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Political Simulators [& my reviews about them]

Guest DRL

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Well, does somebody else [other than myself]

around here play Political Simulation games?

Now, for the guy who 'has to be in' the the

thread, but does not knows what a Political

Simulation is, let me explain:

A Political Simulator is a game just like any

other, but instead of controling armies, or building

stuff, or anything else, you manage a country instead.

I have played a few so far; so far no one has been

fully to my tastes, but well, each one has it's particular


Hearths of Iron II

This game was my first 'political' experience, and it is

the one that sparked my entire interested in that field.

Additionally, while playing it, I learned a lot about [or

well, at least the basics] of 'what is an economy' and

'political systems/ideologies'. I liked it a lot, but sadly,

despite the information it contained, it's economic system

was a simple 'state-controlled supply system' - you

had resources in your provinces and industry, and the

resources were processed in the industry. Everything

from consummer goods to military, you produced it.

Now this theorically conflicts with it's 'slider system'

which allows you to 'set' which level of private/state

control you want to have. 'Reforms' take time, but

each economy type gives different benefits.

Overall a good game; the AI is however pretty weak

as it reaches later ages [the vanilla game ends at

1947], but you can still do loads of stuff, like

making the Axis win, Italy a world power, or even

invade the United States as the Soviet Union. Be

warned that each political decisition - specially

declarations of war- have each disadvantajes

as well.

The game was made by Paradox Interactive,

and I play it's two expansions: DoomsDay and

Armaggedon. Additionally I use DAIM, a mod

that GREATLY improves the AI.

I give this give a 2/10 in the political-economic

score scale.

It is informative, it is fun, but it is

not exactly any accurate at all.

Believe me, even playing as the

USA feels as if you had the same

economy as the Soviet Union of the

same time.

SuperPower 2

Well, this game did not live to my

expectations. Most other political

simulators were either too complex,

too difficult, or too buggy. This one

was too buggy and too simple.

Thought the 'too buggy' was solved

with the latest patch, the 'too simply'

was not. Let me explain:

You are the leader of your country,

fine, but you can not declare any new

laws. You can just 'change' the status

of some stuff. For example, you can

make same sex marriage legal or ilegal,

but that's it - no newspaper showing

effects, no political dilemmas, maybe

just a demographic showing how well

your population perceived this change.

Economics is very simple, too.

There is private and state ownership.

If private, you tax it, and with 'remaining'

money the private company keeps, it grows.

If state, you try to sell the goods you have,

and make money that way.

The trouble is that it is just that - you do not

know if the private companies are from

local people or a foreing nation, nor you

can have private-and-state owned/controlled

stuff, say, such as health care. Furthermore,

not allways you are able to sell everything

you make, and as the game progresses,

more and more surpluses are stocked,

and many years later, nobody trades

with anyone because everyone has

huge stocks stored.

Mixing both economics and politics,

I will tell you: it is very, VERY inaccuate.

You can literally turn the United States

into a Communist State with everything

owned by the state, all the while

remaining in NATO and your people

being like, very happy, even after

you banned freedom of speech and

turned their country into what only

a bad sci-fi conspirancy theory will

tell you would.

On the international relationships, it is

pretty much limited, too. You can declare

new treaties, cancel current ones, but

you can not vote for a change in current

treaties even if such modification would

benefit everyone.

The military aspect of the game is just

so-so to quite bad. You do see some

animations of units advancing and battling,

but they move on the globe-view too easily.

This means, even Iraq forces can reach

the shores of the USA, or ever worse - land

on it's beachs and take provinces/states.

So, overall, the game was pleasant to the

eye, had nice background music, it's devolopers

fixed it's bugs and for the first time it had

CORRECT geography of my country - but

that is all it has to offer. You can download

some documentation at it's site or a site

for mods, but it pretty much leaves you to

do everything by yourself.

I give it a 3/10. It is not very good, but

fine if you want something simple with

nice graphics and little details, and of

course do not mind the 'inaccuracies'.

Crisis in the Kremlin.

An abandonware game that I got shortly

after it was announced at Abandonia.

It is quite interesting - hard to master, however,

and also very, very buggy.

True to it's title, you are the Soviet Leader

in the [very_soon_to_come] troubled times.

You have three parties to choose from,

each one with a different goal. For example,

you can join the Nationalists, and play Social/

Economic Liberal. And if there are Libereals,

we also find their opposites: The Hard-Liner

party, which are against any reform and

what to keep everything as it is. And if there

are radicals and conservatives, there are allways

moderates, so yes, you can play the Reform Party -

Believers in the policies of Perestroika and Glanghost,

but who want to keep the Soviet Union as a political

entity as well.

Thus, shortly after choosing your party, you are presented

with a map centered more-or-less around the Soviet Union

and the Warsaw Pact allies.

The ultimate goal, as in any political simulation game,

is to lead your nation to success. There are different

was to archieve this, however, and not all are nice,

or easy, either. Not only presented with a decaying

economy, you must manage the buget of your nation,

and also state/set the policies of your regime (which,

just like the buget, can change each year/event).

The game obviously comes with historical (and a few

ahistorical) events/situations, in which your decition

may or may not allways be right (or succesfull). For

example, you can choose to either raise alcohol prices

if people are drinking too much, or you can make it

ilegal to be drunk on public.

As in every game, it is impossible to please everyone.

At some time, either Boris Yelstin or his Hard-Liner

counterpart [whose name I forgot :oops::facepalm: ]

will critize openly your goverment, and you will see

this in a newspaper appearing on the screen.

Additionally, spending on the budget DOES affect the

success of some events. For example, if you plan to

keep the Baltic Republics in the Union using your military,

you need a large military budget, be it either to declare

martial law on them or to impose economic sanctions.

