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I think for the President Forever series, there should be a feature of hiring, or firing, campaign managers. They can make or break a candidate, so I think the managers would have some stats that affect the player's performance.

Maybe you could have the option to hire a campaign manager and have 5 varieties:

Incompetent: costs nothing, -2 CP/turn.

Mediocre: small cost, -1 CP/turn.

Average: medium cost, +0 CP/turn.

Heavyweight: large cost, +1 CP/turn.

Superstar: massive cost, +2 CP/turn.

Basically you'd be taking campaign organization and using campaign staff (manager, etc.) to model it.

Rather than having the actual candidate work on the campaign strategy the campaign staff would.

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That's a pretty cool idea! It would be fun connecting with other campaigners for a game.

Certainly, but it is important to make sure the candidates all have reasonable shot at the money... at least some shot... Romney should have the edge...but it shouldn't be impossible for other candida

Good idea! Maybe you could also throw in Vice Presidential Interviews... you how much damage those did to Sarah Palin in 2008... I'd also like to see some ads on the Veeps. I know the McCain campaig

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Probably a long shot, but I'd like to see more career-oriented gameplay. After the election ends, it'd be fantastic if the game carried on and allowed you to set policies etc for your term in government. In opposition, you could still make speeches, spin press etc. Playing through one election is all well and good but I'd love to be able to take it one step further and fight multiple successive elections. A full political career game (UK based) is something I've been looking for for years.

Hi Gax23, I have a thread open on this with a poll so please go vote or comment there also please, I'm hoping to generate a discussion on this.

I also very strongly agree that something like this is a huge sell.

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Hi Gax23, I have a thread open on this with a poll so please go vote or comment there also please, I'm hoping to generate a discussion on this.

I also very strongly agree that something like this is a huge sell.

Thanks, I will.

If I had the programming know-how, I'd make it right away! I have everything planned out, but just not the capabilities to make it!

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Thanks for this - Congress Forever has a different voter flow model, which we'll be working with in the weeks ahead.

Anthony Burgoyne

http://www.TheorySpark.com

Games that spark the political imagination!

The feature I'd like to see most is voter loss. This would be a way for scandals to move voters from committed to swaying and swaying to undecided as the results of scandals/attack ads etc.

Long campaigns have serious flaws in this game, which can be exposed by playing with fog of war off. In my 2008 primaries campaign Florida had 0.0% undecided voters before the conventions occurred, and pretty much the entire electoral map was set, which really killed a lot of the fun in campaigning, and created many turns of nothing at all happening.

There needs to be some way to have campaign effects that bring voters back to neutral. I think the natural dividing line is positive effects increase voters for you, and negative effects take voters from the other side, and I recognize this is a major engine change but its needed if the engine that runs a 6 week Canadian campaign is to be used for the year long primaries + general election campaign.

To elaborate, ideally doing this on an issue by issue basis rather than total momentum. There are problems with using total momentum as +30 vs +1 is irrelevant unless there are undecided voters in the state, while in real life +30 vs +1 will either flip voters or make them far more likely to show up at the polls resulting in a significant surge.

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On the other hand, there's also the problem of, especially I think in primaries and especially in big, crowded, multi-candidate primaries, accumulating undecideds toward election day and then just having anyone with momentum walk away with victory, even if they had started at 2%. I'm working on a global historical scenario, and that's been happening to me a lot: candidates winning in places where I had assigned them single-digit support and where they had trailed by dozens of points all the way. When this happens, I can see that they gained sometimes thirty points on election day, but none of the other candidates lost any support (in fact, sometimes others also gain double-digits on election day.) So between this and the last comment (about voter loss), there's got to be a middle ground!

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Just a quick thing concerning the Scenario Editor of President Forever. Could you not tweak the game ever so slightly to allow proportional representation in the national vote? The only option on the scenario editor is to keep it FPP. Allowing people to make it entirely proportional would open up a lot of new options in scenario creation.

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"Could you not tweak the game ever so slightly to allow proportional representation in the national vote?"

It would take a considerable amount of work on the P4E game engine to do this. PR is something that might be implemented in a future game, though.

Anthony Burgoyne

http://www.TheorySpark.com

Games that spark the political imagination!

Just a quick thing concerning the Scenario Editor of President Forever. Could you not tweak the game ever so slightly to allow proportional representation in the national vote? The only option on the scenario editor is to keep it FPP. Allowing people to make it entirely proportional would open up a lot of new options in scenario creation.

