Political capital


I’ve just bought Democracy 2 today, and have been enjoying playing it for the last few hours or so. There is one issue that I do have with the game, though - why does it take the same political captial to introduce, abolish or change a policy? For example, if I want to abolish corporation tax, it will “cost” me 25 political capital. If I wish to triple it, it will cost me 25 political capital. If I want to make a very small increase it will cost me 25 political capital. Surely this cannot be right - it surely requires far more political capital to make a vast change to a policy than a tiny change? For example, I agree that bus lanes (9 political capital) would require less political capital to introduce, abolish or change - but surely a massive increase in spending on them is going to require more political capital than the slightest of changes to corporation tax?

Also, with some policies, surely decreasing them will require less political capital than increasing them (or visa versa)? For example, it’s surely politically easier to decrease tax than increase it.

Another thing relates to this is why when I introduce a policy do I have to use twice the political capital if I do not wish to stay with the default value? For example, I wanted to introduce married tax allowance, but only to a small degree. It cost me 18 political capital to introduce it, and then another 18 to cut it. Surely introducing a policy on a small scale would take less political capital, rather than more? It seems bizaare that it takes one lot of political capital to introduce a policy at “default” value, but if I want to use a different value, I have to “pay” again, even though it is not a “change”, as I never wanted to introduce it at default value in the first place!

Surely political capital should be calculated on the basis of the amount of the change - thus the larger the change, the more political capital would be required. This would reflect real life - while the Government may have little problem making a 1% increase in income tax, a trebling of it would cause outrage and cost vast amounts of political capital. Also, the introduction or abolition of a policy is always likely to need more political capital than simply changing it when it is in effect. As an example, I abolished the state pension. I should imagine that this would need quite a significant degree of political capital - yet a modest increase in the state pension would have been an entirely different question. Also, when I introduce a policy, should I not be able to choose to what degree I introduce it without needing to “pay” again, and it is nonsensical that it costs twice as much political capital just because one does not wish to go with the “default” value.

Apart from this I am really enjoying playing the game - good work! Ah, well, must go now - my country needs me!

Unfortunately the system was not designed to have different values to increase or decrease the value, But I agree this would possibly be better system, and maybe one for a future patch.
I’m not entirely convinced that the political capital required for a change should be on a linear scale though. Take the ever unpopular-measure of raising taxes. If you put 1p on Income tax in the UK there would be a HUGE debate and complaining and moaning about it. But the fuss would not be double if it was a 2p rise. People tend to resist or oppose measures as a matter of principle, rather than after a carefully considered analysis of the implementation.
Don’t confuse the political capital with the will of the people, its more a measure of bureaucracy and parliamentary / government resistance. A change in the law is a change in the law, regardless of the numbers involved. The gun lobby in the US will resist ownership restrictions with the same enthusiasm regardless if a small or major change is proposed surely?

A variation in the amount of political capital needed for each policy could have varied for each country. Countries in the world have differing views on policies and so need different amounts of political capital to introduce new laws. Maybe, different default levels for policy introduction in each country as well. For example, a green nation would have a higher default level of recycling. That would add extra variety to each country in Democracy 2.

I am downloading the full version of Democracy 2 as we speak (having throughly enjoyed the demo of the original, which I found through Manifesto Games if anyone’s keeping score) so apologies if anything I say no longer applies in the new version! I’m glad to support indy developers, especially local ones.

Cabinets look like a wonderful addition - I had just been musing in the car that such a feature could be good in Democracy, and now here they are!

I agree with TomPhil that having to pay once to implement a new policy and then again to water it down seems wrong. But I wonder, is it only restricted to political capital? (In the original’s demo, I had to spend an entire turn introducing a single new policy, in order to enact it at my intended level.) I imagine the fact that this affects voters twice is also not ideal - realistically, people tend to remember bad things far longer than they remember the good and I hear the effect of voter grudges is modelled into the game, so to have a voter hate me for introducing a policy and then barely notice when I slash the effects of said policy seems a little harsh.

The original Democracy had “ranges” of policy, for example Military Spending could be Ceremonial, Reservist, Light Defensive, etc. Perhaps these ranges could be linked in to the amount of political capital required to change a policy - e.g. changing from Ceremonial to Reservist in the above example might cost 5 capital, whilst changing from Ceremonial to Defensive might cost 8. Or to use Cliff’s example of income tax, a 1% and a 2% change might require the same capital, but a 30% change might require more.

This would also introduce new political tactics for the player - for example, if one particular change took too much lobbying to get across in one turn, the player could implement it little by little - for example, first introducing a water-down policy, then increasing it a little at a time over the following months. (58 days holding without trial, anyone?!)

I wonder if such a system should be tied in to the ideals and political strength of the various opposing parties, as well (if they actually exist in the game), and also to the player’s party’s own number of “seats in Parliament” - e.g. a player who scored 95% approval in the previous election could do almost anything they desire, whilst one who scored a marginal victory of 51% might find, say, congestion charges easier to implement if the other 49% of the votes went to the Green Party, but the same policy change much harder if those 49% went to a mixture of other parties instead.

I also wonder if variable tax rates have been introduced yet (or if I missed them during the original Democracy demo), so that tax rates for the wealthiest can be set independently of the tax rates for the poor? If not, presumably this would be moddable! :smiley:

Of course, this is only a minor point on what looks to be an excellent game. (And let’s not get into the political party funding side of things, given the current Abrahams issue! Well, maybe next week…)

Your point about party ideals is a good one. I don’t think that there is any significance to the selection of party names in Democracy 2 (although Cliff can correct me if I am wrong), but it would be a really good idea if, said, it took less political capital for the Greens to introduce eco policies than another party.

Perhaps the user could select the main “theme” or “political position” for their party - eg. immigration, from open borders to kick all ethnic minorities out of the country, etc. It would take less political capital (and create far less cynicism) to introduce policies that were tough on immigration than to relax policies on immigation, if one had chosen a “right-wing” position on this. The user would be able to change their position on the various policies (eg. a “clause 4 moment”), but this would create more cynicism and would lose the party voters. This would allow for a more sophisticated kind of manifesto. This could create some very interesting situations - eg. you could “do a David Cameron” (or Tony Blair) and “relaunch” the party with a new position and image if things were looking bad.

Probably beyond the capabilities of Democracy 2, but some interesting ideas.