I cannot emphasize enough how addictive this game is. The developer, Positech, states that D2 ‘looks daunting at first’ and they’re not kidding. There appears to be so many variables to contend with it’s a wonder you got elected in the first place! Once you’ve played a few ‘test’ regimes, however, you quickly settle in and learn what’s effective and what’s not. I made the mistake of showing D2 to my girlfriend and subsequently had to sit patiently watching her for two hours before I got another chance to play.
D2 opens with a series of 9 nations to choose from. Each has its own perks and drawbacks. If you want a lot of money to play with early on, choose the capitalist haven, Koana. Your budget surplus will easily hit $90billion within the first couple turns, giving you plenty of cash to fund various policies.
Once you choose a nation, you are given the option of configuring the populace. For a balanced game, Positech recommends not adjusting the default settings. Each nation comes pre-set with a pretty mixed society. Obviously, in a heavily capitalist society you’re going to have a lot of business owners concerned about taxes and property rights. This is important! You need to know your people to propose initiatives which will be viewed favorably.
Choose your political affiliation carefully. It doesn’t make sense to be a socialist president in a capitalist country. Do that, and you’re setting yourself up for a single term regime! It took me forever to figure out why I was so unpopular! I had glossed over that option the first couple times I played. The game doesn’t default you to the most beneficial, so make sure you know what’s popular and what isn’t.
Once you’ve chosen your country, political affiliation, and term limits, you are presented with the main screen. As can be seen from the screenshots below, the issues (represented by the icons) seem very overwhelming. If you hold your cursor over any segment of the population, or any issue, the red and green lines appear showing you how the issues related to each other and to your people. In the screenshot below, ‘Crime’ is directly related to poverty, police spending, etc… Increase police funding, maybe do some racial profiling (for non-liberals), and crime goes down. Getting rid of problems makes everyone happy, but your methods might have negative influences on certain members of your population (i.e., the aforementioned liberals).
With each turn you have a certain amount of political clout (represented by a fist and a number). Each policy, or adjustment to spending requires different amounts of clout to implement, and most policies take several turns before their effects are felt. Pay attention to your reports and your society! The people will let you know what needs to be done! Ignore them and you risk terrorism, or even a coup! At the end of each term, there is an election. If you’ve done your job well enough and get re-elected, the people will hold you to your campaign promises!
CONCLUSION: That being said, you cannot please all the people all the time. So go ahead! Be controversial! You may, over time, liberalize your society (or make it more conservative). Have fun and experiment! D2′s creators spent what appears to be an ungodly amount of time coding the interworkings between …well, everything!
I have to go, my girlfriend is feeling dictatorial…