Out of 10 Attributes instead of Out of 5

One design change I’m considering is modifying the candidate attributes from 1-5 to ‘out of 10’.

I find quite often I say things like ‘I’d like to give this candidate a 2.5’ or ‘a 4.5’. My sense is that the resolution for 1-5 is too low.

The major rationale for a 1-5 system is it forces significant differences between candidates, but I think a 1-10 (say) would also allow for a significant difference between any ratings. For example, a 7 or an 8 would still make a significant difference in terms of game play.

Mapping 1-5 to 1-10 is a little trickier than you might think at first. This is because 3 in 1-5 has no integer equivalent in 1-10 – it would rather be 5.5. This is because it is moving from an odd number of slots (5) to an even number (10). If using a 1-10, my sense is to simply multiply existing values from campaigns using the previous system by 2 (no reworking of campaigns would be required, they would be automatically mapped to the new values by the game engine). So, going from the old 1-5 to 1-10, it would be 1 -> 2, 2 -> 4, 3 -> 6, 4 -> 8, 5 -> 10.

Another possibility would be to move to a 0-10 system. Because there are actually an odd number of slots, the mid-point would be 5. (This has the added advantage of mapping very straightforwardly onto a percentage system (0-100) for deciding the chances of certain things occurring.) The conversion from campaigns using the 1-5 system here would be multiply by 2 and then possibly minus by 1. If doing the minus by one, then it’s 1 -> 1 (but there is the possibility of giving a lower score, 0), 2 -> 3, 3 -> 5, 4 ->7, 5-> 9 (but there is the possibility of giving a higher score, 10). Alternately, just multiply by two, so 1 -> 2, 2 -> 4, 3 -> 6, 4 -> 8, 5 -> 10. In this way, there’s still the possibility of having a completely average score for an attribute (5), all existing 1’s become 2’s, but campaign designers could make it even lower (1) or even lower still (0). This could actually allow for making minor parties even less powerful than they are now, relative to the major parties.

If this happens, it will probably be implemented for PMI and PI first.

Thoughts welcome!

Calling all Ontario political experts for the Ontario 2018 official campaign

Calling all Ontario political experts! Do you want to help design an official Ontario 2018 campaign? If so, read on.

I’m interested in doing an official Ontario 2018 campaign, which has turned into a Wynne vs. Ford vs. Horwath contest, for the upcoming provincial general election scheduled for June 7th.

If you have knowledge of Ontario politics and are interested in designing a campaign, please let me know through e-mail ( https://270soft.com/contact ).

This would be a volunteer position, but you would get credit in the Prime Minister Infinity – Canada game and get to show off your design chops.

270soft can provide trouble-shooting, making the map, help with images, editing, and helping to get feedback on the campaign.

Upcoming Congress Infinity – Version 2.7.4

Hi everyone,

This post will keep track of changes to the upcoming version of Congress Infinity v. 2.7.4.

Changes so far since previous release (this list will be updated as changes are implemented on this side, these changes will not be available until the version is released):

  • Election Screen > Chronological, Closest for party, and so on don’t list off-year elections
  • Editor > Basics > More > added Fundamental regions geographically identical to secondary regions check box
  • Senate 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 > set Fundamental regions geographically identical to secondary regions to true
  • 2012 > Sanders and Democrats > In coalition to on
  • Editor > Regions > Ballot > Set All > if universal political unit selected, description says will change for all regions
  • Surrogates > can add images, similar to candidates
  • Surrogates > Main Screen > name under portrait > if name too long, shows just last name
  • Main Screen > Activities > fixed bug where could continue using surrogate after used all Surrogate Points

Scott Adams was the political pundit of the year for 2015 and 2016

In late December of 2015, I asked whether Scott Adams should be considered the political pundit of the year here.

Some of the objections in the comments were that he hadn’t been proved correct yet, since he predicted that Trump would win the nomination and we hadn’t even had a primary yet at that point. And similarly, that Nate Silver and co. hadn’t been proven wrong yet.

The post has aged well, as Scott’s major predictions from not only that list in 2015 (Trump’s primaries numbers would continue to increase and that he would win the nomination) have been born out but also his major prediction, also made in 2015, that Trump would win the general election. So, it was with some interest I started reading Scott’s book which summarizes much of his thought about Trump’s campaign, Win Bigly – Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don’t Matter.

