30 August 2009

Die Macher, Grün edition

Went in to Sub City on Friday to buy a birthday present for a friend, and while there came across possibly the geekiest* board game in the history of the known universe, 'Die Macher', a game of German regional elections. From wikipedia:
"The game is based on the German electoral system and each player takes the role of one of five political parties (in the 2006 edition, the CDU/CSU, FDP, SPD, Greens, and Die Linke). Parties score points based on seats won in seven state (Land) elections, the size of their national party base, the amount to which they control the national media, and how well their party platform aligns with national opinion.

Each state election is a "mini game" on its own. Each state has its own interests (such as "do we support higher taxes, or not?"), and a party will do better if its platform aligns with the local concerns. Players can deploy a limited number of "party meetings" (groups of grassroots activists) to a state; the more they have there, the more votes they will generate when the election is resolved. "Shadow Cabinet" cards, representing influential party officials, can be used to perform some special actions, and each party tracks its "trend" (favorability rating) in the state using a sliding scale. When the election is held, each party scores votes based on the formula (trend + interest alignment)* (number of meetings). A maximum score is 50, and parliamentary seats (victory points) are awarded based on this score and the state's actual number of seats in parliament. The seven states are chosen at random from the sixteen Länder of Germany, so some elections will be more influential than others. Players can modify their party’s' platform and by controlling the local media can also affect what the state is concerned about.

Winning the local election allows the party to advance their media control to the national level and to help outline the national issues list. Players see the elections developing in advance and can apply their resources to the current election or upcoming ones, adding to the difficult decision making. During each state election, parties can agree to, or be forced into, coalitions, and share in any victory. Parties must also decide whether or not they will accept contributions from special interests with the possibility of alienating their grassroots donor base."
I am already hard at work on the Irish edition, where all the pieces are kept in a brown paper bag, players have the option of passing their seats on to their children, and going into coalition with Fianna Fail results in the removal from the game of your party at the next election.

Until that's done you can bide your time with this NAMA Downfall video, originally brought to my attention by, surprisingly, the Green Party Press Office on Twitter , showing the party still has a sense of humour. While it raised the heckles of a few who accused the party of mocking the electorate, it brought a smile to my face and a welcome reminder that if we can't stand back and laugh at ourselves what's the point of anything really.

* and by 'geekiest' I mean 'something that I must possess instantly'



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