President Forever 2012 Beta Released

If you have already pre-ordered, you can download the Beta here.

For those who want to pre-order the game and also try out the Beta, you can do so here. (Note: for Windows.)

This an early Beta release. This is a way to offer people who have pre-ordered a sneak peek into the game, as well as an opportunity for them to offer feedback on features they think would be useful, awesome, and so on, if incorporated into the game.

Things should start moving fairly quickly now, with new features being added in quick succession.

Please remember in any feedback: many features that will be in the final game are NOT in the current Beta.

Please note we may not be able to respond to all feedback. We encourage feedback via the blog or the forum, as this will allow for answers to common questions to be posted, and discussion of any ideas.

Below is a list of features that will be added, although this list is not complete:

– Negotiations
– Computer player AI
– More candidates
– More parties

We will be adding new features regularly (probably a new release about once per week for some time).

Please note with the Beta: This version will have bugs. Some of these may cause the program to crash. Gameplay won’t be right.


No save-load for now.
No help file (but in-line help) for now.
Only one scenario and two parties for now.
AI will get more challenging.
Some graphics are place-holders.

Modders: please note that the scenario XML files will change. If you mod a scenario, then it will probably stop working at some point in the near future.

Having said all this …

Good gaming!

38 thoughts on “President Forever 2012 Beta Released”

  1. I just got the beta version and I am unsure if Ive misunderstood the game or if this is just the way the game is designed.
    Here are my thoughts: the final game needs to be streamlined, there was way to much for me to ever keep track of (especially if playing in both the primaries and the general), having to command surrogates, target states, toggle different views for the presidential and vice presidential nominee as well as having to look at each state individually to make ads there.
    I do government/political work so I am aware that there is a lot to keep track of on campaigns, however, campaign managers also have an army of people at the campaign HQ, on the ground and externally to keep track of things. I should be able to make the game easier for myself by telling my surrogates to barnstorm in targeted states, or only fundraise for a select number of turns. I should also be able to turn on and off ads in states easier, going through 10-15 swing states every 4-6 turns is arduous, not fun.
    Have I missed something or is this how the game is designed? The 2008 version was easier to manage.

  2. Hi Reuben,

    Yes, allowing automation of surrogates, ads, and the veep are all on the possible to-do list. The purpose of getting feedback at this point in the Beta is to get a feel of how much detail and so on is too much. Thanks for this feedback – noted.

  3. Cool, Im not saying that I dont like to micromanage but going through each state individually takes up time and diverts from the bigger picture. I shouldnt have to take notes each turn.
    If the games was easier to manage like the 2008 version (which I really enjoyed) it can be a really great game.

  4. I wish Pres Forever ’12 didn’t use the framework gameplay of Congress forever and instead used the Pres Forever ’08 framework.

    I would gladly pay $20 for an update of PF 08 with ’12 info and some slight improvements. Instead we have the clunky gameplay of Congress which was not fun at all.

    For instance: Having to select the ‘flight’ before barnstorming in each state – clunky. Why would I have to select fly somewhere before barnstorming – shouldn’t be assumed I am going to fly from Florida to Virginia if I am barnstorming in Virginia?

    Also, the ad buys are laborious. The worst part is that i can no longer set my overall strategy on one screen based on the days between primaries. There is nowhere that on one screen shows you the days away of each primary in order to strategize, just the order with no dates.

    Very disappointed.

    I will go back to playing PF ’08 as i have been for 4 years.

  5. P4E2012 is a great game, if you don’t like it, stick with P4E2008. What’s the point of a new game if it isn’t different from the previous one?

  6. @Reuben,

    Ok, thanks!


    Thanks for this feedback. A few comments on specifics:

    1. The barnstorming system is similar to P4E8, in that you select a location on the map, then select to barnstorm. It’s not at all the same as Congress Forever, where there isn’t even a barnstorming activity!

    It does require an extra click from P4E8, but these have been separated because of a large amount of feedback from people using P4E8 that this old system wasn’t intuitive.

    More feedback welcome from people on this.

    2. Automating ad buys is on the to-do list, and is easy to implement. Noted.

    3. The primary date is shown on the strategy screen by hovering over the state line. It then appears in the hint. This was done because I felt that adding all the dates at once cluttered the interface. It is very simple to add in dates that are shown at once – I’ll experiment more with this – feedback noted.

    Thanks again.

  7. Note: one can automatically run a national ad in all targeted regions, already. Create the ad, then click the run button. A list comes up. Select the Targeted icon at the bottom of the screen, next to the hand icon.

  8. If I wanted to make the game realistic and brought back the date to June and July and none of the candidates started automatically on the ballot and you had to get it like in real life. Would the computer try to get on the ballot?

  9. Hey, this is related to both President forever 2008/2012. However, I am not good at creating scenarios at all and I am wondering if there is anyone who can create a Wisconsin recall game. To me, that was the epitome of contemporary politics, shouldn’t we have a scenario.

  10. @Taylor I was going to create one but it’s going to take a while to enter all the county statistics and the game version is bound to change multiple times by the time I’m finished which means it would be unplayable. Plus without a popular vote, it’s not very fun/accurate.

  11. I think the Candidates spouse should have more campaign event dates?
    The candidate taking a hit for for activities the Veep does, really drains the campaign.
    Super PACs also appear to be less involved during the game, than they probably will be. Is that related to some sort of difficulty in programming related to them?

  12. I think there should be some damage to the party that doesn’t unify. For instance, if the Republicans in the 2012 election don’t have a candidate by a certain date,

  13. Another idea is to have a snapshot poll (taken one day) instead of a tracking poll, it’s more expensive but you don’t have to get a tracking poll or wait until monday. The results pop up in it’s own screen like the results for a state. It can be for any given state or a national outlook.

