to lock a state which designated as another party's stronghold?

I'm not sure this situation would ever happen but it still made me wonder if it is allowed.
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john morrison
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As best as I can tell, yes it is possible to gain a lock on an opponent's stronghold. The rules only state that the party whose stronghold it is only wins if there is a tie in PCFs (hence no locking in any case) or in the Final Poll - it is therefore quite possible to lock a stronghold during a Regional Poll.
 
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