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Campaign Manager

COMPUTE!'s Gazette August 1984

Todd Heirnarck, Assistant Editor

This two-player national election simulation ranks as one of the best games we've published. With the right strategy, your candidate can make it to the White House. For the Commodore 64.

The Democratic delegates are gathered in Moscone Center, wearing straw hats, carrying balloons and signs. The floor fights are done. The time has come to nominate.


"Mister Chairman-the great state of Maryland, The Free State, Home of the World Champion Baltimore Orioles, casts all of its votes for the senator from Arizona."

The chairman pounds his gavel. The din of cheers and jeers subsides. The convention is deadlocked. And you control a large block of uncommitted delegates. It's all up to you.

The vice president from Rhode Island has good charisma and intelligence, but you know his health is poor. The reverend from Arkansas is attractive, but a bit conservative. Although the senator from Arizona is experienced, he's not very smart. Perhaps the New Jersey doctor? No, the Ohio senator has the best combination of personality and issues, plus you'll get a home region advantage in the populous Heartland.

Now it's the Republican's turn. Of the five choices, the woman from South Carolina is the best all-around candidate. She has high charisma and fundraising appeal, which translates well into television ads.

It's time to hit the campaign trail.

The Democratic senator starts with $9 million and 59 health points. He rests two days (to build up his health), then spends two days fundraising. Campaign stops in Illinois and Texas sway the voters slightly to the Democratic side.

The Republican campaigns in her home state of South Carolina. She then moves on to North Carolina, Virginia, and Florida, followed by a couple of days resting.

As the campaign progresses, the Democrat concentrates on personal appearances in the industrial northeast, plus forays into the larger states such as Texas, California, and Florida. The Republican candidate does less actual campaigning, preferring to spend more time on fundraising to pay for the (expensive) television ads.

In the crucial eighth week, both candidates rest and fundraise in preparation for the last minute campaigning. The Democrat does a media blitz in the Pacific, Southern, and Atlantic states. The, Republican hits the Heartland, Arklatex, and the Urban Northeast.

Initial returns from New England show the Republicans sweeping the region, but the large states of New York and Pennsylvania went Democratic. The Republicans won most states from Ohio to the Great Plains, but the Democrats picked up the Southern Atlantic states (except Florida). Texas voted for the GOP, while the rest of the region went Democratic. The Rocky Mountain states were solid Republican. The Democrats won the Pacific States.

The final results show the Republicans winning six of nine regions and capturing the presidency, with 315 electoral votes to the Democrats' 223. Three of the four biggest states voted Democratic, but Ohio and Illinois (with 47 electoral votes between them) made the difference. The TV ads in the last week moved these two key states into the Republican camp.

Written entirely in machine language, "Campaign Manager" pits you against an opponent. Each of you manages the campaign of your candidate. The player who makes the right decisions gets his or her candidate elected.

You have nine weeks to campaign. Each week you plan your moves and enter them via the menu on the itinerary. You have two defensive moves, resting and fundraising, and two ways to gain votes, campaigning (personal appearances) and advertising on television.

At the beginning of each turn you see a medium-resolution map of the U.S. which indicates which way each state is leaning. The MAP option allows you to move a cursor around the country, to identify which states are which. If the Republicans are ahead, the state is red. Democratic states are cyan (light blue). If you're using a black and white television, the Republican states are the darker ones. You may notice that states occasionally switch back and forth, even though neither candidate campaigned or advertised there. This indicates that the voters in that state are split down the middle, and because of slight errors in polling, seem to be leaning one way or the other.

Since you only have 63 days (nine weeks of seven days), you have enough time to campaign in each state once or twice. But in terms of electoral votes, California (with 47) is far more important than some of the smaller (three vote) states like North Dakota or Vermont.

Generally, it makes more sense to campaign more heavily in the ten biggest states, sometimes called "megastates".

