Various suggestions (mostly UX and policies)

Small UX tweaks:

  • for voter groups bar, make sort by membership the default (it’s the single most useful one) and/or remember which sorting option was chosen between turns
  • if you give election promises for certain policies, add the symbol that represents there being a promise not just to the slider, but also to the policy or situation you promised to affect on the main screen.
  • make it possible to search for policies that will affect a particular thing. Like, click on a statistic and, inside, click on some search icon which will automatically list every policy in the game, that will affect this (positively or negatively), sorted by whether or not you have enough political capital right now (listing the ones you can’t affect as red), and then by how strong an effect (positive or negative) it would have (perhaps on middle settings).
  • in policies, if you move the slider, let go, and then try to move again, currently it only works if you move the dot of where it already is, not the ghostly image of the potential new dot. For micro-adjustments, or if you lose grip for a second, it’d be better if you could directly select that ghostly dot to nudge it up and down
  • adjust the policy slider preview on icons in the main screen to make it clearer where you currently are (maybe a small blue dot or line?) and what represents increase or decrease (if the whole circle is filled, this doesn’t always seem clear)
  • (This one’s probably more involved) add a scroll bar to the disposable income graph which effectively makes the displayed buckets shift. Like, if you move to the right, the poorest people start to get lumped up just adding up neighbouring buckets, while the current 150K cutoff gradually gets split into new buckets for which there now is room. That way you can get a better view of very high earning people if you want

Missing or weird policy effects:

  • Youth Politics Councils should decrease youth political apathy/increase activism. Maybe there could also be a tie-in effect where, if media freedom is low or something like that, it also boosts loyalty and even more happiness (effectively these will be propaganda machines for you). At very high freedom they will instead increase democracy but only cause base happiness increase as now.

Other Policy Ideas:

  • More extreme form of Monrails: Hyperloop equivalent.

    • expensive maintenance (gotta constantly evacuate huge volumes of tubes)
    • extra expensive early on but slowly fades away (high construction costs)
    • potentially faster and more environmentally friendly than airplanes even on long journeys (physically faster, closer to ground -> shorter travel distance, 100% electric powered)
    • slight increase on electricity demand, especially at high expenses
    • commuters love it, commuters increased
    • environmentalists might love it once it’s in place but at first might not 'cause of all the tunnelling during construction?
    • motorists hate it, motorists reduced
    • reduces demand on all other modes of transport including air travel
    • air travel reduced tourism impact possibly offset
  • Foreign infrastructure investment

    • China does this afaik
    • increases foreign relations
    • increases trade
    • increases tourism?
    • patriots potentially love it (this represents wielding your power over foreign nations via money instead of war)
    • capitalists probably love it (better trade)
    • maybe small effect on motorists (they might love it 'cause more roads)
    • maaaaybe small effect on commuters (they might love it 'cause easier international commuting?)
    • environmentalists aren’t thrilled (kinda like road expansion, just abroad)
    • might somewhat ease any crisis that depends on supply, including Rare Earth Crisis
    • expensive as hell
  • Citizen Scientist Program
    low cost low effect policy engaging citizens in data collection for various scientific purposes
    There are apps for wildlife or plant life reporting, for instance, where people can learn about their surroundings and at the same time give data to conservation efforts and ecology science
    Other apps exist which let people play with, for instance, proteins, trying to fold them up into as low energy configurations as possible. This has had real effects on furthering medicine. For instance, they used it on parts of HIV which helped inform new treatments, and it’s also currently being used for COVID-19 to accelerate progress on vaccines.

    • small impact on education
    • small impact on technology
    • small impact on health
    • very small impact on environment
    • might impact positive events simulating advancements through this cause
    • maybe youth likes it?
    • minuscule negative impact on state employee membership (since those would have to do some of the work that citizen scientists now do for free and for fun)
    • at high funding, minuscule positive impact on automation, because small armies of citizens would collect vast amounts of data that are hard to manually sift through by a handful of scientist, requiring AI techniques to speed the process along

Bigger changes:

  • Overhaul of Religion:
    Religion currently conflates two separate notions, namely how much people care about religion privately vs. how much they care that everybody else strictly agrees.
    I think this is important because, realistically, unless you take very extreme stances, you will never ever get rid of every single religious person (and even if you do, realistically they’ll just stop being open about it and form some sort of underground, rather than truly going away)
    What I think should be done is to have something like a religious zeal modifier that, at least for some policies, will affect how much those policies will reduce membership vs. how much they will affect political apathy. - People can be very religious and yet essentially never vote on religious grounds. They will still engage in things like increased charity though.
    Another aspect would be the idea of One True Religion vs. that of allowing many faiths with strong beliefs to exist side by side.

    • There could be a policy to foster inter-denominational dialogue, increasing liberalism and religiousness, and decreasing racial tensions, but upsetting conservatives and patriots, perhaps.
    • There could also be a right to having religious classes in regular schools, independent of the creationism/evolution debate. This would be effectively extracurricular (unless you make it mandatory as is already possible) and so not really have an impact on science.
      These policies may also have an impact on religious zeal, with especially the inter-denominational dialogue policy making people much more open to other people thinking differently, therefore strongly reducing zeal.
      Heck, I’m not sure who closest fits atheists, but perhaps they could get equivalent closedmindedness/openmindedness modifiers, caring less about, to them, nasty religion without having an impact on membership. Just, religion-based policies, if they are very openminded, basically do not matter to them.
      Of course, several already existing religious policies would actively increase zeal / cause friction / reduce openmindedness, so it’d be rather difficult to achieve both high apathy and extreme (everybody or nobody is religious) membership and happiness.
  • Election Reform (This one is perhaps the most extreme change to the core game)

    • different voting methods
      • IRV (Instant Runoff Voting costs more than FPTP, higher democracy, more influence of third parties)
      • Condorcet (costs just slightly more than IRV, even higher democracy, even higher third party influence)
      • Proportional Representation / STV (technically I’m simplifying here: Lots of methods; arguably even higher democracy, unless extreme support, virtually guarantees you’ll have coalitions - if you still pull off a single party parliament under this, you probably ought to get extra power)
    • Third Party changes:
      • They get to demand things (kinda like donors, though keep it fine-grained, so they might propose mild tax cuts or hikes rather than implementing entire policies. Might also demand killing a policy)
      • They get to change their position over time (so it’s not as easy to just sweep the polls)
      • if you give in to their demands, in return they’ll grant you a larger portion of political capital
        And this part is probably much harder to get right, but:
      • if you’re a junior partner, powers are reversed: The other party can actively cause changes. You can intervene with demands which they may or may not go for
      • in junior partner / opposition roles, voters will not only judge you by what you managed to get through, but also by what you demanded.
      • I think the current system, where approval is simply modelled 1D, so opposition is aligned with the polar opposite of you and third party is 50% in between doesn’t cut it. You’ll want an at least 2D representation (really it should be more but then conveying that information to players is gonna be more difficult. Although technically you already HAVE that: It’s all the voter groups!) and you’ll want the possibility of parties wandering around on this more or less freely, tough with a lot of inertia. If the movement isn’t completely random, but partially directed towards harming you as much as possible (this could be controlled by difficulty perhaps - they trend towards being as different to you as possible while getting as many votes as possible), that will make it harder to stay in power utterly unopposed for very long times, as parties will adjust to the overton window just like voters will.
        This would also make the above other “more democratic” voting methods more valuable: It’ll mean you’re less likely to effectively be dictator-elect, but it’ll also mean other parties can’t be either.

I’m not exactly sure if I personally think all of these changes should be implemented but I really think the devs should read this.