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Lead your favorite party to election victory! The new edition of the political party game DIE MACHER by Karl-Heinz Schmiel.
Every four years in Germany the same, strange spectacle occurs, the struggle for power between the political parties. To ensure that you put your cross in the right box, the two games publishing firms of Hans im Gluck and Moskito games have formed a grand coalition to re-release DIE MACHER, ten years after its original showing, in a completely reworked edition. Every aspect of the game, from design to graphics has been completely reworked and improved.
The course of the game involves 7 regional elections, before culminating in the final, General Election, to decide who will rule in Bonn. The nearer each election date approaches, the more information each player has from the polls as to their chances, and they must react to that information. They each have their own party manifesto, as laid down before the elections start, but the chances of them carrying out all their plans, and winning in every region are minimal, and if they want to succeed, they will have to decide what to concentrate on. Perhaps changing their plans may help them gain votes in one area or another. The party machine must be organized, a shadow cabinet put together, the media influenced, coalitions put together, compromises negotiated and the other parties manipulated. And the most important tool for that is money, but cash is short and an election campaign is very expensive. But if you use it well, a little cash spread in the right places at the right times can get you out of any sort of bother!
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This game is not for the casual or family gamer. It is more complex than the usual, and requires a commitment to learn and to teach the rules. Even with reasonable familiarity, I find that the game takes a solid 4 and 1/2 to 5 hours to play. But it's well worth it. Each game is very different, requiring great flexibiity in strategy, so replay value is high. There are many lengthy reviews of this game on the net that cover the mechanics of this game nicely. The gist of it is that players jockey for votes through seven elections taking place in various German states, all with the goal of winning seats in the national parliament for victory points. The regions are of different sizes, meaning that different regions will have different numbers of seats available to them in the national parliament. During setup, you draw cards to tell you what regions will be having the elections. Having played now several times, I'll simply add this suggestion: when preparing the board for a game, consider first removing the card for the region with the highest number of seats and the one with the lowest. The problem I've had is that, when you get a bunch of medium-sized regions (say, regions with 25 to 35 seats available), and then along comes a region with a whopping 80 votes to it, the game gets skewed. If someone wins the election in the 80-seat region, it's very hard to catch them by winning seats from other, smaller regions. Since there are only 7 regions with elections, you won't have the resources anyway to win all the rest of the elections trying to catch up to the person who took home 80 seats in parliament. Just a thought. A 5-star game all the way for the more serious player.
If one can get through the rules this is a great game. Be patient and read the fine print and you will not be disappointed with this one.
It took me three years to find a group willing to play such an involved political game especially with the five hour time commitment. (more if one has to explain the rules.) After playing it we all thought of new strategies to further our cause and new ways to exploit the other players with Koalitions or the Shadow Cabinet. Other than the two newbies to German games, everyone wanted to play again. I haven't heard from the newbies since then. This leads me to believe it might be too heavy of a game for someone used to light domestic fare.
I also like the appearance of the playing surface when set up. The board is in separate pieces so don't bump the table--it could cause a public opinion change. ;)
There is so much one can do and not enough money or resources to accomplish these goals; it reminds me of any number of German titles in that respect.
I highly recommend this game to groups that enjoy an engaging game and don't mind the lengthy playing time.
Although from Germany, this game is not like the majority of games coming from there. This is a very intense thinking game which does require some time, but probably only 3-4 hours for people who know the rules. This game is a hard one to grasp when being taught because there are so many things going on, but each individual task is very straightforward. The biggest improvement the 2nd edition made was to make it easier to tell who's winning, but it certainly didn't make it crystal ball clear. I won my last game when my 'opponent' moved up two issues that I liked in the last 2 elections which faulted me from 4th to 1st. This is an awesome game where luck is limited and actually learning how to deal with and overcome poor issue draws is one of the keys. This is not a game that can be solved. The variability of which regions are in each game alone will make you take different strategies from game to game. I can't recommend this one highly enough.