Some balance discussions

I’m glad to see the recent dev notes being largely into the detail of what ties in with what else, and in a blog video some time back Cliff invited us to bring up anything that we think “is OP” or whatever else. Here’s a couple points from me.

Plastic and packaging taxes: Well, they’re OP. Once I max out GDP (more to follow on that) I typically introduce both of these at maximum value to generate some significant revenue. These taxes really shouldn’t generate that much revenue, and what revenue they generate should taper off over time. As businesses adjust to the new reality of needing to consume less plastic and packaging to stay competitive, less of these things would be consumed and therefore less tax paid. As this happened, the GDP hit would also dissipate.

Job creation: The public sector is OP, the private sector is UP. Government programs create far too many jobs, and the private sector (GDP) employs a trivial number of workers.

Crime: It’s too easy to get rid of, and the wrong methods work too well. Mass incarceration works well as a political stunt to convince people that a politician is “tough on crime”, but I think it’s fair to say that the data says this approach doesn’t actually solve much. Basically, I’m saying that Law and order policies need to have less impact on crime, the impact they have needs to be slower, and issues related to poverty, inequity and addiction need to play a larger roll. “Tough on crime” should win the authoritarian vote, but actually solving crime should require the player to address its root causes.

Health: 1 it’s too easy to max out, 2 things that affect it need to take longer, 3 too much focus on obesity.
To be clear, I’m not saying obesity isn’t a massive problem in modern society. I’m saying I shouldn’t be able to max out the health bar by only tackling obesity. I’ve had one friend need his appendix taken out, another need a gall bladder taken out, one had some complications during pregnancy that needed help, and another needed a genetic disease diagnosed and treated to save him from blood clots. None of these could have been fixed by a food awareness campaign or a junk food tax. Obesity is absolutely a wide spread problem in our society, but I’d say the health benefit of policies that tackle it should be related to preventing the red bubble from popping up, and have less direct health benefit.

GDP: It’s too easy to max out, and there is too little benefit for doing so. Policies with a GDP output should have less output, it should take effect more slowly, and then the benefits of a high GDP need to be stronger.

The environment: Too much focus on cars. I know some people who were involved in the development of my province’s environmental policy, and when looking at sources of carbon emissions (yes, the environment and CO2 are separate bubbles in game, but sources of pollution are usually found together) “transportation” was the 3rd largest source. Transportation included buses, ferries, trains, airplanes…and cars, and still was 3rd. 2nd was industry, and the number one source of carbon emissions in British Columbia, at least according to one review? Building heating. With that in mind, and looking at this game, at how many environmental policies relate to buildings, industry, and transportation, and then within the subset of transportation what proportion is on cars, you have actually massively overstated the importance of cars on the environment.

That’s probably enough balance ranting for now, and I didn’t even get into immigration… nope, stopping here.


Education and technology also are way too easy to max out.


Ok, I’m going to follow up my own post here because of a major omission regarding balance:

I know I’ve said it before, but I just had a quick game get utterly ruined by a bad random draw of ministers. R. N. Jesus said that I start with a rack of ministers loyal to groups who start the game very angry, so by half way through the first term half of them have resigned, my strong leader rating is in the tank, and I’m getting 9 PC per turn in a game that’s balanced for around 15 PC per turn. Compare this to other games where I get a lucky random draw of ministers, and I’m implementing policies with a 40 PC cost in my first term.

There is far too much randomness of difficulty based on the ministers, and it is GAME BREAKING!

Also, the middle class are impossible to please. It’s not just that my play style doesn’t work for them, they are actually impossible to please short of getting rid of income tax and having a debt crisis by the first re-election. Therefore any minister who is loyal to the middle class is a write off.


Sad but true, especially in higher difficulties. Generally in higher difficulties it’s advantageous to turn your middle class into poor ASAP, as poor are much easier to please.