How I Solved This Game (Human Dev, GDP, Health, Education, Unemployment, Poverty, Crime all min/maxed)

I have solved your game.


I hesitate to provide the solution to the game, as the game developers, like myself and all people, are not immune to propaganda, and may experience a knee-jerk reaction upon the realization that their modeled utopia is not the one they had in mind.

However, this is provided in response to a developer comment in another thread that “full employment was not really achievable” - it is achievable.

Most significantly, this is provided to flex to the developers that I have understood their game, and to encourage them to read the thread titled “Population Change Doesn’t Affect Maximum GDP, Youth, Retired” which has transformed into the thread in which I upload a continuing litany of topic-unrelated observations about disparities between the game model and the world which it models.

In light of the fact that I have solved this game, I encourage the developers to read that thread.

Popularity, Term Limit Expansion

The immediate solution to popularity is highly intuitive catering to already-prevalent demographics, and minister selection to align with those demographics.

The immediate solution to expanding term limits, is to provoke an inflationary crisis with runaway helicopter money or QE. I chose helicopter money because I was pandering to capitalists at the time, and so it was politically easier to upset poor people by reversing helicopter money.

As a fluke, I managed to get just enough political capital to increase term limits, just in time for re-election, and I had miscalculated the time inertia necessary for the hyperinflationary crisis, and so this was ultimately not necessary. However, from other gameplays and from studying real-world politics, I can say that the problem-reaction-solution model of policy is more reliable and allows the player to be less sensitive to public opinion.

The long-term solution to popularity, was to maximally curtail “Press Freedom” for the opinion bonus from “Everybody”, institute “General Media Censorship” for the perceptions bonuses, and to ideologically concentrate the population into the “Conservative”, “Patriot”, “Religious” and to some extent “Environmentalist” demographics. Eventually, “State Employees” were consolidated at the expense of “Capitalist”, though at that point this was not really necessary and occurred as a side-effect of policies aimed at eliminating unemployment.


Taxes are run an effective maximum to avoid triggering “Black Market” and “Tax Evasion” during all points in the economic cycle. The equilibrium for this should not require comment, as it is already known to developers. In this game instance, it is at 67% income, 60% property, 42% sales, 22% corporate, 16% capital gains, “High” payroll about 2/3 towards “Maximum”, and the medium-low limit of Car tax. Other taxes are maxed.

“Luxury Goods Tax” is the only missed opportunity in this image. It’s not clear to me if this would end up with a net loss by reducing returns on other taxes, such as “Punitive Wealth” and “Mansion”, but it ultimately did not matter and was not necessary to min-max the other variables.


GDP is maxed in this model during most, but not all points of the global economic cycle. Images are displayed from a low point in the cycle to display that unemployment remains at 0.

The “Legalize Sex Work” policy is the only missed policy opportunity which comes to mind to narrow the range at which the global economic cycle reduces GDP below the maximum. While this would be politically unpopular, it would not seriously threaten re-election, as I have plenty of popularity to spare. This is not necessary to maximize GDP in most global economic environments, but is the one correction missing from this model, which comes to mind.

I started taking the screenshots before this occurred to me. Sorry.


Most of the effect on Unemployment comes from policies which directly reduce it.

I had previously tried, and failed, to push “Unemployment” below a floating 2%, from missing some counter-intuitive tax opportunities, running with “Tax Evasion” on simply so that it could be visible, and not coming up with enough money to fund the full suite of direct employment policies such as “Climate Change Adaption Fund”.

I succeeded in doing this by targeting “Technology” and “Productivity” feeds into unemployment. “Automation Tax” and eliminating “Robotics Research Grants” had occurred to me, “Internet Tax” had not occurred to me but it did the trick.

It was ultimately not necessary to further depress production by sliding “Labor Laws” above the perfect middle of the “Balanced” state. Aside from that, it occurred to me to relax the laws around alcohol and drug consumption. I do not know how that would balance out, between increased direct tax opportunities and increased indirect expenditures on healthcare. Even the “Labor Laws” adjustment was not necessary.

As it is, “High Productivity” just barely resists dipping below the threshold of elimination, so there is some GDP and Wage efficiency from not depressing it further.


