The Proposed Balance changes thread

Ha :smiley: USA is much harder.
Is your opinion that in general socialists are too easy to please? I am beginning to think I need a blanket reduction of the positive impact of each policy on socialist happiness, as there do seem to be far too many policies that keep them happy right now.

I feel like Liberals should not be raised by lowing the gun laws.

And France is by far the easiest country.

Hihi!! So first off thank you for the patches (and the game as a whole of course) - I was able to finally get it to run without crashing. Ok, it still crashed at election time but your auto-save works wonderfully - good job :slight_smile: So my thoughts on some of the stuff in this thread, as well as general thoughts.

First off, as far as ‘too easy’, ‘too hard’, before you tweak the numbers too much you may want to consider an option of ‘game mode: laissez-faire, optimistic, realistic, supreme’. A lot of the people here sound like they are going for realism, which is great (but hard), but if you want to reach a fairly large market you may want to consider having an entry-level option for new players. It also helps with the idea of some players wanting to see their ideal world come to life, others being curious how well their policies work, while others want to see just how long they can stay on top of the bucking horsey. You could even make it a sliding difficulty scale - just jot in the intersection points and let the bezier curves handle the rest. I start with this suggestion because I think it would really re-frame the discussion on policy tweaking in general.

Ok, so my personal initial thoughts (aside from awesome, great, love it, thank you, and all those other things that won’t help provide suggestions that actually help you):

  • I actually like the effect of education / technology. It is very strong but that is not a bad things - historically the more educated and technologically advanced countries always throw around more economic weight. It does seem to change pretty suddenly though, so I would not be opposed to stretching out the time period before the effects really reach their maximum. Even if you throw a giant grant at a state school, teachers still have to retrain, students still have to study and graduate and go to college, and come up with innovations. Universities you would see more rapid improvements just because a lot of their actual research is grants-based, but it still takes time.

  • Internet Crime - obviously this isn’t going to go away with only one factor in there (only current way of even beginning to deal with it aside from crashing the tech sector is maximizing the secret police). There are other ways then Internet Censorship that could be considered though. There is the idea of Internet Police. ( In RL right now in the US that does fall to groups like the NSA and FBI (not the military though, at least not directly, may want to decouple that - building a dozen tanks does not help against hackers), but it is a different specialization of secret services that could receive its own funding. You could also look into Internet Education Programs (most internet crime happens because people just don’t know better and don’t use the tools available to them - something a highly educated society could conceivably handle). There is also Online Surveillance (that I personally strongly disagree with, but is something various countries keep trying to bring in). The biggest thing though, one that is currently happening as a random event but that could become policy instead - enforcing software patents (goes to Internet Piracy). All technological countries have internet crime, but countries where this is enforced (US, UK) do not have their GDP effect by these crimes as much as those where it is very loose (China, India).

  • The cabinet - this one really feels like it should be re-tweaked… I am winning elections with 97% margins and yet half my cabinet members keep threatening to quit (with ties to groups that all seem to like me). They may have subtle ties I am not seeing, but if that’s the case it would be good to show all of their ties? Mostly though, if two fields are shown, those should probably be the only two fields that contribute to their loyalty. I get that maybe they just ‘get tired’, but the trouble is that you then have to either wait for them to quit or fire them - and firing them leads to the others getting unhappy. Perhaps an option of ‘friendly retirement’ or something that doesn’t make the other unhappy - assuming they are leaving because they are tired, not because they don’t like your policies?

  • Political capital - some of the biggest changes that would make cabinet members happy require more capital then I could spend given the capital cap. It may be worthwhile to consider ‘public mandates’ and bursts of capital - after your country makes a technological advance, gets a nobel prize, you win an election by a significant number, etc. Something that lets you push through legislation your political capital would not be sufficient for normally.

  • Immigration - yea, right now its broken - anything but 100% retinal-scan keep-everyone-out leads to bursts of immigration that immediately lead to racial tension, ghettos, and so on.

