GrogHeads Forum

After Action Reports => Digital Gaming AARs => Topic started by: Tripoli on July 01, 2018, 06:38:26 PM

Title: US 2018 Congressional Election-A Congress Infinity AAR
Post by: Tripoli on July 01, 2018, 06:38:26 PM
I've got a proposal for a possible group AAR: 270Soft has an single-player election simulator called "Congress Infinity," that allows for simulating the US Senate elections in November 2018.  See
https://270soft.com/us-election-games/congress-election-game-2018/

THe game is available for either Mac or PC for $19.95.

To summarize the game, it lets the player play the role of the head of the RNC or DNC and with daily turns provide resources to the various senate campaigns, with the goal of maximizing the number of wins for your party in November.  Turns can be daily or weekly, beginning on either 1 August 2018, or 1 September 2018. The game also allows you to edit the scenario file, so you can start the game with accurate polling. 

What I am proposing (for anyone who is interested) to run a tournament (or alternatively, simply AARs), beginning on 1 August and tracking day-for-day the 2018 Congressional election.  Between now and 1 August I would alter the scenario file so that it would have the most up to date polling.  The objective of the tournament would be to see whose AAR came closest to matching the actual results of the 2018 election.    Is this idea of any interest to anyone?  If not, I'm still planning on doing it, and posting the AAR here.

Title: Re: Crowd Sourcing an Election: A proposed AAR
Post by: JasonPratt on July 01, 2018, 07:05:10 PM
Interesting. I have either this or its presidential campaign (maybe both), for some earlier year, but have never played it.

I'm going to be involved in a couple of forum games already so I'll provisionally pass, but I'll be watching any AARs here with great interest!  O:-)
Title: Re: Crowd Sourcing an Election: A proposed AAR
Post by: airboy on July 06, 2018, 09:19:54 PM
Very interesting, but I will be traveling for two weeks during that time frame.
Title: Re: US 2018 Congressional Election-A Congress Infinity AAR
Post by: Tripoli on August 03, 2018, 07:19:12 PM
1 August 2018
I'm kicking off the 2018 Congress Infinity Election AAR two days late.  The ground rules for my play of the AAR are that I will post a move every day from now until the election, and then compare the results with the 2018 US election.  I will be playing this in real time, and the Republican National Comittee, with the computer playing the Democratic National Comittee.  Although I am starting 2 days late, which I will catch up by this Sunday. I am using the most current version of the game (v. 2.8.4) which was just released last week.

DISCLAIMER:  I am playing the vanilla version of the 2018 scenario.  I am not responsible for any assumptions or interpretations made by the game or its designers and will try to beat the computer scenario as it is presented.   While I may discuss politics and strategy in this series, it will be in the context of general election politics and strategy.  Occasionally, I will also add at the bottom of my posts real world polling data or events to demonstrate differences between the game and what current polling and/or events are portraying.

For starters, here is the game's overview of the Republican party characteristics and strength in each:

(https://i.imgur.com/T0xURsc.jpg)

  The game gives the Democratic party similar characteristics, except the Democratic party has only a "3" fundraising strength, but a "4" rating in "Spin," indicating that all things being equal, the  Republicans will lose battles in the press.


Title: Re: US 2018 Congressional Election-A Congress Infinity AAR
Post by: Tripoli on August 03, 2018, 07:28:02 PM
The current polling map looks like this:

(https://i.imgur.com/eSNZKyu.jpg)

It shows that current polling shows the Republicans are estimated to hold 51 safe seats, with an additional 3 seats in play, and one (Florida) being a toss up.  The game does randomize the polling a little, so this projected map may not actually reflect the real life map, but it is close.

