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United States - 2008 - Enhanced Edition Beta


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Hi everybody,

This scenario has been released in the official game as United States - 2008 - Wonk Edition. If you do not have the latest President Forever 2008 + Primaries, you can download it here.

This thread was for the Beta version, which has now been superseded by the official version.

Designed by Electric Monk, based on the United States - 2008 scenario.

Major changes:

Scenario

-Starting economy changed to Poor.

-New 8 ad limit, given how much money is in the race.

-Universal Alienated dropped to 35%

Political Units

States updated on their issue centres.

Profiles adjusted to give Economic issues a high profile in the general.

Poll closing times shifted to have polls close based on earliest time zone close in each state.

Issues

-Outsourcing Issue changed to Free Trade.

-Business & Personal Tax issues combined to single issue: Tax Rates.

-Business Tax changed to Subprime Mortgage Issue.

-Balanced Budget changed to Government Spending (to reflect the downplayed focus on balanced budgets and increased focus on stuff like economic stimulus, defence spending, and pork).

-Homeland Security changed to Military (it hasn't been much of an issue, and I feel that War On Terror can cover Homeland Security as well).

-Unions changed to Regulation (given the current debate, and the Obama speech from March of this year).

Overall, tilted the focus on issues towards the economy.

Ads

High end TV ads are a little more expensive to create, ads overall are a bit faster to make.

Parties

Fund-raising coefficient for Dem/Rep upped to better model actual money Obama & Clinton raised in the primaries & the money Obama raises now.

If players decline public funds the Democrats have 77 million to start (i.e. Obama's cash on hand at the end of August) and McCain has 27 million (ditto).

Candidate funds updated to actual (primary money) cash-on-hand end of September '07. Clinton reduced from 48 to 35, Obama from 34.5 to 32, etc.

Candidate's Issue Positions redone.

Added a couple Clinton-Obama debates (Qualify % increased to 15%, set at their actual times).

Expanded and redid VP list for both sides. (Most controversially, Lieberman removed from McCain's list. He's now a Crusader for McCain.)

A few candidates removed (John Kerry) & a few candidates added (Feingold). Difference between "could have ran"—Feingold—and "circumstances made it impossible"—Kerry.

A few modifications to the Crusader list.

Ages properly set for candidates and VPs.

General election map updated to better reflect actual conditions at the time.

Primary percentages changed.

Events

Economic event series covers the banking crisis.

Events also added for Reverend Wright, Obama's "Bitter" comment (50% chance), Clinton's "plane landed under fire", and Obama's Jefferson-Jackson Day speech (as it was a key factor in his polls rising), Bill Clinton in S.C., and Edwards cheating on his wife.

Endorsers

RNC/DNC added as FootSoldier builders, with RNC targeted at battleground states and DNC somewhat more spread out. They also give some money.

Feedback appreciated as always!

The TheorySpark Team

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Particular things I'm looking for in betatesting:

McCain. He's hard to model in the primaries given how fluke his success was. Right now he basically needs someone other than Romney to win Iowa so that he can beat Romney in New Hampshire, and then win South Carolina and Florida to make up for his lack of money. That said if Romney wins Iowa, McCain gets crushed. The one problem I have is that sometimes McCain winning the early states he did in reality isn't enough, so I'm considering tweaking the bonuses for a couple states. Feedback would be great.

Minor Democratic candidates. These guys consistently seem to do better than they should, but don't tend to catch fire.

Obama-Clinton. So far it seems like Obama wins more often than not (although the run-up-the-score-in-caucus-states method of reality is hard to do in-game) albeit sometimes with odd ways—no early voting in the game means Obama has a solid shot at winning California, for instance.

General election. The usual condition is that Obama wins, which feels pretty realistic right now (I'll adjust the scenario based on the remaining month in the election, of course) and if McCain wins he usually loses the popular vote and prevails by 1-2% in a sweep across most of the battlegrounds. But that's AI vs. AI so I could use broader human player feedback.

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The Right choice in the Military issue mentions "major expansion.. to deal with both Iraq and China's superpower potential." Iraq? Don't you mean Iran? Or Russia? (Russia makes much more sense since I don't know anyone who claims Iran is a viable superpower anytime soon)

Also I think the same-sex marriage issue is a bit dated in the sense that more focus seems to be put on state versus federal intervention, as opposed to the game where it seems to be "government will either recognize it or not." Nice to see the tax issue has changed, so it isn't all "Reduce taxes on the rich or increase taxes for everyone" at the extremes of the spectrum.

As a note, Ron Paul's integrity should be 4 and not the totally pious 5 since there are significant controversies about this relationship with racists and militia groups which affected him in the primaries and would probably be all over in a general election.

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- Still no Mike Gravel. He did run, not just speculate. Same with Keyes on the Republican side.

-At minimum for 3rd parties, Nader and Green should be added.

