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AMPU: The Big Red Button (1960 Playtest)


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The Blue Team

The Southern Democrats. @bradleyg223
Led by Traditionalist Senator Strom Thurmond. 

Senator Thurmond is the epitome of Southern Democrats. He is notorious for the longest filibuster in United States history with his opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1957, timing in over a day. He is a bombthrower that would go on to become President Pro Tempore of the Senate three times, run for president as a third party Dixiecrat candidate, and his name is known today for his fierce opposition to progress on civil rights. What will you do with him? Will he emulate his historic rise to fame as a staunch segregationist? Or will you temper his edges enough for him to become palatable to the American public?

The Establishment. @ShortKing
Led by Moderate Senate Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson.

Born in a farmhouse in Stonewall, Texas, to a local political family, Johnson worked as a high school teacher and a congressional aide before winning election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1937.He would go on in our timeline to become the 36th President of the United States, taking office after the horrific assassination of President Kennedy. Currently, he is known as the “King of Congress” and is known for his ability to work with the conservative and liberal blocs, calling in favors and compromising like none other since Henry Clay. What will you do with him? Will you push him to be selected as JFKs Vice President again, or will you have him run for the highest office in the land in his own right, perhaps taking the fresh-face as his own running mate?

The Corporatists. @MrPotatoTed
Led by Moderate Senator John F. Kennedy.

There is no one more fitting to represent the Corporatists than Senator Kennedy. John Kennedy comes from a long line of politicians that served in state legislature, ambassadorships, and his family would go on to hold senator positions, representative seats, cabinet positions, and himself even the presidency. IRL, he would come into the convention with the full force of the Democratic establishment behind him with the assistance of his father, Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. What will you do with him? Will he run for the presidency and defeat Tricky Dicky again, or will he try to take over the Senate as a king of his own right?

The Liberal Bloc. @pman
Led by Liberal Senator Hubert Humphrey.

Hubert Humphrey is one of the most famous successful liberals in our nation’s history. Born in Wallace, South Dakota, Humphrey attended the University of Minnesota. In 1943, he became a professor of political science at Macalester College and ran a failed campaign for mayor of Minneapolis. The next year he was elected mayor of Minneapolis, serving until 1948. In 1948, he was elected to the U.S. Senate and successfully advocated for the inclusion of a proposal to end racial segregation in the 1948 Democratic National Convention's party platform. In our timeline, LBJ would select him as his running mate when seeking election to a presidential term on his own merits. What will you do with him? Will you keep him in the Senate as a fierce proponent of civil rights legislation? Or will you try to do what he did in real life and seek national office?

The Radical Reformists. @Mark_W
Led by Liberal Senator Estes Kefauver.

Estes Kefauver is one of those rare Southern Democrats who championed for socially liberal causes. He comes from humble beginnings -- the son of local hardware merchant. He's from the greatest state in the union, Tennessee (no bias here), and was about as close to an ordinary citizen as politicians got in his time. He taught high school mathematics and coached football, and then went off to practice law and married an artist. Kefauver was unique in Tennessee politics in his outspoken liberal views, a stand which established a permanent bloc of opposition to him in the state. His staunch position as an anti-corruption crusader won him admirers for his integrity even from those who disagreed with his political views. IRL, he would run several times for the Democratic nomination for President, and would be the runningmate to Adlai Stevenson's failed presidential campaign. What will you do with him? Will he opt to remain a legislator, or perhaps he can take his impossible popularity in his home state and run for governor, becoming an influential activist for desegregation? 

The Red Team

The War Hawks. @Willthescout7
Conservative Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen 

Everett Dirksen was a talented orator with a florid style and a notably rich baritone voice. Ge delivered flamboyant speeches that caused his detractors to refer to him as "The Wizard of Ooze". In the House, he was considered a moderate and supported much of the New Deal; he became more conservative and isolationist over time. However, he would become one of the most fervent supporters of President Johnson's war in Vietnam. Will you have the war hawk take the reigns of the Senate, just like in real life, or do you have something else in store for him?

The Business Republicans. @Vols21
Conservative Vice President Richard Nixon 

Oh man, where do I even begin. Nixon was the 37th president of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. He was a member of the Republican Party who previously served as a representative and senator from California and was the 36th vice president from 1953 to 1961 under President Eisenhower. He is best known for the Watergate scandal, where his paranoia led to commissioning a break-in to the DNC to wiretap his opponents conversations. When this was found out, he tried to compel the Supreme Court to shield evidence of his wrongdoing. In a unanimous decision, the Court declined. He would go on to become the first president to resign amidst impeachment proceedings. 

