Asking opinions on an expansion pack

I know some people like the game to be as complex as possible, and I’m trying to judge interest and opinions on a policy-expansion for the game. The theme of the proposed expansion is ‘social engineering’, and it would have a bunch of policies (about 25) which had subtle and long-term effects on society. Not big-ticket stuff like taxes on income, but more low key stuff like public awareness campaigns, cycle lanes etc… It would also have some extra dilemmas to choose from.

I know some people dislike DLC/expansions on principle, but as both gamer and developer I like them. They let casual gamers enjoy the game as it is, whilst giving the option to people who love the game to play with greater complexity.
So right now I’m wondering about the content/size and pricing for such an expansion. Imagine it was already done and had 25 policies, and maybe 6-8 new dilemmas. Would you buy this as an add-on for the game?

I would buy this as an add-on for $5-$10. Also, I like expansion packs/DLCs as well, so I think this is a great idea.

The more stuff there is to do the longer you can play, once you’ve done all you want to do the game is essentially over (1 reason why I gave up on the first 2 games) so we need more policies all the time. I’d get this expansion pack for sure.

Expansions are great but, personally, I wouldn’t consider adding more policies to be adding complexity, unless you also add new mechanics. There’s just nothing that can be done with Democracy’s existing, very simplistic (though elegant, of course) mechanics, which isn’t already in the game. So, adding new policies would just be giving some alternate routes to doing what’s already very easy to do.

In fact, you could even prune some policies out without losing anything; tech colleges and tech grants, for instance, serve basically the same purpose. They’re both pretty much just policies-that-give-+15%-technology, except that one also… kills religious people? Regardless, you could easily merge them into a single policy.

I would definitely buy an expansion that added depth to Democracy, and I’d very much like to see that happen, but if it just added more policies with the same mechanics, then no.

(For the record, when I say the mechanics are simple, I don’t mean that as an insult; they’re elegant, and they work, and, importantly, they can be presented very, very clearly in the UI. My guess is that Democracy’s simplicity is a very deliberate design decision, and you’ve already thought of all the ideas I have for adding depth and rejected them because it’s not your vision for the game, or because they made the UI too messy.)

Adding policies…is a great idea. But…I would like to see more official countries added. By official, I mean countries that you add yourself. Their are mods that add countries…but, personally, I prefer content from the developer and not “third party” creations…if that makes sense. Also, one more question that is unrelated to this topic. Could you do a port of Democracy 3 to iOS devices? Thanks.

I agree in kane_t, in that I wouldn’t buy an expansion pack if it just had more policies and dilemmas. Democracy 3 is not lacking in content, but it could use extra mechanics to change things up a bit and give the simulation more depth.

What I would really like to see would be more of a difference between how each country handles. The only thing that really makes any nations distinct is whether they have a term limit. Any of the non term limited nations feel pretty much the same after a couple terms in.

As for price, I think that $10 would be fair for an expansion on a $25 game, so long as there is actually $10 worth of content.

Thinking it over a bit more, while I still want to see more difference between how countries handle, in general what I’m really looking for is more complexity and depth to the game. I understand that the game already scares off a lot of people with it’s complexity, so certainly don’t do anything to further complicate the vanilla game, but I think the message to take from what we’ve seen out of the modding community is that there is a demand for more detail.

If it was a straight up “more policies” pack, then yes, for £5 or so. Similarly, for more official countries.

I would consider forking out more if there were more fundamental changes made - essentially, if what was on offer was not attainable through the modding system. Some (rather blue sky and vague) ideas:

  • More developed foreign policy options. I believe you’ve previously commented that this is tricky due to each country having unique problems. Possibly a full expansion pack would merit giving each country a unique set of issues, which would also help differentiate the different missions.

  • Further depth on the politics side of the game. Shady deals, securing campaign funding, making speeches, not sleeping with interns…

  • I imagine I’ll be the only one to request this, but… I’ve really wanted something like Democracy, but set in a cyberpunkish city state. Just me? Never mind…

How did I not notice this thread until now? I blame excessive stuff over Christmas and not having electricity for five days shortly after this was posted (thanks, climate change (she says as she types on a computer that is consuming huge amounts of electricity and while being warmed by gas central heating)).

I would buy this for around £3 - £5, but probably not that much more than that? This is based on what you describe and the original price of the game of about £20. Possibly this is an unfair way to judge it, but I have to admit my judgement is also affected by the fact that new policies and dilemmas are things that can be added in through the current modding system pretty easily, so in effect this is a mod that you’re paying for. I would expect it to be a higher quality than user generated mods of course, being from the creator and also something I’m paying for, but I’m also aware of what other people have put out for free.