Adams’ basic idea is that Trump is a very good persuader, and this has enabled Trump to win in spite of an array of experienced politicians opposing him, and a significant part of the media. I was particularly interested in why Adams was able to make a correct prediction at such an early point, when the large majority of experts in politics got it wrong, again and again, about Trump.

Here are some reasons Adams gives.

  1. “I made a point of sampling the election news on both sides of the political spectrum. I’m not sure how common that practice is. […] If you don’t sample the news on both sides, you miss a lot of the context.” (p.10)
  2. “When Trump’s critics accused him of laziness, ignorance, and cruel intentions, I saw a skilled persuader who knew what mattered and what didn’t. […] I’m a trained hypnotist and a lifelong student of persuasion. Trained persuaders recognize the techniques used by other persuaders in a way the untrained do not.” (pp. 10-11)
  3. “I was also among the first (or the first) to point out that Trump was using high-end business strategy that looked crazy to political pundits who had no business experience. I have extensive business experience across a variety of fields [such as running the Dilbert businesses], so most of what Trump was doing looked familiar to me. For example, where others saw Trump pushing outrageously impractical and even immoral policies, I saw him using standard negotiating tactics and hyperbole to make it easier to find the middle ground later.” (p.11)
  4. “Like Trump, I grew up in New York State. That helped me understand his communication style.” (p.11)
  5. Adams had enough money to not worry about people attacking him for his prediction, and what in a sense was support for Trump (even though Adams considers himself ‘ultra-liberal’ on certain issues). (p.12)
  6. Adams wasn’t as concerned about embarrassing himself as many others, and so was willing to stake much on the prediction (p.12)

For point 1., I would also add that if not sampling election news on both sides of the spectrum, you also miss a lot of what other people are seeing, and hence have a harder time understanding their points of view.

Issues for Senate 2018 campaign

I will be re-doing the issues, issue centers, and issue positions for the Congress Infinity 2018 campaigns from the ground up. What do you think will be the major issues at the national level for the Senate?

I’ll be adding and modifying issue and issue position descriptions here as I work on this, and possibly incorporating feedback as it comes in.

Currently, this is a very preliminary list. The issue has possible topics for issue positions next to it. Issues might be broken up into other issues or put together, as I proceed.