State Electoral Votes
CA 47
NY 36
TX 29
PA 25
IL 24
OH 23
FL 21
MI 20
NJ 16
NC 13

Winning the election requires 270 electoral votes (of a possible 538). The ten biggest states account for 254, just 16 short of a majority.

At the beginning of the campaign, each state has a large pool of undecided voters. As the game progresses, they make up their minds and the pool diminishes. It's possible, but unlikely, for all of a state's voters to decide before the end of the campaign. You would have to go to the state at least eight times before the undecided points were used up.

Each state has a built-in bias toward one party, based on past elections for president, senator, governor, etc. The District of Columbia, for example, is staunchly Democratic, so the Democratic candidate will automatically get seven campaign points there, compared to a Republican's two.

Since the Republicans have won three of the last four elections (including a landslide victory in 1972), you might expect them to begin the game with a huge advantage. But if you look at non-presidential elections, you will find a lot of states that elect Democratic governors, senators, and representatives and then vote for a Republican president. And a lot of those basically Democratic states were split by third-party campaigns (Wallace in '68, Anderson in '80).

To even things up, and make the game more playable, the Democrats begin with an electoral vote advantage of 282 to 256, although four of the megastates (PA, OH, FL, and NC are barely leaning to the Democratic side. The Republicans have the advantage of beginning with 29 of the 51 states (since DC has three electoral votes, it counts as a state). Most of the states west of the Mississippi are Republican, while the Democrats have most of the industrial Northeast and the South.

In addition to the natural political leanings, each state believes certain things about five general issues:

1) unemployment/inflation, 2) poverty/crime, 3) agriculture, 4) education, 5) defense.

(The issues are based on census reports, almanacs, etc.) A very urban state might be conservative on crime, but not care much about agriculture, for example. Each candidate has certain stands on these issues. When you campaign or advertise in a state, you can get up to three extra campaign points for each issue, if you agree with the citizens there.

Finally, the candidate you choose has a campaign effectiveness rating based on charisma and intelligence. This factor translates to votes each time you campaign in a state.

To start the game, choose which party will go first. You might want to flip a coin, the winner choosing either a party or to go first or second. In testing, we found that the second player has the very slight advantage of making the last move. Next, decide if one of you will start out as the campaign manager for the president running for a second term. Being incumbent gives you some extra campaigning strength, and is not recommended if you want an even game.

Note that all choices can be made with a joystick in either port. Move the pointer to a menu item and press the fire button twice to make your choice. If you don't own a joystick, use I, J, K, and L for up, left, down, and right respectively. Press M in place of the fire button.

Players then pick which candidate will represent their party. Five randomly chosen candidates are available. To the right of the candidate's stats is the YES/NO counter. Before making your choice, pick NO for each possibility until you have seen all five.They will cycle around again so you can. make your choice.

The heart of the game is the actual campaign, but in some ways the convention is more important. Nominate a terrible candidate and you'll spend most of your campaign trying to catch up.

A candidate's personality greatly affects the outcome of the election. In the lower left corner you'll see a list of five attributes, each associated with a number from one (worst) to eight (best). With a couple of exceptions, the ideal candidate is the one with straight eights.

First is charisma (CHAR), which is personal magnetism, panache, the ability to influence and excite people. This is the most important personality trait because it is part of both campaign effectiveness and advertising effectiveness.

Stamina (STAM) rates your candidate's health. A candidate with low stamina will have to rest frequently to regain health and strength.

Intelligence (INTL) adds points to campaign effectiveness and last minute campaigning.

Experience (EXPR) helps you with fundraising. If your candidate has lots of experience, he or she has more contacts and connections for raising money. Since experience comes with age, it counts against your health, although stamina counts for more health points.

Appeal (APPL) also contributes to fundraising appeals. But if you have maximum appeal (eight) you may be tainted by your affiliations with special interest groups, and there is a backlash when you advertise. It's best to have an appeal of six or seven.

The candidates' attributes are generated by adding three random numbers, so candidates are more likely to have a middle number (four or five) than one of the extremes.