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"Could you not tweak the game ever so slightly to allow proportional representation in the national vote?"

It would take a considerable amount of work on the P4E game engine to do this. PR is something that might be implemented in a future game, though.

Anthony Burgoyne

http://www.TheorySpark.com

Games that spark the political imagination!

Curious. But isn't it already functional in the primaries as an option?

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This is an issue that arises, I think, mainly in a scenario with lots of different candidates in each party and with very intense regionalism; for instance, some of the global scenarios I've been working on. Say that there are two global parties, one left-of-center and one right-of-center, and both nominate Europeans or Americans. I think that would drive turnout way down in Africa and Asia in particular; there should be a way to model this. Now, obviously, in an Electoral College situation the turnout doesn't matter per se, since it only affects overall popular vote numbers, but I'd still like to see it. One can model the changing of the electoral landscape with regional bonuses for different candidates, but I don't think I can see any way to do this kind of variable turnout, especially if it's candidate-dependent. Now, granted, it's not the largest of issues, but maybe in some future edition candidates could have their own general-election percentages, either instead of or in addition to the generic party percentages.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is one possibility, I think, for the kind of additional ending possibility I was talking about earlier. Not stunningly, it's inspired by the British election. Let's say that in P4E, no one candidate gets a majority of electors; or let's say that in PM4E or another parliamentary game, no one party commands a majority of Parliament. There should be a window of time during which the parties mill about, prior to some event (which in the US would be the electoral college's voting and in Britain might be the Queen's Speech), during which coalition/endorsement offers could be made. So, for instance, the Tories and Labour could try to court the Liberal Democrats in this last British election. A similar thing happens, of course, between the last primary and the party convention.

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A lot of great ideas have already been mentioned, so I'm trying to come up with some new ones.

Some more ideas I have:

1. An official announcement of one's candidacy. Currently in US politics, candidates run around raising money and meeting voters well before any kind of official announcement is made. There could be certain stages, like "exploratory committee", "leaning towards running" or "official candidate". Maybe the impact of a candidate's actions would be reduced unless/until they officially ran.

2. The creation of a campaign headquarters, which would give bonuses to a candidate in that state/region, and maybe footsoldiers could be created there using fewer CPs. For example, if I'm playing as Obama, I could have my campaign HQ in Illinois, and footsoldiers might only cost 3 or 4 CPs there as opposed to 5. Maybe I'd get a +1 momentum to every event in Illinois. If I set up another campaign headquarters in California, I'd get those same bonuses in California.

3. A more in-depth House of Representatives selection of presidents if no one gets a majority of the vote.

Several times I've played through without obtaining an outright majority, and most of the time something weird happens (along with a "We are taking back our call..." message to boot).

-The House delegations of each state should choose between the top 2 candidates in terms of electoral votes.

-The members of the US Senate should choose between the top 2 VP candidates in terms of electoral votes.

-The 3rd and 4th place candidates should be able to endorse one of the top 2 candidates after the election but before the House/Senate votes, like Henry Clay's endorsement of John Quincy Adams (which allowed Adams to defeat Andrew Jackson in 1824).

-The House/Senate elections should play out like a second Election Night, with maps and states declared for certain candidates.

4. Candidates should be able to drop out, observe, and re-enter the race, like Ross Perot did in 1992.

5. The computer AI should allow for candidates to withdraw before any of the primaries take place if the candidate does extremely poorly in terms of fundraising and momentum (Jim Gilmore, Tom Vilsack and Sam Brownback did this in 2007).

6. Primary states should give momentum in terms of expectations. In 1972 for example, Ed Muskie barely won New Hampshire after being the front-runner the entire time, and George McGovern came in a close second. While Muskie won, he did worse than expected and it hurt his candidacy, whereas McGovern received a boost. If a candidate does worse than expected, it should either hurt or provide reduced momentum. If a candidate does better than expected, it should provide a bigger boost than normal.

7. The option for personally wealthy candidates to dip into their personal finances mid-campaign if they need more money (like Bloomberg, Romney, and Hillary Clinton did).

8. An option to have endorsers promote one's candidacy or attack another candidate. Currently, the endorsers just pick a candidate and it ends there. But in reality, organizations and media companies continue to promote their chosen candidate and attack opponents (sometimes with it backfiring, as many of Hillary Clinton's supporters found out in 2008). Newspapers and media outlets often write scathing pieces on opposing candidates.

