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Subject: The Electoral Vote Magic Number Question (Rule 11.0) rss

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wendigo song
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The conditions for victory are winning a simple majority of the Electoral College. The magic number in 1860 is 152+ electoral votes out of 303. This was actually an issue in the last game we played.

Let me set the stage: My friend is the only person in the area that was a kickstarter backer and the only person that we know that owns the game. As such he always mandates that he play Lincoln. On the first turn, for his first action of the game he got the card that allowed him a personal appearance and played it for the event. He did not use any PCF for the Pacific West and loaded up in NY and IL. Meanwhile Bell (who I played) & Breckinridge used the turn to solidify their positions in the Upper South and Lower South respectively. Douglas got several speech cards and used the turn to make 3 speeches. This Douglas was a great die roller and managed to double the PCR on the states in the Pacific West and played the regional polling card for the Pacific West locking the states in that region. As his last move, Douglas used his final speech card to begin making a play for the Mid West.

Starting turn 2, Lincoln played German Immigrants and had a hand full of 4 PCF cards. On one action he played a 4 PCF card which made it 8 points because of the German Immigrants card and doubled it to 16 using his personal appearance. Before we knew it he had doubled the PCR for Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin. Douglas was unable to do anything to stop him. As soon as Lincoln had doubled the PCR for those states in a truly nightmare scenario for all the other players Lincoln played the Regional polling card and locked all 5 states. Breckinridge further solidified his position in the Lower South and Bell got a strong hold in the Upper South and began making a move to the Mid Atlantic. By the time Douglas realized that he was fighting a losing battle in the Mid West it was too late and he ended up being the net loser for the turn after those 5 states were lost.

From turn 3 on Douglas, Breckinridge, and Bell had an overt agreement that we would concentrate on certain states and not compete against each other directly. The deal only lasted till the end of turn 4 where mutual mistrust caused this to be a free for all again. Lincoln as a response to that temporary agreement focused on a few key states. At the end of the game, Lincoln had achieved exactly 153 votes by winning: NY, PA, MA, KY, MO, OH, IN, IL, IA, & WI. As Lincoln was about to celebrate his triumph, I took great pleasure in informing him that he had not in fact won. shake

Immediately Lincoln pulled out his iPhone and did a quick recount confirming his 153 vote total to which I used the opportunity to tell him that since Kansas and Nevada were states in the union, that the magic number he needed to win had changed. Lincoln threw a fit and parsed through the rulebook as I informed him that there were 6 more electoral votes in play and the magic number had become 155+ and thus the game had to go to the House of Representatives. After about 3 mintues where we laughed at Lincoln for his premature celebration, subsequent fit, and vociferous protest we sent it to the House of Representatives. Breckinridge ended up carrying 11 states and won the day as Lincoln kept protesting that he had been robbed because the rules specifically indicated that the electoral total was 152+ votes. I totaled the electoral votes for all the states and they totaled 309 with Nevada and Kansas to which a simple majority is 155 and showed Lincoln the 12th Amendment. An extremely angry Lincoln informed us that we had cheated, packed up his game, and left.

Afterwards his reaction caused us to question our ruling, but in the end, without the benefit of being able to re-read the rules (because he took them) we decided that we played it correctly. So after that entire summary, my question is whether the magic number is supposed to change when the new states are brought into the union. Logically it should. If so does that mean that the magic numbers are:

33 states with Kansas/Nevada not part of the union: 152+ out of 303 Electoral Votes
34 states with Kansas or Nevada part of the Union: 154+ out of 306 Electoral Votes
35 States with Kansas and Nevada part of the Union: 155+ out of 309 Electoral Votes

Sorry for the long set up, but I when we did a post mortem on the game the next day we thought that before I posted the question here I should put it in context.
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Federico
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Actually, there are 304 votes available without Kansas or Nevada. So, contrary to the rules, 152 votes aren't enough to win (edit: a 152-152 tie is indeed possible, if one controls all of NE and MW plus Missouri, against someone controlling the other 18 states).

So I'd say that to win you need 153 out of 304 (33 states), 154 out of 307 (34 states), or 156 out of 310 (35 states).

By the way, if he wants to stick to the rules you could tell him that he cannot choose Lincoln, but parties are chosen randomly at the beginning
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wendigo song
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Federico, where does the discrepancy come in the electoral vote total? When I counted my total was 303. No one verified my vote total so I will accept that I could be wrong and since I don't own the game I have no way of verifying.
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Steven
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It was brought up by this post in the recent errata thread. We are still waiting on a ruling.
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wendigo song
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So I guess I did calculate it wrong despite going by the map. surprise
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Federico
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harlemsushi wrote:
Federico, where does the discrepancy come in the electoral vote total? When I counted my total was 303. No one verified my vote total so I will accept that I could be wrong and since I don't own the game I have no way of verifying.

I have counted them in the past (at the end of the game to check that we had counted all the states) and got 304, but thinking I might have miscounted I checked again before posting.
An easy way to see that the total is even is to count how many states have an odd number of electors; if they are even, the sum must be even. I have counted 16 of them (18 with Kansas and Nevada), so I'm fairly sure that the total is even.

@Steven: nice, that solves everything, I had missed that post.
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Steven
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harlemsushi wrote:
So I guess I did calculate it wrong despite going by the map. surprise


You were not wrong. Either there was a production mistake and New York electoral votes should be 35 (historical) or the total needs to be 153+ votes. That is ignoring the Kansas and Nevada additions.

I assume it is the former (making you right).

I also agree that creation of Nevada or Kansas as states would increase the electoral total.
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Timothy Goddard
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You know, I wondered about this when I first read the rules. It seemed obvious to me that the EVs needed to win would change if new states were added, but the rules sure do hammer home 152 as the magic number, with no mention (that I remember) of what to do when more states are added. Seems obvious, but it really should be spelled out in the rules. It's unfortunate that it caused such a problem in your game.

Kudos to Lincoln for coming so close to an elusive electoral college victory--but anti-kudos for storming away.
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Alex Bagosy
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timgoddard wrote:
You know, I wondered about this when I first read the rules. It seemed obvious to me that the EVs needed to win would change if new states were added, but the rules sure do hammer home 152 as the magic number, with no mention (that I remember) of what to do when more states are added. Seems obvious, but it really should be spelled out in the rules. It's unfortunate that it caused such a problem in your game.

Kudos to Lincoln for coming so close to an elusive electoral college victory--but anti-kudos for storming away.


This is an interesting situation. I'll address it in the errata thread (wasn't made aware of it, or I would have answered before now.) I shall get to it shortly.

-Alex
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