Posted by: gschloesser | November 1, 1970

Politika

Variants and ‘Fixes’ for problems with this Tom Clancy endorsed game.

Yelstin is dead.  Russia is in turmoil.  Various factions vie for political control.  This is the premise of Tom Clancy’s Politika, by Red Storm Entertainment, the author’s first entry into the wargaming market.

For a full review of the game, please see our section.

As mentioned in the Game Reviews section, although intriguing in its premise, the game has many flaws and appears to have been playtested poorly.  We have devised some ‘fixes’ for the problems, as well as some additional rules which add to the competitiveness and excitement of the game.

1)  A limit needs to be placed on the number of Action cards a player can have in his hand.  Otherwise, a player who is cash rich can purchase vast quantities of cards each turn and have an overwhelming advantage.  Most of the cards give players ‘free’ attacks in regions, so a player with a large quantity of cards can make numerous attacks each turn as opposed to most other players, who are limited to two.  This occurred in one of our games, as John Moore (playing the Separatists) continued to get double production from the Separatist regions.  He was very wealthy, so bought 5 or 6 Action cards per turn.  In the final round, he was able to make over a dozen attacks and sweep the game.

Solution:  We have suggested a hand limit of 5 Action Cards.  If a player wishes to purchase additional cards, he must first discard (or play during the appropriate phase) cards before purchasing the new cards.  At no time can a player’s hand exceed five Action cards.

2)  Player Turn Order should be varied each round, with a system such as used in Air Baron.  As it stands now, players know exactly when their turn is each round, so can plan accordingly.  Further, some of the special powers bestowed by a player’s faction could be useless or ‘checked’ depending upon who came before or after him.  This would be less likely to occur if the turn order was varied.

Solution:  Use a variable turn order, such as in Air Baron.  Place a chit from each player in a cup and draw the turn order at the beginning of each turn.

3)  Action Cards:  One of the action cards allows a player to steal $20,000 from the bank, while another allows a player to steal $20,000 from another player.  The problem with this is that purchasing an action card costs $20,000 anyway.  So its a wash! 

Solution:  Increase the amount able to be stolen to $40,000.

4)  Defender Dice:  As mentioned, in an attack, a defender gets one die for each influence marker he has in the region, as well as one die for each influence marker his ally has in the region.  More often than not, this limits the defender to one die, while an attacker can purchase as many dice as he desires and can afford.  If a player is fairly wealthy, he usually can muster significant advantages in his attacks.

Solution:  Allow the defender to purchase up to one more die for $20,000.  The defender purchases this die after the challenger purchases his.

5)  Game End:  The game is scheduled to go 6 rounds.  Players can decide before hand to play up to 10 rounds.  With the timing of the game’s end clearly known to all, the player going last has a BIG advantage, as he can hoard his attack cards (as John did, in one of our games) and blow everyone out of the water on the last turn without fear of being counter-attacked.

Solution:  Vary the turn order, as suggested above, AND vary the games end.  It can end anywhere from Turn 6 – Turn 10.  Beginning with Turn 6, a dice can be rolled following each round.  After Turn 6, the game ends on a roll of 1 or 2.  After Turn 7, it ends on a roll of 1 – 3.  After Turn 8, it ends on a roll of 1 – 4.  After Turn 9, it ends on a roll of 1 – 5.  It automatically ends after Turn 10.

6)  Trading phase:  During the trading phase, the phasing player may make unlimited trades with his opponents.  This can include swapping influence tokens, money, cards, etc.  Since the number of trades is unlimited, we have found that this can take a considerable amount of time and substantially lengthen the game.

Solution:  We limit the number of trades a player can make to three.  This shortens the trade phase and does speed up the game somewhat.

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