In the last one of these I mentioned having a carrot and piggies to follow them, but no one to hold the carrot. What I meant by that was that I created the system to organise supporters and policies that would entice them, but hadn’t yet put built a vehicle that players could use to accommodate those policies.
The solution came fairly simply at first, although I ended up over complicating it.
As the policies had types, and I wanted to use them as a kind of balancing act thing where players had to trade off types of policies versus the actual usefulness of them with respect to supporters, I made up some politicians which each had a ‘specialism’, which meant they could accommodate policies of one of the four types.
Then I thought it would be a great idea (it wasn’t) to make it more complicated by introducing a new variable ‘influence’ which would determine when you could play more potent policies, but that ended up just making the whole thing confusing so I scrapped it early on. In the end I just made it more ‘difficult’ to play potent policies by introducing a simple budget variable on the policies themselves, which made more thematic sense and was easier to track in-game.
After some tweaking, I ended up simplifying these politicians down to junior politicians that had one specialism, and senior politicians that had 2, with the latter a kind of upgrade to the first. We took some inspiration from the advanced room system in Boss Monster to determine how that last bit would work – if the senior politician shared one of its specialisms with one of your juniors, you could upgrade them. Nice and simple.
The way you’d get those politicians probably went through about ten different revisions, from the influence system and a kind of buying round where the influence of your existing team would determine the influence of those politicians you could ‘purchase’, a kind of random draw at the start of the game, a drafting phase at the start of the game and all sorts of weird stuff.
Eventually I settled on something which had a kind of wry realism to it.
Each player could, during their turn, choose to recruit a politician. When they did this, they drew a number of cards from a deck of politicians, displayed them on the table then chose one to add to their team. Senior politicians could only be used as upgrades, and recruitment would constitute and ‘action’.
I also added the leaders at this point, a randomly selected central character for each player who would have a special power to ‘break the game’ or give that player some sort of edge over others. This now meant I had the workings of what being a player in Statecraft actually meant, by having a leader and the ability to recruit politicians around them, get policies somehow which matched those politicians’ specialisms, which would in turn grab the support of those floating voters.