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1960: The Making of a President TURN THREE

February 12th, 2008 by Troy Goodfellow · 1 Comment · AAR, AAR1960, Board Games

Turn One

Turn Two


Phase 1

-2 blue Kennedy Initiative, Nixon first (11 to 12)

NIXON 1: Citizens for Nixon-Lodge / Event: +1 to all CP for turn (+2 rest cube) no change

KENNEDY 1: Fatigue Sets In 4CP: move to Midwest, +1 WI, +1 MN, +1 OH (to zero) (do not activate Event) +12 311-226

Bruce: Each side has a card which increases its CP per card for the entire turn. (Kennedy has two.) However, they aren’t useful if your hand is such that you’ll be playing a lot of events. Fortunately, the draw set me up nicely to use the +1 CP per card event, and I’ll use it here.

Troy: The CP bonus card is a major hurt. The extra point will mean lots more trouble for me down the road. I decide to make a play for the Midwest, because there are a lot of big states there. I am getting more confident in my Eastern lead.

Phase 2

NIXON 2: Puerto Rican Bishops 3(4) CP (+1 rest): move to Midwest, +1 WI (zero), +1 MI (zero), +1 IL (zero) +12 238-299

KENNEDY 2: Catholic Support / Event: +2 NY (zero), +2 PA (1 Ken), +1 MI, +1 OH, +1 NJ +102 401-136 Whoa! Biggest Kennedy lead of game?

Bruce: The Midwest has three states with 20 or more electoral votes. These, plus New York and Pennsylvania, are the most contested states in the game, because they are adjacent and offer the most cost-effective use of CP. (Ohio, Illinois, and Michigan offer 72 electoral votes with no travel costs, and are one CP away in travel from 77 more.) So I’m going to spend some time laying groundwork here.

Troy: The support of America’s Catholics has given me the biggest lead I’ll probably have, but at the time I don’t notice. For future games, it would be a good idea to keep a running tally of Electoral Votes, but we don’t actually do this in real time. So I never know how big the lead is. This is probably a good thing, since the fear of losing is what keeps me on edge all the time. Knowing that I have a 265 point lead would probably convince me that I could play it safe. Bruce’s efforts to wear me down in the Midwest may eventually pay off, since he keeps that +1 to all his cards.

Phase 3

NIXON 3: Profiles in Courage 2(3) CP (+2 rest): +1 MI (zero), +2 OH (1 Nix) exempt +25 161-376

KENNEDY 3: Gathering Momentum SOUTH 4CP: +1 MI, +1 KY, +1 WI, +1 IL +22 398-139

Bruce: And again.

Troy: I already have a lot of support in the South, so it makes no sense to play the Momentum card event while Bruce keeps chipping away at the Midwest. If I can keep him from using that +1 to much advantage, I should be able to come out of this turn ahead.

Phase 4

NIXON 4: Rising Food Prices 3(4) CP (+1 rest): +1 WI (zero), +1 MI (zero), +1 KY (zero), +1 IL (zero) +22 161-376

KENNEDY 4: Political Capital 2CP: +1 WI, +1 MI (+2 rest) +12 388-149

Bruce: If there aren’t any cubes in a state, the final tiebreaker is undecided voters. However, those undecided voters will swing to whichever candidate has an endorsement in the region. Because each extra support cube in a state above and beyond the one it took to win the state is essentially wasted, the most efficient way to win a region is by having no cubes in any state and having that region’s endorsement. Sure, it costs CP to win endorsements just like it takes CP to place cubes, but the endorsements are much more cost-effective. The downside to that is that they don’t do any good unless a state has no cubes at all. In order to do that, you have to keep your opponent from building up any cubes, which eventually is very frustrating as he doesn’t seem to gain any traction.

Troy: That’s Bruce’s Efficiency Theory of 1960 and “frustrating” is right. Back and forth, back and forth. As I look back on the game, I begin to wonder if, in fact, it doesn’t make more sense to carry big states whenever you can, forcing your opponent to either do a support check or look to greener pastures. Because the back and forth of +1/-1 favors a lot of randomness in card draws. It does amplify the issue track, though, since those endorsements become crucial.

Phase 5

NIXON 5: Nixon’s Knee 4(5) CP: +2 Def, +1 Econ, +1 Civ no change

KENNEDY 5: Henry Cabot Lodge 4CP: -2 Def (3 pts à 0), +1 Econ (à zero) no change

Nixon: Event — +2 Def (2Nix), +2 MA (zero) -1 momentum no change

Bruce: I’m not sure why Troy played Henry Cabot Lodge on the Defense track, since the event itself will wipe out that placement. So I activate it, and Nixon is once again the Defense issue leader. As he should be!

However, if you count the electoral votes this turn, even with three straight phases of campaigning actions, Troy still gained 89 electoral votes this turn, and is further ahead now than he was at the beginning of the game. As Nixon, that’s ok, as long as you are getting endorsements, because changing the tiebreakers is huge, as I mentioned above.

Troy: Stupid play on my part to end the match. I waste my CP taking him out of defense and economy, but then he activates the event (HCL, who I had discarded the turn before) which gives him back the defense issue points and weakens me in Mass.

I come out of the turn looking OK, but I don’t like how the deck is shaping up. He has more rest points in the bag than me, I have to add a GOP card to my strategy deck (Adlai Stevenson being a tool) and Bruce has more endorsements and media stuff going on. My lead in the East is shallow – both NY and Mass could go either way. Because of this “one is enough” strategy, it doesn’t take a lot to move a state from a plus to a minus.

Which makes sense for 1960. Or 2000. Or some states in 2004. I wonder if there isn’t a way to reflect state dominance in an election game that would still make things interesting. Either you end up having people target the big states (like we’re doing) or just the few states that actually make a difference. I guess that the big problem with election games is that they still don’t capture a sense of an “electorate”. Of course, this game – like all boards games – abstracts all kinds of stuff. Twilight Struggle didn’t have a lot to say about Freedom either.

MOMENTUM: Nixon 0, Kennedy 1 no decay

Issues: +1 momentum Civil Rights, nothing Economy, +1 momentum, +1 endorse (WEST) no change Nixon for Defense

Issue decay: Civil Right to zero, Defense to 1 Nixon

Campaign Strategy (Nixon): Heartland of America – 3CP Def
Campaign Strategy (Kennedy): Stevenson Loyalists – 2CP Def

Rest: +2 Kennedy, +6 Nixon

Total 13 Kennedy, 18 Nixon

End of Turn 3: 388-149 +89

On to Turn Four


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