Potential change to elections

I’m interested to hear people’s views on this:


I think there are a handful of possible ways to manage this, probably with a combination: Using existing voter apathy, broken trust & extremism, Pre-determined opposition compass, are 3 that come to mind with only 1/2 an hour mulling over.

Using voter apathy could mean that if you don’t make or alter enough policies for a specific voter block, their apathy for only the player increases. That way you could have high theoretical support, but potentially very low turnout compared to other parties. This could make predicted landslide wins become coalitions (25% of 60% = 75% of 20%). This could easily stop the very high margins, as the chances are most major policy decisions will already be done and things are now “ticking over” and in late game. This would also more closely match the observed cycles of general togetherness, division, split, and reunification that many democracies see over the decades.

Allowing voter apathy go negative could also cause protest votes, such that they may vote against the player simply because the player hasn’t addressed their needs at all. Having voter apathy decrease each time a cycle passes with no policy changes to their benefit, could end up going through 0, and pushing voters to other parties. You sort of touch on this idea in your OP.

Broken Trust & Extremism would be the idea that a broken promise will stop voters from ever supporting you again. This already sort of exists with the Trustworthy perception, but having a decay multiplier of ‘1’ for voters with higher radicalisation value, or maybe - if a manifesto promise is not even attempted, rather than “missed” - by an entire bloc. This could also create a “protest vote” effect pretty easily.

Pre-determined opposition compass would mean that at the start of the game, as well as choosing name and colour for parties, the player could also assign co-ordinates on the Political Compass for them. That way, a player could end up with a tug of war with other parties as they try to attract non-PC voter blocs nearer to the other parties. By way of example, a player at P=(0,0) with opposition (O)=(0.2,-0.2) could convince a retired voter, V=(0.15,-0.1) to switch based on the retiree bloc happiness, despite |V-O| < |V-P|.

Alternatively, The default party names all have “[voter group] appeal values” (either -1 to 1, or 0 to 1), and this will dictate the difficulty in getting that group to vote for you. E.g. a party with Retiree attraction = 0.9, would be almost impossible to win against on strong elderly policies. This could also tie in with the Broken Trust & Extremism suggestion; Radicals for each of the terrorist groups would only vote for that group. This would provide extra incentive to avoid polarisation and extremism.

So, for example, the IRL Lib Dems might have a “Youth appeal value = -1” because of tuition fees (yes I’m still mad about that, don’t @ me).

This kinda gets at something else you touch on in the OP. The “other parties” column could in fact be the total number radicalised voters. If each of the groups had “[voter group] appeal value = 1” for only that cohort, and ‘0’ for the rest, this could simulate that effect of single issue protest voters.

As for tactical voting, maybe some kind of gerrymandering or voting mechanism (FPTP, MMP, STV) preset or policy? This could have an impact on “democracy” too. The higher this gerrymandering value is, perhaps the worse additional parties will perform; the lower it is, the more likely coalitions are to happen? Or possibly, it could be a result of lower democracy value, a less democratic society is likely to be more polarised. I think this is a harder one to both simulate without hard coding for each country, and not be accused of “left-wing bias” given that gerrymandering and voter disenfranchisement generally favour the right-of-centre parties, and negatively impact minority groups.

I realise this turned into a bit of a essay, but what can I say? Ya girl got nerd sniped.


I think that it depends on the quality of education too. If education is just literacy, then poo-poo to you, for example. So, maybe there should be an “education focus” policy.

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In theory if we had policies that addressed voter education, for example a ban on political ads (which are by definition not impartial) and funding for voter-education, maybe teaching more politics and economics in schools etc… this could reduce the impact of those ‘fluffy’ factors I listed.

Right now, fake news and polarization affect how strongly voters move on the political compass, but does not impact their education on the issues. Maybe fake news should ‘de-inform’ the voters and make them more susceptible to the fluffy factors, although again the big issue there is communicating this to the player…


I see your points and agree that your ideas will mitigate the problem. But I think their effects will be limited and unlikely to create any meaningful changes in strategic decision making. If you want to create real challenges, more substantial changes will be needed.

First, these voter behaviors mentioned in the post won’t be triggered in relatively close elections. While they will be really effective at preventing 90+% share victories, they will turn a blind eye to a political success of 7 consecutive victories with 65% vote share, which can still be seen as “safe” ratio. Plus to that, since such behaviors can be countered by no player action but only with intentionally losing popularity, they don’t provide any choices and can’t be allowed to create a swing that is large enough to make players actually lose (because getting punished for one’s success isn’t a pleasant experience). Lastly, it might get nullified by party membership. Not sure how they will be implemented but I don’t think they will allow party members to vote for other parties or not to vote. If so, very high party membership will prevent such behaviors from undermining voter turnout, leading to another 95% share victory.