  • International relations - seems like there should be a bit more here… especially as far as an income source for tourism and international trade. Something beside give-out-money and military. Some ideas * Funding for international diplomacy - setting up embassies, participating in UN and other groups * PR - getting your culture out to other nations, rephrasing how your country looks in other people’s eyes * International espionage - every country that can afford to do this does, whether for self-defense (low end), fighting Internet Crime, Cyber Warfare, and potential terrorist threads (mid end), or promoting its own companies and business needs (high end) * International military presence - military posts get put out for more than protecting oil, they are established at strategic points for quick-response and for an ongoing show-of-force, which leads to tension with potential terrorist groups… but having a battleship in your neighbor’s harbor can do wonders for negotiations.

  • Tourist Attractions - arts & culture helps with that a bit, but tourism should have more things effecting it, quite a few cities and even entire nations depend on tourism money almost exclusively at the moment for their economy - so things like legalized drugs, prostitution, and gambling would help (see Amsterdam, Bangkok, Las Vegas), state of the environment should feed into that which I think it already might and I just didn’t notice (lots of people go to swim in the coral reefs, walk through preserved redwood forests, or lay around on clean scenic beeches) and perhaps some new things: * tourism centers (conference centers + hotels, tourism-marketing subsidies) * historical preservation (sort of like …& culture but the later usually implies new developments, rather than ‘come see Big Ben’ or The Grand Canyon or Ayers Rock - naturally also helps with Patriotism)

  • Terrorist Groups - this was an issue with D2 as well - you see them, you know they are out to get you, but there are no hints on what to do about them (I know from D2 to raise military, though in reality that doesn’t actually impact terrorist groups that much aside from randomly invading their countries, they don’t have standing armies most of the time and invasions tend to just help them repopulate their numbers in short order), and no actions to take if you see them go up. Which means your only recourse is to either change all your policies (which will just lead to other terrorist groups) or ignore that tab and hope for the best. So I suppose I would suggest first off giving a hint as to options in regard to those groups ‘X is out to get you, you may want to consider doing Y’ (I don’t even know what most of those groups are or believe in to try and address them), maybe some policies you can put in place (armed security on plains and in airports which increases safety and decreases tourism, international espionage to get eyes where the international terrorists are, counter-terrorism funding, public-relations funding, cameras…), and an actual terrorism-bubble so you can see what is currently affecting the major group that is out to get you (like you do with organized crime - which is essentially what terrorism is, violent organized crime with some ideological excuse)

Also some of the things mentioned in other posted…

  • Prisons - liberal + or -. Honestly I don’t think it is the prisons that effect this to a great effect (in general liberals don’t want people incarcerated but they also don’t like crime even more). The question for liberals, and the reason over fights in the prisons, are usually (a) the conditions of the prisons - so yea, pumping lots of money into them would make liberals happy so long you address (b) the overcrowding in the prisons and © who gets sent to prison. So I suppose that would fall into an overall category of ‘Legal Fairness’ or something, which would go up with jury trials / legal aid / legalizing drugs and prostitution, down with death penalty (you can always miss one innocent, and that will be the name all over the media) and crime (more crime is being fought, more likely someone innocent will get caught in the cross-fire), and some kind of balancing act between police force size vs prison funding (high police force + low prison = overcrowding). Various events would likely help with that like ‘punitive vs rehabilitative’. It may also be worthwhile to include something for ‘Word of the Law’ vs ‘Spirit of the Law’. All countries have laws but some use them as guidelines (‘We know you are doing this bad thing, but as long as you aren’t hurting anyone and you keep it out of the media we are just gonna focus on actual property and violent crimes’ - eg. UK/US on prostitution, aside from election years; Canada on drugs where they are treated as a health issue -- liberal view), while others strictly enforce everything (‘If a teaches classes for girls, kill him/her’ - Taliban version of Islamic Sharia law eg Dec 2005, ‘If a person publicly descents with the government, imprison them’ - China, Russia; ‘Set up stings to try and get people to sell you drugs or proposition you for sex so you can arrest them’ – US when they quick police-funding is needed or the populus needs to be distracted from something – conservative view). Both have prisons and police, liberalism comes into ‘why’. (Private prisons would make liberals angry since that goes toward treating potential criminals like a business, reducing incentive for fair trials or parole)

