first of all I’d like to apologize for my English (It’s not my native language.). The reason I’m writing this topic is to propose some changes to the game that would make it more realistic and maybe even more playable. To be honest I was little disappointed with Democracy 3 as (apart from different design) it doesn’t offer really much change from Democracy 2. There are only few new policies and statistics and also some very few new modding possibilities but overall differences are negligible. Game is significantly easier to win than Democracy 2 and the same unrealistic things that are present in the Democracy 2 are also in Democracy 3. To make this game better I’d like to propose some ideas that would make it more realistic and interesting. Most of the things I propose wouldn’t probably be very hard to implement (I’m myself amateur programmer, so I can imagine complexity of the things I propose.). I’m interested in opinions of other members of this forum and especially Cliffski about proposed changes (good, bad, unrealistic, too complicated etc…).
So here are my suggestions:
Instead of requirement of absolute 50% support to win the election, each player should start with support of 51% of the vote or more (depending on the difficulty) regardless of situations and issues the country is currently facing an then every turn (for example: Even if there are no state pensions, no winter fuel subsidies, huge hospital overcrowding and high violent crime and so on, each player would always start at the beginning of the 1st term with 51% support of the Retired people group.). Then he would lose some support each turn from each group (for example 1%) regardless of his actions. But he could still win the support back by solving bad situations and implementing good policies. Every turn he would then lose some amount of support (depending on the difficulty - for example 1%). E.g. 2nd turn his support goes down do 50%, 3rd turn to 49% and so on. Player can of course reverse this trend by implementing policies that please the specific group and getting rid of bad situations. Such change would make challenging not just 1st term, but all the others. Result would be much more realistic as getting reelected in Britain and some-poverty ridden country like Albania would be similarly difficult. Currently it is absolutely unrealistic that in some countries I solve huge number of issues (crime, debt, poverty and so on) and yet I won’t get reelected whereas in rich countries I do nothing and I win anyway. It also makes sure that terms get more challenging and eventually as in real politics you simply won’t get reelected, because you’ve been in power too long.
To make game more realistic there also should be at least some simplified campaign model. It would be very easy to add such thing without radically changing the game mechanics. There would be new simulation value - “campaign finance” that would represent the amount of money you can spend on advertisement. It would be determined by contributions from various groups that would support your policies. E.g. Retired people support you, so they give money to your campaign but their income is low so they give just a little money. But for example monetary support from Wealthy people would be radically higher. That would also balance the game as right-wing parties would get more money from their interest groups then left-wing parties. Another way to increase your campaign funds would be by corruption. E.g. by appointing your people to government institutions and giving away overpriced contracts to the friendly companies (that would be simulated by dilemmas and corruption index for each minister) player could significantly increase his campaign funds. Downside of this would be increase in corruption statistics (affecting cost of the education, health care, police department and so on) and high corruption would make people unhappy. It would also increase chance of corruption scandal happening (one of the ministers is caught taking bribe) severely hurting you in the polls. But on the other hand campaign finance would multiply actual popularity of the party - e.g. Player has 60% approval based on the policies you implemented. Depending on the campaign finance value the policy approval rating would be multiplied by 0.5 to 1.5 (low campaign funds/high campaign funds). For example: Campaign funds are currently at 0.6 value - 60% gets multiplied gets multiplied by 1.1 making final approval rating 66%. If you have your current campaign funds at 0.2 value, the approval rating is multiplied by 0.7, making it 42%.
Political capital should be elastic (e.g. Raising income tax by 1% would cost 1/34 of political capital rounded up instead of full 34 political capital. In reality it would be politically impossible to raise income tax from 10% to 50%, but raising it from 10% to 11% wouldn’t be that hard.). Also some dilemmas and events should influence the political capital you have.
Also political capital should be in reality much more dependent on the results of the last elections rather than mood of the ministers. If you get only a narrow majority in the elections you simply won’t be able implement as much thing as you want despite public currently supporting you. I would also be in favor greatly reducing or eliminating minister’s experience affecting effectiveness of the policies. It is absolutely unrealistic that firing one minister and appointing a new one can so radically change perfectly working system to totally ineffective without making any policy changes. Minister experience should rather affect effects of dilemmas or add more or less choices to specific dilemmas (there should be possibility of more than two choices in many dilemmas - for example: Appoint UN Ambassador could be something like Appoint Experienced Liberal Ambassador/Appoint Inexperienced Liberal Ambassador/Appoint corrupted Liberal Ambassador/Appoint Experienced Patriotic Ambassador/Appoint Inexperienced Patriotic Ambassador/Appoint corrupted Patriotic Ambassador. The amout of choices would depend on (in this case) foreign minister’s experience. Inexperienced minister for example couldn’t appoint experienced ambassador.).
