Die Macher FAQ
Doug Adams writes:
This is a translation of the Die Macher FAQ that appears in German on the Han Im Glueck website. Please report any errors to me. Doug.
After being nominated for SdJ 1998 the author, Karl-Heinz Schmiel, analysed suggestions and criticism he received.
Basically DIE MACHER is a simulation game on the topic of elections. We strove to transfer the major items of an election campaign into game mechanics. The game is not supposed to be an accurate simulation reality, it does not want to be. Therefore certain terms in the game [e.g. Seats (Mandate) or Votes (Stimmen)] do not have the same meaning as in reality. Also, different items in the play sequence (e.g. the determination of the election winner, and in particular, coalitions) have little to do with reality, and contradict the human understanding.
Our goal was to make an exciting game and the mechanics of the game has always been the priority, rather than simulating reality.
We thank you for the numerous letters, which we received, for praise and also for criticism. Only with these can weak points be eliminated. The following clarifications apply to the structure of the rules. Questions that we received again and again are answered, and basic rules are addressed, which will contribute to a better understanding of the game.
4.2 Setting up the Game
The flat rectangle pieces of wood are display markers. Each colour has 9 pieces. Thus the game status of a party on the Region Boards and on the National Board plan is recorded. On each Region Board, 1 marker is placed on the zero space of the vote scale, and 1 marker is placed on the zero space of the trend scale. Thus 8 markers are used up of each colour. The last marker is placed on the '5' space of the party membership track on the National Board.
Question: Can it occur that spaces remain empty in the Exchange Pool after
the set-up ?
5.1 Start Round
Example: If a player in column 1 marks the second choice, then trend marker in the noted Region is moved one space upward, the vote marker is moved onto the 6 space of the vote scale - and it receives 6 party meeting markers in the noted region, so that there are now 7 party meetings markers.
In column 2 a player marks the third choice. It receives a media marker (in the noted region), and its party membership marker moves to the 13 space (8 members from the start round and 5 members from the initial position).
5.2.2 Modifying the Party Program
Question: May one replace a program card with its opposite program card ?
Question: May one complete fill their hand to 3 cards after modifying the
party program with cards from their hand ?
Question: May one choose the cards freely from the program deck ?
Question: May a player have two identical program cards in their party
5.2.3 Shadow Cabinet
Question: Does one have to play a shadow cabinet card ?
Question: Does the start player have to play all his shadow cabinet cards he
wants to play at once, or does he only play one then play proceeds to the
next player around the table, and so on ?
Question: Must a player play a "Telephone" Coalition counter on the Region
Board if they played a shadow cabinet member with a telephone symbol - or is
it an option ?
Question: Do the Coalition counters remain on the Region Boards or are they
removed after the current round ?
5.2.4 Forming Coalitions
Question: Can the start player force a coalition, even though none of the
two involved parties belongs to him ?
5.2.5 Purchasing Media Markers
Question: May one replace an opinion card with media marker influence with
the opposite opinion card ?
Question: May one exchange a face down opinion card with media marker
5.2.7 Opinion Poll Cards
Question: What occurs, if the Opinion Poll deck is used up ?
Question: May one bid only once on the Opinion Poll or does bidding continue
until only one bidder remains ?
5.2.8 Converting Party Meetings into Votes
Question: Is converting of party meeting markers into votes at all possible
in the first round - if one must have 5 meeting markers in the Region to be
able to do this and only four may be placed per Region per turn ?
Question: Are party meeting markers first converted in all regions, apart
from the current region, then the opinion cards are changed ? Or do you swap
the opinion cards as soon as votes are determined within a region ?
Question: May opinion cards with a doubler card be removed with the exchange
by a majority of votes?
5.3.1 Determining Seats (Mandates)
Question: May a player, who has the absolute majority of votes in the
current election region after the conversion of the meeting markers (or after
the use of shadow cabinet cards), exchange an opinion card ?
Question: Why is it possible that several players can receive the maximum
number of seats ? Wouldn't the seats have to be divided ?
5.3.2 Election Winners
We received most of our questions about this aspect of the game. It is difficult to understand because it contradicts healthy human understand. The following examples should give assistance here.
1. A region without a coalition is won by the player with the most votes. i.e. their vote marker has advance the highest. In the case of ties, the player who arrived last wins - their vote marker should be sitting on top and this is victory by a 'nose'. This frequently occurs at 50 votes, but it can occur on any other space as well.
2. A region with a coalition totals the votes by both parties together. A coalition can score a total of higher than 50 votes. If a coalition has more than 50 votes then the coalition is the election winners, because a single party cannot score higher than 50 votes. It gets more difficult when there is a tie between a single party, and a coalition, so in addition here are two extra examples.
All remaining cases of ties should have been answered with the help of those two examples. Important: The votes of the coalition are totalled together only for the purpose of determining the winner of the election. During the scoring of seats, each party scores seats based on their votes only.
3. A Region with 2 coalitions have both coalitions total their votes. The coalition with the higher number of votes wins. Naturally a single party can still win, if they have more votes than either coalition. Here are some more examples of ties:
5.3.3 Effects of Election Victory
First we would like to deal with placing or exchanging cards on the National board. We received several inquiries about this. The rule describes one way of handling it, however we would like to adopt a suggestion of Dirk Geilenkeuser and André Maack, and play according to this rule. This rule is explained in the following, and below further questions are answered.
The suggestion of Dirk and André was that National Board opinions are filled from the left. If free spaces still exist on the board, then these must first be occupied. If an Regional opinion card is moved to the National board where an opposite card exists (Ja/Nein, etc), then an exchange of the National opinion cards will occur. The exchange of a National opinion card takes place, if all spaces on the National board are occupied or if an opposite opinion card is placed there. First the old National opinion card is removed (it is removed from the game, not into the exchange pool). Then all opinion cards are shifted to the left to fill up any spaces left by the removed card. This will result in a free space on the right of the National board, and this is where the new opinion card is placed. If there are several spaces free on the right hand end of the National board, then the first free space (the more valuable) is occupied.
This new rule ensures that new National opinions do not swing the victory points to much, importantly in the last two elections,
Question: Why are there security cards, if one can eliminate secured opinions
with a contrary opinion ?
Question: If a secured opinion is removed by an opposing opinion card on the
National board, does just the 'securing' card go, or do both cards go ?
5.4 End of the Turn
Question: What happens to the the opinion cards on the current Region Board,
which are not transferred by the election winner to the National Board ?
Question: How do new cards get added to the Exchange Pool ?
Response: New cards are added to the Exchange Pool:
Question: During turn 6 are both opinion cards revealed on the turn 7 Region
Board, or only one ?
5.4.4 Party Donations
Question: Are the donation cards played at the same time?
Question: Do you have to play a donation card each round ?
Question: Do you get the played donation card back ?