Lategame popularity snowball

Having got the hang of the game now, I tend to find the first election or two takes a bit of smart play, but after that I can pretty much do anything without overly losing popularity.

I tried a typical liberal capitalism UK game, and then pivoted to high taxes to pay off the national debt as nothing would cost me popularity, and I’ve now had a similar experience running the USA as a high-deficit, fascist police state.

Any idea why this happens? I’m playing on normal, so is it just a matter of having good health/obesity/GDP/crime means I can get away with a lot?

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Much more stuff increase happiness, than decrease it.
Maybe if everything had 2x weaker happiness increase and 2x stronger happiness decrease, then game would be more balanced.

If that’s true then that’s the issue, overall.

For example I would have expected incredibly high taxes to absolute tank my ratings in the UK. Whatever good favour I’d generated, the levels of both sales and income tax would have been incredibly unpopular.

Similarly in the US - the imposition on freedoms should be hugely negative.

Perhaps the issue is that things need to be exponential - people are happy to give up a little liberty for a little (alleged) security, but going much further and creating a police state is going to be MUCH more unpopular.

I suspect part of it is how in the lategame, the sizes of the respective population groups change, too.

E.g. I have lots of patriots and conservatives who don’t mind a police state (arguably not entirely accurate) whereas my liberals who are against it are greatly diminished in numbers. Perhaps the population changes are too extreme?

The game definitely needs more late game balance, and a system for ensuring that people do not just coast along in perfect happiness once the initial problems are fixed.

I do need to find some more situations and phenomena that are emergent properties of successful societies, and that cause issues. Just brainstorming here…

inequality… is something that seems to grow as GDP rises in many countries.
obesity… also seems to be positively correlated with GDP, and perhaps with technology too (less manual work?).
pollution… and general environmental destruction also grows as GDP rises.

Maybe what is missing from the game is more long term negative effects from superficially positive situations. So maybe as you ‘solve’ economic problems, this should be laying the foundation for an obesity/inequality/environmental problem 8 years later (or even more).

Currently the game can only cope with effects that are 8 years (32 turns) or less in terms of their inertia. Perhaps this fundamental limit needs to change?


I’ve brought up a point before, which wouldn’t make governance any more difficult, but would certainly change the balance of politics.

Voters need to react to changes, not a snap shot of current conditions. This becomes most evident with the ministers. It’s not uncommon for me to start with ministers who are sympathetic to groups who don’t like me. I’ll make changes to please that group, then the minister quits anyways because 20 turns ago their group didn’t like me.

I’m thinking of an example where “self employed” started with low yellow opinion of me. I made a couple changes and brought them up to high yellow. Their still unhappy with me about a few things, but every change I made favored them. They should be happy about this at first, then eventually forget that I helped them after a couple terms.

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Sounds like complacency is doing extremely bad job at balancing happiness.
It could directly reduce voter group happiness instead of being one of factors (special treatment for complacency and cynicism)

There could be current happiness + bias.
Scale is from -1 to 1.

So if current happiness is constant, then bias would change in such way, that final happiness would gravitate towards 0, could be halfway between 0 and current happiness.

If calculated happiness is at 1 or -1 for 8 turns, then final happiness could end up at 0.75 or -0.75


Something I have thought a lot about is the taxing dynamic. Late in the game, with many popular policies under your belt, the biggest challenge is being able to pay for everything. This in turn kicks in tax evasion, which is had to handle.

I’d suggest a new policy: Tax Enforcement Agency. This could reduce evasion, but at a very steep cost of popularity.

The negative impacts should grow exponentially, from firs being mildly unpopular to everyone and the wealthy, but then grow to anger those groups dramatically. This would be the counterbalance the popularity of programs with anger at what’s needed to keep them going - getting everyone to pay their fair share.

I did imagine this could have two other positive benefits

  1. Equality (though the benefits would be less and less at more extreme levels)
  2. Organized crime

Given the game dynamics, I think this would be a straightforward addition to the game and handle some of these late-game issues.


Is that a common late game phenomena though? I was under the impression the game was too easy later on because (among other things) the player had too much money (chiefly due to GDP being too high).

