Welcome to Particracy, a web-based political simulation game! Perhaps you were wondering what the word “particracy” means. Literally, it means “rule by parties.” In other words, it is a form of government where the will of political parties dominates over the will of individual politicians. Particracy is a simulation that puts you at the head of one such party, a place where political intrigue, empty promises, compromise, concessions, and coalitions abound.
In Particracy, there is an opportunity for players to play as part of the executive and legislative branches of a fictitious nation, proposing and voting on bills and constitutional amendments, participating in elections, and appointing party members to executive cabinet positions to manage various aspects of the nation. Above all, this game is a political strategy simulation designed to test your ability to advance the agenda and influence of your party. In that respect, the game contains elements familiar to those who’ve played games like RISK, Diplomacy, or Civilization. However, you can accomplish that goal by various means: stimulating economic growth, exerting political capital, or waging war. The most notable mark of your party’s influence will be reflected in the number of seats it garners in the legislative branch during each election, all of which will be discussed in further detail later in this tutorial.
Registering an AccountEdit
To begin playing Particracy, the first thing needed is a user account. Don’t worry; this game is completely free for you to enjoy! To create a user account, click here to open the user registration page. Enter a user name of your choice. This name will only be used to identify you as a user of the game; your party’s actual name can be specified later and changed as many times as you like. Enter a password and your e-mail address. Your e-mail address will not be displayed or redistributed in any way, and will be used only to contact you in regards to the game (i.e. password retrieval, bill notifications, debate subscriptions, or administrative notices). Remember your user name and password, as it will be used to log in to the game. Do not use a critically important password, as the absolute security of your password cannot be guaranteed.
Finally, choose a nation in which your party will reside.
- Once you have chosen a nation for your party, it cannot be relocated. It would be necessary to deactivate your old user account and create a new one if you wish to relocate to another nation, but continual relocation is frowned upon by the moderation staff and will be disallowed if abused.
Choose wisely, but don’t worry; you can’t make a mistake. Even if you choose a nation filled with citizens who do not share your party’s specific ideology, public opinion changes randomly over time, so don’t be afraid to take on a tough crowd and play the part of the minority opposition! If you would like to see how many parties presently occupy each nation, click on the Nations option from the main menu. It’s wise to choose a nation with the fewest existing parties, as it will be easier for your party to acquire seats when elections occur since there will be less competition. Once you have finished, click the Create button to create your account and begin playing Particracy!
Forming Your Party’s IdentityEdit
- See also How to start your party page
The first and best thing to do once you’ve created a user account is specify some information about your party. This will be useful in assisting you to crystallize the identity and character of the party in your mind, as well as giving the other players in your nation an overview of your party’s platform. To specify information about your party and its platform, click on the link to your party’s page on the main menu at the top of the page. If you have just registered, the link should read [your username] Party where [your username] is the name you used to register your user account.
You will be taken to your party’s page where all of the information regarding your party is housed, including the user to whom it belongs, the nation where it resides, how many seats it has obtained in the legislative branch, its party colour and description, history of legislative influence, and voting record. There are text fields at the bottom of the page that allow you to alter your party’s name, colour, Head of State candidate, executive cabinet candidates, and description. You can only change one field at a time. Once you have entered the appropriate information in a given field, click its corresponding update button to the right.
- Enter your party’s name in the first field and update your entry with the Change Name button. Do not begin your party’s name with the word “the” as this will be added automatically in most game generated messages that concern your party.
- Enter a hexadecimal value of a colour for your party and update your entry by clicking Change Color. If you need help understanding hexadecimal colors, see the color tutorial.
- Enter a name for your party’s Head of State candidate and update your entry by clicking the Change Candidate button to the right. If you leave this field blank, the game will assume your party is not placing a candidate on the ticket for this position. However, there is no penalty or reward associated with running or withholding a candidate other than a chance at obtaining the given office. Optionally, if you would prefer your party endorse the Head of State candidate for an existing party in your nation, click the drop down menu beneath the Head of State candidate field and choose the name of the party whose candidate you wish to back and click Change Candidate.