Full “Minimum Wage”, full “Government Subsidies for Unions” and fully balanced “Labor Laws” were sufficient to maximize this.


Maximizing GDP During Global Recession

I don’t consider much of a failure to solve the game, to have GDP dip during global recession, as long as this doesn’t harm any of the other target variables.

However, I will try optimizing QE and Helicopter Money, which are currently at the threshold between “Medium” and “High” and could increase, eliminating “Game Hunting” restrictions for Tourism, adding “Legalize Prostitution” for GDP and Tourism, and reinstituting “Foreign Aid” for the significant “International Relations” bonus to “Foreign Investment”

I may even post another GDP image during global recession, and another popularity image, once those adjustments stabilize.


Counter-intuitive policies because of limits

The decision to apply or cancel certain policies was counter-intuitive, because in the game and in the real world, these cause damage to primary desirable outcomes. However, in the game but not in the real world, these outcomes have a clear ceiling, and so can be damaged but still remain at 100%.

The “Graduate Tax” option is a good example of this. In the real world, this would depress education in any environment. In the game, education can easily reach 100% anyway, and so this is simply another way to tax the middle class without pushing further into the “Tax Evasion” threshold.

Japan looks easy

From where I’m sitting, Japan looks like the easiest country to play, both because of the free emergency powers during the critical start of the game, and because “Religious” even easier to please.

This is fine. In the real world, Japan is a much easier country to govern.

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Just a point to add) Ministers with high Campaigning stat provide huge approval boosts. Though I tend to choose ministers who don’t have unhappy sympathizing groups, I find ‘Sympathies’ to have a minimal impact on approval.

Looks like the conservatives were right then!


Poor liberals.

Looks like National Conservatism doesn’t it?

Ministers are, by far, the thing in the game with the greatest inertia.

On another, much longer playthrough, I got to the point where the random re-population of ministers eventually allowed me to get maximum campaigning ministers with maximum experience and loyalty, which trends up during re-election. It may take quite a number of turns to purge the Capitalists from my government, and for their replacements to get up to maximum experience.

I think sympathies affect voter turnout, not so much approval.

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sympathies and campaigning both affect approval. and approval of a voter decides voting probability. in crude terms,

Voting Probability = base (function of apathy) + Strength of Feeling (function of approval) + Party Motivation (function of the size of party activists)

Well, according to standard political theory, you want to ideologically consolidate the entire population, and de-economize politics, so that the entire population is voting based around emotionally and culturally charged non-issues which have nothing to do with the swimming pool full of money in your other winter home.

You can see this in the real world a lot more clearly than in the game, “if you have eyes to see.”

The first problem with liberals, in the game, is that you cannot consolidate them easily along with “Religious” and “Patriot”. If you want to consolidate around “Conservative” opinion, you can add “Religious” and “Patriot” easily into this. It is relatively difficult to consolidate into “Liberal, Religious, Patriot” and there are no competing “Atheist, Internationalist” demographics to compound their approval.

The other problem with liberals, is simply this: their preferences even less reasonable.

A lot of these effects are just the other side of the coin of shamelessly pandering to religious conservatives. However, they also have pronounced displeasure over too many policies which are necessary, useful, or just convenient as make-work. For example, looking at this list for policies I would maintain if they had no effect on opinion:

National Service (unemployment)
Wealth Orders (necessary for optimal taxation)
Selective Schooling (free education)
Wire Tapping (for corruption)
Religious Tax (money)
Limit Automated Trading (not sure if this is better than flash crashes)
Internet Censorship (suppress Technology for employment, maybe cyber crime)
Intelligence Services (cyber crime)
Immigration Rules (suppress immigration for higher wages)
General Media Censorship (sympathies)
Firearms Laws (they always object)
Executive Term Limit (necessary)
Executive Term Length (reduce cynicism)
Cryptocurrency Tax (money)
Citizenship Tests (immigration for wages)
Border Controls (immigration for wages)
Armed Police (employment)
Alcohol Law (maintain high production, healthcare costs)

Looking at the “popularity” aspect of the game, which is not as hard as economics (either in the game or in real life), the other demographic which could be consolidated would be “Liberal” and “Ethnic Minority”, but it would be much more of a struggle to keep wages at their upper limit in that environment, maybe impossible.