  • Temporary measures - I really like the idea of passing a few things with expiration dates (different color bubbles) for two reasons. First off because when you get hit with economy-destroying things like Bird Flu (seriously broken) you should be able to respond with drastic changes - but if you do them as normal measures everyone will hate you. The impact of making them temporary would mean populus understands these are responses to an emergency (Epidemic, Mad Cow, Terrorist Threat, Market Crash, Hurricane) and the impact on popular opinion may not be as drastic - as long as you remove it shortly after. So a very tiny impact when implemented, maybe even a positive for responding to a threat, the longer it stays in place the more significant the negative impact becomes (Martial Law may be ok for a day or two, could lead to revolution if kept in place. Ditto for healthcare coming from field hospitals, government take-over of the banks or freezing the stock-market, mandatory ongoing quarantines…). The second reason is that I saw a field in there that seems to suggest groups start getting bored if they don’t think you are paying attention to them - which is all fine and good except that after you’ve passed all the stuff related to them, and everything is working, the only way to get their attention is to just break stuff and fix it again. Temporary measures mean that some changes would not stay in place, and you could pass them again (‘Tax-free holiday’ to promote business, ‘Clean up the river’ week to help the environment, ‘End slut-shaming march’ to address the liberals, etc)

Oh, and by the way, loooove the color overlays over what I can’t do and love how I can click directly into the issues affecting everything instead of having to navigate bubbles (which is still fun, but alternative is good). Great job!

Cliffski - congratulations on the ew game! It looks like a big improvement on the already excellent Democracy 2.

But I think there are areas that could do with improvement. Playing as the UK is a frustrating experience because things so poorly reflect realities. Many policy positions (e.g. Creationism vs Evolution, Abortion Rights, Maternity Leave, and lots more) are completely inaccurate. There is also the problem of expectation once again - the Socialist group in particular is basically impossible to alienate because Britain has relatively good public service provision. But socialist opinion should be determined not by the government’s inheritance but by its decisions - a cut to the NHS, for the example, should lead to alienation because they expect NHS funding to be maintained/increased. This example is true of many other groups too. Is there any way of improving it?

This is modeled to some extent in the game by complacency. You will notice UK socialists have a negative modifier for complacency due to all the policies aimed at them. I’m afraid making a single simulation model that reflects hard reality in many different countries is a bit of a nightmare…

Quite a broad one this, but it seems rather easy to get rid of crime/violent crime. While I struggle to max out poverty, equality, unemployment, health etc. to varying degrees, I’m usually completely eradicated crime in a couple of years. There’s normally a couple of situations that last for a while (the evergreen Internet Crime, and Organised Crime until other issues are sorted), but even these don’t keep the crime rate up.

I don’t need to set up a police state or similar; just fling funding at the police, community policing and the security services, coupled with a few poverty reduction measures. Do other players have similar issues?


I have found that my first policy no matter the difficulty (haven’t gone over 150 yet) is to simply put a carbon tax at 40% to generate loads of cash without upsetting too many people. I am a gamer and know little of politics however, with an alcohol tax at 40% and a carbon tax at 40% I simply make enough money to set any policy at maximum. I start by reducing crime to zero with better prisons and police forces, then move to education and health care, either through vouchers or state depending on the country, and finally move to housing and technology. All this while eradicating the debt completely and actually making reserves before the end of my first term. It seems too easy to me, any one have any thoughts on this? I am curious if this is normal or if there could be balancing improvements.

Try setting the difficulty slider up, and if you still find it to easy try installing some country mods a real challenge would be the greece mod as greece is in a lot of debt.

Hello Cliff!

I have to say: awesome game you’ve made! As an Economist, it is very interesting to see how different policies affect groups in society and economic growth.

