Hello, I have two suggestions for a possible sequel to Democracy 2, taking into account previous posts which often cite the lack of a diverse opposition in the game. My main suggestion is a possible way to tackle this.
I notice, Cliff, that you are fond of the political compass website. You could use this as a basis for having a number of political parties. There are four quadrants on the political compass. Your game could have four political parties that correspond broadly to each of the four quadrants. The player would be one, and the opponents could be the other three.
The parties I had in mind were: Socialists (left wing and libertarian), Liberals (right wing and libertarian), Conservatives (right wing and authoritarian) and Nationalists (left wing and authoritarian). The political beliefs are broad enough to allow the player to be flexible within any of the parties, but specific enough to warrant it as a concept. If you’re a Socialist, you have to keep your policies on a generally big-government, socially-libertarian theme. Of course, you can deviate - like many would regard New Labour to have done in the UK, but it will cost you.
This is the most fruitful part of the concept. Whichever political party you are, one of your opponents will share part of your beliefs. If you are the Socialists, the Liberals share your social beliefs and the Nationalists share your economic beliefs. So if you deviate from, say, your left-wing economic beliefs, the Nationalists will sweep in and gobble up your core votes. Then again, you would weaken the two right-wing parties by splashing out on their territory. How well you appeal to the general electorate remains your duty.
When the election comes round, the strongest opposition party will be determined in part by the player’s ideological movements. So in the above mentionned case the Nationalists will be a force to be reckonned with if you’ve given them room to breathe, and you may need to woo some of their supporters if you’re to win the election.
I think the concept forces the player to be more strategic and principled with their decisions. You can solve a policy in the way that seems most obvious (fight crime by employing more police, for example) but if you’re a libertarian party then you have to calculate how costly such a measure will be. If anything, it might encourage players not to ‘max out’ certain sliders so much and keep their ideologically incoherent actions low-key (possibly there is room for a ‘media’ concept here, tackling you for flip-flops?)
I think ultimately this will make the game more ideological and thus more relevant to the real world – and crucially make the game more fun. Sorry that I don’t suggest how on earth you’d encode all this, but I’m not an accomplished game-maker like yourself.
Make ‘Students’ a voter group.