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Tom Clancy's Politika» Forums » General

Subject: Politika: is even the BOX usable?!? rss

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Justin Case
United States
Greensboro
North Carolina
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OK, so I bought this game pretty early in my thrifting "career", and somehow I didn't know about the game.... but it was only $2.50, and I'm thinking "Hey, it's Tom Clancy, right?", so I bought it....

Now ordinarily I don't mind spending a buck or two on a game I'm not sure about, either because I don't know the game or because it is taped shut, because you can almost always find useful bits in the box. But this turkey.... the cards don't seem usable or editable for any other purpose or game, the money is too hideous to use in any other game, the board might work for Dippy but I hate Dippy, the pawns might be usable if the stickers come off, though I have no idea what for right now, and somebody please tell me that the baggies full of confetti that I found under the box riser aren't really part of the game.... (yes, yes, I know they really are.... wow).

So I'm thinking I spent my money for 8 dice (but hey, they're good dice, eh?) and a box of dumpster fodder, except that I got to looking at the box itself, which is a nice size, and I got to looking at the riser, which really is pretty nice and has some great storage pits, and that got me to wondering -- has anyone repurposed the Politika box itself for another game, or game set, even one of the print'n'plays?

It's a sure thing nobody is going to even pay postage for this one on eBay, so I sure would like to find some way to use as much of it as possible. Otherwise I just have 8 shiny new dice.... anyone for Decathlon?



 
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Doobermite
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This was my first Eurogame and I didn't even know it. I got the board game a long time ago for 1 penny along with the CD Java game for the computer. I actually kinda liked the game with its rolling for resources and risk like gameplay. But the boardgame components killed it for playing it with real people. The nicest things were the board and the dice. Those itty bitty chits were just useless. There's a great podcast by the designer where he talks about all the things that went right and wrong with Politika. Very interesting to listen to.

http://www.thevintagegamer.net/2006/11/20/tvg-24-tom-clancys...
 
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Justin Case
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I haven't heard the podcast, but I have read the synopsis of it in another thread here. I found it interesting but sad that even the designer admits that the game is flawed, yet even he has no concrete ideas about how to fix it, just vague suggestions. That seems to speak volumes.

If I had some regular gamefriends, I really wouldn't mind hauling this to the table on "Bring Your Bad Game" day, just to give it a go and see what our thoughts were, but I have to admit that my expectations would be very low.

regards,

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Brandon Gillette
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Lawrence
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I, too first played this game as a computer implementation of the board game, and rather liked it.

First off, you're totally right, the componentry sucks. Paper money I think gets a bad rap; it's totally playable. The confetti, however,is awful.

Based on my experience with the computerized version, I decided that this game had some hope. first, I replaced the confetti with colored wood cubes. This game suffers from not having had a wealth of other game mechanics to borrow from when it was designed. The gameplay has some obvious flaws, which in my experience can be house-ruled, given experience with the things that work in lots of other games. Specifically:

1) Faction power fixes: Some faction powers are more powerful than others. Mafia is way over-powered, and Nationalist is way under-powered. This just requires more playtesting. Overpowered abilities can be nerfed while underpowered abilities can be buffed, and there's less tweaking necessary than you might think. If you make the Mafia roll for theft success, Drop the reformer's power to $20,000, and give the nationalist an extra die while challenging wherever an uprising in which they have influence is present, then the factions are reasonably balanced.

2) Player order: Player order makes a big difference (because the last player doesn't need to hold back money for defense, because there will be an income phase after their action), so it needs to change from turn to turn. The easiest way to do this is to randomize it, but you could also peg order to a game condition like largest amount of money goes first (kinda like power grid with city #) so that the player at a money disadvantage is at a position advantage, and vice versa.

3) Variable game end: For reasons mentioned above, the last to act in a close game can always "go for broke" with nothing to lose. If the end of the game is variable, it cuts this strategy, but does not eliminate it as it is kinda fun. The way I do it is that after round 8, roll a d6. A 1 or 2 ends the game. After 9 and 10, a 1-4 ends the game, and after all subsequent rounds, a 1-5 ends the game.

4) Optional Extra: I think the challenge system is a bit vanilla. Buying one more die than your opponent usually guarantees victory (though that advantage drops the more dice are involved). One way to add more interest is to allow players to upgrade a d6 to a d8 for half the cost of an additional d6. This serves to make the "dice quantum" smaller, thus more interesting. So say a challenger buys 3 dice at 20,000 rubels each. The defender has only 30,000, so the challenger assures themselves of a 1d6 advantage (assuming that the defender starts with one die for free, which is common). However, the defender could buy one defending d6 at 20,000 and upgrade it to a d8 for $10,000, which is an inefficient expenditure, but does reduce disadvantage. 18 pips vs 14 pips is a more interesting advantage than 18 vs 12, and of course the challenger could equally inefficiently allocate extra money for a slight advantage in a critical contest. And honestly, who doesn't have a few extra d8s laying around somehwere?
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