Junta. How to play this fun board game.

Posted on 30. Jan, 2011 by in Board Games, Pc Games

Junta. In just one word you get an idea of what this game is all about. Yes that’s right. You get to play out all the shenanigans that might beset a dodgy bannana republic reliant on “foreign aid”, who’s ruling families just want to add some dosh to their private Swiss bank accounts. (Puts on Monty Burns voice) “hex-cellent!”

In the first video I look at the pieces and rules of Junta. I start to explain the rules, by going through the phases of the game.

In Junta, you represent a “family” striving for power in an island. You win by holding the most amount of money in a Swiss Bank account at the end of the game.

The game starts with the players choosing a president. Then political cards are dealt out. These cards are used to excercise power in the game.

Up to seven players can take part. The minimum is two but really the game needs 4 players to be played as a normal game.

Anyway each turn you draw two additional political cards (you are only allowed to keep 6 at a time).

Next the president assigns 6 ministerial cards amongst the players. If all 7 are playing each will recieve one position, if only 4 palying then each player gets two positions each.

In the video I go into more detail on each rule and card.

Next the president picks up 8 money cards and proposes a budget by saying he’ll give a certain amount to the players, leaving an undisclosed amount for himself. Of course the president can assign money unevenly, and this is where the fun starts.

At this point the players have to vote for the budget. The players may vote out your budget. And as long as the minister of the interior doesn’t force it through. The budget is rejected.
If they succeed in rejecting the budget, then somewhat strangely – the president keeps the lot!

Of course this might well make that player deeply unpopular.

In Junta, players can assasinate each other. (If a player dies they return next turn, perhaps representing a relative, or friend). Players can also go for a coup and try to force the president out.

Before the assinations, players choose a location where they are staying on that turn. The choices are the bank, home, headquarters, the nightclub or with your mistress. I know, I know a bit strange that last one, particularly as you might be with your mistress at the night club.

Anyway, once all player have chosen a location, the assination attempts are declared. Then the players reveal thier locations. If any of the assination location guesses are correct, the player being assinated dies. He then misses the rest of the turn. They lose their cards and have to give their money to the assinator. You then come back next turn and start from scratch.

So this is a game made for just having a laugh at all the twists and turns.

However if you are not assinated and you’ve been to the bank, you can finally put your money in a safe swiss bank account.

And so onto the final (optional) phase of a turn – an attempted coup. The video expains the coup processin detail but essentialy its a battle for control of 3 out of the five red buildings on the map.

If the coup is succesful the president is shot, and replaced by a new elected president. I think it’s possible to reelect the same player?! If the coup fails then the president can choose to shoot anyone involed in the coup.

So that’s the game! Have you played? What’s your experience been? A bit of a laugh hopefully, or is there a way of playing for the win? Please do tell me about your exploits.

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16 Responses to “Junta. How to play this fun board game.”

  1. David Gerstein

    30. Jan, 2011

    It seems like a mixture of a bidding mental tactical game mixed with Scotland Yard and Diplomacy. It seems like the game I would definitely like. I will give it a shot if I can get my hands on it, even if I have to KEEL someone :P !

  2. historyg_admin

    30. Jan, 2011

    Oooh Its treacherous out there I can tell you. Just how we like it at Historygamer.com!

  3. Pete Bright

    30. Jan, 2011

    even better than that, if the rebels win the coup they elect a new president who can then execute any one player, not necessarilyy the previous president, it can sometimes be one of the rebels themselves

  4. tom

    01. Feb, 2011

    great review. If you like this voting dynamic and a bit of nasty fun, you will most certainly enjoy lifeboats!

  5. historyg_admin

    01. Feb, 2011

    Ok Tom – never played that one, just had a look on BGG – I can imagine it gets pretty lively!

  6. David Gerstein (Gerstein1)

    02. Feb, 2011

    Ahh, yes. Life Boats. Scott did an episode on that. It’s second to diplomacy in my book when it comes to diplomatic games.

    I’m not sure there are any real greatest players, or even masters, in Junta. It’s way too chaotic, and has too much chance, despite the diplomacy.

  7. historyg_admin

    02. Feb, 2011

    I’m glad you conclude that as well. I prefer games of skill, and if we play this too much I’ll probably get frustrated.

    However I do feel there is a place for these random fun games, to kind of let off steam now and again and just have a laugh.

  8. tom

    08. Feb, 2011

    Yes, lifeboats will be quite chaotic too…but there is some subtle ways to manipulate things, much like in Junta. It has great components and will definitely evoke the same fun as this one. It gets good marks for being a bit easier to follow than Junta. I too enjoy deeply strategic but negotiation and bidding are great mechanics that really draw personalities out at the table.

    I set up my copy the other day and printed out player aids..even played a 4 player turn solo including all the role calls…quite fun and I cannot wait!

