Partitocracy focuses on the relationship between the parties, the voters, represented in the game by voter groups, and their interactions, both through legislation and media outlets. Each player is in charge of a Party, decides what sectors of the ideological spectre they want to represent, fight with other parties to be the preferred option for their voters and all of it while establishing alliances to reach government and develop their own policies.
It is a game about how parliamentary politics work. It’s not so much about a particular country but about the concept such countries represent, particularly the European ones. In parliamentary democracies, the main instrument of change are political parties, and these set a relationship with the voters, specially with the organized ones. In most cases, political parties appeared first as a tool of change defending the interests of particular voter groups, and broadened their influence to cover what can be described as their ideological spectre. Some parties are very specific and focus only on goals about very particular policies, as in the case of the several “senior citizens” parties that exist in some European countries. Others aim for a wider audience with hopes to accumulate enough influence and voters to become a decisive player in the political landscape. Once an event is triggered, the impact on the public opinion is uncertain.
Nowadays, parties interact with the voters mostly through media. Communication is key and probably the most heard excuse in politics when a party has been ousted from government has been “We haven’t been able to get our message through”. Of course there are other means for parties to interact with the voters, like their activists, but the relationship between politics and media is the veins through which politics are handled. Due to this, the ‘fuel’ parties have in this game, the resource that gets them moving, is the media attention they can gather, and how they expend it. Will it be better to use that attention to pump up your message towards the senior citizens or on a smear campaign against another party for their past actions? Is it worth to stay on topic with your agenda when an emergency shutdown is dragging all the attention to the state of the nuclear plants? Shall we convince the population that this particular law we want to present to Congress is in their best interest? All these, and many others, are the decisions the players, as parties, will have to take on their everyday, and soon they will realise that there isn’t enough media time for everything.
At the same time, the parties are composed, mainly, by people that draw out of the voter groups they support, in a quite symbiotic relationship, thus embedding the party of unique qualities depending on which groups it relates with.
Partitocracy is a game for 2 to 5 players aged 10+, and a regular game lasts between 3 and 4 hours.
The game will be crafted in the EU, and we will send from either Norway or Spain. Due to that, shipment costs will be around 20€ in Europe, 35 overseas (yes, we know, as much as the game and that sucks). In the event that several orders are taken from the same region, we will try to contact with local game stores to create delivery hubs, which will reduce drastically the costs. Those that pledge for a 6-box for stores can contact us to discuss the details. Of course, if we get enough pledges we will manage to score a better transport and delivery deal. We will update on this issue along the campaign. We are planning to attend this year Spiel Essen, and we are considering arranging a delivery hub there, too, if enough people is interested. We will poll our backers on the subject. As it is now, delivery in Mallorca and Norway can be reduced significantly.
Each player takes charge of a Party. Initially they have 6 Influence Points to assign to the different Voter Groups. When there are elections, the voters assigned to each group are spread according to whoever holds influence over them, with slight variations depending on how overwhelming is the control of a group a single party has, or how well the electoral campaign roll went.
Voters are classified along the ideological spectrum, and a group of 9 voter groups are picked up representing a portion of it. Generally speaking, Voters distribution follow roughly a gauss curve, but historical conditions and long term legislation can shift slightly towards left or right such distribution.
Each voter group has a basic voters value (black number) which can be modified with laws, a Trait that is shared by all parties who have influence in the group (representing activists from such groups joining the ranks of the party) and an Hegemonic bonus that is granted to whoever holds the majority in that given group. But that is what a party gains from a VG, along with their agendas.
Parties agendas are made up of the agendas of the voters groups they want to represent, primarily granted by Laws. Each law can be played either as conservative or progressive, and its effects are different. Players will gain victory point tokens for every group they support that is happy with the new law, but the groups that are against it will gain voters, as people that are on the losing end of the shift of the status quo will decide their vote for whoever opposes such law firmly. At the same time, if a party votes in favor of a law against its support groups, it will lose influence with them.
Yes. That or by becoming the prime minister 3 times. If the government pushes their agenda very hard they might be able to cash in several VP tokens, but will get a very hard time winning the next elections. Also, presenting a law is expensive in terms of political capital (PC).
Also, laws have 2 effects. An immediate one that happens when they are approved and a more powerful one that might happen if the law is kept in play and supplied with enough cash to become a standard in the society.