The graphic below shows each of the most vulnerable states, and how far apart the state populace is from the national platform:

(https://i.imgur.com/oqGWzSU.jpg)

And the RNC national platform addresses the following 22 issues, and how far the platform deviates from the opinion nationally:

(https://i.imgur.com/L4QEyZH.jpg)
(https://i.imgur.com/dN3XBwq.jpg)
(https://i.imgur.com/GUIE29r.jpg)
(https://i.imgur.com/asm3wYG.jpg)

Title: Re: US 2018 Congressional Election-A Congress Infinity AAR
Post by: Tripoli on August 03, 2018, 07:32:44 PM
Strategy

I’ve created Table 1 below  to reduce some to the information contained in the game to make my decisions easier for the reader of this AAR to digest.  It shows the party that currently holds the seat, the current polling advantage of  the Republican candidate for the seat.  The “Rplat delta” and “Dplat Delta” show how far off the Republican platform and Democratic platform differ from the voters in that state.  A larger number indicates a greater distance between the party’s platform and the voters, ie, a small number is better.  The “R Plat Advt”  column is the difference between the “Rplat delta “and “Rplat delta”.  The larger the number in this column, the better it is for the Republicans.  Negative numbers are bad for the Republicans.

Table 1

State   Incumbent             R Advt %   Rplat delta           Dplat Delta   R Plat Advt
Indiana   D                         1             19                         27                 8
Missouri   D                         6               9                         37               28
Tennessee   R                         6               8                         37               29
Florida   D                         0               9                         28                     9
Minnesota   D                        -1              32                         15                  -17
Michigan   D                        -4              29                         23                -6
Arizona   R                        -5              14                         31                17
New Mexico   D                -6              23                         23                  0
Ohio   D                                -6              25                         22                 -3
Pennsylvania   D                -8              30                         16               -14
Montana   D                      -10                7                         38                 31
West Virginia   D                 8              15                         31                 16
Texas   R                         7                8                         37                 29

Based on this table, I will attempt to flip Indiana, Missouri, Florida and West Virginia.  Because Montana gives the Republicans such a platform advantage, I will also see if I can flip that seat, although the -10% polling will be a significant dissavantage to overcome. Similarly, I will make a play for Ohio and Minnesota and New Mexico,   if for no other reason than to force the Democrats to defend the seat.   
Title: Re: US 2018 Congressional Election-A Congress Infinity AAR
Post by: JasonPratt on August 03, 2018, 07:48:03 PM
I don't understand the data well enough to understand what you mean by "flipping" Missouri, Indiana, and West VA. WV is solid red, and the others are pink on the map. Do you mean strengthening by "flipping"?  ??? But then you're going to flip Montana which is dark blue. Making a play for the light blue NM, MN, and OH, I understand, but those aren't flipping (from blue to red)?
Title: Re: US 2018 Congressional Election-A Congress Infinity AAR
Post by: Tripoli on August 03, 2018, 07:52:41 PM
Quote
I don't understand the data well enough to understand what you mean by "flipping" Missouri, Indiana, and West VA. WV is solid red, and the others are pink on the map. Do you mean strengthening by "flipping"?  ??? But then you're going to flip Montana which is dark blue. Making a play for the light blue NM, MN, and OH, I understand, but those aren't flipping (from blue to red)?

Sorry, in this context, "Flipping" means to change the seat from Democratic to Republican. Indiana, WVA, Missouri and Indiana are currently held by Democratic senators. The Red and Blue colors on the map is the strength of the polling for each party in that state, and not a reflection of who holds the seat: Dark red equals strong Republican support/advantage, light blue means moderate Democratic support/advantage, etc.  Florida is white, as it is a toss-up.  The gray states don't have a senator running for election this cycle.
Title: Re: US 2018 Congressional Election-A Congress Infinity AAR
Post by: JasonPratt on August 03, 2018, 07:55:48 PM
Ah, got it!  O0
Title: Re: US 2018 Congressional Election-A Congress Infinity AAR
Post by: Tripoli on August 04, 2018, 05:05:39 PM
1 August
Strategy Development
  I review each of the battleground states to see what issues their population considers important.  To do this, the game requires me to look at each state separately.  Not wanting to burden ya'll with looking at somewhere in the neighborhood of 40+ screens, I created the excel table below:

(https://i.imgur.com/1WFtT0a.jpg)