Another thing I’d like to mention is Nationalization and Privatization. In the game I can invest for example in building National Monorail System. But at some point I may decide that I don’t want public Monorail System and the only choice I get is to cancel the policy. In reality it would be possible to sell years of work invested in building such system and get money in exchange to finance national debt or some other program. This is so far impossible to simulate in the game even through modding. It also prevents people from creating realistic Government Control of Industry mods to simulate countries like Venezuela or other communist countries. In reality many countries (even Europe) own some Government companies (Post Office, State Lottery etc…) and sometimes they make money by privatizing them.
Also I would appreciate possibility of modding “one-way” policies - e.g. Relaxing border controls can very quickly increase number of minorities but if I reverse the trend and stop the immigration the number of minorities quickly (and completely unrealistically) falls down. It would be good to make possible to mod some of the policies effects as “one-way” - e.g. Once the percentage of minorities goes up, it doesn’t go down or it goes down much slower even if I toughen border controls again.
Assassinations (very unrealistic part of the game since such thing could be in developed countries issue only in United States and even there it’s extremely rare) should be replaced by party support. Party support would be value calculated in similar way as public approval rating but it would be approval rating of just certain groups of people (party base). Every party would have some core supporters - for example:
Labour party - Socialist, Poor, Trade Unionist, State Employees
Liberal Democrats - Liberal, Environmentalist
Conservative party - Capitalist, Self Employed, Wealthy, Conservatives.
In order to stay in power you would have to have over 50% approval from these groups or party will elect different leader. Core supporters would similarly as in reality affect ministers supporter groups (Conservative party is unlikely to have ministers popular among Socialist or Trade Unionists.) and political capital cost of certain policies favored or disfavored by those groups (It is easier for Labour party to raise taxes or expand welfare than for Conservative party.). Player would start with significantly higher popularity among those groups and significantly lower popularity among groups that support other parties. It might be also realistic to make it the way that for example Socialist is never going to vote for Conservative party but if Labour party doesn’t make him happy, he isn’t going to vote in the next election at all. Such changes would allow much more different strategies and it would make party names actually matter. Also playing US, Great Britain and France would much more different experience because of differences between political parties in each country.
Finally (as many people on this forum already mentioned) the game should make it possible to play now just two-party system but also multi-party systems (only few democratic countries in the world have only two parties, most of the governments are coalitions). In coalition government player would be forced to adopt some policies favored by the other coalition partners. Player would have to leave some of the minister positions to the other coalition party and so on. In order to not lose the game, player would have to be head of the strongest of the coalition partners (to get to be Prime minister of President) and it would be necessary to negotiate with coalition partner so they won’t form coalition with the opposition etc… And if possible opposition shouldn’t be just party representing opposite of whatever you do. But all this would be probably much harder to implement (unlike previously mentioned propositions).
Last thing I’d like to mention is realism of the game policies effects. Currently if I try to create some country mod and I put in real data it doesn’t create real results. Some of this (but definitely not all) is the result of enormous (unrealistic) influence of minister’s experience. But main reason is that some simulation data are wrong. For example I tried to implement my own country - Czech Republic. I set policies the same or very similar way as in reality and as a result I got high poverty, low equality, no hospital overcrowding, very high racial tension and race related situations. But in reality Czech Republic has relatively low poverty compared to the rest of the EU, hospitals are overcrowded because of low funding (and in reality (unlike in the game) private sector doesn’t actually take over and solve that), equality rate is one of the highest in the world (even despite recent right-wing reforms Czechs tend to be very egalitarian) and race issues certainly aren’t that bad (although it is getting worse since the beginning of the economic crisis). And that’s just few major examples. I’d like to also point out that some of the parts of the game are extremely detailed (environment, transport), whereas things like health care or schools that are actually major issues in most of the countries have only very few policies. Also the game doesn’t really allow me to mod some third-world country. Almost regardless of the country it is very easy to get economy working in 4 years. In reality even the best government couldn’t change for example Central African Republic from poor third-world country to the prosperous first-world country with booming economy, top rate Health Care and School system. It is simply impossible. The game mechanism simply shouldn’t allow such huge changes in GDP. Britain or France will be always (even during economic crisis) very prosperous countries so it is unrealistic that in one term GDP can change from maximum to nothing or the reverse. Britain’s GDP should never go down to 0, whereas Zimbabwe won’t be anywhere near as rich as France regardless of policies they enact.
I hope that I explained all the points clearly enough (despite my language limitations) and in case I didn’t, I’ll try to answer your questions.