-In February, David Paterson should be added as a New York endorser.

-Senate/House leadership, former presidents, and maybe more interest groups should be added as endorsers. Perhaps have them lean towards who they ultimately endorsed.

-Economic issues should start out more important.

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- Still no Mike Gravel. He did run, not just speculate. Same with Keyes on the Republican side.

-At minimum for 3rd parties, Nader and Green should be added.

-In February, David Paterson should be added as a New York endorser.

-Senate/House leadership, former presidents, and maybe more interest groups should be added as endorsers. Perhaps have them lean towards who they ultimately endorsed.

-Economic issues should start out more important.

To be honest, I forgot about Gravel & Keyes. I can put them in.

Fair enough on Paterson.

Most interest groups aren't competing in the general (Freedom's Watch is focused on downballot races, for instance) and both sides actively discouraged them until the general election. If you have any good suggestions, though, I'm open.

Generally speaking the leadership didn't actively help that much. But I can put in the top guys as limited primary endorsers as I've done in other scenarios.

Economic issues didn't start out important. In the general they are, but not in the primaries.

The Right choice in the Military issue mentions "major expansion.. to deal with both Iraq and China's superpower potential." Iraq? Don't you mean Iran? Or Russia? (Russia makes much more sense since I don't know anyone who claims Iran is a viable superpower anytime soon)

Also I think the same-sex marriage issue is a bit dated in the sense that more focus seems to be put on state versus federal intervention, as opposed to the game where it seems to be "government will either recognize it or not." Nice to see the tax issue has changed, so it isn't all "Reduce taxes on the rich or increase taxes for everyone" at the extremes of the spectrum.

As a note, Ron Paul's integrity should be 4 and not the totally pious 5 since there are significant controversies about this relationship with racists and militia groups which affected him in the primaries and would probably be all over in a general election.

Oh Iran, why did I forget about you.

Fair enough, Connecticut just ruled in favour same-sex marriage and I was thinking of something along those lines.

I will knock Ron Paul down.

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I will start off by saying this makes the game a lot more fun and realistic.

-You need to totally re-do Bidens attributes. He has more experience than McCain, he also arguably has leadership & Charisma

-Obama should have a 1-2 bonus across the South to reflect increased African American turnout.

-Add some of the endorsers from 2008 Gold like the Roundtable and The Human Rights Campaign, etc etc. It makes it a lot more interesting.

-I personally wouldn't add house leadership. They don't endorse till they have a secure candidate.

-I think you should add the Senators of each state like Governors. Also, make it so governors can endorse even if you start in the general.

- Consider adding Condoleeza Rice. She was ahead of both Gingrich and Thompson in polls.

- Do something about Florida and Michigan? Not sure what, though.

I'll play a full game and add more.

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-You need to totally re-do Bidens attributes. He has more experience than McCain, he also arguably has leadership & Charisma

-Obama should have a 1-2 bonus across the South to reflect increased African American turnout.

-Add some of the endorsers from 2008 Gold like the Roundtable and The Human Rights Campaign, etc etc. It makes it a lot more interesting.

-I personally wouldn't add house leadership. They don't endorse till they have a secure candidate.

-I think you should add the Senators of each state like Governors. Also, make it so governors can endorse even if you start in the general.

- Consider adding Condoleeza Rice. She was ahead of both Gingrich and Thompson in polls.

I'll play a full game and add more.

Fair enough.

It's quite hard to play balance with those bonuses. At the moment the general election map feels a lot better, so I'm thinking that I'll give Clinton negatives in the South (though, obviously, bonuses in Ark. and probably Kentucky and maybe a few others)—i.e. use Obama as the baseline, and adjust other people around that.

Yeah, but does Roundtable move any votes? At least Labour or the NRA have pretty deep pockets and particularly in Labour's case a pretty formidable organization in some states.

Senators, unlike Governors, don't really bring an organization along with them and many are busy with their own re-election campaigns. I was thinking that I'd give Governors footsoldiers in some cases to reflect their state organization. I thought offhand Governors were for the general as well—but I'll check their dates.

As far as I can tell she never even considered running (unlike Gingrich or Feingold, who did speculate on the run), any news articles?

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Draft Condi Movement

Certain high-profile political figures, including Laura Bush, former White House Spokesman Scott McClellan, and world leaders such as Russian President Vladimir Putin[9] and Australian Prime Minister John Howard[10] have also voiced encouragement. Laura Bush has perhaps been the strongest proponent of Rice's candidacy. On CNN's The Situation Room on January 17, 2006, Mrs. Bush implicated Rice when asked if she thought the United States would soon have a female President, stating: "I'd love to see her run. She's terrific."[11] Mrs. Bush then turned to advocacy during an interview on CNN's Larry King Live on March 24, 2006, in which she stated that Rice would make an "excellent president," and that she wished Americans could "talk her into running."
In February 2007, Rice finished fourth in a Zogby poll of likely Republican primary voters. [15]

In May 2007, the Des Moines Register found that among Republicans "one-half of likely participants in the party’s caucuses would like to see Rice, the U.S. secretary of state, campaign for president", a greater portion than for Fred Thompson or Newt Gingrich.