- Enter a name in each executive cabinet candidate field and click the corresponding Change Candidate button to the right.
- Add a description of your party’s platform and ideology in the description section and update your entry with the Change Description button. Relevant information that may be important to place in the description includes the party’s general position on any of the named ideologies that can be associated with the game’s particular proposals, as well as the party’s stance on issues it feels are particularly important, such as position statements regarding abortion, euthanasia, and the death penalty; nationalized services, industry, and media; nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons use; and so on.
Once you have updated these fields with the relevant information, both you and the other parties in your nation should have a good feel for what kind of positions your party will take on various governmental programs and statutes.
The Particracy WorldEdit
Particracy world is called Terra and it is divided into 58 nations (as of 12/19/07). Each nation is formed by independent administrative division, called regions with their own citizens, ideologies and economies.
Time is divided in months, where each month is 4 real life hours.
The Legislative ProcessEdit
Legislation is the means by which all policy, both social and economic, is formulated in Particracy. Legislative acts can take the form of constitutional amendments, bills or international treaties. While constitutional amendments more often deal with ceremonial items of interest about the nation, as well as methods by which elections and cabinet appointments are held and made, bills tend to address issues of how government programs for things like health care, law enforcement, education, and defence are administered, as well as what civil rights are afforded to citizens. Treaties are instead special bills, which bound countries to a common platform of legislation.
Each and every bill starts out in the debate phase. Bills that are currently being debated can be seen on the nation page in the table entitled Bills under debate. Players can debate a bill on behalf of their party by clicking on the name of the appropriate bill on the nation page and lodging their argument in the post message box at the bottom of the bill page.
Each bill page contains a description of the bill, which may contain the warrants or stipulations of the bill—which are no consequence to the game engine itself—the proposal section, which shows how the laws for the nation will be changed if the bill succeeds, and the party which proposed the bill. Bills may not always contain content in the proposal section if a bill does not address an issue that has a correlating proposal in the game engine. These “ceremonial” bills can be used for roleplaying purposes, or for gathering support of other parties for a resolution.
Authors can change the description and proposals within a bill as many times as they like during the debate phase, so this is an opportunity for parties to rally behind which portions of the bill they like, pledge support for the bill in exchange for a change in one of its proposals, or outright defy the authoring party’s bill.
While there is no set length on how long the author of a bill must leave a bill up for debate before moving it to the floor for voting, it is important that a reasonable amount of time be given for each party to express an opinion on the proposed piece of legislation.
Voting on LegislationEdit
Once debate on a bill has been fulfilled to the satisfaction of the bill’s author, it will be moved to the floor for voting. Bills that have been moved to the floor for a vote are listed on the nation page under the section entitled Bills being voted upon. They remain to vote for 8 months (32 real time hours).
Voting may be the most important thing you can ever do for your party. Placing your party’s vote on legislation is the only indicator that the simulated voters in your country have of where your party stands ideologically, and if that stance is consistent with their own.
There are penalties to abstaining from voting too frequently. Voters in each nation like active parties, and accordingly they will not vote for a party that regularly neglects to place votes on legislation. However, be careful with your vote! Voters also do not like political flip-flopping. If your party is seen to have changed its stance on an issue by placing contradictory votes, this could unfavourably compensate any electoral gains you made from either voting yes or no and decrease your party’s coherency on the particular ideology involved.
Proposing a Piece of LegislationEdit
Of course, the legislative process is not just about watching from the sidelines and voting on other parties’ bills. When you feel prepared to get into the mudslinging festival that can come with trying to move legislation through its processes, it’s time for your party to propose a bill.
- To propose a bill, click on the link to your party’s page in the main menu at the top of the page. Under the Actions section, there is a link just beneath Proposing a Bill which says Click here to introduce a new bill. Click the link, and you will be taken to the Introducing a New Bill page.
