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I've completed the York Council election now. I'm doing Blackpool Council next, no surprise there, but after that, that will be the last of the council elections for a while.

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York 2003

Others (including Treas) will have read many of my comments on scenarios before. I have some pet peeves;

Pet Peeve 1: Wonky pictures

What is it about some scenario designers editing tools that gives us pictures of party leaders that are either squashed horizontally or vertically.

Pet Peeve 2: More than 4

Theoryspark in their 'wisdom' designed their game for 4 parties. Any more than 4 and you have to keep scrolling back and forth to see what is going on.

Fortunately this doesn't matter too much in this scenario as the 5th party, the BNP are irrelevant. However, to annoy me anyway, Treas gave me 14 endorsers to trawl through - thats 4 pages worth of scrolling!

Issues

Treas had done plenty of work on making scenario specific issues and positions but retained 3 issues that were specifically national rather than local.

Most York Pride issue positions talk confusingly about fines.

Region graphics

One of Treas's nicer touches is the use of scenes as regional graphics and he has excelled himself in this scenario.

Adverts

Treas altered the ad setting so that they only ran for 5 days. This meant that you only had to wait 4 days for your free ad.

Events

Treas put in a lot of events that could either work for or against you which presented a fresh challenge.

After first disabling the endorsers file (old habits die hard) I tried playing the 1st party, the Lib Dems on the easy setting with no other boxes checked. This is unusual for me as I usually prefer to play the 3rd or sometimes 2nd party. The Lib Dems started with about 20 seats, the goal was to win 30% and 21 seats, I decided to try and get a majority (24 seats) and targeted 25 seats and at this first attempt I got 38% and 26 seats.

What made life easy was a very narrow battleground to defend; I only really needed to campaign in about 6 wards and because Treas did not use the media linked file I could easily target my adverts without wasting money in areas where campaigning didn't matter. (I accept of course that in reality there may not be any media catchment areas smaller than the city.)

How realistic was it? Well the campaign starting position Treas used was basically the actual campaign end position (my pet peeve no3), so I suppose this was more like playing York 2011.

Conclusion: Is it a keeper? am I likely to play it again? The answer is yes. I have the options of playing it with and without events and endorsers, I suspect I have the challenge of playing it as the Tories aiming to end up as largest party.

This scenario could be improved in 2 ways;

1. The battleground could be widened, but that (I assume) would turn it from a historical scenario to a fictional scenario.

2. The regions should be media linked as mentioned above. On balance I would probably link these for the sake of the gaming aspect.

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Thanks for your in-depth comments Display Name.

Wonky pictures - It's to do with the original photos not being too great quality, or the original size being large. I use photoshop, and downsize while using the reduction option of keeping the image in a good state. It's far better than MS Paint, but not perfect of course. I really don't if it can be helped, unless i specifically look for medium, sharp or very sharp photos. but the local candidates only have so many photos on the net, or just have only the one.

I decided to add in the BNP for the historical reasons, i thought about extending the party fictionally, like what i did with Ukip and the independent party in Norwich, but i thought there was just enough candidates , and one with a decent polling. As usual, i like to include plenty of regional endorsers, to give the scenario it's own identity. The national endorsers are there as well, as voters will be affected by the national scheme of things, and not only locally. But if i was to use only 4 endorsers, it would be the very first 4 regional endorsers. I could do this, a version for you, but of course, the momentum power i would need to increase.

Issues - I would say i've made more of an effort with localised issues in these 2 council elections i have done, comapared to the likes of the Crewe & Nantwich By-election & Greater London scenario. I didn't find enough local issues, so brought in more national issues as filler. The York Pride statements: Statement aren't my strongest section, but i ended up using what was a sub-topic of the actual issue.

Regions Graphics - Thank you.

Ads - I don't get how there is free ads. there shouldn't be any. What version are you playing it on, it should be regional -only ads. This was my first time I infused the ad_types file into my scenario's and it really helped out alot. I'll be using it for all future scenarios. Why didn't i think of it before? Anyway, that's not what i wanted, if it's bringing in more characteristics of Chancellor Forever.

Events- Thanks, i felt these were more balanced and testing than the Norwich one.

About the gameplay, have you tried playing it on hard? But i am not sure whether there is much difference. I always play and test the games on hard. I apologise about no media linked regions, i didn't forget about them, i seriously thought the game was hard enough without them lol. The whole starting-results-being-the-actual-results thing, that is an old habit of mines. When i did my first scenario, UK- 1987, i, at first used the 1983 actual results, but as i played it, i thought this was too much like playing a 1983 election, so i just did the complete opposite. I know it's not accurate 4 weeks before, it's a bad habit, but i can say one advantage of it is, it gives you the chance to change history, but hopefully with the inclusion of events and such, not an OTT history change.

I'll play the game the way you have played it, but with it being the hard version. If i'm let down by the result, i will update the scenario with media-linked regions, of quite sizeable groups, seperating some or most of the most marginal wards. I think you will probably be right though.