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I would advise you to simulate the Republican primaries which assign delegates to multiple candidates. You can set it as PR, like the Dems, but with different thresholds.

There's a list online somewhere; I adapted my original game files to account for it. In fact, you also need to revise some of the election dates in the primaries; I noticed Wyoming for the GOP in particular.

Other comments: Dial down the "How Well Known" for the minor Dems!

I'm going to play it now...

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After Playing:

-Forget what I said earlier about economy. Great job w/ specifics on events.

-For Dems, Florida and Michigan should be increased in delegates.

-Edwards affair event seemed to have very little effect.

-If you don't Senators, at least include some individuals. Ted Kennedy's endorsement certainly helped legitimize Obama. Perhaps iconic figures, such as former presidents/vps/presidential candidates and long serving politicians

-Perhaps add a "Gas Prices Reach All Time High" event which affects Energy.

-Because of change from Unions to Regulations, to Union interest groups are now basing endorsements on Regulation issue, not sure that this makes sense.

-Perhaps add Viral Ad, with low chance of highly successful, but big benefits if it is highly successful, and big potential backlash.

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I would advise you to simulate the Republican primaries which assign delegates to multiple candidates. You can set it as PR, like the Dems, but with different thresholds.

There's a list online somewhere; I adapted my original game files to account for it. In fact, you also need to revise some of the election dates in the primaries; I noticed Wyoming for the GOP in particular.

Other comments: Dial down the "How Well Known" for the minor Dems!

The PR Threshold is, last time I checked, broken for the Republican Party. You can only assign a global threshold, and not an individual one.

I'll go check the Green Papers. Remember though that some states have multiple delegate picking events, and the game can only model one. If I recall it usually gets defaulted to the first one.

Ah, good catch on How Well Known. That might help.

After Playing:

-Forget what I said earlier about economy. Great job w/ specifics on events.

-For Dems, Florida and Michigan should be increased in delegates.

-Edwards affair event seemed to have very little effect.

-If you don't Senators, at least include some individuals. Ted Kennedy's endorsement certainly helped legitimize Obama. Perhaps iconic figures, such as former presidents/vps/presidential candidates and long serving politicians

-Perhaps add a "Gas Prices Reach All Time High" event which affects Energy.

-Because of change from Unions to Regulations, to Union interest groups are now basing endorsements on Regulation issue, not sure that this makes sense.

-Perhaps add Viral Ad, with low chance of highly successful, but big benefits if it is highly successful, and big potential backlash.

Thanks!

But they didn't have any delegates during the primaries, only afterwards. Which was the key reason no one campaigned there, and winning those states didn't matter.

Hmm. I'll up it.

Clinton, obviously, backed Clinton; Bush stayed out; and most of the others are fairly minor figures. But yeah Kennedy was a nice get.

I like that, drilling was important before the general election started.

Whoops. Unions should indeed care about something instead of regulation.

If I were to add additional ads I might go cable & network TV. Both candidates are unusually buying a lot of time in network TV which no one has really done for twenty+ years as I recall. Network TV perhaps a more expensive version of cable, with a shorter lifespan, but more powerful. Would help, again, with all the money in the scenario.

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How about an optional independent run by Lou Dobbs? I remember him saying on his show that he believed that an independent populist would run and win in 2008. I think it would make an interesting side option to have, since it would throw off the electroal calculus.

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My suggestion is to add voting blocks as endorsers, in particular add

-African-American Block (Almost certainly Obama)

-Evangilists

-Unions (in particualr instead of all the different ones)

-Women

-ect.

That is crazy. It implies that Women and Unions and voting blocs all go for one candidate.

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I played the game on medium as Obama and swept the primaries like I never have before, so maybe he's a little too strong.

As for the problem of getting a McCain bounce, reintroduce the Huckabee Surge in the game, and make the bonus on the GOP side for winning Iowa relatively small. That would probably help to some extent.

The real-life events are great. I've been waiting for someone to make a scenario like this, and it was a lot of fun to play.

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Playing on Medium or Easy makes the game easy either way. I always play on hard, and can sweep every state. All you have to do is start blasting national ads with all your money.

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Not sure if its been mentioned already but Feingold is from Wisconsin, the game lists him being from Massachusetts.

Crud. Thanks.

Huckabee has no crusaders

He should at least have Chuck Norris :).

Playing on Medium or Easy makes the game easy either way. I always play on hard, and can sweep every state. All you have to do is start blasting national ads with all your money.

Yeah, it's a little easy to move votes still, although the AI is a lot better at running advertising in return. I did toughen it up quite a lot from the default.

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