First there was Democracy, and now there’s two of it. That’s right: the game of trying to stay in power thanks to the whim of the masses is back and much improved.
The core remains the same: your political world is divided into a network of issues and policies that interact as you change your emphasis on them. How much money you spend on law and order will have knock-on effects, such as demands for increases in taxing, or making your citizens feel a little less free. Adjusting and balancing policies is what makes Democracy 2 tick, and it’s astoundingly compulsive. Can you really hang on to power by taking a hard line against hippies? Maybe, if your voters are mainly conservatives.
Crucially, Democracy 2 has more issues and more policies. This new game is much closer to representing the mass of dilemmas leaders face in the modern world. Stem cells, binge-drinking, climate change, prostitution, lazy workers, inner-city riots, unemployment, even the death penalty. You get to see the ripples these have in a society, and the difficulty in dealing with them all at once. If apparently sleazy politicians want to engender some sympathy in a fresh generation, they should have this game taught in schools. It’s one of the most educational games in existence.
Other new stuff includes the minister system, whereby you have to manage the expectations of, and rely on the experience of, a cabinet of ministers. You can fire the ones who aren’t doing so well, but there’s hardly an unlimited glut of manpower: you need to make these people do their job, while at the same time supporting you. All this is tied into the sophisticated AI and voter system that the game exhibits: people aren’t defined by single issues. Better than the original? Certainly. It wins our vote.
Jan 28, 2008