Some balancing-related analysis from build 1.41

I study a lot of stats to help me balance the game and make every game fun and challenging for all players. Obviously the game is catastrophically difficult to balance, due to its complexity, but I thought a few players may find it interesting to see the process documented. Here are some stats from the current game build. First off, here is the percentage of elections for each country and outcome:

Some countries are obviously way easier than others. I do wonder if putting japan earlier in the list of countries would help dispel the impression that the game is too easy. Also I’m considering adding a 5 star difficulty rating (based on these stats) for each country.

Here is some more analysis for the state of countries in general at election time:

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I think the most glaring issue here is that both crime and violent crime seem too easily fixed. I guess it also looks like it might be too easy or too fast to fix health?

Here are the most common situations triggered by the player:

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I’d suggest that maybe technological advantage is too easy to get, although its easier for the US, which is the most commonly played country so that may skew things.(sadly I cannot see stats that specific).

Now for a snapshot of demographics stats taken from election turns (regardless of outcome)

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It feels like religious people tend to be made very angry, possibly suggesting there are insufficient downsides to doing so? Perhaps they should be more violent when angered?
Environmentalists are very happy, and so are state employees, perhaps made happy too easily? Retired people also seem easy to please.

So things I am considering doing:

  • Making some of the inputs to technological advantage harder to achieve.
  • Moving Japan to be country #2 instead of its current placing.
  • Adding 5 star difficulty ratings to each country on the choose country screen.
  • Changing the inputs to Crime and Violent Crime to curve them so that the hardcore minimal levels of crime are harder to eliminate.
  • Changes to make Environmentalists and retired people harder to please.
  • Changes to make angry religious people more of a threat.

Thoughts and suggestions are most welcome.

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I guess that we shouldn’t forget the pacifism and social gospel which religious people espouse. Malcolm X first chose violence then non-violence. Martin Luther King Jr. as far as I know chose peace and non-violence from the start. But that’s represented by “radicality” right? Perhaps we need more policies which can keep church and state separate and not infringe on people’s rights, but also keep the religious happy?

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Have some countries have a higher initial predisposition (weighted) to coalitions (like Germany) and others to have a lower initial predisposition (like America, although it is already pretty low, is it low enough?).

Regarding Missions

  • Not playing Japan isn’t the reason players are feeling that the game is too easy. It happens before playing all the nations and could happen after playing the Japan mission. I’ve even seen some reviews saying “japan too ez lol” kind of things.
  • Nonetheless, I think adding 5-star difficulty rating might mitigate the issue a bit by giving players an impression that they aren’t yet to master the game. But won’t be as quite as satisfying.
  • These are factors increasing difficulty in my opinion.
    – A) High public spending: State Pension, State Healthcare, State School consume way too much money without apparent benefits, provided private sectors are already in a boom thanks to high GDP
    – B) Eurozone limitations: No Tariffs
    – C) Pro-Union Labour Law: Harder to cut spending without facing a strike
    – Cases: United Kingdom (A), France (A/B/C), Spain (B/C), Italy (A/B), Japan (C)

Regarding Election & Situation Statistics

  • Rather surprising that GDP isn’t skewed toward 100%. I expected the median value to be higher than the average.
  • Poverty, Crime, Violent Crime are definitely too easy to deal with as the stats say.
  • Average Complacency seems way too low in my eyes but needs more scrutiny.
  • While Technological Advantage is not that hard to trigger, boosting technology is a norm for most players and it becomes especially important for socialist nations since it’s the only way to counter the Corporate Exodus situation without damaging socialist ideals.
  • I didn’t expect Egalitarian Society to be that frequent. Maybe I should try going along with socialists more than now.

Regarding Voter Groups

  • Socialists, Retired, Commuter, Poor, State Employees are too easy to please.
  • It is too tempting to abandon Religious and Trade Unionists since they are rather hard to appease while not posing a serious threat when angered.
  • Patriots, Self-Employed, Wealthy, Farmers are rather insignificant and don’t have a sizable impact on approval.
  • Environmentalists and Parents aren’t as easy as Retired or Commuter to appease. But ignoring them could bring much harm at approval since the number of Environmentalists increases as related situations arise and it is impossible to remove Parents.

In conclusion - It would be glad to see more of such stats and suggestions. :smiley:

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Starting by some of your toughts:

  • Technological advance is easy to trigger if you are willing to change secularity of education.
  • It’s too easy to deal with crime in two ways, the tough on crime aproach, with high policing expense, or the soft on crime, focusing on solving poverty and inequality with barely any policing. But none of those aproaches have any major drawback, like police brutality or sense of being unsafe.

Some more general regarding groups

  • Farmers and self employed are only pleased by buying their votes, wich make weird to play libertarian because it makes both not your supporters.
  • Middle income seem like a caricature of the middle income by socialist that only cares about tax cuts.

Regarding simulation

  • You are going to have a maxed GDP as long as you are not trying to have it not maxed.
  • Unemployment is almost imposible to solve.
  • State services have an incredible cost and barely any benefits versus their private counterparts.

Last, I gonna make a bit of spam for a couple of my old post where I talk a bit about other issues:
Energy industry
A new look at the enviromment
Labour reform

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Very interesting… I’ll add in my thoughts after each point.

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Thanks for everyone’s feedback on this so far. I did actually go ahead and add difficulty ratings and change the order a bit. I know there are people here who would find the game generally easy, but we have a lot of casual players too, who may only try 2 or 3 maps. Giving them an indication of what the relative difficulty is will hopefully allow people who found the USA hard an easier 2nd game, and ensure people who decide to play Japan as the first mission, some reassurance that the difficulty is variable :smiley:

I’ve been improving a lot of the crime equations too. Some of them were just way too simplistic. There is no way that the real world link between police spending and crime is a simple linear slope, it has to be the case that getting those last few super-hardcore experienced criminals to give up is more work than the initial reduction in crime when you go from zero police to some!

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WRT voter groups happiness, I’m not sure how much can be taken from it without knowing the views, or goals, of the player. For example, if most players are environmentalist, or even just pro combating climate change, then of course environmentalists will show up as a happy group. Same goes for Religious; if most players aren’t really bothered about religious issues, then the game balance might be fine, it’s just that no-one wants to make religious people happy!

All that said, I do feel as though Middle Income are incredibly difficult to please, as there aren’t enough policy options to increase their happiness, only to make them slightly less unhappy.

All groups are a representation of their extremes, as coded by Cliff, so to please the middle income in their entirety, extreme steps are required, such as ending the income tax (some would say that this is not extreme). This is balanced by say, a middle incomer being a socialist as well, or anything else for that matter (liberal religious). There is of course room for balancing here and more diversity such as a social capitalist (socialism + capitalism) or a progressive/liberal conservative (liberal + conservative). The assumption here is that extremes combined together will balance the whole through aggregation, this might be true, and it is through common-sense seemingly true, whether in real life it holds up in all scenarios is currently unknown for me. You can also see the posts on here: Religious Too Racist/Ethno-nationalist? Middle Class Too Prickly? - Democracy 4 - Positech Games and here: What is up with the Middle-Earners inputs? - Democracy 4 - Positech Games.