Currently, he sits comfortable as the VP to a popular, two-term president. The nomination seems assured, should he want it. What will you have him do?

The Globalists. @Ich_bin_Tyler
Moderate President Dwight D Eisenhower

President Dwight Eisenhower was an American military officer and statesman who served as the 34th president of the United States from 1953 to 1961. He was heavily courted by both Republicans and Democrats in 1952, but sought the presidential nomination for the Republican Party. He would go on to win two terms and govern as a well-liked moderate who developed the military-industrial America we have today. There's nothing you can do with him, unless he passes a very difficult retirement roll.

The Technocrats. @Lars
Moderate Aerospace CEO Charles F Adams IV 

Charles Francis Adams IV is the only Faction Leader who never entered any kind of political prominence in our timeline. He is the great-great-great-grandson of U.S. President John Adams and great-great-grandson of his son John Quincy Adams. While many of the Adams dynasty would ride their name out for a cushy life of nothingness, Charles Adams IV did not. He served in the navy during World War II, and graduated from Harvard afterwards. He served as the first president of the Raytheon Company and assumed this role off and on throughout the years. During his tenure, Raytheon grew from a manufacturer of transistors and vacuum tubes into a maker of missiles and military-oriented radar and communications systems. What will you do with him? Will you lobby for an important cabinet position, say Defense, for this maker of military technology? Or perhaps he will continue the family tradition and run for a representative seat in Massachusetts? The sky is the limit with no historical expectations.

The Rockefeller Republicans. @OrangeP47
Liberal Governor Nelson Rockefeller

Nelson Rockefeller, the namesake of the "Rockefeller Republicans". He was an American businessman and politician who served as VP under President Nixon and held a longtime position as Governor of New York from 1959 to 1973. Rockefeller's achievements included the expansion of the State University of New York, efforts to protect the environment, the construction of the Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller Empire State Plaza in Albany, increased facilities and personnel for medical care, and the creation of the New York State Council on the Arts. He unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for president several times, with his marital disputes and liberal views putting him at odds with the party as a whole. At this time, he is just entering his first term as the Governor of New York. Will you keep him there, with an iron grip over New York State? Or will you have him emulate his historic ambition to become President with greater success?

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Playtester Orientation and Housekeeping


Welcome one and all. I am just as excited as you all are to get the ball rolling. Before we officially begin, there are a few ground rules that need to be established for a well oiled playtest. 

Most importantly, you must be able to make your moves within a 24-hour period after being pinged. I understand that real life is far more important than AMPU, but we also can’t afford to wait when the game is set to release later this year and we’re trying to have some fun now 😉 (Note: for the first few weeks, this will be a 48 hour period because I am currently in finals season in school)

That doesn’t mean that you can never miss a day, however! I am absolutely fine with you shooting me a message to let me know you can’t meet the 24 hour deadline every now and then. As long as it’s not at all frequent I am happy to give an extension.

Unlike in the current playthrough, I ask that you designate someone on your team to make a move for you in the case that you are unavailable for more than 24 hours. Just shoot me a message on private messenger and feel free to change this whenever. If no one else on your team has moved for you after another 24 hours I will run your faction with CPU rules for that phase.

The first time you miss a 24 hour deadline is a freebie. However, after that I may have to replace you with someone more willing to meet regular deadlines. To avoid that, you may want to give someone permission to move for you after 18 hours. I don’t care as long as there’s SOME backup plan for if you go missing haha. 

It is important that for any action you take you post it here on the forum. That’s just so I can double check what you did with what’s allowable within the rules and so that I can roll on anything needed. 

After you’ve announced your actions you will almost always have to put that in the spreadsheet too. There are a lot of tabs to go through so please ask any questions about where things are located or how to do certain things in Excel and I will do my best to help you. If you break any sheets just let me know so I can try to fix it. If you are unsure about if something is a valid move or not you are more than welcome to announce it on the forum and getting feedback before making changes on the actual spreadsheet if you want.

Please do not modify anyone else’s Faction tab in a substantive way without their permission. Additionally, please do not modify traits/expertises/skills without being prompted to first. If I have to roll for something it might not hit so it would be a waste of my time and yours 😛

The best thing you can do to keep the playtest moving smoothly is to lessen the workload of running it. Therefore, if you have ideas on how to better automate the spreadsheet I (and your other lovely playtesters) am ALL ears for it.