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I use MS Paint and don't understand other peoples difficulties. Once the image is cropped to 75x87 (or a different size with that ratio preserved) it will import perfectly into the candidate editor.

I have assumed that some people import a picture into candidate editor without bothering to ensure that the dimensions are correct.

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Actually, i think you have a point. When i did use MS Paint, i used it for the issue images, and i ended up using the stretch & skew option, and would then check to see if i have 32x32 and the some of them became very deteriorated. I never did use the crop option, as it didn't seem to be selectable. i've just found out you can after using the square marker tool. I'll try it out for my next scenario then.

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Ok, i've played the game twice on hard, with default endorsers, all boxes unchecked, targeting 25 seats & with the events( you did paly with the events?). First time, too many attack ads backfired, so lets rule that one out. On my second turn, i didn't do too much barnstorming and no policy speeches, to make way for the ads, attacking both the Tories and Labour as well as multiple Lib Dem ads. I ended up with 22 seats and 33%, only just surpassing the goal by 1 seat. I failed to grab all 3 seats but gained 2 each in Holgate & Rural West York. However the Tories snatched Skelton...off me, as well as a seat in Strensall & Dringhouses and Woodthorpe. I believe it would be possible to get 26 seats on hard, but i'm still not sure whether media-linked regions will make it too hard. I'll have a play tomorrow.

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The York scenario may have a limited battleground for the Lib Dems but playing as the Tories, you have the potential to go from 6 seats to 20, I reckon. At my first attempt I won 17.

The best way to crop in MS Paint is to use the pencil icon not the square marker tool. Using stretch and skew is the best way of reducing the size of the image but you do lose some quality.

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I'll try that out, Display Name. What difficulty were you playing on with the Tories, and can you tell me if it was with events & without, and i'll have a go on hard.

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Settings: Hard, all checked except fog, endorsers disabled (sorry) events enabled.

As Labour won 24 seats. Gains: D&W, Ful, Hes and Osb

As Tories won 17 seats. Gains: Hew (1) D&W, SRCW, Sten (1) Whel

Campaign strategy adopted on all 3 occasions:

Adverts: low cost ones went out in battleground regions

Policy speeches - none done as speeches can not be targeted.

Fundraising - unless I felt it important to spin instead, done nearly every go.

Barnstorming - some done when not fundraising

Another reason I like to see media linked regions is that it forces the player to shift the emphasis of their campaigning away from adverts to barnstorming and speeches.

Having now played this scenario 3 times, I can recommend it to anyone as it presents a real challenge.

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BTW Treasurer,

What do u think should be the major issues for the revised Tory Fightback & Greater UK Scenarios?

We should add in: Economic Management, Government (referring to the Labour government and the need for change)...what else?

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I thought I would let Treas (and anyone else) have some feedback on the Blackpool scenario.

Blackpool 2003

The author has a good track record of going to a location where no one has gone before and creating a historical scenario from scratch. This means that a lot of time and effort goes into creating just one scenario, which should be appreciated.

Scenario Background

The author does not lead us into the scenario telling us much about the starting positions for each party. The game starting position is not always an accurate guide to this. However, in this instance the start position was about the same as the finish position both last time and this time.

Maps & Regions

The attention to detail in the regional variables file is appreciated giving a good clear map, with clearly identified wards. The use of media linked regions is good and makes the scenario more challenging. These may be completely arbitrary but are essential in my view, when the actual regions are basically the wards.

Issues & Events

A lot of effort has gone into defining the issue positions and including a series of local and national events which add enormously to the authenticity of the scenario (I assume). However, the events are randomised so that you do not know each time you play the scenario, which events will occur. Whilst this adds to the variety of the scenario it does not add to the authenticity of a historical scenario. What makes the scenario more interesting is that the Regional Centres vary enormously.

Parties & Leaders

Party goals are nicely detailed. Including leader options is a decent addition but in my view adds little extra to the scenario. The Lib Dem leader description was too long. Indie funds almost matched LD funds which struck me as odd. However, unlike the LDs they can't fundraise so I suppose that it is reasonable to give them that much. I do not know how much money each party had to spend but the author seems to have decided based on how much money is permissable in the case of Labour and Tories. Had this principal been followed through, the LDs should have had about 50% more money. Irritatingly, the majority of photographs used were sloppily squeezed into the candidate editor, distorting the images.

Endorsers

11 endorsers is rather a lot. 8 are national endorsers and it could be argued that the advantage they give to Labour and Tory is over emphasised. I would have preferred to see just the local endorsers. Of the 3 local endorsers, each give financial rewards which is not realistic and each give momentum to a differing set of wards which is interesting. The money available to endorsers is probably more important than the momentum on offer and the total amount, a bit more than you would expect to be up for grabs if the endorsements are random.

Ridings

I am a big fan of giving as much info in these files and I always want to know who of the candidates are either incumbents or those defending a seat. Unfortunately, there is no information on this.

Biggest Compliment

It is very much appreciated that the author has taken the trouble to make playing the scenario very difficult as too many scenarios are too easy.