It shows that in seven of the battleground states, Trump is a postive factor.  Only in Minnesota and in New Mexico is he a negative.  SImilarly, the issue of Russian influence/Special Counsel probe and the Immigration and role of government issue are consistent positive advantages across the board in battleground states.  Because of this, I begin to create a national advertisement on the immigration issue, as it seems to be a good wedge issue.  The Ad will take a couple of days to develop. 
(https://i.imgur.com/VqTnhsd.jpg)

 Because Trump seems to be a positive issue in some of the Battleground states,  I also being to activate him as a "surrogate" to both barnstorm and possibly fundraise.

(https://i.imgur.com/THHuo4f.jpg)

It will take a couple of days to complete this process, so in the meantime, I will develop an ad for local markets emphasizing Trump.  I also invest in research in the Battleground states of Missouri and increasing my organization strength in Indiana as well as opposition research to overcome the democratic incumbent's organizational strength advantage there.  These actions will use my 8 CPs for the turn.  The research and preparing Trump to campaign will further expend 3 CPs for the next 5 turns, leaving me with only 5 CPs a turn until 5 August.
(https://i.imgur.com/LcYV3NA.jpg)
Title: Re: US 2018 Congressional Election-A Congress Infinity AAR
Post by: Tripoli on August 04, 2018, 05:24:47 PM
2 August 218

Now it is time to build up my organizational strength is some other competitive states.  It is important to do this early, as it takes time to deploy these organizational assets.   I spend 4 of my 5 CPs sending foot soldiers, building organizational strength and conducting polling in Florida.  With a Republican platform advantage of +9, and current polling showing a dead heat, this offers an opportunity to pick up a Democratic-held seat.  I also send some foot soldiers to Arizona to help shore up the Republican incumbent, who is trailing her Democratic opponent.

(https://i.imgur.com/moKnTPV.jpg)

Title: Re: US 2018 Congressional Election-A Congress Infinity AAR
Post by: Tripoli on August 04, 2018, 06:22:14 PM
3 August 2018

The first polling coming in from Missouri shows that the state is shifting to a toss up, from the earlier +6 Republican (R +6) advantage.  My national and Indiana specific ads are completed, so I will begin to run those.  Based on the implosion of the Missouri polls, I target the state, which will make my efforts there more effective.

(https://i.imgur.com/2Ykvu5n.jpg)

I also begin to run the national immigration advertisement in Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia, Florida, Missouri, Arizona, New Mexico and Montana.  These are the markets that according to the polling, will give the advertisment will have the most positive impact in.

(https://i.imgur.com/MJmD267.jpg)

I spend my last CP on buying an expensive advertisement on leadership for Minnesota.  The RNC doesn't have much of an opportunity here on any specific issue, but leadership is a highly rated issue that the RNC can run on in Minnesota.  This is my attempt to steal a  seat, or at least force the DNC to defend it.
Title: Re: US 2018 Congressional Election-A Congress Infinity AAR
Post by: Tripoli on August 04, 2018, 06:34:26 PM
4 August 2018

The latest rounds of polling show that the previous Missouri result may have been bad polling, as the current poll shows Missouri at a +2 R.  However, the various activities has reduced me to only 1 CP this turn, so I begin developing an expensive national pro Trump advertisement, to dovetail with the POTUS doing barnstorming for the RNC.

 (https://i.imgur.com/ozamPyp.jpg)
Title: Re: US 2018 Congressional Election-A Congress Infinity AAR
Post by: Tripoli on August 05, 2018, 01:08:32 PM
5 August 2018

Polling now shows the RNC with a +1 R  advantage in the battleground states of Florida, Indiana and Missouri.
(https://i.imgur.com/Nk5q0bF.jpg)

(https://i.imgur.com/NoMqiQM.jpg)

 There are two senate races in Minnesota this year: Amy Klobuchar (D) v. Jim Newberger (R) in MN-1 and in a special election to fill Al Frankin's seat is Tina Smith (D) and Karin Housley (R) in MN-2.  The Klobuchar/Newberger race looks unwinnable, as Klobuchar has a D +12 advantage.  However, there is only a +1 advantage in the the race between Tina Smith (D) and Karin Housley (R) in Minnesota.  I'm going to put some resources towards polling in Minnesota, as there is a chance I can pull an upset in MN-2.  I also target Florida to improve my chances there.  These actions use all my CPs, so the turn ends.