In essence, the price I would be paying would be the price for I’d be prepared to pay not to do this myself, and also for that additional polish I would expect?

That said, I know you’ve been pretty critical about people’s expectations of not paying much for stuff (which I kind of agree with you about), so if you think that’s being massively stingy and unappreciative, I would kind of genuinely be interested to hear it and why you think that I’m wrong.

I guess leading on from that, I have to say that my preference would be for something more fundamental and something that couldn’t be achieved by modding, and I would definitely be willing to pay more for that. I appreciate this is also often possible through the modding tools, but I agree with kane_t that I’d also be willing to pay more for something that added more complexity to the simulation in more ways than just new policies?

Anyway, those are just my thoughts which I hope are helpful but also feel free to entirely ignore them!


I would like to see a few other country options as well, preferably something more ‘unconventional’ outside of the Western world. This can be easily modded, but there seems to be a heavy eurocentric bias.

For instance, countries like Brazil, South Africa, India, or even Russia would present something more different. More ‘unstable’ democracies mean you have a constantly low credit rating so you can’t borrow as much money, and thus poverty becomes an issue that is even more difficult to eradicate.

Since the name of the game is “Democracy 3”, implementing a dictatorship might be quite difficult… Like China, for instance. Not to say Russia is a ‘democracy’, Putin nonetheless has to win an election every now and then…

I was also thinking it would be nice to have more wealthier democracies, like those in Scandinavia, or Switzerland.

I think this is a good ballpark. I’d definitely chip in.

And ^
What he said.

I have not purchased Democracy 3 yet but am keenly interested in this game, though like a lot of others have posted, think the price you have charged is a tad on the high side. From being a gamer who used to purchase games as soon as they come out to now being a dad and having less time to game, I use the steam sales to purchase games and create a backlog that I will play when I manage to find the odd few hours to play (I have x-com and the dlc for only a couple of quid more than this game is being charged for?)

My main criticism of this post is that you are asking users to pay for what is essentially a mod. I, like others (when I purchase the game) would expect any further chargeable content to deepen the game-play and add extra mechanics.

From watching videos and reading reviews and browsing these forums I would suggest enhancing the interaction of the ministers in some way also having the other party more interactive and maybe vetoing your policies.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate what you have done and want you to succeed and hopefully extend the game-play with income that you no doubt deserve. I would just be wary of charging for a mod that was perhaps not included in the base game due to initial balance issues that you have now resolved. Cynic I may be.


What could we do here? Off-hand, some thoughts:

  1. Compulsory voting as a policy, not a pre-game issue.
  2. A laffer curve. I know it kinda-sorta is in the game via income tax effects on GDP etc, but that doesn’t include things like tax avoidance etc that people use to avoid paying taxes. I think there’s definitely room for improvement here.
  3. Discrete values for poor/middle/upper incomes (plus capital gains I guess). Along with some sort of policy option for worrying about absolute vs relative poverty (ie are you right- or left- wing?). Ie “poor income has doubled, and I’m right-wing, so who cares if they’re still the bottom 20% of the population - they’re not poor any more” vs “poor income has doubled, and I’m right-wing, but they’re still the bottom 20% of the population, so are poor”. I think this is subtly different to the basic “income inequality” you get in the game.
  4. Room for expansion - ie no practical cap on GDP etc, so I can run a country for 100 years or w/e and see GDP rocket up without plateauing.
  5. The ability to call elections early, at least for some countries. Or have elections forced early, if a coalition fails (see #9).
  6. A pre-game option to have dilemmas only toggle once. It seems silly to legislate on gay marriage every X turns :stuck_out_tongue: - although I do quite understand the limitation here.
  7. Charities, both private and state-funded. Cut off all funding to Greenpeace and the environmentalist cause gets hurt a bit, whilst a big tax break may result in more charitable giving.
  8. Historical models. How about trying to run the UK from, say, 1850: can you fend off the rising tide of socialism and trade unions, or will Britain become a socialist state?
  9. More political parties. Whilst a 3-party system (eg Republican/Democratic/Non-voting) system in Dem3 works well for Anglosphere countries with their first-past-the-post system, it doesn’t work as well with more European models, with their coalitions etc. Each major voter type can get a party (ie Liberal, Socialist, Conservative, Patriot, Religious…). Whilst some countries have a 2nd round of voting, the alternative is a coalition government, where you have to keep your voters plus your coalition partner’s voters happy (at least until you can stab them in the back :smiley: ).
  10. Hard limits on immigration - ie “no more than 50,000 a year” or whatever. Perhaps with asylum seekers as an issue related to this, and/or a policy on admitting asylum seekers in the first place. Also, assimilation policies to reduce the number of immigrants in the population (ie turn them into “natives”).
  11. New categories of voters, or at least the ability to unlock them for players. I mean, it’s easy to replace Young Voters with Libertarians, or Liberals with Fascists (so just a name change there then innocent whistle ), but that’s not the same as adding in a new category.
  12. Inflation and the money supply. Put simply, printing money beyond what the economy needs as it grows causes inflation, which encourages spending (bumping up GDP short-term), discourages saving (and thus discouraging investing, so long-term GDP harm), and if too high causes two major issues: High Inflation (which leads to more unemployment, angry trade unions & businessmen, etc) and Hyperinflation (Zimbabwe mod coming up :stuck_out_tongue: ). However, it does let you easily pay off your debt, because it devalues your currency.