I agree with a lot of proposals I have seen in previous posts, but I would like to propose another change:

Right now, playing a game with a maximum amount of terms, winning the last election lets you retire in a positive way.
However, what would be fun to see for me is that there is a “re-election option”, in which you can be re-elected after a period of government by the opposition/someone else (as is the case in many countries, like Russia (couldn’t think of another example)). In this case, depending on what type of opposition you chose (patriotic/socialist/religious), the opposition will reverse some of your policy changes, so that you will have to go for slow, incremental, changes instead of the fast changes such as in one go completely legalising prostitution.

This would add an interesting mechanic to the game, I think.

I do not know how difficult this is to implement, but it is just a suggestion.

Thank you for the awesome game!



I agree on the cabinet; even when the groups they are a part of are happy they are still threatening to quit?

I’ve just made a post on the how unrealistic the religious aspect of this game is. It really needs some serious tweaking - serious tweaking. Member groups are supposed to intertwine but why is everything science and tech against religion? It’s just unrealistic.

Why do I get assassinated so soon, haha =]

Ministers lose loyalty over time regardless of your actions. Obviously, if you screw over their constituents, they’ll quit earlier, but eventually, they really DO want to spend more time with their families.

One of the things I noticed playing as the US is that the starting financial numbers are way off. Current US income is $2.5 trillion, deficit $650 billion to $1 trillion, and debt of $17 trillion, with interest on the debt of 1/10 of 1%.

Another that struck me early on is that with as many options as there are, when dealing with immigration, legal and illegal immigration are for the most part lumped together. For the US, there is a huge difference between legal and illegal immigrants. Legal immigrants tend to be much more highly skilled and educated, are much more likely to have a positive effect on the economy, and are much less likely to go on government assistance. Illegal immigrants tend to have little or no education and skills, compete directly with unskilled citizens for jobs, and use huge amounts of government assistance and social services that what little tax revenues they generate do not even come close to paying for. Estimates are that removing the 12-20 million illegals in the US would cost $97 billion - but that they cost the country $113 billion per year… yet there is no option to remove the illegal aliens without harshly affecting legal immigration as well.

Another immigration consideration for the US, is that the US allows more than a million people per year to legally immigrate - who take up 90,000 jobs of our monthly job creation. Even a temporary moratorium on or reduction in legal immigration should have a huge boost on employment rates.

Another consideration is when looking at costs for legislation. The US has a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) tasked with determining costs and revenues of legislation. Because they are required to do so by assuming that all provisions of legislation will actually have their stated effects, their revenue and cost projections are usually wildly off. (Projected revenues being far higher than actual, and projected costs being far lower). Examples are Medicare (estimates on this were before the CBO existed, but used the same principles) being off by a cost factor of 7 in the first 25 years (they estimated $9 billion, the actual cost was $63 billion), and the Affordable Care Act which was originally supposed to be revenue-neutral and is now estimated to cost $3 trillion over the first 10 years. So, I would make projected costs and revenues the fantasy numbers that they actually are and let the player find out after the fact how much things actually cost.

Perhaps they should retire then instead? Less negative slack from the groups and makes more sense. And why should they lose loyalty over time regardless of action? That makes no sense. Are you unhappy with my utopia? As I said, perhaps “this cabinet member has x turns until retirement” would be better than “I hate you I’m quitting” lol

Oil Drilling Subsidies don’t seem to have a very great effect – almost nothing for the monstrous cost, really.

They drive down the price of oil as the only positive effect, but a lower price of oil doesn’t seem to increase oil consumption. The indirect benefit to GDP is a very small % only because of the oil price drop.

I would expect that if I was maximizing oil drilling subsidies, the drop in the price of oil would result in more oil consumption (i.e. more car usage, etc) and an bump to foreign trade.

I was hoping to try and make a nation that was heavily dependent on their oil producing, but I don’t think the model works for that.

