A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Democracy 3 is a downloadbale strategy game about real-world government and politics in several Western nations. Players take on the role of President or Prime Minister of Australia, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, or the United States. Each turn, players get an amount of political capital to spend on changing existing policies or implementing new ones. Popular policies bring in more political capital than unpopular ones, so players might find themselves compromising their values to survive as a politician. Turn-by-turn feedback gives players notice of how they're doing, and poor or unpopular performances can lead to domestic trouble and even assassination (though assassinations can be turned off in the options menu). Democracy 3 doesn't shy away from tough issues like drug policy, economics, gambling, imprisonment, poverty, reproductive rights, same-sex marriage, or surveillance, so parents might want to play along with their kids and take the game as an opportunity to discuss these issues.
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What's it about?
In DEMOCRACY 3, players lead one of several Western democracies as either President or Prime Minister. By spending political capital -- the game's main resource -- players enact popular policies or curtail unpopular ones. The more successful they are, the more capital they gain. It's all about managing a ton of moving parts, and monitoring the economy, polling, and threats facing the country so that capital can be steered toward policies that get things done, and, most importantly, keep the player's party in office. This task is difficult but not impossible with some compromise and clever management.
Is it any good?
Democracy 3 simulates the delicate surfing of political waves. Political fortunes rise and fall with economic factors, policies, and voters, each impacted by players' choices. It does a good job of suggesting what it's like to govern a democracy that depends both on money and votes, and balances the needs of the people and the survival instincts of politicians. The interface is designed well -- capturing all of the complex network of influences well, and helping players make decisions. Players also learn quickly they need to compromise, reflecting well the day-to-day tightrope of politics. The cultural and political issues that win and lose voters' favor are made visible, but it's easy for them to get lost. As a result, sometimes it feels like your decisions are targeting these issues well and winning favor, but other times it's easy to feel lost and blindsided, with little to do other than get voted out.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can discuss how playing government-simulation games can help inspire and prepare them to be active digital citizens.
Families can discuss important contemporary policy debates, exploring the differences and similarities between policies and their outcomes in the game and real life.
Families can explore how democracy works differently in different countries.
For kids who love civics and politics
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.