Real World Polling
According to RCP, the Minnesota race between Smith and Housley was running in favor of Smith by  49/35 on 29 July. https://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2018/senate/mn/minnesota_senate_special_election_housley_vs_smith-6303.html    Thus, 16% are undecided. This seat is also evaluated as "Lean Democrat" by 270towin.   https://www.270towin.com/2018-senate-election-race-ratings/ The difference between RCP's 49/35 split and 270towin's "Lean Democrat" may indicate that there is a softening of support for Smith in RL. 


Title: Re: US 2018 Congressional Election-A Congress Infinity AAR
Post by: Tripoli on August 07, 2018, 07:51:11 PM
6 August 2018

the game day starts off with a good news story that the Republicans are polling well, and may get a Senate majority.

(https://i.imgur.com/fG0vQPs.jpg)

 This gives the RNC an opportunity to spin the story.  And the RNC has no better guy for that job than my newly activated surrogate, POTUS himself, Donald Trump.  Release the Trumpster!

After giving POTUS our half of the two-man launch code for his Twitter feed, I take stock of the latest polling.  While good, it isn't great.

(https://i.imgur.com/F8OY2BY.jpg)

(https://i.imgur.com/9ijc7U0.jpg)

It looks like we've lost ground in Minnesota-2, Florida and Missouri.  OF note, the DNC is running ads against Republican McSally in Arizona on the Russian interference issue.  I'm surprised they think that will work in Arizona, as the game shows a Republican advantage in Arizona on that issue.  Possibly that is the reaons the state went from a D+5 to a to a toss up this turn?   

WIth only 2 CPs left, I spend them on targeting West Virginia and close out the turn. (states that are targeted are denoted by the column with the eyeball in the last image above).

Real World Polling
The Arizona race is the run for retiring Senator Jeff Flake.  According to RCP, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema as a D-4 to D+7 advantage here, possibly enhanced by the  entrance of former Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio into the race and potentially splitting  the populist vote. 
Title: Re: US 2018 Congressional Election-A Congress Infinity AAR
Post by: Tripoli on August 09, 2018, 06:39:42 AM
7 August

The news cycles is still reporting a Republican lead in the Senate campaign.
(https://i.imgur.com/43XJo9r.jpg)

A look at the current polling shows a map that is essentially unchanged from yesterday:

(https://i.imgur.com/UEm9yQ8.jpg)

With not much new happening in the polling world, I begin building the RNC organization in Arizona to help McSally in her race (denoted by the  '-->' arrow on the 5th column of the table below).  I also  increase polling in both Arizona and West Virginia (note: this is denoted by the '-->' arrow on the second column of the table below.  This will give me a more accurate poll than the national polls I'm currently using.  In turn, this will help guide me on where I want to put additional resources.  In Arizona, McSally looks vulnerable despite the recent mis-step by the Democrat party on running on the immigration issue, so I need to get a better understanding of how much to commit to her campaign.  Next turn, I may do some polling on immigration to see if running an advertisement there will improve McSally's run.   Similarly, I do additional polling in West Virginia.  There, the Republican candidate is comfortably ahead of the Democratic incumbent, so I'm not sure how much I want to pile on in that race, when potentially I could put the resources to Ohio or other light blue states.
(https://i.imgur.com/5BxgGeR.jpg)

Title: Re: US 2018 Congressional Election-A Congress Infinity AAR
Post by: Tripoli on August 09, 2018, 07:21:23 AM
8 August

The news cycle continues to report a Republican lead in the national senate picture.  Polling now shows a slight (+1 R) lead in Missouri.
(https://i.imgur.com/GybeSe5.jpg)

