Thoughts on Democracy 2

Been playing this game for several days now and while I love the idea and concept I do have some criticisms/concerns I’d like to mention. At the same time I do understand that this is basically a 1-man operation so please take them in the friendly spirit they are intended to try to improve the game or subsequent versions of it.

  • Unrealistic voting patterns - The incumbent/ruling party (namely, the player) has far too little support. While this varies somewhat, the average game has my party with far fewer members than the opposition and my support either in the teens or single digits. It is almost absurd to think that a major ruling party having just won election with presumably a majority of votes this being a 2-party country having such little popular support. I understand the reason behind it - making the game harder for the player but at same time it seems very unrealistic.

Also, moral/emotional “wedge issues” seem to be missing from consideration. Issues like abortion, which is inexplicably missing as an issue and same sex marriage can, for some people trump economic concerns that seem to dominate how people vote. Bush’s re-election of 2004 is a great example of this I think.

  • More Apathy - Particularly in the US, where when just over 60% vote like in the recent election it equals a monumental achievement that everybody gets excited about.

  • Party Registration - This has to be one of my biggest concerns. Party registration is far, FAR too based on on what the general population thinks and not on specific sub-groups who most parties generally appeal or cater to. For example, I can have Fanatical Support among huge sections of the population (religious, conservative, patriot) but if “Everybody” is unhappy with me then me, my party either stagnates or even goes down. I think it would be very interesting to see develop a party grow based on fanatical support from certain sections of the population compete against a party with broader general support but more apathetic and see who wins. As controversial as this may appear, I sometimes think that the “Everybody” group should be elimanted as to me it’s confusing (in one game the religious group which consists of 97% of the population is “Fanatically Supportive” of me, while the general population is opposed and my estimated support is 2%…) and seems always concerned over the same issues with no way of channeling their focus somewhere else.

  • Lack of “Core” supporters - I think you need to have a solid group of hard-core supporters of both parties around 20%. This should be your base that is willing to stand with you through thick and thin. I also think there should be a solid 10-20% hardcore apathy supporters whose support for either party is paper-thin and willingness to go to the polls shaky at best. Without “core supporters” we are left with unplausible scenarios of major political parties having 1 or 2% membership which is more fitting a fringe minor party than a ruling party.

-Lack of Corruption, Bribery, etc - It is touching that all the cabinet members are faithfully defending the ideals and beliefs of their supporters without a hint of corruption, opportunism, desire to stay in government, careerism, etc but we all know, especially in politics that this isn’t the case; corruption and selfish interests abound! It would be great to have this represented somehow in the game to add to the realism.

  • I think the Capitalist group is too difficult to make happy right now. I would argue that (especially given recent events) most capitalists are willing to accept some government intervention as necessary, and given all these corporate bailouts lately even desirable! The way they are structured right now seems to be based on the old 19th century “pure” capitalist philosophies of absolutely no gov. intervention which, i would argue and I think recent events have shown, are a bit antiquated right now.

Conversely, I think the Socialists are far too easy to make happy. Though just to be clear I’m not perfectly certain what is meant by “socialists” whether this means social-democratic a la Sweden or socialist-Marxist a la Leninism. If it’s the latter then this criticism stands; what is regarded as socialism in the game seems to be really social-democratic (welfare state) If by “socialists” it really means social-democratic then I guess it’s ok though a bit confusing with the whole “Marxist Utopia” business. One would think a “Marxist Utopia” would require the abolition of the capitalist class and nationalization of the means of production…at least how Marx understood his “utopia” (though he would never call it that: Marx actually wrote against the utopian-socialists of his day)

  • Foreign Events/Terrorism - I disagree with the way the game has the population react to events like this. In the game when a terrorist attack occurs the government takes a bit hit in popularity and support. While it may be perfectly logical for people to ask questions and what to know what went wrong, this also seems to be against what generally happens in real life, where I would argue people seem to rally around the government for protection and security. 9-11 is a great example; compare Bush’s poll numbers immediately before and after. I think this is a general flaw in the game; it seems to have a general population which votes and thinks very logically: “economic issues are most important, ask tough questions of your government after terrorist attacks, a cabinet member who represents trade unionists will automatically represents the interests of trade union members without being corruptible or having any selfish interests…”

If I could make one general critique of the game I’d say it represents a far too idealistic interpretation of political figures, events and reactions to them without considering the ‘human aspect’ which at times, can be illogical, emotional, and prone to corruption.

Wow, didn’t realize how long this would be so thanks for reading through it and creating such a great game. I’m happy to support efforts like this and hope you consider some of my concerns, thanks again.