“Atheist” and “Internationalist” (not sure what else to call anti-patriotism?) should definitely be added if the game wants to make it comparably easy to de-monetize politics around Liberals.

The problem with liberals, is that they have too many opinions about policies which actually matter. It was a huge struggle in the real world to get them to stop pining about economic inequality, and pine more about gender, sex, discrimination, abortion, and a bunch of other things which do not affect my swimming pool full of money. The struggle is still ongoing, even though they are better managed now.

Patriotic religious conservatives, on the other hand, are pretty cheap to placate. The only flack I’m taking from conservatives in this game state is “Right To Die” and “Stem Cell Research”, and even once “Legalize Prostitution” is added, they should still be supportive. My “Patriots” are only mildly grumpy about the “Compulsory Foreign Language” policies, for investment, trade and tourism, and should also be able to deal with “Foreign Aid” when it gets added back in for more investment, trade and tourism.

The religious are by far the most tiresome, objecting to “Right To Die” (healthcare costs), “Stem Cell Research” (GDP) and “Gambling” (GDP), and will complain more once “Legalize Prostitution” is added.

Like I said, Japan should be an easier country to govern.

In fact, I’ve found that playing ultra-liberal has also lead me to success. Since debt-crisis can be offset by inflation to some extent.

I’ve placated conservatives and religious by being trustworthy, strong and being more flexible on abortion and abolishing crime and privatizing a few things here and there. My goal of course was not your maximization of everything, but to leave everybody atleast mildly satisfied.

So, I guess I consider that a success.

Is max employment really good? How did you get around skill shortage related to max employment?

Wouldn’t it be better to as you said to “deconomize” politics by having some people unemployed?

Unemployed and on dole, why would they have a problem about what you do? Essentially weaponizing welfare.

The ideal state of State finances is to have no debt, and no debt crisis. I do need more inflation as a byproduct of GDP-boosting policies.

Why leave everyone mildly satisfied, when you can make everyone satisfied, and every real indicator maximized? Let me know if you can get to a min-maxed state in a game that consolidates liberals, and not conservatives.

In the real world, you cannot have full employment without causing a labor crisis for the private sector. The game doesn’t model this. Also, in the real world, there is no hard ceiling to GDP, so there are penalties to attacking productivity and automation. In the game, these penalties disappear at the GDP ceiling.

I started a new game to examine the starting “Skills Shortage” crisis for the United States.

This doesn’t appear to consider “Unemployment” as a factor. Clearly, if a new “Labor Crisis” is not to be added, it should consider “Unemployment” as feeding into the “Skills Shortage”. In the game, most of the problem was Education, so the “Skills Shortage” is easily solved with “University Grants”, “Technology Colleges” and “Adult Education Subsidies”, to the extent that “State Schools” can be cancelled until the debt is removed and the final transition can be made to full employment. At that point, “Technology Colleges” also gets cancelled, because it doesn’t reduce unemployment (it should) and because it increases technology → productivity → unemployment, isn’t necessary to keep education at 100%, and costs money. Also, by maximizing Technology, which is easy to do quickly and convenient to maintain until reaching the zero-debt transition to full employment.

State employees are no less de-economized than unemployed welfare consumers, in the sense that they live off of State money. They are more socially stable, in the sense that they are less likely to engage in crime, substance abuse and political protests from having too much time on their hands. The game does not model this significant effect. They might even do something useful under the direction of the State - results may vary.

In the game state showed, I had enough surplus to do a few things to push people out of the “poor” demographic, and into “middle income”. If public opinion were more of a challenge, I would cut back on these to the maximum extent necessary to keep “Poverty” at zero while keeping more people in the “Poor” demographic, so as to not suffer the opinions of the “Middle Income” from the tax regime.

