What is Democracy 2? essentially it’s a political strategy game, although I prefer to think about it as a government strategy game, because it focuses much more on the ‘how do we run the country?’ question than the ‘how can we get elected?’ question. It does *have* elections, but the focus of the game is achieving your objectives in terms of economics and social policy, rather than just collecting votes. Here is a brand new trailer for the game:
Democracy 2 is different to almost any other game you have played. It’s a strategy game, but there is no map or board or pieces. It’s a simulation game, but not of anything physical. It’s essentially a great big stonking huge neural network designed around the politics and economics of fictional nations (the US is also in there). The visual representation of the system is quite unusual, and although it can look very complex and confusing at first glance in a screenshot, it’s actually a simple system once you have got your head around it. basically, everything in the game influences other stuff, and is in turn, influenced by many other items. Every link between items is a fairly complex equation, rather than a simple linear scale. This makes for some very subtle effects, and strategies. Hovering the mouse over an object shows what it affects, and what affects it.
Here is another brand new (isn’t this exciting?) video of me talking about the game:
So how come Democracy 2 has been released on steam now? Well basically they asked about it very recently, so I was happy to say yes. The game has been around a long time and sold very very well. It continues to sell well to this day from its website which is here. It has had a pretty active modding community over the years, and the game is very easy to mod, thanks to all the data basically being in spreadsheets.
This is NOT the kind of game you would expect from the developer of Gratuitous Space Battles and Gratuitous Tank Battles. (Until GSB, people used to tease me about not being able to make graphical games :D). It’s a very cerebral, very strategic, and fairly serious game. You can, of course, just play the roll of evil fascist maniac and create a nightmare country just for giggles, if you prefer, but try to play it to win (to stay in power) and I think you will find it interesting.
I’m hoping it’s new visibility on steam will introduce Democracy 2 to a new bunch of players. This is the game that enabled me to quit/storm-out-of my job and go full time indie for keeps. it’s the game that PC gamer described as ‘an important game that should be taught in schools’. it’s the game used in at least a dozen colleges and schools all over the world to teach politics (educational site licenses are available, email me for details). It’s a game you might want to take your frustrations out on when you hear Mitt Romney or Barack Obama talking over the next few weeks.