Players are given cards at the beginning of the turn up to their respective hand size. These cards can be played for their text as events or used as "face time" on the media to perform basic actions, present laws or spin other events.
Well, no, You spin the news. When an event breaks, each party's communication machine contacts media, spreads rebuttals and try to drag the public opinion to your point of view about the event.
See those 3 colors? Depending on how heated or cooled the public opinion is, the effect of the event played will be tougher or smoother. When an event is played the base effect will be the current state of the public opinion box. Then players in turns can pay PC as multiples of the Even PC cost to heat or cool the public opinion. And this is not trivial, because the initial effect of the event played after this one will be how it ended in the previous event. So it's possible to turn the PO in your favor in a lesser event (cheaper to spin) in order to make it more expensive for others to modify your event.
Well, each turn represents a year. The government must pass the budget every year otherwise early elections are called. Budget depends a lot on how well the economy is going and how many laws the government is trying to keep in play, as they have a € cost to pay. In order to match the budget, the President can decide to add new taxes (targeting particular groups) or go for deficit. On the other hand, if they have surplus, they can consider some tax cuts for certain voters.
It's also possible to play different scenarios with different sets of voter groups, and players can opt for a different starting distribution of MPs by districts and even the electoral law used.
Then there is the welfare and regulations, values that set limits to how well or bad a country can go. Some policies are pro-cyclical, meaning that when things go well, they go really well but if things get out of hand, they get worst. Other policies are anti-cyclical which means that they put limits to growth but save up for a rainy day. Keeping control of the Stability track is the key for a president to remain in the seat.
Yes. It measures how well or bad the country goes. It's a mash up of values, like employment, satisfaction, corruption, et al. Some player actions, uncontrolled events (called Headlines) or failing to maintain a law can push up or down the stability. It ranges from +9 to -9.
It has two markers to keep in mind: Regulations (red tape) on the top end and Welfare on the lower one. Regulations set the artificial maximum stability the country can assess, while Welfare dictates how "well" the country handles the bad times. If Stability drops below the Welfare value, then the country enters into civil unrest that can lead to a revolution, putting an end to the game.
Yep, and then the winner is decided between both fringe groups. Whoever has more popular support between group 1 and group 9, wins it. But you really have to trash up your country.
Well, it's not. We have reached an agreement with Oscar Giménez, a very good and original illustrator to develop the final art for the voter groups and the main elements of the game. If we manage to get past some stretch goals, we will add more artwork for the cards that have some space available for it.
You can check his portfolio http://www.oscargimenez.com/
First, because we are really nice people and this is quite an original game. What we have found out on our playtesting rounds is that players get to behave as we get to see the everyday politicians, and the constant clash of agendas mess around what should be obviously good. What I mean is that the game really gives a good perspective about how parliamentary politics works, so not only it is an entertaining game, is quite illustrative, too. For someone that grew up learning history with Machiavelli, Empires in Arms and the likes, I believe that such aspect of gaming should not be forfeited for the sake of mechanics. It might be trickier, to pull, but it yields a more pleasant experience.
This is our first project, and we failed to secure any distribution deal. So it's quite uncertain that it will end in retail, not widely for sure. We plan to print enough games for the backers, and surely some additional games will be left in stock to replace those that get miss handled or that have any missprint, but we don't think it will be that many. We have other projects under development that we will like to offer in the upcoming years, so it's uncertain when (IF) we will get to reprint this game.
Please, feel free to contact us either here through Kickstarter or on our facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/bpbrettspill we will answer your questions and suggestions as soon as we get notice.
Risks and challenges
We have been developing Partitocracy for a good deal of the past 3 years, and for the last two we had held regular playtesting sessions. Thus the game is as polished as it can get at this stage.
On the front of actual development, all files have been created and set to printing standards, and are just pending for the final art work to be possible to submit it to the printer.
We will be printing in Germany, with LudoFact. I believe their reputation is solid and I expect the copies to be on the way 3-4 months after we finish the funding.
The final art will be developed by Oscar Giménez, a renouned spanish illustrator that will imprint the game his characteristic and slick touch.
The main challenge for us is logistics. Yes, it is our first project of this characteristics and, as it is now, we will send the copies from Norway, and we understand that this makes delivery a bit more expensive than usual. But we expect to break deals with some local sellers in order to reduce the costs of this in cities with a reasonable amount of buyers. We are considering also finding a partner with whom set a stall in Essen if the game arrives in time.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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