  9. historyg_admin

    08. Feb, 2011

    You have a game organised then?

  10. tom

    21. Feb, 2011

    unfortunately, not yet. One of the players that is interested is also running for mayor here! I thought it would be an awesome PR stunt, honestly…being caught playing Junta!

  11. historyg_admin

    21. Feb, 2011

    @tom – ha ha that’s hilarious! If people only had a sense of humour he could do an advert of him playing Junta as El Presidente. :D

  12. Wombat

    28. Sep, 2011

    I must disagree with the oppinion that the winner is random. I’ve played with a group of around 8-10 friends in different configurations several times, and its usually the same one or two ending up with the most money in the end.

    Deviousness apparently is something these guys are particularly good at. I’m not very good at timing my devious moves, and, bar once, am usually to be found with the slimmest or second-slimmest Swiss bank account at the end.

    By the way, there is a particular move which we have dubbed ‘The Nuclear Option’.
    It involves the ‘Alternative Budget’ card played by the Minister of Internal Security.
    The Alternative Budget allows a player to take hold of all the money cards for the current budget proposal, except one which El Presidente keeps for himself. Then votes are cast for this new budget.

    However, if you have this card and are Minister of Internal Security, you can make a particularly provoking move: Play the card, propose a budget of ‘All money goes to me’, see it fail, then force it through by sending your police to occupy Parliament.
    - A fistfull of Pesos
    - Being Minister of Internal Security you don’t have to worry over ‘auto-kills’, but ‘only’ about potential assasination cards

    - You piss off everyone, or at least get such a potential lead, that your co-Juntaists will try to cripple you in future budget negotiations, and assasinate you just for the hell of it – even if you do manage to stow away your loot in Switzerland.
    - Everyone now know you have cash (= prime target for each and every player with assasin cards)
    - If anyone have ‘Bank is Closed’ cards they WILL play them to prevent you getting away with your loot
    - Ramming you budget through leads to a ‘Coup Excuse’, so if the bank is closed and you survive the assasins, there almost certainly will be a coup in whose aftermath you will be killed (going into exile is in practice never a viable strategy)
    - Even surviving all these perils, you will probably not be kept on as Minister of Internal Security by a less than grateful El Presidente…

    I have done this once, but now everybody knew that I had a s***load of money, so even though I managed to bank my ill-gotten gains without being assasinated, I was financially ostracised for the rest of the game – and a prime target for assasination.
    I was even stupid/shameless enough to do this in the game’s very first turn – not a recommended strategy.
    Nevertheless, just the barefaced audacity, corruptness and downright Juntaishness of this move did make it into an instant classic.

  13. Wombat

    28. Sep, 2011

    PS. Perhaps the most important random factor is timing and success of assasinations. These usually provide the financial edge that allows you to win the game, although I have seen some very deft budget juggling by astute Presidents (leaving a fat slice for the top dog) go a long way as well.
    This leads to the game often being centered on the El Presidente/Minister of Internal Security dynamic

    But also: A wise Presidente may choose to resign his heavy burden before he has antagonised too much of the rest of the Junta (but after lining his pockets to capacity).
    Remember, it can be at least as profitable to be the power behind El Presidente, and more than one leader have fallen prey to their own security apparatus…

  14. historyg_admin

    28. Sep, 2011

    Some very good points there. This is a game akin to risk/diplomacy etc where you don’t want to stand out as the current leader/winner. I found that the President / Minister relationship to be very important. It’s up to the other two to keep them mistrusting each other.

  15. historyg_admin

    28. Sep, 2011

    Sounds like you are playing at a level above my own.

    In retrospect saying the outcome was random was too harsh, however it would take a master to control the fickle allegencies of the crowd, unless your friends are more rational than mine! (we have rivalries going back decades now – ha ha).

  16. Wombat

    03. Oct, 2011

    I don’t know if I would call my co-gamers more ‘rational’, but I think the difference may be that this limited group has played several games against each other.
    And being mostly History students/MAs with certain actors’ genes (including one player dressing up in in an original East German uniform for one game) with a passion for banana republics and megalomaniac dictators this is definitely our kind of game.
    A faction line-up may include: German-accented expats with roots among (late) 1940s ‘exiles’ (always popular), Anarchists, Big Business conglomerates, certain violent and opportunistic subversives of Irish origins, Death Marxists (whatever that means), as well as Yankee Fat Cats, and Italian ‘businessmen’.

    And yes, you cannot control vendettas once they break out – but of course that’s part of the fun. But of course the point of the game is exactly to lie to, cheat, murder and generally stab your friends in the back ;-)

    Which is why we totally screwed up our very first game of ‘War on Terror’ (terrorists all over the place and everyone ending up going terrorist).

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