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Andy Ashcraft

Andy Ashcraft
Van Nuys, California,
Andy Ashcraft is a game designer living in sunny Van Nuys, CA with his lovely and very funny wife, Jackie Kashian and a twelve-year-old iguana named Tiberius Drackus. Andy hates the word 'blog', so this is his first weblog. Special thanks to bionicStephen for the cool new avatar!


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JUNE 24, 2009 11:06PM

Andy’s Presidential Fantasy Game

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Long ago, I promised a post about a recurring fantasy I have in which I am elected to be the President of the United States of America.


Andy’s Presidential Fantasy Game


It’s all about the veto.  I would promise during the campaign to Veto absolutely everything that came my way, thus forcing our two parties to work together in order to accomplish anything at all.  They would need a veto-proof super-majority to get anything past my red-inked rubber-stamp of negativity (and fiscal prudence).  I’ll even Veto the bills I like!


What I would not disclose during the campaign is that there is another layer to this plan.  Once I was ensconced in the West Wing, I would let every Senator and Representative know that I was putting into place a system in which they could earn the right to get past my veto. 


Here’s how it works:


Each member of the Legislative Branch is provided, at the beginning of my term, and possibly at the beginning of each year thereafter, a number of tokens called “Presidential Seals”.  One of my staff would be in charge of keeping track of how many Seals each Senator and Representative has at any given time.  That data must remain top-secret, even from me, for this plan to work.


Senators and Representatives -  hereafter referred to as “Players” - earn an additional Seal when they vote the way that I wish them to on bills that come to vote.  I will clearly and plainly publish my views on any Bills that come to vote so that everyone knows what they stand to gain.


Players can then ‘spend’ Seals to increase the ‘Yea’ votes on any bill.  To spend a Seal, the Player simply needs to call my staff and tell them how many Seals are to be spent and on which bill.


When the time comes for me to sign or veto the bill, if the actual ‘Yea’ votes PLUS the Seals spent to increase them are greater than the two-thirds super-majority to overcome the veto, I will sign the bill.


Since absolutely NONE of this is in ANY WAY transparent, the savvy Player will realize he or she can vote one way publicly, and then quietly spend two Seals to effectively reverse his vote in private. 


Note that in this schema, I cannot override the will of the Legislative Branch.  If they fail to get enough votes to pass a bill, then it never comes to my desk for a possible veto.  Alternately, Seals cannot be spent to reduce an actual veto-proof super-majority.  That is, this game only affects those bills that pass the Senate and House, but that did NOT get a veto-proof super-majority.


Seals cannot be traded between Players.  Their Seals are their own to spend (or not spend) as they like.  The best they can do is promise each other that they’ll spend Seals in certain ways.  The very idea makes me happy!


So WHY play this game?  For me, the President, it removes the horse-trading out of my day-to-day schedule and leaves me with more time to explain why I like or dislike a bill.  It gives me time to communicate to the Players and to the American People the direction I want to take the country.  It gives me time to lead.


For the Players, they don’t need to play the game at all so long as enough of them agree to work with each other for the good of the country.  It gives them another resource-axis with which to negotiate amongst themselves.  That’s just good game design!



Andy A

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first comment! (I registered to read this, so count yourself lucky).

Sounds like a good plan. I would add that the presidential seals should be shaped like actual (barking, flippered) seals.
Well, sure! And I should clap and make a barking seal noise when I award them to like-minded legislators. We need more fun in the White House!

Andy A
Cool Bro! I like it!
Thanks, Peter. Riding public transportation should be a must for anyone elected to public office. It's the great equalizer. Here in LA, especially.