  • Abortion
    • FL: Full reproductive rights for women! Only appoint pro-choice judges to Supreme Court and extend abortion rights!
    • L: Keep abortion as it is presently. Safe, legal, and rare. Keep partial-birth abortion legal. Increase funding to Planned Parenthood.
    • CL: Protect responsible choice. Ban partial-birth abortions except in the case of life of the mother. Increase funding to Planned Parenthood.
    • C: Abortion is not an issue for government intrusion. Oppose government control over abortion, but keep Planned Parenthood. Leave abortion policy to the states.
    • CR: Some restrictions on abortion. Allow abortions in cases of rape, incest, or life of the mother. Ban partial birth abortions. Defund Planned Parenthood.
    • R: Only allow abortion in cases where the mother’s life is at risk. Ban partial-birth abortion. Defund Planned Parenthood.
    • FR: Abortion is murder! Total ban on abortions including rape and incest. Planned Parenthood should be shut down completely.
  • Corruption
    • FL: Capitalism has corrupted our system! The system needs to be completely rebuilt.
    • L: The Republicans are completely corrupt.
    • CL: The Republicans are more corrupt than Democrats.
    • C: Washington, D.C. is corrupt. We need better oversight and reform.
    • CR: The Democrats are more corrupt than Republicans.
    • R: The Democrats are completely corrupt.
    • FR: Socialism has corrupted our system! The system needs to be completely rebuilt.
  • Defense Spending
    • FL: Defense spending should be reduced so as to focus on other things. No overseas deployments.
    • L: The armed forces are using too great a percentage of the budget. Cancel unneeded future weapons systems.
    • CL: Reorganize the armed forces to deal with modern threats. Fewer ground troops, more drones and airstrikes.
    • C: The military is in a solid position right now but could use additional ground forces.
    • CR: The military needs additional funding, but not all future and current weapon systems are required.
    • R: The military requires a major expansion in capability to deal with potential conflicts with Russia, Iran, and China.
    • FR: The armed forces must be capable of fighting a multiple-front war including engaging with China.
  • Deregulations (Regulations keep us safe, Regulations reduce economic growth)
  • Drugs (Opioid Crisis, Marijuana Legalization, War on Drugs)
  • Education
    • Completely public school system run by the state. Massive increase to funding.
    • No school vouchers, large increase to federal funding. Modernize school system with more after-school programs.
    • Make teachers accountable with performance based pay. Increase funding. Remain open to options such as charter schools.
    • Support public school system but allow room for vouchers.
    • School vouchers for lower-income students. Privatize failing schools. Charter schools provide competition.
    • Support school vouchers and charter schools. Reduce federal government’s role in education.
    • School vouchers for anyone. Get the federal government out of education completely!
  • Education – Higher (Trade, Left-wing activism at universities, Free tuition)
  • Energy
    • FL: Renewable energy all the way! Ban all polluting forms of energy like oil and coal.
    • L: Move towards energy independence focussing mostly on renewable energy sources. Subsidize clean energy.
    • CL: Invest in clean energy and end oil company subsidies. Cut oil use significantly by 2025.
    • C: Renewable and non-renewable energy must be equally researched.
    • CR: Reduce dependence on foreign sources of oil. Switch to natural gas short-term, renewables longer-term. Some research on alternate energy sources.
    • R: Coal, oil, and natural gas are our main concerns right now. End dependence on foreign energy. More drilling and fracking. Let private funds research other energy.
    • FR: We don’t need to worry about renewable energy sources. Fossil fuels all the way!
  • Environment
    • FL: The environment should be our first national priority to combat climate change. Expand National Park System. Large government programs and regulations.
    • L: The environment and global warming is a major concern. Paris Agreement is first step. Increase environmental regulations and pollution cleanup.
    • CL: We need to leave a healthy environment for our children. Work to reduce emissions and harmful toxins. Fulfill Paris Agreement.
    • C: Balance environmental policies with sound economic policies.
    • CR: The environment is important. Find market based solutions to environmental problems. Lower carbon by natural gas.
    • R: Economic policies and priorities take precedence over environmental concerns. The science on global warming is shaky.
    • FR: The environment is fine. We don’t need to worry about it. Global warming is a hoax.
  • Free Trade (Tariffs, Steel and Aluminum, NAFTA, Australia, China)
  • Government Spending
    • FL: A deficit and debt is fine. Focus on social programs and how the government can better people’s lives.
    • L: Increase government spending on social programs, a deficit is acceptable for longer term gain such as the New Deal.
    • CL: Focus on real priorities. More funds for military and social programs.
    • C: Balance lowering the deficit with other priorities. No long-term deficits.
    • CR: We need to curb spending in order to balance the budget. Respect taxpayers’ dollars.
    • R: A large decrease in federal spending. A Balanced Budget Amendment to ensure responsible fiscal management.
    • FR: Deficit spending should be outlawed as overall government spending is reduced to minimal levels.
  • Gun Crime (Gun Control, Mental Health, Gun-Free Zones, Terrorism, School Safety, Voluntary firearm training for school personnel, Age restrictions)
  • Healthcare (ACA)
  • Immigration (Wall, Sanctuary Cities, DACA, ICE, Extreme Vetting, Merit Based)
  • Infrastructure (Balanced Budget)
  • Iran (Iran Deal, Regime Change)
  • Manufacturing (Bring back, gone forever)
  • Media (Trump is trying to remove free press, MSM is arm of Democratic party)
  • Military Intervention
  • Minimum Wage
  • Net Neutrality
  • North Korea
  • Role of Government
  • Russian Interference
  • Social Media (Regulate and treat as utilities, Require to better deal with fake news)
  • Social Security
  • Special Counsel (Trump and associates should be indicted, Obama and associates should be indicted)
  • Student Debt
  • Supreme Court (Kennedy)
  • Syria (ISIS, War on Terror)
  • Tax Rates – Personal (Recent tax cut legislation – crumbs, repeal)
  • Tax Rates – Business
  • Trump (With (MAGA), Against, Personality or Policy, Crazy, invoke 25th Amendment to Stable Genius)
  • Wall Street

Congress Infinity next release sneak-peek v. 2.7.3, Windows

This is a major update. It adds Senate 2018, among many other things. Details below.

You can download it by clicking the button below for Windows.

Note: Requires you already have the game installed.

Feedback welcome!