The personality traits translate into these five campaign factors:

Campaign Effectiveness (CHAR*2 + INTL): the key factor in campaign stops.

Strength/Health (STAM*4 +9 - EXPR): determines the effectiveness of a rest day.

Fundraising Appeal (EXPR*3 + APPL): determines how much money can be raised in a day.

TV Ads (APPL OR 8 + CHAR): translates into votes when advertising.

Last Minute Campaigning (INTL + STAM): wins last minute votes to your side after the ninth week.

The significance of each factor is discussed later.

Next to the personality factors are the candidate's stands on various issues. You see five issues, each with a sliding scale of one (at the far left, representing liberal) to six (conservative). A Republican who wants to get tough on crime, for example, will have a rank of six. A Democrat who wants to solve the unemployment problem will have a rating of one.

Candidates will range from two to five on the issues of agriculture and education. On the other three issues, the Democrats will have stands from one to four; the Republicans will go from three to six.

You will generally get more votes with middle of the road beliefs. Look for a candidate with twos or threes if you're the Democrat. Fours and fives are best for the Republican. The exception is agriculture and education, where you do best with a three or a four.

Common sense tells you which issues are important in most states. Agriculture is a major issue in the farming states. Your stand on defense makes a difference in states with a lot of military-related industry.

The candidate's personality is generally more crucial than the stands on issues. If you have a lot of charisma, intelligence, and appeal, it doesn't matter that you may have radical views on one or two issues.

If you have five very bad candidates, press RUN/STOP-RESTORE and try again. It's not much fun to run a campaign you are destined to lose.

After the nominees have been chosen, the first week begins. You may notice that some states have changed colors. That's because each nominee gets the equivalent of campaigning once in each state. Some people make up their minds before the campaign even starts. If one candidate is much more charismatic, or happens to hit the right issues, a state may jump over to his or her side. In addition, each gets a home state and home region advantage.

You should develop a strategy. If your appeal and charisma are strong, concentrate on television ads. If your candidate has a strong anti-crime stance, visit the more urban states. At the very least, you should plan to visit each of the megastates.

You begin in your horne state where it is traditional to campaign once (but not twice). And the first week usually means some fundraising and resting as purely defensive moves.

Under the week's itinerary, are two numbers representing money and health. At the beginning of each week, your treasurer tells you how much money you have, up to a maximum of $25 million. Your personal physician figures out how healthy you are. At most you'll have 255 health points.

If you fall below $4 million any time during the week, television advertising will be uselless until you replenish the campaign coffers. If you have less than one million, you won't be able to pay the pollster (the bar graph to the left of the map will disappear). When your bank account falls to zero, the campaign is paralyzed until you sponsor a fundraiser. You can't even afford to pay your doctor or staff.

It takes time away from campaigning, but you have to raise money once in a while. Each fundraising point (experience times three plus appeal) is worth $200,000.

Campaigning takes a lot out of you, so you have to occasionally take a day to rest and relax. When you decide to catch some Zs, the itinerary will be filled with (you guessed it) Zs. Each day of rest adds double your strength factor, plus campaign effectiveness, plus the number of states you are winning to the health you have. A high campaign effectiveness gives you optimism; you rest better. If you're behind, you lose sleep worrying about it. Resting two days in a row gets you 16 extra health points.

There are two reasons to keep your health up. First, when you campaign in a state, you get an extra campaign point for every 32 health points you possess. Second, if your health falls below eight you look haggard and stutter; campaigning does you no good.

The treasurer counts dollars, the doctor counts your health, and your pollster counts votes.

The pollster does three things. First, you get a bar chart that shows how many electoral votes would go to the Democrats and Republicans if the election were held at that time. You can see it to the left of the map. The gray bar marked U represents undecided states too close to call. Second, you have a map of the U.S. to show you, at a glance, which way each state is leaning. Republican states are red; Democratic states are blue. These first two services are part of the pollster's contract and cost you nothing. Of course, if your money drops lower than one million, you have to stop paying the pollster, all you get is the map.

