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A few random ideas

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I'm really enjoying the Primaries game. A few thoughts which might be done without a huge amount of effort:

1. In the real world winning those first few primaries are very important. The reality is that it is very tough to raise funds if you keep losing. So when a candidtate wins one of the early primaries he gets some sort of fund raising bonus. ...and those who lose get no bonus. And those who lose big time or just keep on losing get the effectiveness of their fundraising downgraded. This forces all the candidates to make a real effort in the Iowa/NewHampshire early races.

2. There is really very little incentive for the weaker candidates to drop out. I've yet to have any offer accepted. The veep offer is a good option but once you've played that card, it's gone. One thought I had might be a willingness on the part of the front runner to modify his platform to be a little closer to the one who he is asking to drop out. Suppose Giuliani has a big lead but wants Allen's delegates to put him over the top. He's already given the veep spot to McCain so what does he have to offer? Perhaps a negotiating point might be to modify his Gun Control position a little bit to the right, to be closer to Allen's position as a bargaining chiop to get Allen to bow out and give him his support. Of course there are penalities already in the game for changing your platform position but that's politics.

3. I'd like to see the convention part of the game beefed up a bit. This might require quite a bit of work (perhaps a new module) but I would invsion something like this.

a. On the first ballot everyone gets the votes as the primary results dictate.

b. After each ballot some of the delegates get released. Which one's get released and after which ballot depends on the laws/party rules for each state. If researching all that is a bit much then it could be based on ther primary results. eg. If Frist won Florida with just 25% in a 6-way split, then as early as the second ballot delegates can vote elsewhewre. But if Frist won Tenessee with 85% thebn they are with him as long as we wants to continue.

Criteria to be used by delegates on who to vote for in subsequent ballots might include

1. Initially delegates might switch to another candidiate whose platform is close to the one they initially supported. For example if Frist won Florida with 25%, but it is obvious that he's way behind, the delegates might be more disposed to switch to Gingrich or Allen (assuming they are more viable than Frist) than to Romney or Giuliani.

2. If one candidate is very close to the magic number, then it would be tempting to put him over the top.

3. If a candidate seems to be picking up momentum from one ballot to another that might be a sign to jump on the bandwagon.

4. Conversely, if a candidate seems to be stalling, his vote total remains static from ballot to ballot or even declining, that might cause the delgates to look elsewhere.

5. If a candidiate withdraws and supports a rival, then his delgates would be predisposed to go with that rival.

Anyway, just a few ideas. It certainly is a fun game.

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I too would like to see those early contests have more of an effect on the game. Traditionally, if you don't do well in either Iowa or New Hampshire, you're done. That's it. The media stops paying attention and donors move to other candidates.

I don't expect it to narrow the field to two candidates after New Hampshire - after all, this is a game and I rather enjoy seeing brokered conventions - but some bonuses should be given to early winners.

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