New since previous release

  • Editor > Regions > moved ‘On Year’ to General Election box
  • Editor > Regions > select fundamental political units (districts, ridings, constituencies) in separate drop-down box
  • Senate 2014 > fixed bug that would cause game to crash
  • 7 days per turn > select event > now shows correct date on pop-up
  • Editor > can set time for final results for a region
  • Editor > can set how often results updated for a region
  • Editor > Regions > ‘Percentages’ and ‘Candidates’ tabs now under new ‘Parties’ tab
  • Editor > Regions > On Ballot > added ‘Set All’ button
  • Editor > leaders now get their starting funds value from the party funds value, unless overridden by a time-specific funds value
    (the general election funds box for leaders has been removed, and if you specified any values there, it won’t be used)
  • Main Screen > starts, changes region quicker
  • Change Campaign Screen > can delete a user-designed campaign
  • Change Campaign Screen > added Import button
  • Change Campaign Screen > Import > can import a campaign from a folder on your computer
  • Change Campaign Screen > Import > can import a campaign from a zip file on your computer
  • Change Campaign Screen > Import > can go directly to campaigns.270soft.com
  • game options now stored in xml file instead of text file
  • Editor > election date -> regions screen
  • Main Screen > added ‘Pop. Vote’ viewing mode
  • Main Screen > ‘v’ selects Pop. Vote viewing mode
  • Highscores > percentages > fixed bug where wasn’t calculating %s correctly, and so might not get goal bonus
  • Highscores > percentages > fixed bug where wasn’t calculating %s correctly, and so might not get correct bonuses
  • Editor > Regions > fixed bug with setting incumbent party
  • Main Screen > if direct pop. vote, Seats Swing button not visible
  • Editor > if campaign path longer than label, when mouse over displays full path
  • Editor > when select campaign, now has options to import or delete
  • removed version name (ex. ‘Ericson’) from versioning info, is now just a number (ex. ‘2.7.3’)
  • Select Campaign Screen > changed Simulation button icon from eyeglass to test tube
  • Editor > Events > fixed bug where didn’t update to event effect selected
  • Strategy Screen > added ‘by seats’ (‘by popular vote’ if determined by direct popular vote) viewing mode, if are regions with different number of seats
  • Strategy Screen > added ‘by org. strength’ viewing mode
  • fixed bug where name of person making gaffe while barnstorming, regardless of who actually made it, is leader’s
  • Main Screen > momentum viewing mode > no longer shows ‘MMT’ after given momentum number
  • if non-aggression pact, news story
  • if non-aggression pact, popup notifying, if not message added to alerts section of notes
  • Editor > Leaders > significantly sped up
  • Non-aggression pacts now show on Player Info Screen, include turns left in pact
  • Editor > Leaders > Home > can now search for region
  • Editor > Leaders > Surrogates > Home > can now search for region
  • Editor > Leaders > Surrogates > Barnstorming Bonuses > can now search for region
  • Editor > Leaders > new > fixed bug > removed “Add new leader as potential vice-leader?”
  • Editor > Regions > Parties > added listbox that summarizes relevant general election info
  • Editor > Regions > Parties > can click on party in listbox to go to that party
  • Main Screen > fixed bug where couldn’t spacebar to click Done button after a turn
  • Editor > Events > Outcomes > fixed bug if changed from attribute issue to position issue, where wouldn’t update to relevant effect values for new issue type
  • Editor > Issues > can see all issue position descriptions at once, can click on any one to select
  • Editor > Issues > issue lists now sorted alphabetically
  • Editor > Parties > sped up
  • Winner Screen > “Future historians, …” line divided into two lines (fixes problem on Macs)
  • Platform Screen > can click on issue position description to view full
  • New ‘Processing turn …’ pop-up
  • Select Leader Screen > added ‘Skip’ button, to skip selecting leaders
  • updated election night
  • if starting general election without poll-defined %s, fixed bug that would occur is a leader’s committed-leaning-undecided %s for a region were all 0
  • Editor > Regions > fixed bug where changing fundamental political unit’s id caused error
  • Election night > now displays swing in seats
  • Macs > fixed a few bugs involving text not displaying properly
  • Macs > fixed bug viewing screens launched from Constituency Screen
  • Macs > fixed bug viewing Offers Screen
  • Editor > can edit general election universal % shifts
  • Editor > can create multiple % shifts based on starting date
  • Editor > can edit currency symbol
  • Editor > fixed bug where would move mouse to another app, then move back, and non-active window would be brought to front
  • Editor > Relations button removed
  • Editor > added new tab, including ‘Basics’ and ‘Relations’
  • Editor > Basics > Start > updated date controls
  • Editor > Relations > added list of each party’s scores
  • Editor > Relations > can set whether parties in coalition
  • Editor > Regions > Issues > can see all issues, centers, profiles at a glance
  • can export campaigns as folder or zip (compressed) file automatically
  • Election night > if names on right side very long, automatically cut off before %s
  • Highscores Screen > updated, also highlights new highscore
  • Platform and Momentum Screens moved to Players Info > Platform
  • updated Platform Screen
  • updated Endorsers Screen
  • Editor > fixed tab ordering on certain screens
  • can’t attack players in Non-Aggression Pact or Coalition with
  • Ads Screen > can localize ads to regions, not just individual districts or constituencies
  • updated Ads Screen
  • updated Strategy Screen
  • can view up to 100 highscores
  • Winner Screen > can see highscore next to rank
  • Research Screen > can select region by search
  • Strategy Screen > names of regions not on ballot are gray
  • save > fixed bug with save files that were too big
  • save > now only 1 save file associated with a save game, as opposed to 1 plus 1 for each candidate in the game
  • fixed bug if canceled load game where program would freeze
  • fixed bug > if used too many CPs and playing 7 days per turn, would subtract from leader’s EPs each day instead of once per turn
  • Strategy Screen > fixed bug where ordering by Platform Distance listed with some results out of order
  • Ads Screen > can press Esc to close screen
  • Main Screen > Activities > can press Esc to return to Main Screen
  • Research Screen > can press Esc to return to Main Screen
  • Endorsers Screen > can press Esc to return to Main Screen
  • Spin Screen > can press Esc to return to Main Screen, including can Esc out of Interviews popup
  • Theme Screen > can press Esc to return to Main Screen
  • Notes Screen > can press Esc to return to Main Screen
  • Electoral Vote (Constituency) Screen > can press Esc to return to Strategy Screen or Main Screen
  • Player Info Screen > can press Esc to return to Main Screen
  • Senate 2018