Do not share the game rules with anyone outside of the current playtest. I won’t usually share all of the rules to every phase on the forum so you will have to look at the sheet to have a deep dive into the rules. There’s over 100 pages cumulatively but you’re welcome to just check out the rules of each phase as we get to it. 

The general flow of the playtest will go like this: 

First, I announce a new phase and provide a brief overview of the rules on this forum. I made a lot of these overviews (and this post!) in advance so the rules may not be exactly as they were at the time of writing. I’ll try to catch this and correct it but let me know if there are issues.

Second, I made an additional post of what you specifically will need to do as a playtester and you do them. Keep in mind the same as above.

Third, I make the necessary rolls and post the results here. (There are far too many rolls to post the actual result of individual dice but the sheet should have much of it)

Finally, you make changes to the spreadsheet that relied on the outcome of a dice roll and I double check to make sure it’s all good.

We then repeat this process for every phase in a four year cycle for the entirety of the game. Yay!

One last thing to note is that we have not tested the game with this number of statesmen before. My time estimates may not be accurate and do not take into account the time it will take you to familiarize yourself with the rules. You’ll get much faster with it the second time you do a phase for sure. 

We are going to begin in the most time intensive game phase – the Elections Phase. Please do not be intimidated by the time you have to put in for this – you won’t have to do it again for at least a week or two and there is no other phase like this one. If nothing else you’re getting the hard part out of the way first. Some of you have already put some candidates into the sheet and that's great! I'll have instructions posted next.

The game will officially begin with the timer ticking tomorrow morning. The 24-hour deadline will begin from the time the instructions are posted. Feel free to ask for an extension or an explanation of any rules. If for any reason you need to bow out of the playtest just let me know but otherwise I’m stoked to get excited with the gang here.

@MrPotatoTed @Vols21 @pman @OrangeP47 @Lars @bradleyg223 @Ich_bin_Tyler @Mark_W @ShortKing @Willthescout7 

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Elections Phase

Welcome to the Elections Phase! This is the point where our timeline diverges from actual history – who will you have announce their candidacy for the House, Senate, Governor’s mansion, and the Presidency? 

The detailed rules for this phase, and all others, are on the Google Doc. You can find them on the table of contents as AMPU Rules: 2.9 - Elections Phases. Additionally, the rules are split into subcategories if you want to focus on one section at a time. 

I’ve provided a brief summary of what this phase entails and the steps to it but you’ll still need to look at the rules for more information. The next post will be a much more concise version of what I expect you as a playtester to do here both on the forum and on the sheets with time estimates. These don’t account for familiarizing yourself with the rules enough to make a valid move. However, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask in the forum groupchat.

If you’d prefer to instead read the rules and don’t need an overview of this phase, feel free to skip this and just read the next post. 

A: Congressional Elections

The American political system places the power into three branches of the federal government – and two of them are up for election this phase. In times of great crisis, the citizenry has kicked the incumbent party out of power and ushered in even supermajorities of the party that was once on the sidelines. This is your chance to see if you can do better than your faction did IRL. 

However, it won’t be easy to grab power. Incumbent congressmen hold powerful advantages not only in primary elections, but also in general elections. They are known factors by the electorate and influential interest groups alike. If your charismatic nominee defeats the old crow who’s held his seat for 30 years in the primary, he may well be defeated in the general election because he simply doesn’t have that incumbency advantage. 

You might find it best here to negotiate with your faction members on important statesmen you want to run unopposed. Conversely, if you want to weaken another faction, you may instead choose to challenge their more vulnerable incumbents in the primary to weaken their power.

Your candidate’s traits and ideology are what is most important to their election chances. Generally, you can tell what impact a trait will have on the election just be looking at it. Charisma, Likable, Integrity, etc are generally good traits. Controversial, Unlikable, Uncharismatic, Flipflopper, etc are not. 

You can check the preferred ideology of different states on the HistoricalEra tab. 

In addition, all states have governors that serve as the executive of their state and these governors are up for election in either midterm or general election years. This depends on the specific state and is something that you as a player can change. 

You can find the full rules for this section at AMPU Rules: 2.9.5 - 2.9.8 Other Elections. I urge that you check them out before you make your final selections. Here are a few general rules to be aware of: 

  • Players will select one politician that is of age and has at least 1 legis ability (for House and Senate) or 1 gov ability (for Governor)
  • Term limits must be respected if they exist. 
  • An incumbent can only be challenged in the primary by a politician of another ideology than the incumbent. 

B: Presidential Primaries and Election

The race for the White House. 

