Political games – the best political simulation games on PC

So, you want to know more about political games? Political simulations often have the same alluring appeal as war games and strategy games. The average person likes to test their mental prowess to see if they can do better than their real-world counterparts, or perhaps exert some control over a digital space that looks like their own situation to cope with the trials of life.

Either way, they have an addicting quality that is different from the rush you get from shooters or RPGs, although the breakout is no less real. Whether you are setting economic and trade policies, being strong on the international stage, or leading a nation through war or other crises, there is plenty to watch out for in a genre that attempts to model every facet. of what’s going on. in the management of a nation.

For our list of top political game picks, we’ve more or less focused on government simulation games rather than games that instead try to recreate or promote a specific political agenda – there are a lot of options really. interesting in this last category, like Papers Please or the US Army, but they deserve a dedicated piece. That said, we’ve included a couple of exceptions that really stand out. Enjoy!

Political games

Here are some of the best government simulation games for PC:

  • Democracy 4
  • Superpower 2
  • Supreme Sovereign: Ultimate
  • Rebel Inc: climbing
  • Twilight struggle
  • Power & Revolution 2020 Edition
  • Tropic 4

Democracy 4

One of the posters for political games, the Democracy series looks at simulations of government through the prism of politics and popular opinion. You play as the main head of state of a country and can set all the policies, laws and other choices to test your political ideas. The sole purpose of Democracy 4 is to be re-elected, but it’s a game that by design is meant to be without inherent bias.

The digital population you lead will react dynamically and randomly to your policies, giving you the perspective you need to simulate the painstaking negotiation and trade-off between political ideals and the electoral population. It’s such a complex simulation that the UK’s national newspapers have used it repeatedly to test manifestos from political parties in the run-up to elections. While it doesn’t have all the handling capabilities of the more old-fashioned simulation games, it is the truest “political game” you’ll play. It’s currently in Early Access on Steam.

Superpower 2

A forerunner of games like Power & Revolution (mentioned below) and other similar series like RealPolitiks II, the SuperPower series began its life in 2002, with the launch of the more well-known sequel in 2004. SuperPower 2 would eventually get a Steam version ten years later, in 2014.

SuperPower 2 is an old-fashioned simulation game, with a meaty and informative user interface, numerous buttons to press and all the governing infrastructure of any of the 140 playable nations. What I remember the most is the fact that most games ended with a nuclear attack – usually me. The game has had a robust mod scene that has kept it alive all these years, and THQ Nordic recently announced that it will be relaunching the series with Superpower 3, expected in 2022.

Supreme Sovereign: Ultimate

Supreme Ruler, as a series, has leaned more towards the war game side of the simulation spectrum, as most of them tend to focus on specific conflicts like WWII or WWI. World War, but there have been other games that take place during the Cold War and modern times. as well who have less military orientation.

Supreme Sovereign: Ultimate released in 2014, and is an attempt to merge all the games into one – starting just before the Great War, you can rule a single nation through global conflicts, the cold war, and then into modern times and into the future close . There are also specific historical scenarios that you can play as well. While military and combat mechanics are key to this series, there are also some robust political management aspects that can compete with other more dedicated games on this list, as you also have to manage the country as a whole, which that is happening.

The only thing we would say about this is that developer Battlegoat hasn’t done much to improve their technology over the years, so while this project is ambitious and well-documented, it’s also as clunky as most. old school independent titles.

Rebel Inc: climbing

We’re taking a break from the more global political simulations for a more localized game that you should definitely try out if you’re looking for a well-documented version of the War on Terror. You are in charge of a fictional region inspired by Afghanistan, tasked with trying to rebuild itself after a devastating conflict. This involves not only managing civil affairs to bring prosperity, but also fighting the insurgents who will oppose you.

Related: The best RTS games on PC

At first glance, this might be mistaken for a simple real-time tactical war game, but there are plenty of tools available to you that don’t just involve combat. You must make the most of international aid and funding to build infrastructure, equipment, educate the population and possibly train replacement forces to take over so that your first NATO troops can be sent home. , which gives you a boost.

Strictly speaking, there is no direct government simulation in Rebel Inc, but you engage in local politics and enact policies that help local authorities to rebuild themselves. Ndemic has put a lot of time and effort into making it a sensitive and authentic experience. It’s a shame that recent events seem to have proven that real world strategy doesn’t actually work.

Twilight struggle

It’s a digital adaptation of one of the most compelling Cold War board games of our time. A biting two-player experience, one person represents America, the other Soviet Russia. It’s a card game where victory points determine the ultimate winner, but since you have most of the world to play with, you need to choose your strategy carefully.

Related: The best board games for couples

Again, there is no government simulation here, but Twilight struggle is a political strategy game aimed at trying to recreate the subtle but momentous ideological posture that dominated the period from the Cold War until the collapse of the Soviet Union. Wars are present in a very abstract sense – mainly via maps as mood text – but the main goal is to have more influence in a country than your opponent, and through that the most. influence in a region, making sure you score at the right time. moment.

Be careful though – too much aggressive action can take the DEFCON track to its highest level. When that happens, the player who made him go there loses anyway. The balance in this game would make even Thanos smile.

Power & Revolution 2020 Edition

Buyer beware, this series suffers from the annual release syndrome that can befall famous sports franchises, but the 2020 edition of this geopolitical simulator seems to have a decent audience right now. There is a 2021 edition too, but the answer to this one is more negative and the changes seem minor.

This game lets you play as the heads of state of any of 175 playable countries, with plenty of data and research to make the countries as accurate as possible compared to their real world counterparts. The game even models current events, with the 2020 edition specifically showcasing the COVID-19 pandemic as a major event.

Tropic 4

It’s as much a city-building game as it is a political game, but Tropico holds a special place in our hearts because it brought a humorous and slightly dystopian touch to the nation-building formula. You are the newly appointed dictator of a Banana Republic and must transform it from a former colonial outpost to a thriving paradise, whether through exports or tourism, or both!

While newer entries like Tropico 6 are also quite good, Tropic 4 stay with us in particular because he touched on some really interesting political dynamics in a way that previous games didn’t have. While you couldn’t control your government in fine detail like many of the other games above, there were certain policies that you could adopt, and a lot of that was spent on international relations. You might even pit superpowers against each other as you vie for influence, although if you pushed things too far, one of them was likely to invade you and topple you.

Tropico 5 and 6 do this as well, but as new developers have joined us and brought their own twist to the forumula, the nature of Tropico has changed and the series embraces some of the memes and tropes that are inherent in it a bit more. to the frame. basically, losing some of the political tension of previous games. Whether you choose Tropico 4 or a later entry, you can’t really go wrong.

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