But, in either case, neither the politics of State Employees or of people living off of State welfare are de-economized, because they involve receiving money from the State, regardless of whether or not they are doing a job, or whether or not that job is useful. The ideal de-economized voter is someone who will vote for you because of their strong feelings about gay marriage (in a world where that doesn’t affect population and so is not a human capital management issue and therefore an economic issue) even though they are receiving no benefits and punitive taxes from your government, and will continue to vote against their own real, economic interests because of those ideological concerns.

That is utopia. For government.

Unemployment does feed Skills Shortage. You are just yet to see it in your eyes. Super-low unemployment like <3% can have significant impact on skills shortage unless you’ve encountered a bug. Trying loading your end-game save and canceling Adult Education Subsidy.


Debt is not a huge issue, and nor should it be. Like how it is in Japan, every other country should also have the ability to reduce the importance of debt through negative interest rates, stable positive inflation, issuing local debt, etc.

That’s because this game punishes being too radical. If try to suddenly turn South Korea super-liberal, it’s going to backfire, similarly, if you try to make the western countries too conservative, it’s going to backfire.

Yeah I find debt-zero goal to be unachievable since the currency itself is debt. Money sloshes through pipes of economy by getting lent. The very first step of money getting out of a central bank is borrowings from commercial banks or bond purchases (another effective lending). So the government repaying all its debts will mean either A) massive reduction of money supply or B) significant spike in corporate/household debt (or even both of them).

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I cancelled the “Adult Education Subsidy” and nothing happened. That policy has no effect on “Unemployment” and cancelling it did not even move “Education” below 100, the only use for it in this game state is to keep “Productivity” barely above the “High Productivity” threshold.

I proposed soft limits as a solution to hard caps, paradoxible suggested game balance for higher optimization of GDP, I think that there need to be some steps to counteract these 100% caps or atleast make them less important.

Did you recognize that AES reduces skills shortage? You should be facing it if you have 100% tech + 100% GDP but no AES in effect.

Inflation is certainly a strategy to eliminate debt. The percentage of State spending which goes towards paying interests on government debt, is the percentage at which State expenditure is ineffective. So, if you start the game as Japan, 28% of State spending is on servicing the debt, which is a significant inefficiency.

I cannot find numbers for Japan’s spending on debt interest in real life, but in the game, it does appear that US spending on debt, as a percentage of government spending, is much higher than it is in real life.

In the game, but not in real life, debt is measured in inflation-adjusted value. So, in real life, but not in the game, a stable debt will solve itself as inflation shrinks it away.

In the game, and in real life, accruing debt is a good way to solve problems now and pay for them later, which is sometimes a good idea. In the game, and in real life, a country cannot grow its debt ratio indefinitely without triggering a crisis.

The failure of the game to adjust debt to inflation is one of the many observations I made in the other thread.

In the game, it is easy to pull out of debt relatively quickly. You just raise the taxes before you raise the public spending. State Schools and State Health Service do nothing in the game, except efficiently reduce unemployment. There are much more cost-effective ways to keep “Education” and “Health” at maximum, in the game. You can also do without the Climate Change Adaption fund, and keep Public Housing at the minimum, where it generates modest profits. Poverty can be mostly or completely offset through Winter Fuel, Rent Controls, Helicopter Money, School Meals, Eye Tests and Food Stamps.

You can also live without High Speed Rail, International Fusion and the Mars Program, during the debt-reduction phase.

Due to the inertia limit, the game does not punish you very much for being too radical, because the membership effects of your new policies will have fully taken hold in time for your next seven-year election. Real life politics would punish you more, because it takes at least a full population replacement for inertia effects on ideological group memberships to be completely overcome.

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I’m at 71% technology, because I suppressed it with the Internet Tax, in order to suppress productivity and thereby suppress unemployment. This was the final adjustment to be made for achieving full employment, in the game.

I can cancel Internet Tax, cancel Adult Education Subsidies, and see what happens.

In all of my games, “Skills Shortage” has been quick and easy to solve, and has never re-emerged.

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Notes: (mostly to myself)

  • One Child Policy reduces directly reduces unemployment, and indirectly reduces healthcare demand by reducing population.

