Review #1 by Caleb Perry:
“I am a current playtester for AMPU. I’ve been involved in that for years now, I feel. Our current playthrough is a BLAST.
The first President of the United States was Benedict Arnold and he belongs to my faction. It was an incredibly rare series of events that got him there. I first got him appointed as a general during the Revolutionary War, and when you are appointed as a general in the current state of the game you get a small chance of gaining a “military leader” trait that lets you be a Senior General/Chief Admiral. He got this!
When we established the Navy, I controlled him and Esek Hopkins, the only two people now available to be the Chief Admiral because it requires that trait. Of course, I had Hopkins decline so I could bring America’s scoundrel to some level of fame. And he performed admirably! So admirably, in fact, that he was still the Chief Admiral at the end of the war.
Washington had failed in battle after battle, and General Artemis Ward wasn’t eligible to run for president because he lacked the relevant ability. Benedict Arnold had randomly gotten the ability to run for president through chance because he was my Faction Leader, giving him a small chance of that.
When he won the war, he obtained the Celebrity trait, which is given to war heroes. In the current iteration of the rules, we have something to represent Washington’s unanimous election in the first electoral college. We call it the Washington Rule. If a politician is a Military Leader, celebrity, and party preference favors your party, they get an automatic 50% chance of a unanimous victory in the first election.
Arnold accomplished this. Hooray! I had stretched the bounds of realism so far…
But at what cost?
Arnold’s presidency began with incredibly difficult times. The war dragged out longer than IRL, and the economy and the state of our army was in shambles. While we passed strong federalist packages to try and get the nation back on track, the nation hit worse than the Great Depression and we were losing to natives in the Northwest Indian War.
Now, Arnold’s reelection chances are all but doomed. It was a good run, but it has definitely come to a close. His legacy might be a good one for all the things he tried to fix the economy and his role as a hero in the Revolutionary War.
Or… it could not. As Horsbach mentioned, populists can attempt a coup. Benedict Arnold, as a Right Wing Populist President losing an election, can attempt a military coup and face a very slim chance of overturning the election. It’s less than 10%, I feel, but I’m tempted to take it and continue my Benedict Arnold power fantasy.
However, there are incredible risks associated with that. It will only harm the nation further, and if it fails surely President Arnold will face a treason trial. Further, those in my faction who are controversial and populist may well be found treasonous too. If I had my way, I would have spent time trying to find a way to ensure that I got all of the electoral votes rather than fixing the country. How unfortunate it is that the game ends if the country gets too broken.
Well, here we are. I hope that this gives some kind of perspective on the role that populists can play. We haven’t gotten to the age of the game where voting restrictions are really in play, but I’m sure players will be conniving against each other to gain an edge.”
Review #2 by Ted Froats
“As Caleb, one of our playtesters mentioned, his masterful moves during the Revolutionary War (with a few lucky breaks along the way) helped him maneuver Benedict Arnold into becoming our heroic Chief Admiral who helped win the war, lead negotiator in the peace agreement, and our first President of the United States (with George Washington, who in this timeline wasn’t a particularly successful General but still a beloved and respected figure in our continental congress, as Benedict Arnold’s VP).
But despite Caleb & Benedict Arnold’s best efforts, he gained the Presidency at a bad time. War between France and England has had a major impact on our economic stability, we needed an expensive standing military to deal with the Native American threat in the Northwest (Ohio and Michigan), and creating taxes and tariffs to pay for that army led to growing discontent and anti-federalist sentiment.
One of President Benedict Arnold’s final acts in office before his re-election campaign was to appoint our first Supreme Court, freshly created as a compromise measure between our Federalist Senate and our Anti-Federalist House of Representatives. Despite having the confirmation numbers on his side to appoint almost anyone he wanted, Arnold made the bold choice to mostly appoint his detractors to the Supreme Court — hoping that by appointing anti-federalists to the bench, those who oppose a strong federal government would feel reassured and keep him in office.
The effort did move the needle a bit in his favor…but in the end, it wasn’t enough. Anti-Federalists scored a huge victory in the 1792 elections, retaining the House of Representatives, most of the Governor seats, winning the Senate (Senate elections don’t exist in this era yet, but they’re appointed by Governors which are now mostly anti-federalists), and winning the White House!
All hail our new President of the United States, Francis Lightfoot Lee, and his Vice President Daniel Hiester.
And if you’re asking yourself: “Wait, who the heck are THEY?” — that’s one of the joys of A More Perfect Union! Watching…or, preferably, maneuvering…real life politicians who never made it into the history books, overcoming their station and rising up to have a greater influence this time!
In real life, Francis Lightfoot Lee is perhaps best remembered (if he is remembered at all) as the brother of Richard Henry Lee. Lightfoot is largely a forgotten Founding Father, though his signature adorns both the Articles of Confederation and the Declaration of Independence.
In this current playthrough’s timeline, Francis Lightfoot Lee was a much more influential member of the Continental Congress prior to the creation of the Office of President, and rose up to become Faction Leader.
Every player controls a Faction — a team of politicians, soldiers, judges, and other influential people — and each Faction needs a leader. As leader of his faction, Francis Lightfoot Lee gained support for his eventually very successful bid for the Presidency in 1792.
As for Daniel Hiester, a member of the influential Hiester family of that era, in real life he was a noted soldier who later became a Representative in Pennsylvania and Maryland.
In the game’s timeline, Hiester rose up to become not just his own Faction’s leader, but in fact the Party Leader. As leader of the Anti-Federalists, Hiester in this playthough is almost a Thomas Jefferson type figure. He served as Governor of Pennsylvania, before coming in second place in the Presidential election and thus being confirmed as Francis Lightfoot Lee’s Vice President.
I think it’s fair to say that as our second President and Vice President, Lightfoot and Hiester will both be better remembered in this game’s playthrough than they are in real life!
As for John Adams and Thomas Jefferson? Well, Thomas Jefferson started strong, serving as a defacto Secretary of State during the Revolution. Unfortunately, Jefferson experienced several bad luck blunders abroad, and thus was not seriously considered to join President Benedict Arnold’s cabinet. It remains to be seen whether Francis Lightfoot Lee extends an invitation to join the second administration.
And as for John Adams…I can only respond “John who?” John Adams has made multiple attempts to join the House of Representatives, but he has not yet found the support of a Kingmaker. “Kingmaker” is a special trait some politicians are born with and other politicians earn, that help them influence elections even when they’re not a candidate. John Adams’ home state is dominated by a different faction’s kingmaker, who has thus far chosen to support other Federalists over John Adams. And now that the Anti Federalists have risen to power, John Adams may have a longer wait ahead of him…unless he can find (or create!) a Massachusetts kingmaker who will support him.
And our dear President Benedict Arnold and Vice President George Washington?
As a populist President who lost the election during a time when domestic stability is very low, Benedict Arnold actually had the option to denounce the election results and try to use the military to hold the Presidency for himself. However, such an attempt at this point would likely have led to civil war and even total collapse of the country — and so President Benedict Arnold chose to graciously accept defeat and retire to Connecticut, where he remains eligible to serve as a Kingmaker or even Senior Advisor to future Presidents, but otherwise ineligible for future offices.
George Washington, on the other hand, actually received more votes than Benedict Arnold did, and so his best days may yet lie ahead of him.
Only time will tell what happens next!”