While the picture is improving for the RNC, a dive into the polls shows the DNC has some momentum in Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Minnesota.  (denoted by the "+2" in the 4th column below)
(https://i.imgur.com/VyEE4mb.jpg)

Looking at Florida, it looks like the RNC is already doing what can be done there.  An advertisement stressing Trump support is being cut, polling is being done, and  the RNC organization is being built up. The result of this is that the Republican  share of the vote appears to slowly outstripping the Democrat vote by +0.1 to -0.3 this turn.  The DNC is targeting Florida, so I'll have to continue to do a dive into the polling to see what issues I can exploit. 
(https://i.imgur.com/hi1jmUP.jpg)

I expand polling in Ohio, Tennessee, Montana and North Dakota.  Tomorrow, the new advertisements should come out, and this latest round of polling will be used to determine where to air them.
Title: Re: US 2018 Congressional Election-A Congress Infinity AAR
Post by: Tripoli on August 12, 2018, 08:13:20 PM
9 August
The national picture appears to be relatively unchanged.  Missouri are now R +2.  Ohio, North Dakota, and Tennesee are D+2, while West Virginia is now a toss up.

(https://i.imgur.com/ozamPyp.jpg)

Looking at the DNC's activities, They have targeted Arizona, Indiana, North Dakota, Ohio, Florida, Tennessee, Michigan and Minnesota (3rd column in the table below).  They are also  putting foot soldiers into Montana, Tennessee, Minnesota and Arizona (See the sixth column on the table below).
 
(https://i.imgur.com/m2RNHoD.jpg)

To respond to this, I will have Trump do some barnstorming in Florida, as he has a net positive effect there.  I also begin targeting and putting foot soldiers and polling into Indiana as a response to the DNC efforts there.  Finally, I target North Dakota.
Title: Re: US 2018 Congressional Election-A Congress Infinity AAR
Post by: Tripoli on August 14, 2018, 06:02:54 PM
10 August

Well, well, well.  Polling is improving in Arizona, with a +3 gain for the Republican candidate there.  Likewise, polling shows significant gains in Tennessee, Indiana, and North Dakota. Some of this may be because of my polling coming on-lie (see text underneath the map below).   Unfortunately, I apparently did not get POTUS to the airplane to Florida, so he wasted his barn storming abilities in New York.  Apparently, I need to read the manual on moving my surrogates  ??? 

(https://i.imgur.com/Tsgbhqm.jpg)

I start to make some ads targeted on Florida and Indiana.  Additionally, the Minnesota ad appears to be very powerful, so I begin running it in Minnesota, although the D +15 polling makes it unlikely that it will swing the state.  However, it might force the DNC to put more resources to MN.  These actions use up my command points, finishing the turn.

 
Title: Re: US 2018 Congressional Election-A Congress Infinity AAR
Post by: JasonPratt on August 15, 2018, 11:34:57 AM
Well, he is the President, he may have had something yuge to deal with.  :D
Title: Re: US 2018 Congressional Election-A Congress Infinity AAR
Post by: Tripoli on August 21, 2018, 02:39:04 PM
11 August
I'm a little behind on posting.  I will try to get back on track over then next couple of days. 

Today's news is that the DNC releases an attack ad. However, it appears that it is a fairly weak ad, and leaves an opening for the RNC to successfully spin it. 
(https://i.imgur.com/MWyj32C.jpg)

The election map shows too many toss up states.  However, I have neglected building the ad campaign needed to effectively compete. 

(https://i.imgur.com/XFQ7Dmi.jpg)

I create another surrogate, VPOTUS Pence, for his barnstorming ability.  I think he might be better in areas where anti-Trump sentiment is high.  I also s begin creating advertisements targeting voters in the North Dakota on both Trump and Leadership, which have high positives for the Republicans. I also send foot soldiers to West Virginia, to reinforce the Republican effort against the incumbent Democratic senator.

