Delegate Dash

Players 2-4
Length 30 minutes
Equipment Required piecepack
Designer ChrystalOverby and GlennOverby
Version 1.11
Version Date2004-05
License Public Domain


Delegate Dash, a game for 2-4 players, uses all the parts of a standard piecepack. Players are candidates of the Piecepack Party, seeking its nomination for President of the Republic. They campaign state-by-state over five rounds of votes, trying to win at least 305 out of 608 delegates. Sometimes the game-ending convention brings a surprise!


Reviews & Comments

In an election year (in the USA), what could be more appropriate than a game about an election? In Delegate Dash, four primary candidates (pawns) scurry around the countryside campaigning for delegate votes (coins), with a simple majority needed to win the Piecepack Party nomination. As a nice touch, rules are provided for robot candidates, so while the game is touted as being playable by two to four, it's also well-suited for solitaire play. The primary season progresses week-by-week in various regions (tiles) based upon the tile values, with nulls and threes all together during "Super Tuesday." Candidates' movement allowance is dictated by die rolls. If there isn't a clear winner by the end of the five-week primary season, the nominee will be chosen at a convention in which the candidates with the lowest number of votes are successively eliminated and the remaining candidates inherit their delegate votes by means of successive dice rolls.

I have to hand it to the designers, one of whom is brand new to game design. The theme is great. Likewise, they did a great job keeping track of individual contributions, and their appendix was one of the best of the bunch. I can't imagine many children wanting to play a game about primary party politics. But unfortunately, if the target audience is game-playing adults, the game play itself left a lot to be desired. Namely, meaningful choices. Even if it's much maligned among contemporary game snobs, the roll-and-move mechanism is tried and true. So, while I didn't want to penalize the authors for plugging in a well-worn mechanism, the fact is that the random dice roll mechanism really doesn't fit this theme. The ability to sacrifice a delegate coin (a good use for null coins) in order to roll and move again does help a bit, but it doesn't go quite far enough. Some sort of action point, economic or political momentum system may have worked better for travel allowances than roll-and-move. Some sort of debate, bidding, diplomacy or even bribery system might have provided a richer convention experience than highest roll+regional delegates to divvy up the spoils of a losing candidate. As it is, the "choices" the robot candidates make are almost always the best ones possible, so while the theme is great, I felt somewhat unnecessary as a player, especially after spending 30 minutes to play a game that ended in a roll-off to decide a 304 to 304 split.

Conclusion: The authors should take this wonderful theme and work on the mechanics to make Delegate Dash into as good a game as it deserves to be. With some attention and refinement, Delegate Dash could be great. Score: 16.60

-- ClarkRodeffer

Oct 19, 2004

CategoryGame ThemePoliticsCategory