Wishlists for adding depth to specific countries

Let me start off by saying I love the game and the direction it’s going, but I feel like it is a bit too easy right now and a lot of the issues democratic countries are facing aren’t accurately represented. I’ll focus on the US because I know it better than others.

  1. Military spending is too low and there are no issues tied to it
  • A big issue in the U.S. is that half of the federal budget goes to defense. This is a relic of WWII and subsequent wars ever expanding the military industry.
  • I’d like to see a crisis arise from this “Military-Industrial Complex” which would decrease foreign relations and multiply spending on Armed Forces. It could also dramatically increase the political cost of reducing military spending and open up for new policies that tackle the military industry (I’m thinking this could be tied in like how “water industry” and others function.
  • Foreign military bases and foreign intervention should also be unique policies tied to the U.S, France, UK, and potentially Russia and China if/when implemented
  1. Veterans
  • There isn’t really a representation of the countless military veterans that have been accumulated over the past 60+ years.
  • It would be nice to make a new voting block for them as well as special housing/taxation/health care policies for them
  1. Wealth inequality
  • In general the game could use a better representation of the super-wealthy who pay no taxes but make up a significant amount of the GDP
  • There should be a super wealthy voting block that are incredibly difficult to tax outside of charity
  1. Corruption
  • Certain function of the American political system aren’t really represented
  • A couple of stand-outs are the lack of political fundraising limits and the massive lobbying industry which drastically diminish the level of democracy on the federal level. Corporations have an insane amount of influence on the government and this should be simulated with a large level of corruption on the national level
  1. Political gridlock
  • This is definitely a function of the U.S. but it is rare for one of the two parties to get a clear mandate or even get anything done when one party controls both houses.
  • It would be nice if there was a system of political favors where opposition parties request certain changes be made when modifying or adding a policy that isn’t universally popular (or in the U.S’s case, even when it is)
  1. Racial Inequality
  • I know there is a policy for “Racial Profiling” but nothing in the game currently really represents the legacy of slavery and the current massive disparity in wealth between white and black communities in the U.S.
  • The Racial Profiling policy should really be rethought of as a Racial Equality measure like Gender Equality with various policies (ban redlining, affirmative action, reparations, inner-city investments, etc.) to increase the measure. The U.S. (and Brazil) should have a special modifier that reduces (very slowly with time) called “Legacy of Jim Crow/Slavery” to decrease equality by a significant amount
  • Segregation (yes this still exists in 2020) is also glossed over in American politics. The U.S. is more segregated now than it was in the 1960s. For this it would be nice to see a racial integration level that’s tied to racial equality, happiness, income equality, education levels, etc.
  1. Ethnic Minorities is too broad of a spectrum
  • Ethnic minorities in this game is used as a catch all for the other, and usually just means immigrants.
  • When looking at the U.S. you’ll find that there are many distinct groups that fit into this category: American Indians, Blacks, Hispanics, Asian Americans, as well as new immigrants from around the world
  • This category should be split off into two groups: immigrants and minorities (two for simplicities sake, I’d like more but I know this is a big ask)
  1. American Indians
  • America has hundreds of treaties with the sovereign Native populations.
  • It would be cool for this to be represented in events and policies

I know this is a pretty long list and much of it won’t be feasible or would conflict with the generalness of the system, but I think a deep dive into the U.S. (and other countries) would make the game much more interesting. If anyone has ideas for adding depth to other countries please share them as well!


Welcome to the community! There’s a lot of good points made here, and I personally agree with what you’re saying, especially with regards to race and minorities. I’ll just add that here’s been a good number of discussions on most of the points you’ve brought up, so I won’t comment on each of them individually.

Overall, a lot of what you bring up, as has been pointed out in other discussions, is already emulated in the game in many ways, even if it is not explicitly spelled out. Just to give some examples, the issues you bring about regarding segregation or racial inequality with regards to access to services, are already represented in the game. If your racial tension is too high and service provision is unequal, ghettos can form in your country. As well, there is an equality simulation (one of the blue bubbles in welfare) that represents financial and economic inequality that is affected by the provision (or lack of) public services for everyone. Race riots can trigger if you have a very unequal and racist country.

