I’ve played Democracy 2 for some time now and would like to share some thoughts on it and a possible number 3. I noticed that there are already several threads on this subject, but as my ideas go in a different direction I decided to open a new one.
First of all, I really like the game. The underlying concept, the implementation of different voter groups, the interface - that’s all great and even addictive. Unfortunately it wears off too fast, I think. It didn’t really provide fun to me for a very long time.
I’ve thought about the reasons and to me there are two major ones:
The countries lack a certain individuality. They basically feel the same. The differences like political apathy or compulsory voting aren’t really enough. There should be more differences in terms of gameplay. These are some ideas for that:
Certain policies are viewed differently in different societies. For example, in the USA handgun laws are a patriotic issue and it would be very hard to prohibit guns. Here in Germany on the other hand there is simply no link between patriotism and handgun laws. There’s a national consensus against guns. In fact, it seems to have become a political sport to whip gunholders whenever possible. Other examples include government spending, social security systems, abortion, etc. etc.
The game could reflect such differences and thus require the player to use different problem-solving tactics in different states.
Different natural resources and different industries:
I’m not sure if and how the game simulates this. Of course there are the states with many farmers, but does the game simulate more of this “behind the scenes”? Anyway, this could also be used as a way to require different tactics. For example you could play a state like Israel with no considerable natural resources. So in order to strenghten the economy, you would have to focus on high tech industries and tourism. Oil reserves, resources like gold, coal, etc. could be more efficient with different industries, obviously. Also, if the country has access to the sea, there are further possibilities for a different gameplay.
Multicultural societies/separatist tendencies:
What if a country consists of more than one people or ethnic groups with possible separatist tendencies? Examples are Iraq, the USSR or China. This would require the player to weigh between suppressing or appeasing those groups.
This has been mentioned by others before. What if the player requires approval by a monarch or a religious leader (Iran!)? What if there’s more than one party?
Also, constitutions set different limits on legislation. The Supreme Court could stop certain policies.
The game mostly ignores international politics
Diplomacy should be more than some dilemmas and international trade. It would be great if you could build alliances, sign treaties (for example to get certain resources), build up diplomatic pressure on certain states and even declare war (of course the latter should be very limited, since that is not the point of the game).
This could also provide an interesting scenario: Imagine a country that has just declared its independance. Now you have to fight for international recognition, getting a member of the UN, getting development aid by other states and so on.
I think these things would provide more long-term fun. I hope you find some useful ideas there.