Koalition by Hartmut Witt

A European election game for 3 to 8 election strategists.

Author: Hartmut Witt, Editor: Mick Ado, Graphics: Andreas Steiner

We are a little ahead of our time: election campaigns in United Europe! This is not only the story of politicians, though. The true influence lies with the political strategists in the background. Players take on the role of such political strategists. They manage no one political part, just individual politicians. They think little of managing candidates from several political parties in the same election. The top star among the political strategists brings more of his clever politicians to the top than any other strategist.

The Game Materials

The Game Cards

Politician Card

Each politician card shows an illustration, the name, the party, and the value of one candidate. The symbols along the bottom edge of the card are needed during coalition negotiation. Special cards are explained after Step 5 and 6.

Country Cards

Each country card shows an illustration and the name of a country with a table of the victory points to be awarded for that country.

Party Poll Cards

The poll cards show the number of politicians and the value of each politician in every party.

Please notice that in each there is a Doubler (x2) and that the only party where two politicians have the same worth is the Green Party.

Country Election Cards

This card shows an overview of victory points awarded for all countries.


The 12 country cards are shuffled and placed face down in a stack in the middle of the table. The politician cards, including the three resignation cards, are thoroughly shuffled and dealt to the players in accordance with the table below.


With 5 players deal 9 politician cards each, the remainder are set aside. There is always one election for each of the 12 countries in the game. With 5 players there are 3 rounds of elections each round consisting of elections in 4 countries.

Number of Players   Politician Cards    Rounds  Countries/Round
     3-4                  13              2           6
     5-6                   9              3           4
     7-8                   7              4           3

Each player receives one party poll card and one country election card. One player is named the election leader and is given the score pad. They are responsible for keeping score and note the results of each election.

You must go through nine steps for each of the 12 country elections. You must perform each step in the proper order. Never confuse the steps! Several steps deal with themselves almost automatically; others can frequently be skipped over. For instance, you only need steps 5 through 7 when there is no absolute majority for a single party in an election.

  1. Determine the starting player and the country for this election
  2. First election round
  3. Second election round
  4. Record the vote
  5. Determine the majority condition
  6. Appoint the party chairperson
  7. Coalition negotiation
  8. Determine the victory points
  9. Recording the victory points

The Special Cards

Resignation Cards

When a resignation card is played, it immediately affects the highest politician that has been played. Please note however the value of the highest Doubler. When two or more cards share the same highest value, the player of the resignation card has the opportunity to choose which of these politicians will resign. The Doubler is always, by definition, the highest card should it have the same value as another card. The resignation card and the affected politician are placed in the discard pile in the middle of the table.

Gaudino Colorino

As soon as Colorino is played, he must announce his party affiliation. He belongs to this party till the end of the current country election. Other than this one special ability, Colorino is considered to be a normal politician with a worth of 7.

Doubler Card

The so-called Doubler is an unexpected event that causes an enormous increase in votes for one party. It doubles the votes for its party by taking on the value of the sum of all cards played in its party.

A Doubler becomes essentially the highest card in its party. This is true even if only one other card from its party has been played.

Example A

Cards from the Rose Party with the values 5, 7, 10, and 12 have been played. The Rose Doubler has the value 34 (5 + 7 + 10 + 12) and automaticly becomes the strongest card in its party. The overall value of the party is now 68.

Example B

Only the 12 card has been played from the Black Party. The Black Doubler is then worth 12 and still becomes the highest card in its party. The overall value of the party is 24.

1) Choosing the starting player and country

The oldest player starts the game. The starting player in the next election will be the player who received the most victory points during the current election. If two players tie for highest number of victory points received, the oldest of them begins the next election. The starting player turns over the top card from the country card pile. This the country where the next election is held.

2) The first election round

The starting player always plays the first politician card and places it in front of him on the table. The other players follow in clockwise order and also play one card in front of them.

3) The second election round

Beginning with the starting player, each player now lays down a second politician card next to the previously played card. The other players follow in a clockwise order till every player has played two cards.

4) Recording the vote

The election leader records the total points played for each party on the score pad under "Ergebnisse in der LŠndern" (results in the countries) in the column for the appropriate country. Then total the sum of all parties in this country and write the total in the row labelled "Summe" (total). You determine the absolute majority required to win this election by halving the total, adding one, and rounding down to the nearest integer.


	Total = 102, absolute majority = 52
		102 / 2 = 51 + 1 = 52
	Total = 87, absolute majority = 44
		87 / 2 = 43.5 + 1 = 44.5 = 44

5) Determine the majority condition

If one party has as many or more votes than the calculated absolute majority then it alone scores the election win for that country. The other parties have no part in the government of this country.

If no one party has enough votes to form a government alone, the party chairpersons begin coalition formation.

Tip: The election leader should notice that steps 4 through 7 are frequently skipped over. If one party clearly holds the absolute majority then noting the points are not necessary. If all players agree as to the absolute majority, you can skip from step 3 to step 8.

6) Determining the party leader

Before you start coalition negotiations, the party leader for each party should be determined. Fundamentally, a player becomes the chairperson of a party if the player has played the highest total points in that party. If a player has played two cards from the same party, the values of the two cards are added and the total is used when determining the party chairperson.

If two or more people have the same point total in one party, the player with the highest card is the chairperson. Gaudino Colorino is considered to be higher than any other 7 card. Similarly, if only the Doubler and one other card were played in a party, the Doubler is considered to be the higher card.

It is definitely permissable that a player be chairperson for more than one party.