In the real world, this is fine until you get hit with a demographic crunch on dependency ratios after long inertia. In the game, this policy is free candy, if you aren’t dependent on “Liberal” or “Religious”. I don’t have enough capital right now to explore the magnitudes.


  • Optimize QE, Helicopter for Hyperinflation limit (GDP)
  • Legalize Prostitution (GDP)
  • Remove Hunting Restrictions (Tourism → GDP)


  • Add Foreign Aid (foreign trade/investment → GDP)
  • Enterprise Investment Scheme (4.3% GDP, 19bn)
  • Small Business Grants (4.3% GDP, 48 bn)
  • Drilling Subsidies


  • Micro-generation grants? (energy efficiency → GDP, but → energy industry → unemployment)
  • Smart Meters? (energy efficiency → GDP, but → energy industry → unemployment)
  • Eco-home regulations? (energy efficiency → GDP, but → energy industry → unemployment)


  • Luxury Goods Tax
  • Eliminate Free Parenting Classes (population healthcare costs)
  • Death Penalty (population healthcare costs)
  • Could possibly switch to Flat Income Tax if that pushes Tax Evasion less?
  • Family Planning (population healthcare costs)
  • One Child Policy (population healthcare costs)
  • Eliminate Cycling Campaign, Bicycle Subsidies, School Bus, Free Bus Passes (tax revenue from car usage)


  • Compulsory School Sports (bureaucracy, health remains maxed?)
  • Business Startup Campaign
  • Genital Mutilation Ban

Revision to Min/Max Solution

Yeah, now that I look at this, it seems like a better way to min/max the game model would be to go hard on depopulation policies, since the long term crisis this provokes in real life is not modeled in the game.

Outside of Japan, this would mean dropping “Religious” and sticking with “Conservative”, “Patriot”, “Commuter”, “Environmentalist”, “State Employees”.

I’ll try just doing the direct GDP adjustments, see if the unemployment created with the GDP:Employment policies can be offset while maintaining an average surplus, and see if GDP can remain maxed during global recessions. Otherwise, I’m going to need some more money.

I might be able to make this work, within the current model for ideological consolidation.

However, it’s clear upon reflection that the optimal cost strategy to min/max in the game is going to be depopulation, especially because of the “One Child Policy” reduction in unemployment. So, “Religious” is getting dropped outside of Japan. Even outside of Japan, I’m sure this can be pulled off by consolidating around the remaining constituencies. Though, “Conservatives” won’t love the abortion.

I’m sure it will go fine. One child policy, no immigration… what’s the worst that could happen?

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I guess you are experiencing this since you have made compromise of abandoning max Technology. GDP would have been at least +5%p higher if Technology were maxed out. But this will have an impact on Unemployment, at least +15%p by my estimation.

It would be player’s choices - which simulation is more important than others.One would choose full employment while other is pushing technologies and automation forward. Another might be trying to achieve high equality to the extent of triggering egalitarian society. I think maximizing approval of the least satisfied group can be another min-maxing choice, which is what Chantern tried to do (at least mildly satisfy every voter group).

another tip - near-maxed out Hunting Restriction is actually better for Tourism. You’ll see what I mean if you do so and wait for some turns.

Noted on hunting restrictions, thanks - I can see how hurting “environment” could push into negative feedback. This might depend on the game state though, so I’ll try it and see what happens.

I’m experiencing this, not so much because of abandoning max Technology, but because the only way to hurt technology, without raising unemployment by cutting programs directly employing people in technology, was to impose the Internet Tax, which directly hurts GDP by about 8%.

Before that, I didn’t need any GDP policies that either cost money, or created unemployment, which costs money to offset, in order to max GDP during global recessions. I think I can afford them now, though.


So, “Game Hunting Restrictions” reduces Tourism by the same magnitude at which it increase the Environment. I canceled it for bureaucracy, it’s difficult to judge the effect on Tourism because it’s volatile along with Global Economy, but it appears that cancelling it relieved a 5.9% penalty to Tourism, while degrading “Environment” enough to reduce Tourism by less than 1%, for a net gain in Tourism from canceling the policy.

Nah I get more tourism boost by maintaining high hunting restriction. considerably larger than 6% or whatever.