9. A thorough breakdown of a candidate's attributes. I think the 2004 version sort of had this feature, and I liked it. If "Charisma" was broken down into things like physical attractiveness, personality, speaking ability, for example, that could work very well. "Experience" could be divided into local government, state government, federal government, military, and elected experience. "Issue Familiarity" could include social issues, economic issues, foreign policy, and so forth.

10. Multiple parties endorsing one candidate. Here in CT, the Working Families party usually endorses the Democratic candidate. In New York, the Democratic and Liberal parties usually endorse the same person, and the Republican and Conservative parties do the same (the exception being the NY-23 race in 2009). In 1872, the Democratic party endorsed Liberal Republican Horace Greeley, and in 1896 the Populist party endorsed Democrat William Jennings Bryan. It would be a neat feature if a candidate of one party had a platform so similar to that of another party that he/she gets cross-endorsed.

11. Different voting methods in each state. Paper ballots, optical scans, absentee ballots, electronic voting machines, and so on. This would go well with other features already proposed, like fraud and recounts.

12. Faithless electors. There should be certain electors who, for whatever reason, will not vote for the party nominee when the Electoral College meets, as there have been throughout many US presidential elections. Maybe they could be persuaded by some means, but it would be nice to have this option. 1988, 2000 and 2004 are good recent examples. It happened a lot more in previous centuries.

Several of my ideas would apply more to campaigns that took place in the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries:

13. An "dark horse" option, and many different ballots, where several strong candidates refuse to drop out or endorse each other even though no one has a majority - and if this continues at the convention, the delegates could choose a compromise candidate acceptable to everyone, even if that candidate didn't get very many delegates going into the convention. This happened a lot in the old days and it would be a great way of simulating those elections. Going through several different ballots at the convention would increase the realism and suspense, and over time would divide the party.

14. Different transportation options. Back in the day, a candidate could not travel from New York to California in a single day, and current scenarios like 1848 result in the computer candidates collapsing left and right because the energy is reduced. For a 19th century scenario, it should generally only be possible for candidates to travel to adjacent states.

There could be different methods of transportation available depending on the time period, with different methods providing bonuses (ie, Harry Truman's whistlestop train tour, or John McCain's "Straight Talk Express", would get more attention than a candidate flying everywhere).

15. Some posters have suggested a popular vote option, where only the popular vote counts, which I am all for. I'd go one step further and include options for popular vote, proportional electoral vote, electoral vote, and state legislature. Different states could even adopt different voting procedures, which would not only include Maine and Nebraska today, but all the different voting methods which took place in the 1700s and early 1800s.

16. The option of letting the convention choose one's VP candidate rather than the candidate deciding. This could increase excitement and momentum and solidify the party's support for a candidate. It happened quite often in the past, with the last such example occurring in 1956, when the DNC picked Estes Kefauver over John F. Kennedy to be the running mate for Adlai Stevenson.

17. Convention platforms. Conventions should be able to add various planks to a party platform or decline to adopt one entirely. There could be roll call votes and the issues could increase or decrease support both within the party and in the general election. Historically, many parties have declined entirely to adopt a platform, particularly when the winner is a career military officer (Harrison, Taylor and Grant are good examples). This could have both positive and negative impacts as well.

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Thanks for these - re: 3. it seems there's a bug in P4E8 causing this. It should decide based on the Congressional delegations. I'll look into it.

Anthony Burgoyne

Lead Game Designer

http://www.TheorySpark.com

Games that spark the political imagination!

A lot of great ideas have already been mentioned, so I'm trying to come up with some new ones.

Some more ideas I have:

1. An official announcement of one's candidacy. Currently in US politics, candidates run around raising money and meeting voters well before any kind of official announcement is made. There could be certain stages, like "exploratory committee", "leaning towards running" or "official candidate". Maybe the impact of a candidate's actions would be reduced unless/until they officially ran.

2. The creation of a campaign headquarters, which would give bonuses to a candidate in that state/region, and maybe footsoldiers could be created there using fewer CPs. For example, if I'm playing as Obama, I could have my campaign HQ in Illinois, and footsoldiers might only cost 3 or 4 CPs there as opposed to 5. Maybe I'd get a +1 momentum to every event in Illinois. If I set up another campaign headquarters in California, I'd get those same bonuses in California.

3. A more in-depth House of Representatives selection of presidents if no one gets a majority of the vote.

Several times I've played through without obtaining an outright majority, and most of the time something weird happens (along with a "We are taking back our call..." message to boot).

-The House delegations of each state should choose between the top 2 candidates in terms of electoral votes.