  14. I think the states should have a different blue-red alignment at the beginning of the general election depending on which Republican candidate is chosen. For instance, Ron Paul states would be very different from the other Republicans. Likewise, I feel Obama would probably have a distinct advantage over him. Gingrich might have less projected EVs but maybe a higher % of pop vote in the states that like him.

  15. I’m curious how you have the political platforms of the individual states and how strongly those are used in selecting a candidate. I think I clicked one each state and then platform. I think all the states were “center” (even Utah and Vermont).

  16. I got a game crash when i tried to debate prep my veep (christie) playing republican. It has happened to me twice.

  17. I do not know if anyone pointed this out yet, but when you try to add PIPs to an endorsement, then remove them, it screws up the whole adding them again.

  18. The game seems like it’s only uphill from here so far, but I also wanted to add something. I think there should be a ‘crazy politician’ type of meter, that, for instance, would show Bachmann, since she is considered an insane extremist by many Democrats, should have her high on the meter, and would make people think twice about voting for her. Same would go for Gingrich, since he has a lot of integrity issues. And also for Obama, since many on the right have painted him a socialist.

  19. I, too, have been getting several crashes – particularly when doing the debate prep with Christie as VP (haven’t tried any of the the other VPs yet). Will the final version have other Republican candidates? Tim Pawlenty, Michele Bachmann Herman Cain, Jon Huntsman, Gary Johnson, and Rick Perry are all missing…

  20. Oh. Do voting/polls change based on which issues are the hottest? For instance, lets say Candidate A is winning with 30% in the polls. Candidate B has 20%, Candidate C has 20%, Candidate D has 20% and Candidate E has 10%. A news event causes one of the more minor issues to become a major Issue (Iran launches a missile at Israel). Only Candidate E was promoting a pure anti-Iran stance. Candidate A stance hurts him as most being are naturally in agreement with Candidate E. Candidate E does not need to change his platform. Everyone else needs to, or risk losing voters (they also will lose voters for flip-flopping). An issue this major might cause the poll number to change dramatically. Is this possible in the game?

  21. My initial thoughts were that the electoral strategy screen, when sorted by polling percentage, would be better if the sorting differentiated a negative difference from a positive difference (i.e. a -3 from a +3). In other words, like the previous P4E, all the negative polling difference should be listed, descending, above the 0% states. All the states I am polling positively should be listed, ascending, below the 0% states.

    Second, older game versions were helpful when they showed a graphic on the map where I was running ads, and saw where my opponent had ads running. I don’t see that in the Beta.

    Finally, I concur that automating surrogates, spouse, and Veep through targeted states when not specifically directed would make gameplay faster and less complicated.

  22. I don’t know if this has been mentioned. This has happened a lot. The computer will project Romney as the winner before half the states are counted and then Obama ends up winning. I’m not quite sure where that projection is coming from.

  23. Jonathan, I found what i think is the answer to you question. This was posted by “the creator” somewhere else; I figured everybody would like to read it…

    “Hi everyone,

    Just a quick note: President Forever 2012′s next update will be in early July. It will then continue to be updated at roughly weekly or bi-weekly intervals, probably right up until September.

    We will be adding to the current scenario, adding other scenarios, and adding features, while fine-tuning gameplay, the computer AI, and the user interface.

    Official release will probably happen in August.

    Thanks everyone for your feedback so far! I’m looking forward to making this game better.

    A few specifics in response to common questions: yes, we will be adding population totals for primary results (beyond the percentages that are currently displayed), and yes, we will be adding a way to change the number of days per turn, to speed up the middle part of the game.”

    Now, this is my educated guess…

    Let’s assume July [which has 31 days], is divided into 3 section early (1-9), mid (10-19), and late (20-31). Then, I would guess the next update is coming out on July 9. It maybe sooner, but I am not “the creator”. Hope this helps, Happy 4th of July Everyone!

  24. OK..maybe Im a bit slow, but where are the options to choose ‘full screen’ display or does the size of the display remain static?

  25. I’m not sure if this always happens, but I just noticed that long after the D.C. primary occurred, it still has 6.6% for the undecided population. Is that supposed to happen? Or a bug maybe?

  26. Hi!

    I’m wondering if you are planning on adding very many third party candidates? Perhaps the Socialist Party USA’s candidate Stewart Alexander? Or some of the Green Party candidates? Just curious. Thanks for all you do and providing such an awesome game 🙂

  27. Blake, I think that would be interesting, but it would probably be very difficult to even get 5% of the vote as Alexander. Even better would be if all the elections linked together and you could start as Debs in c.1900 and try to get the Socialists to gradually get higher numbers.

    More interesting, would be possible 3rd party candidates like Bloomberg, Kucinich, Ron Paul (if not running as a Republican), Trump, Palin, Bernie Sanders, yourself/myself.

    I’d like to see more done about making the states’s positions more relevant. In the last game, I created a fictional Socialist, and I somehow won Mississippi far easier than New York or Massachusetts. In Mississippi, there’s a great chance that even the greatest orator wouldn’t get 33% of the vote. So maybe a statistical analysis of liberals/independents/conservatives voters (national and local elections) in the past decade or so could help in this.

  28. Hi Brandon,

    Currently P4E12 Beta runs in the windowed screen at 800×600 resolution. To make the screen bigger, the only way to do this right now is to change your desktop resolution (right-click on desktop, Properties) – but I realize that this isn’t convenient.

  29. I just purchased Presidents forever 2012 and attempted to download the beta. In doing so, my anti-virus denied it finding a “threat.” Did this happen to anyone else?

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