Democracy 3

Common Sense Media says

Balance ambition and political obligations in government sim

Age(i)

2
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9
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

When your government works well, kids get positive turn-by-turn feedback about their polling, the economy, and the challenges facing their countries. When things don't go so well, the feedback quickly sours.

Positive role models

The constituency and cabinet are very diverse, but kids don't really interact with these people except as part of the statistical engine running the game.

Ease of play

While the main interface seems crowded and daunting at first, a brisk tutorial system helps parse it and focus the kids' attention.

Violence

While the game doesn't explicitly show violence, kids will read about and sometimes hear audio cues for violent acts such as riots, military action, terrorist attacks, and assassinations.

Sex

Some of the government policies, like those concerning same-sex marriage and reproductive rights, reference human sexuality.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

At times kids have to make decisions about consumers' rights and economic policies like the luxury tax which might spark reflection on personal values.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

While drinking, drug use, and smoking are not shown, kids can weigh in on policies about the legal drinking age, legalized drug use, and taxes on drugs like alcohol and tobacco.

Privacy & safety

There's a link on the main menu to a Facebook page, and there's an active community of players and modders on the Steam community which includes a forum.

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.

Parents say

Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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.

Game details

Platforms:Linux, Mac, Windows
Price:$24.95 individual; $99.95 classroom
Pricing structure:Paid
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Positech Games
Release date:October 14, 2013
Genre:Strategy
ESRB rating:NR for The first Democracy game received a T rating for drug references and mild suggestive themes. (Linux, Mac, Windows)

This review of Democracy 3 was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written bystratarxis13 May 29, 2014
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

THE BEST

There is no violence or anything bad. The game is the best educational game i have ever see.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Easy to play/use
Adult Written byAn Enigma April 4, 2015
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

Trying Out Government Opinions

This is the most realistic government simulation there is. It has a tough barrier to entry, but it puts you in the shoes of a real president/prime minister. Want to make a scientific paradise? Go ahead. Police state? Knock yourself out. Liberalism to the point of communism? Pure capitalism? Whatever you want, it's there.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much consumerism

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