our Campaign Secrets rules from YAPC 2006
At YAPC North America this year, swag included Campaign Secrets, a card game about the US presidential election. This game was also swag in 2006, and I played quite a few games of it with Dieter Pearcey and John Cappiello, many of them at the airport waiting to go home.
We liked the idea of the game, but we also made quite a few changes to try to make it play differently. (As I recall, we wanted to avoid an early snowball effect where one player was clearly going to win and we were just waiting for the game-ending cards.)
Here are the changes, which I wrote up on the YAPC 2006 wiki at the time:
The “well funded” and “poorly funded” campaign cards are unclear. They should be read to mean that the candidate can keep one more card or one fewer card in his hand at the end of each turn. In other words, he may draw up to six cards (well funded) or only up to four cards (poorly funded) at the end of each turn. These cards remain in front of the player, but are discarded when primaries occur.
Prevent Endorsement Flip-Flops
Endorsements and nominations are not discarded when played or shuffled back into the deck. They remain in front of the player who received the nomination. This prevents multiple nominations for one party in one game.
Major and Minor Party Nominations
A candidate may be nominated for any number of “third parties,” or for one major party. (The major parties are, of course, the Democrats and Republicans.) This can be used to try and get a number of 5% boosts, or offensively to prevent an opponant from getting a major party nom.
You Know Your Secrets
When a secret is played on you, you may look at it. Otherwise, you’d need to keep track of which secrets you played on yourself and which were played on you. Since you can trade secrets with others, this is weird and annoying behavior. Also, it means that your opponants can probably tell which were played against you are are, therefore, probably better ones to reveal.
Instead of playing with the whole deck twice (once before primaries, once before the election), the deck is divided in two. One is the primary deck (and contains the Primaries) and one is the election deck (and contains Election Day). The primary’s discards are not resuffled into the election deck. This can help make the game faster and ensure that there is more of the vote up for grabs after the primaries.
Nominations Before Primaries
Using the two-part deck rule, above, make sure that all party nominations are in the primary deck. Optionally, if a candidate is not nominated before the primaries, play out cards into the discard pile until a party nomination is revealed. If more than one candidate lacks a party nomination, play out cards for one candidate, then the next, until all are nominated.
The Eternal Undecided
Set aside 15% (or your own chosen percentage) of the vote which will remain undecided until election day. On election day, these voters are up for grabs toward revealed Secrets. Each candidate in turn (following normal turn order) may reveal one secret to gain its benefit from the pool.