I’ve decided to take part in this year’s NaGaDeMon exercise. In this post I’ll detail the draft set of rules for the game that I’m creating.

By-election is a game for 3-4 players. It takes place on the eve of a by-election. Each player is a candidate, working to gain votes from the general apathetic population of undecideds, or their rivals!

The game starts when polls open in the morning. Over a course of day (five turns), the players will be working hard to turn voters to their cause, and keep them! The players begin with some followers:

  • 3 player games, each player starts with a 15 votes.
  • 4 player games, each player starts with a 12 votes.

The game is played with a custom deck of cards. There are four suits of thirteen cards, each is a type of political campaign:

  • Interviews in the media
  • Husting (a debate)
  • Door-to-door
  • Public appearance

Each suit has multiple copies of a ‘base’ card. This is played to start a political campaign. Base cards identify how many votes you will get when the campaign is completed. The campaign is completed when two other cards of the same suit are placed on top of it - so once you have a stack of three. The appropriate number of votes are awarded.

Other cards in each suit represent particular events on that campaign. For example, while walking door-to-door, you may kiss a baby and then get egged! These cards affect the number of votes you receive from a campaign, in one of several ways:

  • Increases the number of votes
  • Decreases the number of votes
  • Some of the votes are stolen by a competitor

It will be up to the player to decide if a card is worth saving for their own campaign, or spending to sabotage the campaign of a rival.

On a player’s turn, they complete the following actions:

  1. Draw cards until you have five cards in your hand.
  2. Play as many cards from your hand as you like
    • Base cards cannot be placed onto an existing campaign, they can only be used to start a new campaign.
    • Base cards cannot be played onto other players - only you decide what campaigns you wish to embark on!
    • Other cards in a suit may be played onto a campaign by any player.
    • A campaign ends immediately after adding a third card. Completed campaigns go to the discard pile.
  3. Play continues clockwise.

At the end of the fifth turn, the player with the most vote pledges wins the election. They are expected to give an acceptance speech and do what’s best for their new constituency.