Example of the selection of the party chair

    player A:   rose 11,    green 9
    player B:   yelllow 8,  yellow 4    (= yellow 12)
    player C:   rose 5,     rose 6      (= rose 11)
    player D:   black 8,    black 10    (= black 18)
    player E:   yellow 12,  red 7

The peculiarity of the Green Party

As you may have already noticed, there are two cards of each value in the Green Party. These occasionally cause problems when determining the chairperson because two cards of the same value tie for the chair. Should this happen, the two players have 30 seconds to choose which of them will be chair. If they don't come to a decision, the party binding of the Greens has come undone. Every player who played one or two Green Party cards can decide which coalition they will join. That is, each Green Party member may join a different coalition.

7) Coalition negotiation

Only the chairpeople for the parties have the right to speak during coalition negotiation. All the other players must be quiet and must accept the outcome of the negotiations.

Two or more parties enter into each coalition together, in order to pool their votes and form an absolute majority. Certainly not all parties can work together in a coalition. The possible coalition partners for each politician card are listed along the bottom edge of the card. Pay attention to these so that the chairpeople do not forge invalid partnerships.


The Rose Party can ally with Yellow, Black, Green, Purple, and Red; the Brown Party can only ally with Black and Purple.

As soon as the coalition partners have been found and the vote count sufficient for an absolute majority has been reached, the coalition negotiations end and victory points can be assigned.

Note that a coalition cannot embrace any party it wants. A coalition must embrace only enough parties to achieve an absolute majority. It is not possible for a coalition that has achieved absolute majority to include additional parties in the coalition.


The absolute majority level is 47 points. Red and Black are united with a total of 51 points. Although both the Green and Yellow wish to join, they are not allowed to join. Only Red and Black share the absolute majority.

Coalition negotiation stalemate

If no agreement can be reached by coalition negotiation and no absolute majority can be formed, a new election is called immediately. All players pick up their politician cards played in this election. This includes any politician and resignation cards that were discarded because of scandals. The new election follow the normal rules (step 2 on).

8) Determining the victory points

The number of victory points allocated to each country is shown in the country cards. The points are not calculated based on the number of parties in the coalition; they are based on the number of players in the winning coalition.

If a player belongs to a coalition and both of their cards are from the same party, the points from the two cards are added for purposes of determining victory points.


Rose 5 and Rose 8 count as a value of 13 for the Rose Party

If a player belongs to a coalition and their cards are from two different parties in the coalition, the player must decide between the two parties. Victory points can only be won with one party.


Yellow 12 and Rose 10 are played by one player. There is a coalition with both Yellow and Rose in it. The player must choose between the value of 12 in Yellow and the value of 10 in Rose for purposes of receiving victory points.

When two or more players have the same high vote value, victory points are distributed according to the highest single card.


Player A has Rose 12 and player B has Yellow 8 and 4. Both players have 12 votes. The player with the highest card, player A, recieves the higher victory points.

If the tie cannot be broken by the highest card, the victory points are divided by 2 and rounded down. This amount is given to each player involved in the tie.


In Spain the victory points are 4, 3, and 1. If two players tie for first place and have the same value of high card, 4 + 3 = 7 / 2 = 3.5 = 3, each player receives 3 victory points.

9) Recording the Victory Points

The scored victory points are recorded in the table labelled "Anteil in Europe und Sieg punkte" (share in Europe & victory points) after each election. Write the names of all the players in the first column. The player's victory points are noted by the party in which their winning card was played. Thereby the victory points in any country may be distributed between as many as four parties. For example, if a player gets victory points for playing a politician from the Black Party, those points are recorded on the row with the player's name and in the Black Party column. If by way of a coalition in another player won in the same election using a Rose Party politician, those points will be recorded in the Rose Party column.

Over the course of elections in all 12 countries a player may receive additional victory points in each party. Note that this means that additional entries may need to be made in each field of the table. Add the new points to the existing score and strike through the old score.

After the Election

When the players finish an election all of the displayed cards are set aside in a discard pile. So as the players have at least three cards in their hands, the next election follows immediately. If the players only have one card, discard this card as well. All cards are shuffled once more - don't forget the cards that were set aside after the deal. Each player one again receives the number of cards appropriate for the number of players. The next round of elections then proceeds normally.

The Bonus Round

After the elections in all 12 countries have been completed the bonus round follows. This makes the European election a bit fairer.

Total all of the points played by a single player in all parties and note that total in the "Summe" (total) column (total the rows).

Finally, we want to know what share of Europe each party holds. Add all of the points in each party (total the columns) and write that total in the row labelled "Europe-Anteil" (share of Europe). These sums show the percentage of Europe held by each party. The sum of these shares normally totals 100 unless there has been some round-off of victory points due to ties during the country elections.

Determine the party chiefs of United Europe by circling the point total of the player with the highest point total in each party. If two or more players tie for high point total, circle all the ones that tied. They will split the bonus for that party.

Finally, distribute the bonus points. The party chief for the largest party in Europe will receive 7 points, the next largest 6, and so on down to 1 point for the smallest. If two or more parties tie they receive the same bonus points but skip one bonus point level for each tied party (if two parties receive 5 points, no party receives 4 points).

These bonus points are awarded to the party chiefs. If there is more than one party chief divide the points and round up. Note that it is not only legal but desirable to be party chief of more than one party.

The player with the most points is the winner and the top election strategist in all of Europe!

Rules translation by Ken Tidwell, Los Altos, California, USA

The Game Cabinet - editor@gamecabinet.com - Ken Tidwell