Monday, October 26, 2009

Be My Cube Tomato Coalition Buddy

Let me be clear: Die Macher is a good game. It is also a loooonnnnggg game... for a Euro, anyway.

Die Macher is a game of very complex, interlinked/co-dependent strategies, with great theme and a fair amount of tension.

Why don't I look forward to it more?

Why does it fall solidly into the "daunting" category of Euro games for me?

Why does it not leap immediately to the front of the line in terms of being a Euro-masterwork?

I gave it a lot of thought this past weekend, and it suddenly occurs to me right now that it's something that I seldom talk about... because it usually isn't an issue.

It's the "detail work to payoff ratio".

You have to put a lot of fairly detailed effort into planning for and winning a State. Winning a State gets you (potentially) between 15 and 80 points (depending on the state), plus putting a media marker (between 10 and 25 points, depending on what round you're playing), plus solidifying a national issue (between 10 and 25 points, again). The national issue then nets you between 1 and 11 (? - I'm not sure) party membership points, assuming you are able to place a national issue which accords with your party platform.

When you consider the number of manoeuvres which are necessary to gain you victory, as well as the number of manoeuvres which your opponents can execute which will suddenly tank your potential votes from 4 (or more) x 10 party conferences = 40 to 5 (!)... well, it becomes a lot of headache for potentially very little gain.

Of course, someone will no doubt argue, if you plan properly, with strategically placed media control and opinion polls, as well as advance placement of conferences for conversion to votes before issues reduce opinion, you can orchestrate fairly masterful campaigns.

That's true, but what a tangle to get there.

We had what I would assume was a fairly decently played novice-level game last Thursday night. Bharmer played well and Shemp put in an excellent showing for a first time play of Die Macher, considering the complexity.

Mid game scores were very close. Bharmer and I pulled away in the late game, and Bharmer's clinching of the final state election gave him the ability to swap out a national issue and switch out the 25 point issue which I had matched, resulting in a 50 point swing in his favour +(25 points for him, -25 points for me).

It was still a satisfying game - I felt that I had played much more successfully than previous plays, paying much more attention to party membership and saving my best shadow cabinet cards for key states, as well as playing party conferences in advance on states, and converting to votes while the opinion was high.

A good game, and one we should play again soon while the ruleset is fresh in our minds.

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