For the last six months I have been playing Particracy. It is an online geopolitical strategy game, that you can play in your browser directly. The game is currently under active development and is looking for players to come and try it out!
It is a game with politics as its central theme. At first one could think that’s a pretty boring subject matter for a game, but if you think about it, politics is full of rules and systems that make it perfectly suitable for gameplay! There’s elections, which can be seen as games with a score, there’s seats in your parliament, which express voting power, and there’s plenty of deal-making to do.
The game is browser based, so you log on, manage your party’s actions, and the game keeps running persistently, in the background. Later a mobile app might be in the works, but I’m not doing both at the same time. The game will not feature any real-time 2D or 3D graphics of any kind, but it will feature well-designed maps, charts, tables, and character portraits.
The core of the game is the fact that each player manages a political party of his or her design. You choose the branding of your party (name, acronym, color, logo, …) and you control how your party’s members of the legislature vote, how you position yourself ideologically, and who gets appointed to office. You win seats by running in elections, a crucial mechanic for the game.
At the moment, there is one game world, populated by about 190 players/parties at the moment. In future there will be more than one game world. Each of these game worlds will be unique, with different geography, different nations and different cultures to absorb or develop.
Every once in a while, nations will hold elections, and all parties registered will participate. The virtual populace will judge each party based on how well its ideological position compares to that of the electorate (which differs around the world and within each nation), based on how the country has performed in opposition or government, and based on its campaign style and the appeal of individual candidates. You are able to how your party campaigns itself by shifting the emphasis between its ideology, its performance in government and the populist appeal of its candidates and policies.
Larger countries (or smaller ones, for that matter) will be able to partition their territory into smaller sub-national governments, like states or provinces, which can have their own varying degree of autonomy and self-government. The very same parties that run at the national level can then participate in elections at the local level and form a governing coalition there.
Particracy starts out at the legislative level, where every represented party gets its say, and everyone can try to influence the lawmaking process. More powerful parties will determine to form a coalition with majority support, and will get to appoint a head of government and cabinet ministers. There will be separate sets of policies that the executive branch can act on. This way players control what happens in government and influence the nation and its simulated citizens.
The world has a detailed economic model which constantly being tweaked, which players can influence through government policy, taxes, tariffs and trade agreements. This includes government spending, taxes and budgets.
Nations make treaties among themselves to conduct international diplomacy. There are a wide variety of subjects to negotiate, with more being added: a treaty could be about agreeing to abolish the death penalty, but it could also be about establishing a free trade zone or a defensive alliance.
The game will feature military conflict, but it is not primarily a war simulation game. The combat will be realistic, in the sense that it will be expensive to finance, and each action will have its consequences.
So if you like the sound of all this, head over to https://test.particracy.com/register to join in the political scheming and machinations of government and opposition, international organisations, diplomacy, trade and economy.
Here is a short guide I'm writing that will get you going. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Y_rV6f2biusHphjIG4XpUcZINT2_3z5IqEQrE3Rzwvc/edit?usp=sharing