Before Bruce and I get into our write-up about 1960: Making of the President, there are some basic terms and concepts that should be explained. We’ll get into more sophisticated stuff in context. If you want to read the rules, you can find them here.
Each player plays five cards in sequential phases until the end of a turn. For the first five turns, the sixth card is placed in reserve for the debate minigame (turn six). For turns seven and eight, two cards are placed in reserve for the endgame campaigning. Each card as both a CP value and an event.
The goal of the game is, naturally, to win the election which means winning electoral votes. You get the electoral votes for every state where you have the most support. Only one person can have a chit in a state at a time, so all you need is a single counter in, say, Ohio, to win that state. For the course of the game, this will be referred to as leading.
Carrying a state is something more significant. This is when you have a lead of four chits or more. Why would you do this if you only need one to win? Because if your opponent wants to break into a state you are carrying, he/she will have to make a support check to gain influence.
What is a support check? Instead of simply spending the number campaign points that are listed on a card, a support check forces you to randomly draw chits from the campaign bag. You only get to spend those that match your color. For example, if a card is worth 3 CP, you have to draw 3 chits and use only those that represent your candidate. Support checks are only used in three conditions:
1) The opponent is carrying a state.
2) The opponent’s candidate marker is in the state, and
3) The end game campaign phase.
States that have no chits in them at the end of the campaign are considered tied. Ties are broken either by their starting color (Red for Nixon, Blue for Kennedy) or by the presence of endorsements in a region. A favorable endorsement breaks all ties in the favor of the person who controls it.
Momentum is an important concept to understand. Momentum markers are gained and lost throughout the game through events and through controlling the issue track. These markers can be used to activate friendly events on your opponent’s cards. For example, if Bruce plays a card for campaign points, but it has an event that gives me good stuff, I can spend momentum to trigger the event. He can, in turn, pre-empt my trigger but it would cost him two momentum. Momentum fades at the end of every turn, so you can’t really hoard it. But you do need to spend it smartly.
Issues, like states, are controlled by campaign chits, with the caveat that it costs double to place a second chit on a single issue in a phase. Controlling issues wins you endorsements and/or momentum. Since this track is both part of and separate from the campaign count, it can be hard to master.
One to Turn One.