Here’s my thoughts on ‘unrealistically high vote share’ problem:

  • More sophisticated simulations. As widely known, it is too easy to min/max some simulations. There’s no way our common sense or experience can work when GDP is all-time high and poverty has been eradicated. More negative feedback loops are definitely needed. For example, high GDP could lead to high Currency Strength, resulting in less exports and more imports (while trade deficit isn’t necessarily bad since it means more goods and services will become available, it also can have some downsides, which can form negative feedback loops).
  • Multiparty competition. It is true that the opposition parties tend to benefit from faults and mistakes of the government. But that doesn’t mean they just sit and wait. Parties evolve too. Somewhat similar examples here would be the Godesberg Program or the New Labour Movement. If the game can have a more dynamic party model instead of ‘opposing all’ policy, lots of improvements will follow.
  • More ungrateful voters. If parties can’t adapt to ever-changing environment, then voters should be, at least sometimes, more ungrateful. In short, the complacency system should be expanded. IMO, less partisan policies should lose their approval boosts more quickly. In a society where gay marriage is constantly brought up as a subject for debate, liberals won’t easily become complacent about a liberal government in fear of power grab from more conservative parties. On the contrary, self-employed won’t feel grateful to the government for handing out Small Business Grant if all major parties support it, since they aren’t at risk of losing it. They will only take that policy into consideration once it becomes controversial - like someone pledging to scrap it or actually doing so. The existing complacency mechanic already does such things but there will be some room for improvement.
  • More power games between stakeholders. Just like corporations have shareholders and stakeholders, governments have voters, who decide which party will take power by casting their votes, and stakeholders, who can exert more influence in policy-making processes by using their resources and powers. More organized actions from pressure groups could make it harder to maintain a winning coalition.
  • Approval-sacrificing actions. A rather gamey but simple approach - add more ways to spend popularity to get benefits. Not sure what kind of benefit would be enough to sacrifice popularity but if done right, players will prevent a landslide victory with their own hands.

Single issue voters also should exist – it would be correlated with policy, that has largest unhappiness on voter group.

So if worst policy is -X% to voter group happiness, then they had some chance at not voting for you if their happiness is at Y+(X/2) percent
That is 100% unhappiness from policy – voter can choose to not vote for you no matter what happiness.
50% unhappiness from policy – chance to not vote for you if voter happiness is below 75%.

Chance to not vote for you would be affected by membership. So 1% Liberal wouldn’t care much about banned abortion, but voter that is 100% liberal, and is 51% happy wouldn’t vote for you with high probability.

This way you would have to temper your policies, that are very unpopular with voter groups, that are numerous, even if they are happy on surface.


Sounds like a similar conversation to my New Democracy policy pack.


I think it’s a difficult topic for several reason:

  • While it’s true that the radical supporters of some idea are likely to punish/push your party to take a more radical aproach, in more centrist supporters I think that as long as they don’t dislike you a lot they are likely to vote for you in order not to create inestability.
  • How are the minority parties represented, it’s just a rename of the third party or they represent a more complex thing like having a hard left party, a far right party, a libertarian party, a green party… From which you may have to choose when making a coalition. In that case it may even make sense a couple non radical parties that represent certain regionalist movements that in coalition may claim for more funding for their region and not some policy change.
  • Maybe some things like lawfare affecting radical candidates or fake news and media monopoly increasing the chance of protest votes is also a good idea.

regarding multiparty competition, this is already modeled. I don’t really draw attention to it, but if you are doing really well, the opposition parties will ‘move closer’ to your political position, which is handled by changes to the thresholds at which people vote for you or the other parties.
You can see this if you are really observant on the color changes on the right-hand-side chart on the parties screen


Perhaps this could be made more obvious, Cliff? For our ease?

Interesting. I had a vague feeling that approval threshold is a little bit inconsistent but didn’t expect such. That could have worked if approval saturation at 100% wasn’t a thing. Examples below - gif pics depicting voter approval shifts for 80 turns, 2 separate playthrough at South Korea (with 3-party-system enabled).

d4_approval_t80_10 d4_approval_t80_10_lossy35


Kpop dance

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Hey those animations are great. I really must find time to store all the approval position history so the game can do that automatically :smiley:


But the small parties do not appear to me and I activated the protest votes. Do you have to do certain things to make them appear?


I guess you need to start a new game after activating the protest votes setting. Just assume it as one of initial settings along with compulsory voting and etc. I tried playing with that option in a 2-party-state and it worked.


I have done all the steps but in the count the column of small parties does not appear.


Protest votes will only appear if the outcome of the election looks pretty certain. So unless you are doing really well, and are likely to get a certain percentage of the votes (off the top of my head, its about 65%?), then nobody risks ‘wasting’ their vote, and everyone goes for one of the two or three big parties.