Real World Polling

Earlier this summer, Real World RCP has Cramer ahead in North Dakota by 0.5% (https://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2018/senate/nd/north_dakota_senate_cramer_vs_heitkamp-6485.html ).  In 2016, Trump won the state by 36 points, (https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/23/politics/enten-poll-of-the-week-north-dakota-democrat-senate/index.html ).  As National Review points out,  Heikamp has voted against most of the Trump agenda, so she will likely find significant headwinds battling against this level of support, despite the fack she has a 2:1 funding advantage over her opponent. (https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/08/heidi-heitkamp-voting-record-own-worst-enemy/)  Based on this, her ability to hold onto this seat is far from certain. In July, Roll Call moved this seat to “Leans Republican,” and I suspect that is probably understating the case. (https://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/ratings-change-two-top-senate-races-shift-out-of-toss-up)
Title: Re: US 2018 Congressional Election-A Congress Infinity AAR
Post by: Tripoli on August 21, 2018, 03:02:17 PM
12 August

The DNC rolls out two more attack advertisements, one on health care and one on tax rates.  My spreadsheet shows that while both issues favor the DNC in the battleground states, the tax rates issue favors them less.  Accordingly, I put all my spin points on this issue.

(https://i.imgur.com/ETaquk4.jpg)

The polling map shows North Dakota, Missouri and West Virginia as toss ups, with Indiana going for the Democratic party

(https://i.imgur.com/pelW55w.jpg)

The DNC appears to be making ad buys in Ohio, Indian, Montana, North Dakota and Arizona (see the last column on the image below).  With only two points available this turn, I strengthen the party organization in West Virginia.  Next turn, I will begin making more advertisements in some of the battleground states.

(https://i.imgur.com/m0fPzQZ.jpg)
Title: Re: US 2018 Congressional Election-A Congress Infinity AAR
Post by: Tripoli on August 21, 2018, 04:07:43 PM
13-14 August

The election map is looking increasingly bad for the Republicans, who are now projected to have only 50 seats, with three toss-ups.  With only 2 CPs, I am limited to running an ad in North Dakota and targeting Arizona.

(https://i.imgur.com/95b5C0u.jpg)
Title: Re: US 2018 Congressional Election-A Congress Infinity AAR
Post by: Tripoli on August 27, 2018, 02:16:14 PM
15-16 August

I start the 15 August turn with only 2 command points, limiting my ability to take much action beyond beginning to run advertisements in Florida.  Pollilng continues to be problematic, with Montana and North Dakota either leaning Democratic, or a toss-up.

(https://i.imgur.com/annsVoJ.jpg)

On 16 August I finish creating several successful advertisements addressing Trump Support and Leadership.  I begin running these ads in Montana, North Dakota, Missouri, Indiana, Florida and West Virginia.  VPOTUS Pence is also available today, so I have him begin barnstroming for Mike Braun, the Republican challenger in Indiana.

(https://i.imgur.com/A7fEHLw.jpg)
Title: Re: US 2018 Congressional Election-A Congress Infinity AAR
Post by: Tripoli on September 16, 2018, 04:16:37 PM
17-24 August

Despite my best efforts, I've been having trouble keeping to my original intent to do a day-by-day campaign tracking the current senate race.  I'm going to switch to a weekly update until I get caught up  :-[

For the week for 17-24 August, I realize that my cash burn rate is too high, with only  $80.3 million left by the end of August.   I create two fund raising surrogates: Mitch McConell and  the head of the RNC, Ronna McDaniel.  While neither is as good as the POTUS or VPOTUS in fundraising, I need Trump and Pence to get out the vote.  I also start creating cheaper radio and web-based advertisements, while saving my powder for the more expensive TV ads for later in the campaign.

The DNC's ads seem to be directed mainly at Health Care and the Economy.  Thus far, these don't seem to be making much headway.  Currently, the RNC is slated to pick up Florida and Missouri, and West Virginia too close to call.  Arizona and North Dakota are also in the toss up category, so current projectsion have the RNC  picking  up as many as 54 seats.

(https://i.imgur.com/4e6aOgE.jpg)