4After fiddling about with the system for representing a particular supporter’s political preferences, getting to a point where it could model all sorts of weardy beardies was fab. The bit it was missing though was the thing that would actually attract those supporters to a particular team. I’d kind of created half a magnet, or a monopole if you want to be fancy.

So ignoring the fact that I’d barely developed the idea of players at this point, I started off figuring out what I wanted to use as bait for these wonderfully random people.

The big question was whether to go crazy or go realistic…

The scary part was that after a bit of thought, the distinction wasn’t too clear.

In the end, as I’d spent so long modelling realistic voter preferences, I wanted to keep it fresh but keep it realistic, so decided that I’d take real policies from around the world, and use them as the starting point.

Cue endless wikipedia-ing. I still genuinely have no idea what quantitative easing is, in spite of my Economist girlfriend’s valiant efforts to explain.

I had a really long list of policies now, but basically no way to organise them into sensible groups, which I’d preempted would be super useful as a mechanical feature. I ended up drawing inspiration from hit PC-game Democracy, which is a kind of ‘president’ simulator.

In it the policies are organised into a bunch of categories like ‘Crime and Punishment’, ‘Taxation’ and other stuff like that, so I started merging and splitting the different groups until I had a good number of types that wasn’t overly simplified and boring but equally wasn’t so specific that people would lose interest.

Or add so much complexity that Reiner Knizia would have a meltdown.

I settled on Economy, Infrastructure, Security, and Welfare.

The idea was that I’d make it more difficult for a player to play certain types of policies over others if they didn’t have the right expertise in their party. I’d yet to work out what that meant, but that’s next episode…

So I had loads of policies, and I’d organised them into categories, and even given them some fancy symbols. Next was all about what those policies would count for, would they attract socialists or capitalists? Anarchists or authoritarians? As ever, both.

I set about fiddling loads of the numbers again so that each policy appealed to a combination of ideologies to a greater or lesser extent, but worked in a system where some ideologies naturally fall into one of a number of strategies which conflict with each other.

It added a bit of zing!

At this point we have the carrot to draw in the piggies, but no one to hold the carrot.