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Politics & Political Games - Notes

As a woman from the Middle East, politics has been a sensitive issue in my life, and making a political game will not be the most cheerful activity.

I decided to do a superficial research and start gathering some random notes in order to prepare a base for brainstorming.

My nation in NationStates:

What are politics? Definitions according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

the art or science:

- of government

- concerned with guiding or influencing governmental policy

- concerned with winning and holding control over a government

competition between competing interest groups or individuals for power and leadership

political activities characterized by artful and often dishonest practices

Why politics exist?

It is claimed that politics are inevitable due to human nature - the power conflict among people. This conflict is based on having a say on what happens next. As long as there exist groups of people, there will be politics.

"When you have two people in a room, you have a couple. When you have three people in a room, you have politics. Politics is an inevitable consequence of humans interacting in groups, so we have to accept that politics will always be a part of our life, no matter how we organise our underlying society" (Marshall, 2017)

In theory, politics are expected to supply an effective system for organising our society. But so far, they have served as a tool to manipulate people and resources aiming to serve the interests of only a certain group of the society, rather than everybody. Nowadays, populism has been rising; political leaders who campaign as populists won elections in USA, UK and in my home country - Turkey. Nevertheless, populist politics intend to serve the interests of the majority population of a society, but not all the people.

How does democracy function today?

"We make elect specific individuals and/or political groups and then we give those people total power to organise many elements of our how our society operates. We put term limits on that power, giving us the opportunity to periodically choose to keep those people in power or to bring new people to power, but in the meantime those elected officials can make many important decisions without reference to us or our desires. Most democracies have an independent judiciary that provides a check on that power, but largely the general populace has no authority in decision making most of the time other than at elections. Further, the desire to be in power has arguably led to many politicians having an incentive to act in their own interests or the interests of their political party over the greater good of society, resulting in sub-optimal decision making" (Marshall, 2017).

What are political games?

"A government simulation or political simulation is a game that attempts to simulate the government and politics of all or part of a nation. These games may include geopolitical situations (involving the formation and execution of foreign policy), the creation of domestic political policies, or the simulation of political campaigns. They differ from the genre of classical wargames due to their discouragement or abstraction of military or action elements "(Wikipedia).

NationStates by Max Barry (2002) - a multiplayer government simulation browser game. The player can find his own nation virtually by answering a questionnaire. He governs the virtual nation by making decisions and forming alliances with other nations and unions.

Diplomacy by Allan B. Calhamer (1954) - a strategic board game. Its main distinctions from most board wargames are its negotiation phases (players spend much of their time forming and betraying alliances with other players and forming beneficial strategies) and the absence of dice and other game elements that produce random effects.

What do these games serve for?

"Procedural rhetoric: creating a simplified, simulated model of a thing in the world so that players can understand how it works (or how it's broken and needs fixing)" (Bogost, 2010).

They are games beyond entertainment; they make a point or show something by experimenting within simpler terms.


Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames by Ian Bogost []

Keith Stuart ,Games blog - The Guardian, The 10 political games everyone should play []

Wikipedia []

James Marshall in Quora []

Merriam-Webster Dictionary []


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