Keep The Government Going in Democracy 3, A Political Simulation Game Available In Beta Now
So, uh, what's in the news?
When I originally laid out my schedule and decided to write about Positech Games' Democracy 3 today, I certainly wasn't expecting the U.S. government to have shut down. It's a bit... On the nose. I considered a last-minute topic change out of respect for the severity of the situation, but the timing was just a little too perfect to ignore. And here we are.
Democracy may not be doing so hot right now, but do you think you could do better? This incredibly intricate political sim game, currently in beta, might be a good way to find out.
Democracy 3 confronts you with the realities of a modern administration. You will deal with the conflict between the classes, between capitalism and socialism, and of course all the baggage that comes with a recession. Suffice it to say, this game is a little deeper than most of the sim games I'm used to playing, or at least it reveals a lot of its depth right away.
Imagine waking up one day and finding out that you're the President (or in my case, the Prime Minister) of your country of choice. To be a little more accurate, let's say you wake up as the entire political party backing them, too. Your primary goal is to get re-elected of course, and the way to do that is to keep as many people happy and as many problems at bay as possible. In Democracy 3, much like its predecessors, you manage this through an intimidating and intricate web of bubbles, representing policies your administration has and issues your nation is facing. It's a bit dizzying, even as the tutorial walks you through how to make sense of it all, but there's one key feature that helps tremendously.
Mousing over a bubble will remove the unrelated clutter and show you everything it feeds into, and everything that feeds into it, including the voting demographics that the issue affects most. This mechanic made a world of difference in understanding exactly what was going on in Democracy 2 as well, and it's only been refined since then.
You juggle all these issues, place new policies and so on by spending your political power each turn. Different actions cost different amounts of power, and the more power you have the more you can do during your turn. The idea of turn-based government strategy in a game doesn't always feel natural, but when you set it up like that it makes a surprising amount of sense.
You receive quarterly reports at the end of your turn, as well as warnings about potential threats to political stability. Both are a godsend when it comes to keeping track of what's going on in the ever-complicating political landscape around you, and of course maintaining the incredibly fragile balance of it all.
Overall, Democracy 3 seems like a very natural next step in the series that will hit home for a lot of politically-minden players. If I was picking favorites from Positech's lineup, Mitu Khandaker's Redshirt (which I wrote about a few weeks ago) would still likely top the list, but if you're looking for something a little more realistic and a lot more involved, Democracy 3 might be for you. You can find out more about the game on Positech's website, and pre-order for access to the beta.
(This game was played using a preview build provided by the developer.)
Iris Ophelia (@bleatingheart, Janine Hawkins IRL) has been featured in the New York Times and has spoken about SL-based design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan and with pop culture/fashion maven Johanna Blakley.