-The members of the US Senate should choose between the top 2 VP candidates in terms of electoral votes.

-The 3rd and 4th place candidates should be able to endorse one of the top 2 candidates after the election but before the House/Senate votes, like Henry Clay's endorsement of John Quincy Adams (which allowed Adams to defeat Andrew Jackson in 1824).

-The House/Senate elections should play out like a second Election Night, with maps and states declared for certain candidates.

4. Candidates should be able to drop out, observe, and re-enter the race, like Ross Perot did in 1992.

5. The computer AI should allow for candidates to withdraw before any of the primaries take place if the candidate does extremely poorly in terms of fundraising and momentum (Jim Gilmore, Tom Vilsack and Sam Brownback did this in 2007).

6. Primary states should give momentum in terms of expectations. In 1972 for example, Ed Muskie barely won New Hampshire after being the front-runner the entire time, and George McGovern came in a close second. While Muskie won, he did worse than expected and it hurt his candidacy, whereas McGovern received a boost. If a candidate does worse than expected, it should either hurt or provide reduced momentum. If a candidate does better than expected, it should provide a bigger boost than normal.

7. The option for personally wealthy candidates to dip into their personal finances mid-campaign if they need more money (like Bloomberg, Romney, and Hillary Clinton did).

8. An option to have endorsers promote one's candidacy or attack another candidate. Currently, the endorsers just pick a candidate and it ends there. But in reality, organizations and media companies continue to promote their chosen candidate and attack opponents (sometimes with it backfiring, as many of Hillary Clinton's supporters found out in 2008). Newspapers and media outlets often write scathing pieces on opposing candidates.

9. A thorough breakdown of a candidate's attributes. I think the 2004 version sort of had this feature, and I liked it. If "Charisma" was broken down into things like physical attractiveness, personality, speaking ability, for example, that could work very well. "Experience" could be divided into local government, state government, federal government, military, and elected experience. "Issue Familiarity" could include social issues, economic issues, foreign policy, and so forth.

10. Multiple parties endorsing one candidate. Here in CT, the Working Families party usually endorses the Democratic candidate. In New York, the Democratic and Liberal parties usually endorse the same person, and the Republican and Conservative parties do the same (the exception being the NY-23 race in 2009). In 1872, the Democratic party endorsed Liberal Republican Horace Greeley, and in 1896 the Populist party endorsed Democrat William Jennings Bryan. It would be a neat feature if a candidate of one party had a platform so similar to that of another party that he/she gets cross-endorsed.

11. Different voting methods in each state. Paper ballots, optical scans, absentee ballots, electronic voting machines, and so on. This would go well with other features already proposed, like fraud and recounts.

12. Faithless electors. There should be certain electors who, for whatever reason, will not vote for the party nominee when the Electoral College meets, as there have been throughout many US presidential elections. Maybe they could be persuaded by some means, but it would be nice to have this option. 1988, 2000 and 2004 are good recent examples. It happened a lot more in previous centuries.

Several of my ideas would apply more to campaigns that took place in the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries:

13. An "dark horse" option, and many different ballots, where several strong candidates refuse to drop out or endorse each other even though no one has a majority - and if this continues at the convention, the delegates could choose a compromise candidate acceptable to everyone, even if that candidate didn't get very many delegates going into the convention. This happened a lot in the old days and it would be a great way of simulating those elections. Going through several different ballots at the convention would increase the realism and suspense, and over time would divide the party.

14. Different transportation options. Back in the day, a candidate could not travel from New York to California in a single day, and current scenarios like 1848 result in the computer candidates collapsing left and right because the energy is reduced. For a 19th century scenario, it should generally only be possible for candidates to travel to adjacent states.

There could be different methods of transportation available depending on the time period, with different methods providing bonuses (ie, Harry Truman's whistlestop train tour, or John McCain's "Straight Talk Express", would get more attention than a candidate flying everywhere).

15. Some posters have suggested a popular vote option, where only the popular vote counts, which I am all for. I'd go one step further and include options for popular vote, proportional electoral vote, electoral vote, and state legislature. Different states could even adopt different voting procedures, which would not only include Maine and Nebraska today, but all the different voting methods which took place in the 1700s and early 1800s.

16. The option of letting the convention choose one's VP candidate rather than the candidate deciding. This could increase excitement and momentum and solidify the party's support for a candidate. It happened quite often in the past, with the last such example occurring in 1956, when the DNC picked Estes Kefauver over John F. Kennedy to be the running mate for Adlai Stevenson.

