I’ve been saying on this forum that ministers are a game breaking problem for about a year now. Here’s the problem:
Every minister has a maximum effectiveness which they will ever reach. It is not clearly displayed, but the best display you get is after an election when being invited to shuffle the cabinet. You can see the effectiveness and experience then. When they reach 100% experience, whatever effectiveness they have is the best they will ever reach. The starting ministers usually cap out somewhere in the 90+% range, but any replacements can cap out as low as 65%. The replacement ministers will NEVER be as good as the starting ones. This means that losing one of the starting ministers causes IRREPARABLE damage to the player. Yet, due to the randomized starting loyalties of the ministers, these losses are often unavoidable. Further to this, the loyalties of potential replacements are random, often forcing the player to draw from low on the list and in doing so settle for a low maximum effectiveness.
Why is this a problem? In any game players generally want a challenge, but they want a fair challenge. Players don’t mind losing if their own choices or actions led to the loss. Players do mind losing when they were punished as if they had failed even though they did nothing wrong. Players should be faced with challenges, players should face ambiguous situations where the correct choice is not always clear, but there should always have been a correct choice available. If there are unavoidable challenges then those should be declared up front, or be consistent from one round to another. Having unavoidable pit falls generated randomly which are not consistent from one round to another and are presented as a failure by the player will only serve to annoy the player.
This is particularly true if said pit falls don’t even make sense within the context of the game. For example, if I have been playing to please liberals, capitalists, ethnic minorities and self employed by antagonizing socialists, conservatives, trade unionists and religious people, and I have been doing this for nearly two terms, then the draw of replacement ministers should not all have loyalty to one of the groups I’ve been antagonizing, forcing me to draw from the bottom of the list. These people would simply not be in my party, they would be running with the opposition!
I gave this game a couple more tries because I saw the patch drop, and I’m still tapping out of play sessions for the exact same reason I was a year ago. This minister system is broken and has not changed since this game entered early access, save for one bug fix where they were only loyal to 4 groups. I’ll keep an eye on the patch notes, if minsters get mentioned I’ll check this game out again.