A few basic questions about D3


A colleague and I are thinking about using D3 for some research on policy decision making, and we were hoping that the folks here could answer a few quick questions about it before we try it out ourselves. Forgive the ignorance that is certainly evident - that’s why we’re asking!

  1. Is the game ‘real time’ with a timer ticking down until the next election, or is time handled some other way? How long does a single term of office take (maybe this depends upon the country you are playing with)?

  2. How long/steep is the learning curve? For example, how long would you expect it to take a well-educated person who is not necessarily a gamer to learn how to play the game (I’m not asking how long it would take to become proficient, develop sophisticated strategy, or in any way ‘master’ the game)

  3. After the game is over (or a certain term is over, following the election), could we as researchers see all the decisions that the player made, or would it only display the results of those decisions (election outcome, citizen satisfaction in various demographics, etc.)? Our focus will be on the choices the player would make through gameplay so we are looking for some way to track this and wonder how feasible this might be.

  4. Would you say the game is relatively “value-neutral” in the sense that a well-played game could lead to success from a variety of different ideological positions, or is it likely to reward positions that are consistent with that country over alternative positions? If it’s the ladder, could modding help create a game experience where it’s equally viable to pursue any coherent policy agenda?

Again, I realize that I’m oversimplifying things with these questions, but even so, we would be grateful for any help you can provide!


Hi, I’m relatively new, but have played through a few times, trying different styles and countries.

The game is turn based. You click next when you are ready to end turn. A turn could be played in 5 mins.

The learning curve isn’t steep if you play socialist (technically welfare capitalism) but the games spectrum is capitalis vs socialism. Every other style is a joke, but can be done after learning to implement policy very slowly, if you solve debt and some social ills early on you can start to play other styles. But guess how you solve those problems early game? That’s right, socialism.

The game has an extreme progressive socialist bent. The other positions are satirized, while socialism is idealized. Depending on what country you are doing research for, it could be even worse. The game has a very poor understanding of American politics. Doing away with the EPA greatly angers the population while raising their taxes to 70% barley affects them, for example. As it is, it’s not a good real world simulator, it’s not even very good as game right now, but the engine is solid, the interface is nice, and it is mod friendly.

Also it’s 75% on steam right now.

Thanks for the reply and your thoughts (and especially the news about it being on sale at Steam right now).

Hello Doug,
You are lucky that I saw your post :slight_smile:

OK, I’m going to answer your questions about
doing scientific research or governmental development research
by using the political simulation and political strategy game
“Democracy 3” , 2013 by Positech.

( Democracy 3 == D.3 )

About me, I have much experience playing Democracy 3
successfully. I have posted advice on intermediate topics
and I have used MODs and created some MODs myself.

To your question 1)
Is the game ‘real time’ with a timer ticking down until the next election, or is time handled some other way?

No, it is turn-based. 1turn =equal= 1 quart of a year (3 months).

How long does a single term of office take (maybe this depends upon the country you are playing with)?

16or20 turns =equal= 1 election term of 4or5 years (depending on country or new-game-start setting).

To your question 3) After the game is over…:
About tracking and monitoring:

Sorry, there is no generated protocol list showing player’s inputs or changes.
Sorry, there is no post-game resume that you can view as researchers.

ALL OUTPUT results (called simulations) can de viewed at each election screen
on the ‘changes screen’. They are display as differences (plus or minus) towards starting values.
Taking 3 screenshots of this scroll-down ‘changes screen’
should be sufficient to monitor OUTPUT result changes.
Together with the electual success (election screen, 1st page)
this is good to show that the player had success and why.

ALL OUTPUT results can also be viewed in-game anytime at ‘changes screen’.

INPUTS (called policies) are more difficult to trace and to monitor.
Policy sliders, red situations(problems), tax income, gov spending,
voter support, economic curve chart and many more figures
can ONLY be viewed in-game.

But it is possible to view all settings in-game afterwards
if you let the President/ the Player make a new savegame entry often:
e.g. once a year (= 4turns) and with a describing savegame name:
e.g. FranceE1Q04 == country/mission France _ Election term 1 _ turn / quart of a year.

(In addition all savegames are html files! With a strong html tag parser
you should be able to data-mine those files and fit the values into
a time-line table. But I would not recommend this way. The task is too big
and complex and too many variables influencing each other*.
(* D.3 game engine is based on
neuronal fuzzy-logic emulation
of 2000 individual voter stereotypes
representing a country’s flux
of millions of independent individual humans!)

To your question 2) How long/steep is the learning curve?
Time to learn the game basics:

Me, being a Highschool and College graduate
and living in a working democracy
and knowing the concepts and interactions
from school and my daily life,
it took me just 2hours to understand,
and less than 4hours to win my first reelection (with Germany, my home country).

Players can also reduce the difficulty level (at start-new-game screen)
for training and understanding and tutorial.
So try-out or trial-and-error learning works very well with D.3!
Many players have posted their thoughts, thinking D.3 is rather easy than difficult to understand and play.

Learning is quite simple and strait forward
since every policy/simulation/situation is explained by in-game description text
and for each item all the influences are shown as red and green arrows
on main screen. These are to show the stream of effects and side effects
visually and vividly.

Also, all battles and quarrels are excluded:
election campaigns, parlamentary debates, inner-party struggles,
fightings for a common opinion,
forming and texting and fine-tuning new and old laws,
all these are not simulated and are left away.

Al this makes “playing the president” plain strait forward and easy thing.

To your question 4) Would you say the game is …:

Sorry, I don’t understand this question.

Help and answers from players and community:

For asking questions to players
and for support from players
I strongly recommend the STEAM D.3 forum!!
STEAM forum . . . . http://steamcommunity.com/app/245470/discussions/

Since D.3 is on sale for 1.5years now
many early players have already quit playing (including me)
(and this resulted in very few new posts on the Positech D.3 MOD forum).

But the Positech D.3 forum is quite big
and many questions you will come up with
ARE already answers here:
http://positech.co.uk/forums/phpBB3/index.php --> modding
http://positech.co.uk/forums/phpBB3/index.php --> General Discussion
Just use Forum’s search function and give it a try.

For expert advice you also mail to Positech staff
or Chief Designer CLIFFSKI via PM.
(PM: user logged-in, user control panel, private massages, send message to: cliffski
or EMAIL: cliff AT positech dot co dot uk

Is your wish country and policy set already there and built? :

There is a huge amount of MODs and ‘new country MODs’
on Positech MOD Forum free for everyone
and on STEAM free for STEAM account members
to download and add into the game.

Officially approved Mods for Democracy 3 . . . http://www.positech.co.uk/democracy3/mods.html

Master Mod List : community built Mods for D.3 . . . http://positech.co.uk/forums/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=37&t=8548

STEAM workshop : gamers’ Mods for Democracy 3 . .
http://steamcommunity.com/app/245470/workshop/?l=english --> See all Popular Items
http://steamcommunity.com/workshop/browse/?appid=245470&browsesort=trend&section=readytouseitems --> pages 1 to 7

Cheers and good luck on your research work!