On the other hand, you might wish to plan more or less

moderate and negotiate with them, or even be the

liberal and let the go free without further trouble.

Where the game falls off is at it's very, very easy-to-

find bugs, and it's economic system. For example, it

does not matters if you have a very high level of

privatization - you do not collect taxes at all. Thus,

in order to get additionall funds you have to make sure

to export as many stuff as possible, and the initial agricultural

level is not exaclty productive to let you do that.

As if that was not enought, in order to be succesfull in some

events, you have to invest in the 'correct' stuff and have it well-provided

with funs. Want to kill Yelstin, when the time comes?

You need LOADZZZZZZZZZZZ of funds in Weapons & Troops for that.

It is not impossible - just a few moments ago I just tried to be

a stubborn Hard-Liner and did exactly that, and succeded.

BUT, as you invest extensively in one part of your economy,

other part of the economy might suffer. Environment? Housing?

Agriculture? Everything is there to be taken care of.

But, for a game made at it's time, it is by far one of the

most detailed political simulators I have seen, and pretty

fun if you like challenges.

I give it a 6/10. It tries hard to be accurate, but fails

to do in several cases. Furthermore, it is interesting

to play, educative, and allows for some room for

experimenting. BUT, it does not implement 'reforms' -

such as the [in]famous Perestroika very well.

Furthermore, it is sometimes hard to know what your

party wants you to 'invest-in' to make the events turn

out [at least] moderately succesful.

Hidden Agenda

I have to be honest: When I looked at the black & white graphics

the game had, I was all like 'ptff, it must be very, very easy,

or very, very dumb'. I was not wrong. I was ÜBER-WRONG.

The game, with it's simple graphics, let's you play a up-to-three-year-

regime of a Chimerican Presidente. That is right, it is a fictituous

country - but that does not makes it any fun-less. All the opposite.

Finding your country in Central America, yours is a dangerous

position. If the USA does not likes you, they might even

fund rebels to try to overthrow you. Same goes to the

Soviet Union & Cuba - their support can be very helpful

as well, and they are valuable trade partners [specially the


On the economic side, you are completely dependant

on Agriculture, and that is what you see all over the

graphical report's page: Land Distribution, for example,

tells who owns how many land, and the Export Crops

page tells how many funds are being made at the

current time.

Unlikely in Crisis in the Kremlin, you are not alone

at all in this game - you must set up a cabinet of

four advisors/ministers that will help you develop

policies, and you do have a good deal of information

about them. Be warned to each party can only provide

up to 3 ministers, so at least you will have one minister

you might not allways agree with.

In contrast to Crisis in the Kremlin, as well, your country

is quite small and you can meet up with the many different

characters that lead the different factions/groups in your

country. Ranging from a teacher to a land-reform supporter,

and middle-level bussiness manager to free-market industrialist,

you can experiment with many different policies, and see

how they work. You can also play 'Democracy-man' and try

to set up elections as soon as possible, or try to stay

as a dictator by ignoring the 'planned democratic reorganization'.

There is a lot of stuff you can do. You can try to go as

far to the left as you can, and implement salary scales,

control the exports/imports, fund health care & education,

or you can go to the far right, and keep both health care &

education at very low levels why letting free market do

it's job. What I have liked mostly is that you can combine

different sets of policies; for example, agree to the land

reform, but sell the state-land to the small exporterts.

The fun in this game is that, in the end, you are

shown with an 'Enciclopedia entry' and decide

how well you did [it is up to you].

Now, speaking of time, this is the main problem

I had with the game - it is too short. Many of

the decisions require a previous event to have

happened, and the time you were in power

was not enought.

Overall, a very good game that I highly

recommed trying if you are into politics.

It is not easy - I warn you. If you are not

careful, your friends will turn into enemies,

and if your powerbase is not firmly stablished

a single coup will be enought to take the title

of President off you.

I give this game a 7/10. It is fun, educative,

entertaning, and it is really nice to be able

to talk with your country's people - be it

for the good news or the bad.

But, the time you are in power is too short,

and the economic system is too limited.

Sure, it is efficiently executed, but limited.

As opposed to Crisis in the Kremlin, you

have no 'budget' at all, just some graphics

showing how well/bad your economy is doing.


And well, that is pretty much of it.

There are not that many political simulation

games around, not at least that I know off.

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Only one I've heard of is Superpower and I have yet to get into one of these types of games.  It sounds really appealing now then it did 5 years ago....

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Looks interesting

Believe me, they are.

Specially if you are interested

in politics or economics.

Only one I've heard of is Superpower and I have yet to get into one of these types of games.  It sounds really appealing now then it did 5 years ago....

Superpower 1 was turn-based;

I skipped it entirely and went

over to the real-time SuperPower 2

instead. Even so, it was not very

accurate. The thing I said about

turning the United States (or any

NATO member, for the account)

into a Communist State is perfectly

possible. This is because in the game

there is not any 'market' - just 'demand'.

As long as you meet that demand, people

do not care if you have private or state

ownership at all.

But still, remember to update to the lastest

patch (1.4v, if I am right) and all of it's bugs

are gone.

Oh, and I also forgot to say I played Democracy 2.

I give it a 6/10. It was nice, because you could set

the 'policy strenght' (how profound the policy should

be). It can also be modded, making possible to add

your own policies. Downside, it is almost all maths;

you see 'poverty' graphs, 'income' graphs; even

the policies are set with graphs. Never-the-less it is

quite accurate. You can try many policies, and I tell

you, it is great to see the results. You can increase

or decrease the police force, ban/legalize drugs, ect.

But again it is all 'measures/graphs' thing.

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