Bubble economies would be a handy thing to simulate if possible. There is a recession event that comes at random or after a certain amount of time or something but you have to create a boom yourself. That’s how things are at the moment but if there was an interest rates policy a low one would help the economy in the short term but then help to cause a recession later on.

I basically agree with everyone that I would pay for it if it had new mechanics. For, a “stuff” pack that had your polished (As El said) policies & dilemmas, I would maybe pay $5 since I payed $25 for the base game and you graciously made it so easily moddable. Not to sound bratty. Just being realistic. Added mechanics would definitely reel me in and I would be more willing to shell out the dough. I like that you would want to take the EP in a social direction. Is there a way you could represent social attitudes through a system more dependent on simulations? Rather than directly influencing voter numbers.

To take what Teluros said (whose list of ideas is awesome!), new voter types would be great. Such as Feminists. Just oddballing it here. I know we’ve been down the gender line before, but if you represent it in a way that you can influence voters who care passionately about gender-related issues like public breastfeeding, the glass ceiling (possible simulation), maternity leave, etc, then it would add some more social depth. Not sure if it would conflict with the Conservative/Liberal dichotomy. Many Liberals are still chauvinists or somewhat ‘prudish’, but I’m not sure if ‘Conservative Feminist’ is a thing. I could be wrong and just not seeing it. But, I don’t think it’s redundant because often everything to the ‘left’ gets lumped in with Liberals. Also, I would take Liberals opposing Married Tax Allowance and put it on Feminists. I know people say liberals oppose marriage, but not in my experience. They just believe it should be more egalitarian (like me). Hard-core feminists and radical ‘queerists’ do oppose it, though.

Likewise, perhaps a Scientist or Scientific voter bloc can take some of the scientific concerns off of the Liberals. Scientists and science-minded people care deeply about technology and scientific literacy, but can also be what the game considers Conservatives. And then perhaps you could solve the huge debate in this community about Religious scientists and religion not holding science back, once and for all. Furthermore, a goal of a nation full of happy Scientists seems pretty appealing.

And Rick is most definitely not alone in desiring cyberpunk/futuristic elements. Featuring future technology along with all it’s fixes and dark woes would be great. Especially since the game can be played decades into the future from this point in time which brings speculative things like comprehensive nanotechnology, sentient robots, and virtual life into the forefront. Maybe that could even be a possible voter type: Transhumanist or Cyborg. Genetic experimentation is also a field rife with potential controversies, benefits, and consequences.

Just my 2 cents. Thanks for reading!

“Women should be equal to men before the law, but there are clearly differences between men & women that you can’t paper over with laws, like pregnancy or physical strength.”

Thinking about it, the one concern I have with adding lots more voter blocks to the game is information overload and/or overly complex mechanics. 2 voter blocks are much easier to deal with than 5, or 10, or 15, or 50, or whatever. So you have to be careful with how you divide up the population.

Second, you end up with a huge number of mixed signals. Suppose “maternity leave” benefits women voters (gasp!). So you’d expect more maternity leave to make women happier with you, right? Well what about all those conservative women who dislike it? Uhm…

In short, I think that what you want really is quite a small number of voter blocks. It’s undoubtedly less accurate, but for the core game you have to worry more about how easily your audience can read the info - modders can and do make fantastically complex mods because they don’t have to monetise it or care much if it’s only liked by 10% of the community. In this case, I’d let players add new voter types easily, but then keep the core game’s ones unchanged (or only slightly changed).

I really want a policy option for a lot of things along the lines of “f— it, go do whatever”… although maybe followed with an “oh s—, evacuate to moon bunker” dilemma :smiley: .

The Democracy 3 expansion pack is now on sale here: … ering.html

Hope you like it :smiley:

Well you dropped the price of the main game by a bigger margin than expected, so I bought both the game and expansion (dlc). Wish you great success on the sales so you can start thinking of adding extra mechanics to this wonderful game/social toy.