First results from Senate 2018 campaign sim

The first results from the Senate 2018 campaign, using Congress Infinity‘s sim mode, are in. Note the campaign has not been finalized.

100 runs.

Republican majorities: 97%

Democratic majorities (includes independents who caucus with the Democrats): 1%

Ties: 2%

Which means, since Pence is the tie-breaking vote in a 50-50 Senate, Republicans have an effective majority 99% of the runs.

Overall average seats: Republicans 53.9, Democrats 46.1.

Republicans gained a super-majority (60 or more seats) 1% of the time, at 60 seats.

The Democrats’ best result was 51 seats, again 1% of the time.

Presidential Ranker spreadsheet

VCCzar has posted a Presidential Ranker spreadsheet, which is fun for getting an idea of how you would rank all the Presidents in the U.S.’s history, here.

If someone has technical expertise in web apps, or wants to gain some experience for their portfolio, helping VCCzar make this into a web app sounds like a good project – you can contact him on the forum at the link above.

Senate 2018 campaign first look

Here’s how the Senate 2018 campaign looks in the game currently.

(Note that the national %s are lop-sided because of California, where it’s 100% Democrats, and New York which is heavily Dem.)

You can see 7 races that are toss-ups. Those are (note nominees have not been selected yet, these are my best guesses at this point)

  • Arizona, which currently has Rep. McSally (R) vs. Rep. Sinema (D)
  • Florida, Gov. Scott vs. Sen. Nelson
  • Indiana, Rep. Rokita vs. Sen. Donnelly
  • Missouri, A.G. Hawley vs. Sen. McCaskill
  • Nevada, Sen. Heller vs. Rep. Rosen
  • North Dakota, Rep. Cramer vs. Sen. Heitkamp
  • West Virginia, Rep. Jenkins vs. Sen. Manchin

Add to this the light-red

  • Tennessee, Rep. Blackburn vs. Fmr. Gov. Bredesen

At this point I’m putting Gov. Rick Scott in Florida, and so making that race 50-50. If he doesn’t run, it will probably be shifted to 55-45 for Nelson.

Note that in North Dakota, although Cramer is a Representative, his district covers the entire state (‘at-large’), so the dynamics of the race are a bit different from a typical Representative.

Maine and Vermont are currently blue because Sanders and King are effectively Dems, but for game play purposes they might be made into Independents.