My point is that there is already so much depth in the game and there are so many topics already covered in the existing mechanics, that at some point you have to remember that this IS, at the end of the day, still a game. And games should be fun. Adding an extreme level of complexity to an already complex game kind of takes away from that fun, and can be overwhelming to new players or players who aren’t as well-versed in politics. If complexity HAS to be added to the game, it should only be done to address issues that aren’t covered in the game already. Until recently, for example, illegal immigration wasn’t addressed at all in the game, aside from an event or two that could fire. A good deal of complexity has been added to the game now to properly address such an important topic that was missing beforehand. But for something like racial inequality and racism, which are already well-covered by the game’s mechanics, it feels unnecessary to have to do this.

Oh and I just wanted to comment on one specific thing, the political gridlock you mention. While it absolutely is true that political gridlock is a thing and a huge impediment to certain countries, I once again bring up the point that this is still a game. Specifically, a game where YOU get to decide what you want your country to look like. This means that certain sacrifices have to be made in the name of the game, at the expense of realism. I personally think that it is entirely fair to sacrifice the simulation of political gridlock and real-life political blockades in general, to be able to allow the player to create the country that they want to create. I would personally find it much too tedious to have to adhere to what the other political parties want, when I am already limited by political capital and voters’ wishes. Obviously I can only speak for myself here, but I would wager that a significant chunk of the players, especially those not present on this forum, who tend not to be as invested in the game, also feel the same way.

And finally, a last note: Keep in mind that this is one of the most moddable games out there! That’s one of the best things about it. Literally all you need to know is how to work in Excel and you can easily change/add/remove/expand on anything you want. I’m a noob when it comes to modding - by noob I mean I have 0 experience with it - and yet I have made many minor changes to my own game to fix relationships that I personally find problematic or inaccurate (bye bye crime increase from drug legalization). If YOU want to experience a more in-depth system of racial inequality or a simulation for veterans, it doesn’t take much to add that in. But there is a limit to how much stuff can be in the base game, which is just an unfortunate reality of the fact that, at the end of the day, this is a game, and no game can ever fully simulate reality.

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Someone showed you a discretionary spending piechart without explaining what “discretionary funding” means, didn’t they. Don’t feel bad, happens to a lot of people.

The US should have pretty low racial tension/inequality. Yes, I know we have problems, but the whole mythology that America is the most racist country or even a particularly racist country is just that; mythology. Maybe give the US a grudge that boosts some of the situations at game start, so it starts in the middle of them.

That would be cool, yes.

A big issue in the U.S. is that half of the federal budget goes to defense. This is a relic of WWII and subsequent wars ever expanding the military industry.

It’s more a product of the US almost single-handedly funding the defence of the entire western world and the protection of international commerce. Which, as an Australian, I greatly appreciate :slight_smile:

Defence takes up less than a quarter of the US budget. The thing that takes up over half is healthcare and social security. Where defence spending does appear outsize is as a proportion of discretionary spending, which makes up only 15% of all federal spending. In Democracy 4, all spending (including to some extent state and local spending) is lumped together. So only the total budget (where Defence is relatively less significant) is what matters.

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Low tension but high inequality is how I would describe it. Things like segregation, income (more significantly wealth) inequality, and the uneven hand of the law aren’t captured fully by racial tension. The issues in the OP are accurate in today’s world. We may not have public lynchings anymore or overtly racist displays of power, but the average black american is signifcantly worse off than their white counterparts, and this is due to generations of racial tension and systemic racism moreso than the current racial temperature. What I mean to say is that racial tension is more a factor of the current climate rather than the generational echoes from the past that create the modern system of inequality. For example Obama can be president, but the average (median) white family has 10x more wealth than the average black family (Racial Wealth Gap: Statistics, Causes, How to Close It). Getting rid of overt racist practices doesn’t solve institutional racism when the “game” is already rigged.

I wouldn’t say the U.S. is the most racist country, but to say the U.S. doesn’t have and issue with race is a bit naive. There’s plenty of public data documenting the issues I touched on (I can provide sources if necessary) and many of the issues are unique to the U.S. In summary I’d say the U.S. is pretty racist and that racism is more visible and known of than many other places in the world so it’s appearance may be inflated over other countries where there is less ethnic diversity, but that doesn’t discount the validity of my claims on the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow on the state of race relations.