I was surprised to find out that the legalization of cannabis and LSD both greatly increase crime. If anything, it should be the opposite, since you’re making an once illegal activity (drug selling) legal, so they don’t count towards criminal activity statistics anymore. Furthermore, illegal drug trafficking is a violent activity, so legalizing the drugs should reduce the tension and violence surrounding their commerce, and thus crime. Finally, both those drugs are very weak in their negative effects. There has never been one registered case of someone dying of LSD overdose, and it’s completely non-addictive. Cannabis has some addiction potential, but it’s very weak, and it has sedative effects, so I don’t see how it would make people more violent.

Thus, I propose changing “legalize cannabis” and “legalize LSD” to “legalize cocaine” and “legalize heroin”, or similar highly-addictive and harmful drugs. They could then impact on health (these drugs are highly damaging after all), poverty and crime (addicts frequently sell many of their possessions to buy the drug, and steal from others when they have no more), parents (obvious reasons) and more groups.

Alternatively, add more tiers to the drug legalization policy, so that the crime increase only kicks in with cocaine and heroin.

Edit: More things I’ve noticed:

Alcohol has consumption does not impact on obesity directly (only indirectly, by impacting on health). I think it should have a direct effect, as alcohol does make you fatter (beer belly, anyone?).

Agriculture subsidies have a huge impact on obesity. I think it should be toned down, after all, the subsidies should also stimulate planting of healthy foods like lettuce and tomatoes.

Far too few things affect poverty. Homelessness for instance should definitely have a great impact on it, but it has none!

What Nantes said. There are piles upon piles of studies that have found that legalizing cannabis would dramatically cut crime for two reasons. #1. By not arresting people for being casual users of marijuana, the crime rate simply goes down. #2. Legalizing removes the ability for criminal organizations to maintain funding for violent acts, in addition more people who were driven to crime by their fondness of a particular drug can now pursue legal means of producing income. Which in turn lowers unemployment (growing, maintaining and producing legal drugs is a legal job) and brings more money to those on the bottom rung, which in and of itself, decreases crime.

Legalize cannabis or Regulate soft drugs should be its own category outside of the policing of other drugs and can include things like caffeine and alcohol.

    • unemployment, + GDP, - productivity, - crime, + farmers income and happiness

And since we’ve gone that route, there should be a legalize hemp option because that is something that’s still in demand by the public and has some seriously positive effects - -co2, + unemployment (loggers and quarry operator job loss will be greater then farming jobs added), + environmentalists, +agricultural runoff pollution, + farmers income and happiness, -foriegn oil dependence (hemp can be processed into oil for plastics which reduces the amount of oil we need from other countries in general)

Both of these would also effect the total number of small businesses.

Regarding legalization of cannabis, I think it’s important to understand the distinction between “crime rate” in the real world and “crime” in the game. In Democracy 3, the map is the territory, and crime rates correspond to what crime actually is. As such, legalizing an activity should not reduce crime per se; this would cause a drop in crime rate in the real world, but not really change the amount of activity that is happening due to a lack of law enforcement and various other social factors. Legalization is basically moving the goalposts in terms of crime, which is not something the game’s simulation really supports.

Now, there might be good arguments for making legalization of a particular activity reduce crime rate, but it should not be solely because of the act of legalization.

Sure, then point #1 (less people being arrested == lower crime rate) can go ahead and be ignored, but there’s still piles of studies that show that by legalizing it, you’re removing funding from criminal organizations which has the additional effect of actually lowering crime rates. In addition, you’re stimulating more small businesses and generating a handful of no-skill-barrier jobs which also lowers the crime rate (already simulated in-game). Equating the recreational use of drugs to a crime rate is simply a bad simulation because it’s not one. It doesn’t include the actual effects of simulating the legalization and instead patches it with a forced equality that doesn’t correlate to real world modeling data. If consuming legal drugs increases the crime rate (the consumption of the drug), then what about caffeine or alcohol? If a simulated country wanted to legalize caffeine after having previously made it illegal, would the game consider its crime rate to increase?

That’s the best idea I’ve seen on this forum. After a few terms of perfecting your government, have some other party fuck shit up. Then clean up after them.

Please add this feature, Cliff, if possible.

I’m not trying to be lazy but overall all financial aspect of the game must be balanced out. I dunno where to start.