The tax evasion crisis is managed by 1 policy, public tax returns. It’s a case where a red bubble has a silver bullet. Toss in the guy who alerts me to upcoming crises in case I forgot, and I never have a tax evasion crisis. That said, I play for what I would describe as “threshold taxation”, where I have pretty much every type of tax implemented, and all at the point where their GDP impact is about to go over the cliff, but hasn’t yet. Examples being each of sales and capital gains taxes set at 25%, or income tax set at 50%. When I do this, I pretty much have all the money I need for the policies I want, assuming my tax minister isn’t stuck at 52% effectiveness or something similar.


Depends on the nation, but the contestant easy part is popularity In France, at high difficultly, there is still a long-standing risk of debt crisis, so taxes stay crazy high and public tax returns isn’t enough to stop tax evasion. So it gives a tool to solve that problem at the cost of the popularity.

Interesting, so the implication here is that public tax returns are a bit overpowered? maybe we need to ensure there are more, and stronger inputs (curved towards the higher end) for the tax evasion situation.

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I’m not opposes to it being more difficult to deal with, so long as it can be dealt with. If public tax returns lose their strength, then that strength needs to move elsewhere. For example, do unexplained wealth orders impact tax evasion?


OMG I do not think so…I shall rectify this…

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A few other ideas for what could impact tax evasion.

  1. High corruption.

  2. Self-employment / informal economy. Nannies, small businesses, maids, lawnmowers, street vendors, etc might not be filing taxes & collecting sales tax (see Tax Evasion in Greece – A Study | Dianeosis which pins the problem of Greek tax evasion on self-employment & small businesses and Greece struggles to address its tax evasion problem | World news | The Guardian which details corruption problems affecting tax revenues)

  3. Stability. If the government doesn’t exist, well…

  4. Tax credits for healthcare, school, etc - you wouldn’t get those tax credits unless you filed a tax return

  5. Tax allowances for marriages, mortgages, etc - less tax burden makes tax dodging less of an incentive.

  6. Tax shelters (these should affect corruption probably, BTW!)

  7. How much tax dodging already exists. The more tax dodging there is, the easier it is to get away with.

  8. On the same token, the more tax enforcers there are, the harder it is to get away with. In the US, for example, the Internal Revenue Service is the only government agency that generates more government revenue per dollar spent on it, but no politician wants to run on a “Let’s fund the tax department!” platform, as nobody likes getting audited.

  9. High trade unionist / commuter membership, if you wanna be real wacky. People who get a weekly paycheck (IE most trade unionists & commuters) aren’t tax-dodging according to the data.

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it depends on your difficulty setting & debt situation.

Sometimes players can skirt their way through their first election, despite problems & debt, thanks to generous use of media stunts. But those ignored problems pile on and, without the media stunts to help, it can be quite hard to get past the second election, especially when the time period between elections is shorter & the debt’s going up-up-up.

That’s my experience anywho :slight_smile: Winning elections while trying to resolve a debt-crisis is quite interesting.

It really does depend on the country, and what tactics you use to try and stay elected. I’m the actual developer, and when I did a test playthrough of the USA yesterday I was in serious trouble with religious terrorists and narrowly lost the first election due to my fumbled attempts to fix the deficit in my first term.

Obviously still in early access, and actually still adding more countries (at least S Korea and Italy), so the balance wont really start to get sorted until we have every country in there.

Also I want to add a ton more customised events and settings for each country. South Korea is going to need it because its so different to the current stock of western countries.


I’ve been looking at stats for this stuff today and collected some interesting data.

If I look at all elections in the latest version of the game, and check some stats on election turn:

Average Complacency 6.31 %
Average Cynicism 1.03 %
Honeymoon 96.56 %

Those are the three mechanics that are supposed to ensure late game challenge. Essentially the political honeymoon should fade down to nothing over successive terms, complacency and cynicism should likely rise with terms. Collectively, they provide a squeeze on the late game difficulty. They obviously need adjusting.

If I look at the first election:
Average Complacency 2.28 %
Average Cynicism 0.61 %
Honeymoon 100 %

second election:
Average Complacency 14%
Average Cynicism 1.9 %
Honeymoon 89.99%

So its pretty clear that political honeymoon degrades WAY too slowly… and voters do not get cynical enough!

This is exactly what I needed to balance things, I just was not able to collect the right data until the latest version.

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Oooh…some more digging shows that this is the wrong political honeymoon stat (There is one for the electorate starting in the first term, which seems to work ok, and one for political capital, which is reset each election).
So its more a lack of cynicism…

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