- Here, you will enter the most basic information about your bill. Don’t worry about adding proposals that affect the game laws for your nation; that process will come later on should you so choose to add them. Begin by entering a bill title in the appropriate text field. Make the title descriptive of the purpose of the bill, such as “Nuclear Weaponry Storage and Development Ban” or “Medicinal Marijuana Legalization Act”. Next, add a description, be it either lengthy or brief, into the description text box. Be creative with the description. While it isn’t necessary, you may add a preamble that explains the need for the legislation, or perhaps a list of regulations of the particular topic at hand that aren’t incorporated into the game engine, such as curriculum standards for public and/or private schools or a set of regulations on the adult entertainment industry. Once you have filled in the appropriate fields, click the New Bill button to move the bill to the debate process.
- Once a bill has entered the debate process, proposals may be added. To add a proposal that will affect the game-recognized laws in your country, first navigate to your new bill. If you have just created the bill, the game should forward you to its page automatically. Toward the bottom of the page is a section entitled Adding a new proposal. Click the link there to add a new proposal to the bill. Under proposal type, choose the appropriate selection: Legislation, and click the Next button. From the subject drop-down menu, select the subject that this piece of legislation will address, then click the Next button. On the following page, the current laws regarding this topic will be displayed, along with the alternatives to this policy with radio buttons next to them. Click on the radio button that best describes the alternative to existing law which you wish to enact with this bill, and then click the Next button. Do this for each proposal you wish to add to your bill. Once you are done adding all proposals, your bill will now be completed and ready for debate.
You should be aware that some bills are not with your party’s power to propose. The ability to propose some bills is dependent upon constitutional law (for now cabinet proposals); the ability to propose others may be dependent upon whether or not your party holds the appropriate cabinet position (for now treaty ratification). Cabinet bills are handled from the Executive Actions page which is accessible from your country’s cabinet page. Additionally, pay attention to your party’s proposal quota. Each party is limited to a set number of proposals that can be added to its bills each year, so pick your battles wisely—namely the ones you can actually win given the current composition of your nation’s legislature. The number of proposals your party has left in its yearly quota is listed under the Proposing a Bill section of your party page.
Should you find at any time that debate on your bill is going so poorly that you do not wish to put it up for a vote, you may remove your bill by clicking the link under the Cancelling section of the Actions menu. If, however, you feel debate has been exhausted on the subject and you wish to place the bill up for vote, click the appropriate link under the Proceed to vote section. Be judicious about which bills you send to a vote. Voters prefer bills that actually get passed, so make sure you gather enough support for your issues.
- See also Elections
Periodic elections will be held in your nation according to the length of time specified in its constitution. During these elections, the fruits of each party’s labor are reaped and the balance of power is shifted. Simulated voters go to the polls to choose which party they feel has done the best job of representing their interests in the legislature. The party which has voted in a manner consistent to the ideology of each region will be rewarded with the majority of seats in the legislature from that region during the coming term. However, there are many factors that can affect the result of election returns, so be mindful of these during gameplay.
The more your party’s individual ideology resembles the ideology of a region, the more likely your party will be to receive support from that region’s voters. This ideology is determined by your party’s voting record.
Parties which take the initiative to propose bills will either be rewarded or punished. Each bill you send to vote helps voters to better understand your party’s ideology. Bills proposed by your party which succeed and make it into law will likely bode favorably for your party’s voter turnout in the next elections. Bills from your party which fail will cause a dent in its political capital, and as such it will not perform as well in the next round of elections. Also, the closer to election time your bill reaches a vote, the more relevant that bill will be in influencing those elections.
Flip-flopping on legislative positions will negatively influence election returns for any party, as it impacts a party’s coherency on a particular ideology and voters are less likely to favor incoherent party platforms. Be certain to keep your votes consistent; otherwise, your party may be abandoned by the demos for being too unreliable. Choose any concessions of your platform to other parties wisely.