Playtest: 1787-1788

The following is the playtest summary for 1787-1788 by William Outzen. This includes the Constitutional Convention and the first presidential election!:


Thomas McKean was named President of the Congress, as they convened for their new session. McKean named Silas Deane, Alexander Hamilton, Edmund Pendleton, and Egbert Benson as his chairs. First, McKean named Robert Treat Paine as Ambassador to Spain, then named Alexander Hamilton as Secretary of the Treasury. He then did a little shuffling in the military, and turned his attention to more pressing matters. He had to make decisions on Vermont, tensions with the British, potential amendments to the Constitution, and a series of Essays currently being published. The congress agreed with McKean, turning Vermont into a territory, and voting in favor of going to war with the Northwest Indian War. They also voted in favor of amending the constitution in a convention in Annapolis.

Governors now had to choose their delegates to the convention: as the Red Party controlled the governorships, it would be mostly Red Party members who went. McKean went, as did General Bloomfield. The Convention was the brainchild of George Wythe of Virginia, who would go on to become known as the Father of the Constitution. 

Meanwhile, it became evident that the American military had bitten off more than they could chew. In the Battle of the Wabash, Senior General Artemis Ward failed and suffered a demoralizing defeat. Next they engaged at Logan’s Raid, where General Pinckney won the day. However, the year ended with defeat as Pinckney was outmatched in the Battle of Miami. 

At the Constitutional Convention, it was decided that George Wythe, who had called it, should lead it. While there, each delegate decided that they should just rewrite the Articles of Confederation. One by one, delegates stood to announce their proposals for the new Constitution. Andrew Adams was first, calling for Two National Congresses, one called the Senate and the other the House of Representatives. Benjamin Howland proposed next, calling to establish a Federal Judicial Branch. Next was Thomas Scott, who called for a President to be elected to 4-year terms. Thomas McKean tried to find a balance between Slave States and Free, Shearshajub Bourne proposed a means to ratify amendments, President Wythe proposed automatic citizenship to grandfather in residents, Benjamin Huntington proposed allowing foreign-born American citizens to run for President, regardless of location, Edward Telfair proposed that All slaves count towards the electoral vote directly opposing Thomas McKean, John A Treutlen disagreed with Andrew Adams, calling for only one house. Cornelius Schoonmaker proposed only needing a majority of states to amend the Constitution, while Gabriel Hiester called for women being granted suffrage.

With everything proposed, the Convention turned to arguing over the Articles. After weeks of debate (some contentious, some not so much), They took to voting. In the end, every state got one vote, and they supported the following:

Article 1: Two congresses, a Senate and a House

Article 2: A President, to serve 4-year terms

Article 3: A Supreme Court

Article 4: Amendments require ⅔ of the states to ratify

Article 5: Foreign-born citizens may run for President, but only if they’re in the US by the time of the constitution.

Article 6: Slaves count as ⅗ when counting state populations

Article 7: Women will not be able to vote.

With a new constitution approved, many believed that the nation would be stronger, though some reserved their opinion until they saw who was elected. Several politicians emerged as Presidential candidates: Jared Ingersoll of Pennsylvania, General Charles Coatesworth Pinckney of South Carolina, Daniel Hiester of Pennsylvania, former Governor John Langdon of New Hampshire, Former Continental Congressman Cyrus Griffin of Virginia, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia, Francis Lightfoot Lee of Virginia, Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, Edward Telfair of Georgia, George Washington of Virginia, and Ambassador to the UK Benedict Arnold of Connecticut. The election was in reality a shooin. Arnold had both military experience and a fair bit of celebrity, and was heralded as one of the Champions of the American people. The rest of the candidates were competing to become Vice-President. Washington took an early lead in the election, though Daniel Hiester grew to be his greatest opponent. In the end, the election wasn’t in doubt. George Washington was easily elected Vice-President, a remarkable resurrection of a dead career.

In the governor elections, the Blue Party made small gains, winning two more states. In the new House elections, the Red Party demolished the Blue Party, winning 23 seats to the Blue Party’s 4. It was an awful turn of events for the Blue Party. The Governors proceeded to pack the Senate with Red Party members. It stood to be a long two years with zero power. 


  1. I’ve never been more excited for a game. I have a few question. I know there are different potential start points for the game. It seems like during the playtest, even though different leaders are in charge and the dates are a little off (but not by much), the status quo pretty much won out at the constitutional convention. In terms of the algorithm of the game, how possible is it to radically change American history up to this point? I read somewhere that the game is programed to basically ensure the Patriots win the Revolutionary War, is that true? Is it also programmed to basically ensure a similar government to the one we have? Finally how much control does the player have over his/her faction? For example, if I controlled the red team in this playtest, could I have forced my faction to support women’s suffrage? Or does the player only have limited control over their faction? Thanks so much for the clarification. I didn’t think it was possible to still care about a video game.


    1. I’ll respond quickly because I’m busy. Best place to ask me questions might me on the AMPU Twitter account as I don’t always see these.
      1. Game can end in Patriot defeat during the Rev War. Game can end with Patriots rejoining Great Britain.
      2. There are many options at the Constitutional Convention.
      3. You could support Women’s Suffrage or any bill you wish; however, it might hurt your score depending on who you have in your faction. The politicians make up your faction personality. Faction personalities make up what gains and loses points for you.

      Great questions. Use Twitter or this forum for AMPU questions. The forum has all the playtesters. I’m here every day too. I’m on this blog only when I make a blog post, which is like once a week.


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