17. Convention platforms. Conventions should be able to add various planks to a party platform or decline to adopt one entirely. There could be roll call votes and the issues could increase or decrease support both within the party and in the general election. Historically, many parties have declined entirely to adopt a platform, particularly when the winner is a career military officer (Harrison, Taylor and Grant are good examples). This could have both positive and negative impacts as well.

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That stuff all sounds really cool, and really, really tough to model. At some point, if you want election action that realistic, you just need to follow elections!

True. I realize a lot of it might not be possible to put into the game.

However, I do think that changing the contingent House/Senate vote and having a more thorough breakdown of a candidate's stats wouldn't be terribly difficult.

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1. An official announcement of one's candidacy. Currently in US politics, candidates run around raising money and meeting voters well before any kind of official announcement is made. There could be certain stages, like "exploratory committee", "leaning towards running" or "official candidate". Maybe the impact of a candidate's actions would be reduced unless/until they officially ran.

There would have to be some advantage in waiting to announce to make it worthwhile in game terms. Maybe the later you announce the more effective your campaigning efforts will be, but before the announcement you have no positive effect at all.

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 3 months later...

Definitely agree with GOTV and voter enthusiasm being part of the game. I know I mentioned this in another thread but can't emphasize enough how the economy/unemployment should have a much greater impact on the election.

This is purely aesthetic but on election night I'd love to be able to take a look at different results in each state while the screen is paused, better yet if I could be able to view my watchlist races separately (basically the key races) on election night without having to click multiple states and trying to remember who was where it'd be great. For me it would be kind of like a personal report card since these were the races I was "responsible" for and paid the most attention to. Also some indication of a projected winner via a checkmark or something would be a nice touch. I know , I know purely aesthetic just like I said.

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  • 2 weeks later...

i would like to see conventions be a little more competitive in the case of divided conventions. playing as Russ Feingold in 2008 wonk, I was in 3rd at the convention behind clinton and obama, ad was instantly eliminated without choosing to do so. I'd like to see there be somne kind of political wrangling for delegates instead of last placers getting eliminated right off the bat. it makes it worth it to run as a dark horse or long shot candidate

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  • 1 month later...

I notice that in President Forever when you're inputing primaries percentages for a specific candidate there's a slot right there to put general-election numbers in, but you can't use it (and vice-versa for the parties). In a few of the scenarios I've made there have been situations where the general election would look really, really different depending on who the candidates are (for instance, imagine if Ted Kennedy had run against Ford in 1976; that map would've looked pretty different!). Would it be possible, in P4E2012, to let the scenario designers have the option of making the G.E. percentages be candidate-dependent? Maybe prior to a primary's having been settled the G.E. numbers could be a weighted average based on the approximate chance that each remaining candidate won the nomination. Dunno if this would be too hard or what...

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is tricky, because the possible candidate matches are huge. The idea's noted.

Anthony Burgoyne

Lead Game Designer

http://www.TheorySpark.com

Games that spark the political imagination!

I notice that in President Forever when you're inputing primaries percentages for a specific candidate there's a slot right there to put general-election numbers in, but you can't use it (and vice-versa for the parties). In a few of the scenarios I've made there have been situations where the general election would look really, really different depending on who the candidates are (for instance, imagine if Ted Kennedy had run against Ford in 1976; that map would've looked pretty different!). Would it be possible, in P4E2012, to let the scenario designers have the option of making the G.E. percentages be candidate-dependent? Maybe prior to a primary's having been settled the G.E. numbers could be a weighted average based on the approximate chance that each remaining candidate won the nomination. Dunno if this would be too hard or what...

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This is tricky, because the possible candidate matches are huge. The idea's noted.

Anthony Burgoyne

Lead Game Designer

http://www.TheorySpark.com

Games that spark the political imagination!

Would you have to get into the combinatorics, though? In, for instance, primaries where some candidates might be on or might be off, doesn't it just normalize it so that the total of everyone who's turned "on" is set to 100%? So, for instance, you might set one candidate to get 55% in State X, and if the opposing party nominates someone who gets 40% in that state then it normalizes to 58%-42% but if they nominate someone who gets 50% it would normalize to 52%-48%. That was how I envisioned it.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I would like to see the general election be more realistic. I feel 70% of the game is the primaries, and then by the time the GE comes around; it's not as exciting. There's not a lot of wiggle room to change the number's in the GE. Usually, whoever the front runner is as soon as day2day starts; that's the winner. Just a suggestion on more emphasis after the primaries.

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