Thank you for correcting me. I understand what discretionary spending is, but frankly “military spending” is too broad of a policy to encapsulate U.S. foreign policy (foreign policy in general is one of the weakest aspects of the game), so I think my argument for a deeper representation still holds. Also the tone of your post seems a little condescending. I know you probably didn’t mean for it to come across like that but it was my first reaction when reading, thankfully I tend to keep my head cool :smile:

Thanks for the welcome. I understand a lot of what I have to say is probably already covered, but I feel like they’re things that are worth reiterating. The examples you give for racial tension covering racial inequality I think is pretty inadequate. Racial Tension in my understanding represents things like hate crimes, lynching, riots, but doesn’t cover things like civil and economic inequality, which can be unrelated to racial tension. I will admit though that this may just come down to naming.

I know the game is already complex, but I personally don’t see an issue with adding more country-specific issues to the game. When I play the U.S I want to fix issues specifically plaguing the U.S. and things that are unique to the U.S. Currently I can play every country exactly the same without considering the specific circumstances of the country. I think the game would be much more enjoyable and replayable if there was more depth to each. Depth can be fun even if it makes the game harder. I only have 10 hours in game and can turn any country around in 1 term, so I don’t think added difficulty would detract from a newcomers experience.

Also thanks for pointing me towards mods. I’ll investigate what can be done with them. I’m a pretty adept programmer and mod a few other games, so maybe you’ll see me on the workshop :blush:.

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Also the tone of your post seems a little condescending. I know you probably didn’t mean for it to come across like that but it was my first reaction when reading, thankfully I tend to keep my head cool :smile:

They did mean it that way, but at the risk of being an apologist for rude behaviour it’s a very old and widespread myth which lots of folks bring out as justification for unrealistic/destructive positions, when it is also very easy to verify as false (by googling US federal budget and looking at the many resulting pie charts).

So whilst I definitely disagree with being rude to folks who haven’t really been presented with any info to the contrary, I can understand why it would be frustrating encounter a belief largely born out of people not fact checking stuff others tell them.

This is also just how I’ve observed AvianOverlord to be- usually right but also a little too smug about it.

It’s a fair cop.

Just catching up…ist on my list to go bac and add more effects and content to make each country feel more like the real thing and more individual, and I will definitely be doing this with the USA.

Regarding racism in the US, its actually an interesting point that the US has a history of slavery, and fighting a war over it (among other things), which possibly leads to a historical impact on racial tension that cannot be explained by current policy.

It may well be worth adding a hard-coded USA-racial-inequality-due-to-history modifier. This is perfectly valid, and already done for some countries, like the Spanish Mediterranean diet and the Canadian outdoor lifestyle. I think it is worth adding.
While on the topic, I wonder if the ‘frontier history’ of the USA would justify some similar effects to make gun ownership less controversial than it would be in European countries.


Why should the US have higher racial tension than the rest of the world? Whenever people do polls to measure things like willingness to live next to people of other races, immigrant identification with their new country, or the economic success of immigrants, the US (and Canada) always come in at the top of the list.

I think it would be better for higher minority populations to just cause a higher base of RT, and letting the United States 40% minority population do its work. I’m not a fan of messing with the simulation to make countries conform to stereotypes.

Liberals and patriots like gun rights, don’t they? USA’s got a lot of those. And generally, gun laws should cost a lot of PC to change.


I do really hate putting anything in the game that feels forced or a hack, but the design of the game is fundamentally limited, because it assume that opinions are generated purely based on the current situation and current policy.
With something like racial tension that may have historical impacts (ie: your grandparents remember terrible racism and tell you about it), we don’t really have a way to reproduce that in the game, because we cap effects at 32 turns (8 years).
In this case I think its justified to include a ‘historical racism’ effect, even if its one that declined by 1% a year as that history fades.

My point regarding the US and gun laws is that they should maybe upset people in general a bit less. I think you could claim for example that parents in Europe really hate people owning guns, but perhaps less so in the US?

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That’s a good point.

I just thought of something. Farmer/rural should like guns, and the US has more of them than most of the other countries represented in the game.

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