The third service is the most important-regional polls. To get a poll of all states in a region, move to POLL on the main menu and press the fire button twice. You'll see a bar chart showing which way each state in the region is leaning, from one (half a character wide) to four (two characters). The poll reflects the political situation at the beginning of the week; whatever campaigning you have planned for the week is not included. A state with a thin bar can usually be taken with a single campaign stop.

Don't use polls in the first couple of weeks because most states start out fairly even and you won't learn much. But polling can be a powerful tool towards the end of the game. If New York is firmly committed to you, forget about further efforts in that state. And if you find a whole region weakly supporting your opponent, you can hit them with TV ads and score a few dozen electorates.

Regional polls cost $100,000 and are not available if you begin the week with less than $1 million.

The final character (although transparent) in your entourage is the jet pilot. Your jet can carry you on short hops within a region for almost nothing. But if you travel to a new region, you shell out $100,000 for fuel, maintenance, etc. As long as you're in a region, you might as well stay there a few days to avoid a lot of travel expenses. Again, you don't actually move to a new region until you have campaigned in one of the states. You can use the travel option to conduct regional polls; you'll pay $100,000 for the poll, and another $100,000 if you decide to campaign in a region. If you travel to a region to poll and decide not to campaign, you won't be charged for traveling.

Benjamin Franklin once said that after three days, guests and fish begin to smell. The same principle applies to campaigning.

Campaign once and you gain some votes. Stay for a second day and the voters of a state are flattered; you gain a couple of bonus votes. But stick around for a third or fourth day and you have overstayed your welcome. Do not campaign in a state more than two days in a row.

Each state begins with 255 undecided voter points. Your main goal is to use campaigning and television advertising to sway the undecided. And you have to maintain your health and money.

The effects of a personal appearance can vary. You get up to three points for each issue (if the state agrees with you), one point for every 32 health points, and up to 24 for your campaign effectiveness (intelligence plus double charisma), and a two point bonus if it's your second day in the state.

If your money is down to zero, you get no campaign points. If your health is below eight, you get a single vote.

Each campaign stop decreases your health and money. It's possible to run out in the middle of the week, making each succeeding visit ineffective until you rest- or raise money. Let's say you go to Connecticut and impress 23 of the 255 undecideds. The pool of available voters is reduced by that number. Half of 23 (11 points) is charged against your health. Half again (5 points) times $100,000 is subtracted from your money. In addition, each state has some people who don't agree with you, so a quarter of your total (five points) goes to your opponent as a. reaction against your speech. If you had previously been in a different region, travel expenses of $100,000 are subtracted.

Television advertising is a little different. It affects every state in the region, and quickly swings voters to your side. To advertise, first travel to the region and make at least one campaign stop to establish your presence. You can then place the cursor on TV ADS and press the fire button twice. After campaigning once, advertise as much as you like.

Unlike resting and campaigning, the effects of advertising do not accumulate from day to day. If you advertise two days in a row, you don't get bonus points. Advertising does grow in strength from week to week, however, and will be more effective towards the end of the campaign.

If you flood the region with ads, it's possible to bring a whole section of the country to your side. But it is costly. In each state, advertising credits you with half your campaign effectiveness, half your TV ads effectiveness rating, points for issues, plus two times the week number (in week seven, for example, you get 14 extra campaign points).

The cost is the usual one-fourth of campaign points gained, plus double the TV ads' effectiveness. The large regions can cost a lot. Going on TV in the Atlantic States (all nine) or in the Rocky Mountains (eight) can deplete your treasury.

On the day you plan to advertise, you must have at least four million dollars. If you don't, you waste the day and gather no new votes. So, if you begin the week with $5 million, and campaign in six states, it's likely you'll have less than $4 million by Saturday. Your ad campaign will do you no good.