Biggest Beef

I am completely flummoxed as to how an author can give so much attention to detail to so much of the scenario but not take the small amount of trouble to give us decent leader graphics.

Conclusion

Having played the scenario a few times on different settings, I feel this is a scenario which is not so much hard to play but difficult to achieve much change from the starting position. Then I looked up the history and found that in reality, this was also the case. I prefer to play 3rd parties more than 1st or 2nd so I have played as LDs quite a bit. My best result so far has been to win 10 seats. With luck I will get 12 some day.

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Hello Display Name, thanks very much for the critique.

I usually don't make the historical issues in events certain to appear, but i will defeinetly follow up this critique in future scenarios.

I couldn't find no clear figures for local election expenditure, so i used maximum limit that can be used for both parties, (as explained in my about scenario file) as i wanted 2 competitive parties, making this scenario swing either way.

I still feel the national impression at the time, must play a part and that's through the national endorsers, but whether to have 8 of them is debatable, and not a great deal changes much in recent years of what party allegiance they have. I shall think about this one for future council elections, as some councils really are based on a local level, but it varies.

I shall perhaps install the seat incumbancy for future scenarios. I've already sent the Blackpool one to Theoryspark.

Let's get to the bottom of the candidate picture issue.

Here is the original photo of Peter Callow (Conservative Group Leader of Blackpool) taken from the net:

calloworg.jpg

Here is how i usually do it, open with Photoshop, firstly crop out the spacey parts, and go to image size on the image menu, and edit dimensions to 75 x 87, but change to reduction mode, so let's compare first:

callow.jpg

Photoshop version

callowpai.jpg

MS Paint Version

The problem i had with MS Paint was it's a guessing game to try and stretch and skew to the right size, however looking at the attributes and using the windows calculator, i could get it to the right size first time which is vital, or it just disintegrates as you keep adjusting.

I would definetely say the MS Paint looks sharper but not perfect, maybe as the original quality wasn't great either.

Anyway, i'm really glad you've enjoyed my council series on the whole, it might be a long time before i do another one. I think for the next one, it will either be Newcastle 2004 (covering one of the main British city councils), or Wyre Forest (as it's so incredibly different from the rest).

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Well you seem to know how easy it is to get the graphics done on MS Paint however, the example you show still has a squashed head!

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Well i've just found out, using it via the calculator. I'll try another example, and edit it into this post later...

wynneorgi.jpg

Original

wynneps.jpg

Photoshop

wynnems.jpg

MS Paint

Since the quality of the original one isn't much better, let's try a more clearer one.

cameronorig.jpg

Original

cameronps.jpg

Photoshop

cameronms.jpg

MS Paint

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Hi Chancellor, could you please re-upload the Manchester Westminster election? The link is down ("hasn't been accessed for too long")

Thanks, I love your scenarios

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Hello Display Name, thanks very much for the critique.

I usually don't make the historical issues in events certain to appear, but i will defeinetly follow up this critique in future scenarios.

I couldn't find no clear figures for local election expenditure, so i used maximum limit that can be used for both parties, (as explained in my about scenario file) as i wanted 2 competitive parties, making this scenario swing either way.

I still feel the national impression at the time, must play a part and that's through the national endorsers, but whether to have 8 of them is debatable, and not a great deal changes much in recent years of what party allegiance they have. I shall think about this one for future council elections, as some councils really are based on a local level, but it varies.

I shall perhaps install the seat incumbancy for future scenarios. I've already sent the Blackpool one to Theoryspark.

Let's get to the bottom of the candidate picture issue.

Here is the original photo of Peter Callow (Conservative Group Leader of Blackpool) taken from the net:

Here is how i usually do it, open with Photoshop, firstly crop out the spacey parts, and go to image size on the image menu, and edit dimensions to 75 x 87, but change to reduction mode, so let's compare first:

The problem i had with MS Paint was it's a guessing game to try and stretch and skew to the right size, however looking at the attributes and using the windows calculator, i could get it to the right size first time which is vital, or it just disintegrates as you keep adjusting.

I would definetely say the MS Paint looks sharper but not perfect, maybe as the original quality wasn't great either.

Anyway, i'm really glad you've enjoyed my council series on the whole, it might be a long time before i do another one. I think for the next one, it will either be Newcastle 2004 (covering one of the main British city councils), or Wyre Forest (as it's so incredibly different from the rest).

You can download a pretty good image editor for free, called PAINT.net on google. It does all the processes I can think of and resizing is easy, just click "keep aspect ratio"

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Hi Chancellor, could you please re-upload the Manchester Westminster election? The link is down ("hasn't been accessed for too long")

Thanks, I love your scenarios

Chancellor lol, good to see you again Dr.abc, i've updated the link for Manchester. I'll check ou that paint.net.

All scenarios so far, have been to sent to Theoryspark now.

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Chancellor lol, good to see you again Dr.abc, i've updated the link for Manchester. I'll check ou that paint.net.

All scenarios so far, have been to sent to Theoryspark now.

Lol, thanks

The scenario wasn't showing up on their site when I searched "manchester"

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