Governance in the Future

I’ve been thinking about how I can handle governments and government types in The Last Boundary.

To begin with, I want to make sure that, as a grand strategy game, the player doesn’t have absolute control and absolute say in the way their civilisation works. Rather, they are inĀ command, via the governing body, whatever form that takes.

In a nutshell, the player doesn’t just click the “change government type” button to become a theocracy. I’ve seen this button in other games, or a button much like it. Some games, I believe one of the civilisations, would then have a period of anarchy whilst the new government took control.

I don’t think this is realistic, and one of my stated goals is to retain realism as much as possible (so long as it’s fun). Considering one of the main tenants of my game is the social aspects of the future, I think I can do better than a “change government” button.

The government is formed by the people; i.e. a government cannot exist without the consent of the people, at least it cannot exist proficiently.

For example; the government type that I believe would give the player the most control would be a totalitarian government. In this, the player could decide what specific areas of research are focused on; they could have specific resources mined and stockpiled etc. It would come with a cost of the peoples happiness, living under someone else’s plans leaves little room for your own.

This could be countered by “education”, i.e. government education. Or maybe a breads and circuses type deal.

I also believe that the longer a people live under this government, the more accepting they would be of it. This could be represented by the gradual decrease in productivity ceasing, and the player receiving the same constant rate of productivity (whatever form that takes), rather than the ups and downs of a free market (for example).

So; I’ve been looking a different types of government, and boy is there a lot. A few I’ve thought about, but need to read more on, and the highlights of that government type in-game:

Democratic

In this government type, the player:

  1. Is playing the role of the elected party chairman, i.e. he makes decisions on behalf of the party.
  2. I don’t think it makes much sense to model the consensus of the party votes itself. So rather, some options are greyed out / not visible, depending on the consensus of the party. The parties would probably be three randomly generated parties (or maybe more) that have a specific left/right alignment in key areas.For example, economy for Party A, would be either conservative or liberal. Conservative Parties have less options to spend money on government initiative. Or perhaps they just have less of a percentage of the GDP to spend.I haven’t fully fleshed it out; but it’s important because:
  3. The Player doesn’t decide the party that is elected. The people do. Therefore, every X years, the party has a chance to change, therefore the player has to deal with the limits (and benefits) of the new Party in charge.The player can affect the vote by:
  4. Each Party has some randomly selected campaign promises. So, when you first start, the campaign promises (ostensibly made by yourself prior to election) are like little anti-challenges/challenges.For example, reduce government spending on Military by 20% will mean that you actually need to do that.Failure to reduce that spending will mean unhappiness from the governed. This will reduce the chance of being re-elected.In addition, you can also set your campaign promises a year out from the next election. So if you are voted in, you will need to accomplish these the next election cycle.

    But be warned, that if you governed poorly, the affect of each promise on your re-election is smaller, which means more and more promises, just to be re-elected. On the flip-side, if you did well, you may only need to make a couple of promises.

Representative

So I like the idea of not having just Representative Democracy, but maybe even Representative Theocracy. Wow, cool.

Basically, under a representative model, for the player to have a law passed, they need a majority of the representative to vote for them. This means that landslide elections in a democracy make passing laws easier.

I’m not really sure how this would be modeled under something like a Theocracy. Unless the Theocracy allowed all faiths to participate…

 

Democratic doesn’t necessarily mean Representative, and vis versa.

For example:

Demarchy

This is a form of government where the rulers are randomly selected from the population, rather than by vote. You could have a Representative Demarchy…

Autocracy

Where all the power resides in an individual. This individual would be the player, however Autocracy takes on many forms, such as Authoritariansm, Dictatorship or even an Absolute Monarchy.

Some of these, like a Dictatorship, effectively nulls out Democracy, but could you have an Absolute Monarchy where the King/Queen is elected after the previous one dies? If so, you could probably have a Demarchratic Absolute Monarchy.

 

I haven’t thought too much further into these and how they would affect the player. I think in general there should be:

  1. Mechanisms through which the player tries to maintain the status-quo. For example, trying to get the current party re-elected; stamping down opposition in a Dictatorship.
  2. A period of flux when government changes. Whether via Revolution, or a new party having been elected, previous leader dies; these should all have varying levels of affect on the civilisations output.

    Probably not any affect on what the player can do, because the player is always whoever is currently in power; but it can affect the output of factories etc. A period of Anarchy could also happen…

 

The difficult part will be making sure the various mechanisms through which you maintain power are at least somewhat similar for all government types. They should definitely be different, but as all actions are usually governed by some form of resource, I think this resource needs to be consistent across all government types.