Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Political Animals Gameplay Review

I'm playing Political Animals, a turn-based strategy game by Squeaky Wheel and Positech Games.

Game customization options include candidate selection (including traits and special abilities), political platforms, game map (caricatures of real-world locations), staff members, and opponent. A variety of map overlays are available to show different data, but some areas of the map are crowded. Funds and logistics (actions per turn) are used to execute orders: move to a new district, rally to promote a specific issue, campaign for votes, buy a gift to increase a patron’s rating, raise funds, bribe for votes, or a special action. Higher patron ratings make fund raising, campaigns, and other actions more effective in a district, while captured districts (80% patron ratings and 80% of the vote) are harder for the opposition to claim. Beyond initially claiming a couple of districts, strategy involves promoting issues in additional districts to persuade undecided voters and taking advantage of enemy scandals to swing the vote. Events create unpredictability that can unravel any strategy. The AI is good at the game, although it does perform unncessary actions (like performing actions in districts they can’t win, or raising money on the last turn). Although the theme makes it look like a casual game, Political Animals does have some sophisticated political gameplay.