The campaign trail is long. In the modern days, the men and women at the forefront of the party duke it out in primaries in all 50 states. The winner of the majority of the delegates wins their party’s nomination and has near complete control of their vice presidential candidate, platform, and convention. Popular, charismatic figures are well equipped to win the nomination even without the backing of the rest of their party. 

However, not too long ago, the process for determining nominees happened behind closed doors with cigars, bribes, and promises of political support at the party’s convention. At times, the party would be so deadlocked in choosing their nominee that there would be dozens of rounds of voting without a decision. The kingmakers of the party reigned supreme. 

In 1960, we’re in the process of shifting from the old days to the modern era. There are a few states with primaries (12), but most delegates are won at the convention through negotiation between party bosses. You’ll have to straddle the line between appealing to these party bosses and the American people, just like Vice President Nixon and Senator Kennedy did back in the day. 

We are going to begin with the primary season. There are a LOT of rules for this and you’ll need to reference the Google Doc for sure. But I’ll give you a brief overview. 

To run for president, a statesman must have at least 1 Command. 

Every Faction can run a Major Candidate and a Minor Candidate.

The incumbent president, faction leaders, and candidates with their “celebrity” trait active are automatically Major Candidates. These are the big names vying for the nomination on the first ballot or two. 

Minor Candidates are essentially favorite son candidates that can only win delegates in their home state. However, if the convention is deadlocked, they can emerge as major candidates in the negotiations between the major factions. 

Major candidates all get a Nomination Speech. This means that you choose a statesman in your own faction to announce their candidacy at the convention and urge the party to choose them. Orators are great for this. Incoherent politicians are not. 

Primary delegates are added to the convention delegates to get us to our first ballot results. After the first ballot, primary delegates may shift their support to a candidate that did not win in their home state. 

To win on the first ballot, you will need to win 67% of the delegates. However, this number can change if two Faction Leaders request a rule change during Interballot Actions. 

If the first ballot does not have a winner, Factions can take interballot actions before the next round begins. There are many of these, but key among them are Forcing Rule Changes. Two or more Faction Leaders can request that a rule change is voted on. When this happens, every faction votes with their Kingmakers to determine if the new rule change is successful (with a straight majority being required to change rules). 

A few possible rule changes are lowering the needed delegates to a straight majority (50%+1 delegates), forcing state delegations to vote solely for a single candidate (winner-takes-all) or allowing state delegations to split their vote for several candidates they like (proportional delegates).  

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Here’s what you are tasked with doing in order to form A More Perfect Union…

(In one post for this phase, please!)

A. Time estimate: 15-35 minutes.
Input your candidates for Senate, House, and Governor elections. You can do this on the RepresentativeElections tab, SenateClassElections tabs, and GovElections tab. This is done MUCH quicker if you have both tabs open at the same time so you’re not switching between two sheets over and over again, haha.

For Senate elections, Class II Senators are up for election. 

After typing names, your work is done until I run the elections with one exception. For Governor elections, you have to indicate how many full two year terms your candidate has served. This is the only thing that does not automatically pull.

B. Time estimate: 0-10 minutes.
Declare your presidential major and minor candidates on the forum and indicate who will give their Nomination Speech. After everyone's actions are in, I'll go ahead and start running the primaries. (I'm finding out right now which states actually HAVE primaries at this point... 😛 ) I think that these are done in Primary Groups, so there will be several posts with primary results and options to drop out, endorse, make promises, etc. However, I don't think at this point you can win the nomination outright in the primary, so a convention battle is coming regardless!

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Just now, MrPotatoTed said:

Senator John F Kennedy announces his intention to become the next President of these United States! (Major)

Former Governor and two-time Democratic nominee Adlai E Stevenson announces his intention to make a half-assed third attempt at the nomination.  (Minor)

Now time to see if Ted can win his own game (;

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4 minutes ago, themiddlepolitical said:

Now time to see if Ted can win his own game (;

Absolutely not. Ha.  Between running the 1772 playthrough, revising the rules, and career/selling a house/buying a house/raising a family, my team is going to be wildly disappointed in my lack of leadership here.  Ha.  I'll do my best to not making glaring mistakes like declaring four wars at once though.  ;c)

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1 minute ago, bradleyg223 said:

The Southern Democrats are rallying around Ronald Reagan! (Major Candidate)

Also seeking the nomination is the Texan John Connally (Minor Candidate)

While I am 99.99% sure this would not actually happen during this time. It is extremely funny that southern democrats are rallying around a democrat in California. 

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