There is one more item you can choose: RECONSIDER. If you make a mistake, this option wipes your itinerary clean so you can start the week anew. Your choices are not permanent until you fill out the seventh day and press, the fire button. (If you pull down on the joystick, your slate will be wiped clean-a quicker way to reconsider.)

The ninth week is usually the most hectic. If you sponsored some fundraisers in week eight, you will want to spend a lot on TV advertising in the regions where you have a chance. Polls can tell you which states are most vulnerable.

After both candidates have finished their last week of campaigning, a couple of things happen. The last region to be visited by a candidate gives a few extra votes to him or her. And the last-week routine goes into action, as all the undecided voters make up their minds. Each candidate gets his or her last-minute campaigning points (intelligence plus stamina) added to each state in the country. The undecided voters are split between the candidates' and ties are resolved (based on the built-in bias to one party or the other).

The map is drawn for the final time. The final bar chart appears to the left (which should indicate at a glance which candidate won). Beginning with region one (New England), the electoral votes are displayed, with region totals below.

The winner is the candidate with the most electoral votes. There is a slight chance that there will be a tie, in which case you'd have to flip a coin. If you want to play again, press RUN/STOP-RESTORE and type RUN.

Here are a few rules of etiquette which help to make a fairer game.

First, if you're playing with two joysticks, try to avoid interfering with your opponent's choices. Remember, the joystick routine reads both joysticks.

Second, when you have filled out your itinerary and the prompt PRESS FIREBUTTON TO CONTINUE appears, let your opponent study what moves you made, and he or she can then press the fire button.

Third, since polls cost money, they should be kept private. When the other player is taking a poll, avoid looking at the screen.

Special Instructions for Entering Campaign Manager

Since the program is written entirely in machine language, you must use the MLX machine language editor (elsewhere in this issue) to enter it. Before loading MLX, you have to protect part of BASIC memory by typing the following line:

POKE 642,50: SYS 58260

You'll then see the usual start-up message, but you'll notice less than the normal 39K RAM. Next LOAD MLX using a start address of 2049 and ending address of 9518 and begin typing. The program uses about 10K, which was crunched down to about 7K to make typing it in a little easier. Since it's such a long program, you may want to enter it in parts. If you choose to do so, make sure you follow the MLX instructions for loading and saving, and enter the above POKE and SYS before you resume using MLX. The newest version of MLX has a numeric keypad, which should save you some time.

When you have finished typing Campaign Manager, make sure to save it to tape or disk (maybe a couple of backup copies as well). Turn your 64 off and then on, LOAD the program (as if it were BASIC), and type RUN. The first few bytes look like a BASIC program with the command SYS 2061. But you don't have to remember the SYS; it's built into the program. See program listing on page 141.

Main Menu Command Summary

CAMPAIGN - allows you to make a personal appearance in one of the states of the region you're visiting. Results depend on campaign effectiveness, built-in party bias of the state, health, and issues. Does not work if you have zero health or money, or if all undecided voters have been claimed. Gains votes, costs health and money.

TV ADS - blankets the region with advertising. Reduces health and costs a lot of money, but can quickly deliver a big chunk of votes. Net votes based on TV advertising effectiveness, campaign effectiveness, and issues. Does not work if you have less than $4 million.

FUNDRAIS - raises money for your campaign based on fundraising ability. Takes a day, gains no votes, costs nothing.

REST - builds up your health points, according to strength factor. Extra points if you rest two days in a row. Gains no new votes, costs nothing.

MAP - moves the cursor around the map, prints the state name, electoral votes, and region number. For information only, costs nothing.

POLL - provides a bar graph showing which way the states in the region are leaning. Costs $100,000 (immediately). Not available if money falls below $1 million.

RECONSIDER - erases the week's itinerary if you make a mistake.

TRAVEL - takes you to a new region of the country. Costs $100,000 (not charged to you until you actually campaign there).

August 1984 Gazette Disk