NDP forms majority gov’t! or … Prime Minister Forever – Canada 2011 reviewed in the Globe and Mail

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper, and Chad Sapieha recently reviewed Prime Minister Forever – Canada 2011 for it.

The good: “I have little doubt many armchair politicians will have a blast taking the helm of their favourite parties[.]”

The bad:

1. Chad says there were grammar and spelling mistakes. Not just mistakes, but frequent mistakes.

I’m not sure what he’s referring to, and no one else has reported such problems – so this was a little frustrating. If anyone has specific examples of spelling or grammar mistakes, please post them here and they will be fixed with the next release.

2. The high-score system didn’t reward his NDP and Green campaigns adequately.

This is a good point – I’ll take a look at the high-score algorithm again, but I can imagine it wouldn’t give the Greens, say, that high of a score even if they achieved their campaign goal of 1 seat, simply because the shift in seats and percentages would still be quite small absolutely speaking.

3. “[A] post-election message stated [May] failed to earn the Greens a place in the government, which was simply false, given that she won a riding.”

My understanding is: she would be part of Parliament, but not of the government (unless the Greens were part of a governing coalition). Political wonks’ feedback much appreciated on this.

4. “[M]ost of my beefs with Prime Minister Forever: Canada 2011 mirror my issues with real Canadian elections, such as our first past the post system.”

It’s not usual that we get complaints that the game works the way that country’s electoral system is supposed to work! (However, it would be nice to try an election out with a different electoral system, which is what the preference system in the game will do – it will be enabled probably in a few weeks or so, but it’s not high-priority right now.)

This leads me to the Great Onion of Complaint: complaints about games are like an onion. In the beginning, there are big complaints, which are like the outside layer of an onion. Once you fix those problems, there is another layer of complaint, which is like the next layer of the onion. After you fix those things, there is another layer, and so on. When people are complaining that there are grammatical errors, and that the game works as the electoral system is supposed to work (but they don’t like reality!), then from a game developer’s perspective, those are good complaints.

Prime Minister Forever – Canada 2011: Prospective Development

Now that PM4E Canada – 2011 is out, it’s time to look at adding features.

Here are a few I’m looking at right now … Note: these are just things I’m looking at implementing, they may or may not be put into the game.

1. Endorsers.

This involves not only adding endorsers in, but also adding Political Influence Points, which gives the game an extra dimension. That leads to …

2. Minority Government Resolution.

The game has automatic minority government resolution in it right now. Basically, if you’re the Conservatives, the other 3 parties won’t cooperate with you, even if you have the most seats. So, the only way to get a workable majority as the Conservatives if you have a minority of seats is to fall 1 or 2 short, and then work with the Independents.

Once Endorsers and PIPs are added, you can decide to retain PIPs instead of using them on Endorsers, and if no one has a majority of seats, they can be used to sway parties to your side.

3. Candidate Editor.

This will start off very simple, so people can modify the leader attributes without having to modify the XML files.

Those are the major things as it looks right now. Feel free to suggest ideas in the comments.

Prime Minister Forever – Canada 2011: Almost Ready

Quick update on PM4E Canada 2011’s status: it’s almost ready for initial release.

What to expect: an initial release this week. Then, we’ll update the game, adding features and content as the election progresses, probably right up until the election.

Some new features over 2008:

– Completely new game engine.

– Detailed party seat breakdown according to strength of support.

– Timed game: set a per turn timer for hot-seat human players.

– Minority government resolution: will the NDP and Bloc work with a Conservative minority? if not, the Governor-General will award the government to the Liberals.

– Turn parties off: want to see what the election would be like without the Greens, for example (or any other party)? Turn them off, and give the scenario a spin.

– Campaign attributes: leaders have not only personal attributes (Leadership, Experience, and so on), but also campaign attributes (Ads Strength, Spin Strength, Polling Strength, and so on).

– Local scandals: dig up dirt on not just your opponent’s national campaign, but on local candidates as well … and then fan the flames into nation-wide scandal coverage.

– Seat swing info: look at how many seats you’re projected to take compared with the last sitting of Parliament, and which incumbents you’re going to dethrone.

– High-score bonuses: defeat high-profile candidates in ridings, and gain extra high-score bonuses.

– New ads system: target ads to the national, regional, or local levels, and run them accordingly.

– Issue positions expanded from 5 to 7: be the ideologue you always wanted to be.

– and more

More news soon …