“Have you ever wanted to be president or prime-minister? Convinced you could do a better job of running the country? Let’s face it, you could hardly do a worse job than our current political leaders.” That was the opening paragraph on Positech Game’s official Democracy 3 page, and it is the opening paragraph on their page for Democracy 3: Africa, the new standalone ‘re-imagining’ of the hit political strategy game ‘Democracy 3’. The original Democracy games were made by Cliff Harris (the one man studio that is Positech Games), but for this outing, he passed the development torch to Jeffrey Sheen, who has taken the base game, polished it up, and redesigned it around Africa.
So what is the aim in this game?
“Can you turn your country into an economic powerhouse that competes with the strongest world economies? Is this the vision you have for your country, or are you aiming for a socialist haven? Can you improve health and education for all your people? Does a little corruption help oil the wheels of power? And can you do this whilst keeping the competing demands of the people under control?”
How does it play?
Each policy (or law) in the game has a slider which allows you to fine tune its intensity to get the balance just right. A series of equations within the game allows the same policy to have radically different effects on each voter group at different points in the slider, so some voters may be indifferent to a policy unless it reaches extreme levels, for example. Democracy 3 also models the global economy, including credit rating agencies and debt interest levels, as well as the impact of global events on your country.
That’s really simplifying it though. If you want to listen to a very detailed interview with Jeffrey Sheen, check out this Tao of Otaku interview. Jeff spent a long time just researching the entire continent of Africa, throwing away everything he thought he knew about the continent, before distilling all he had learned into the game, and picking ten countries to display the diversity of Africa. You can play as the leadership of Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Zambia, Senegal, Tunisia, Botswana, or Mauritius.
When can I play it?
Positech has told us that the game will be out on Tuesday the 12th of April 2016, but that is subject to whether or not Jeff can cross his T’s and dot his I’s fast enough. Here’s a PC Gamer live-stream interview:
And if you want to see actual game play, here’s Twitch user quill18 playing a Beta build for charity.
UPDATE: The game is out now!
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Gain early access here.