Ahead of the United States presidential election, Game Rant ranks up seven of the best political video games, including Civilization 5, Tropico 5, and Crusader Kings 2.
Being a politician is hard work – just ask United States presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Support of the wrong policy and a focus on the wrong aspect of society can see approval ratings plummet and populations trying to revolt.
Thankfully, video games allow players to rule with none of the risk to real-world stability. Bad moves as leader won't lead to total chaos, as making society peaceful again is just one restarted save away. So, without further ado, here are seven of the best political video games.
7 Civilization 5
Civilization 5 allows players to assume the role of a real world leader (e.g George Washington of the USA and Alexander of Greece) and create their own version of history: going to war, founding new cities and adopting policies to make the nation more traditional, more interested in faith, or focused on trade. With its expansions Brave New World and Gods & Kings, players can dominate their opponents with religion, tourism, and even getting involved in World Congress.
The game will soon be succeeded by Civilization 6, which introduces a new art style, but Civilization 5 could be a good way for newcomers to get used to its nation-building ways.
6 Democracy 3
Unlike Civilization, which tasks players with setting up farms and building armies, Democracy 3 is all about the policies. Released in 2013, the game puts players as the leader of a democracy, challenging them to make decisions based on tax, war, welfare, foreign policy, and more.
From parents to patriots, there are lots of voter groups for Democracy 3 players to consider, as well as additional challenges (such as automation, introduced in the Clones and Drones expansion) to deal with too. While players won't be able to please everyone, the aim of the game is to maintain enough support to stay in power.
5 The Political Machine 2016
Launching in February this year, right in the thick of the US presidential election madness, The Political Machine 2016 lets players take on the role of real presidential candidates from past or future, or create their own. All sorts of tools are at the player's disposal as they contend for the White House, including talk show appearances and discussing key issues such as human trafficking and the Keystone XL pipeline.
The game also features big money spending (e.g on TV ads) and mudslinging, and there are various challenges (such as natural disasters and affairs) to respond to as well.
4 Napoleon: Total War
Napoleon: Total War is a turn-base strategy title that lets players assume the role of famous French military and political leader Napoleon, or one of his rivals. As France fights for global control, or as Great Britain, Russia and more try to take him on in Europe, there will be plenty of battles and political intrigue.
Gameplay involves producing units and commanding armies, researching new technologies, trading with other nations and making money. Historical scenarios, such as the battle of Waterloo, further allow gamers to rewrite the history books.
3 Crusader Kings 2
Taking players even further back in time than Napoleon: Total War is Crusader Kings 2. The critically acclaimed title is all about medieval times, letting players "explore one of the defining periods in world history."
The game can span almost 400 years as a Christian lord (and his descendants) keep the dynasty alive, being sure to get rich, introduce new laws, work with nobles (who all have their own agendas), keep friends loyal, deal with "traitors and heretics," and even fight with the Pope over the bishops.
2 Tropico 5
Also putting players in charge of a dynasty is Tropico 5. Released on PC and consoles, players rule an island through several different eras including the Colonial Era, both of the World Wars, and into the 21st Century. Throughout the years, El Presidente must work to make the monarchy happy before making the island of Tropico independent and deciding whether to build a strong military and fight off invasions during WW1 and 2, or whether Tropico should be a peaceful nation instead.
Not only are there elections in Tropico 5, but rebellions can also rise up and bite players in the butt if they aren't careful – and there's also trading with Russia, China, and other nations too.
1 Galactic Civilizations 3
Set in the 23rd century, Galactic Civilizations 3 takes the politics (and the fighting) to space. Able to play as several races (including the human Terran Alliance, or aggressive robotic race the Yor Singularity), the goal is simply to become a strong civilization among the stars.
As they expand and explore, GalCiv 3 players can design new spaceships, research new technologies, put together trade deals, colonize and, as expected, wage wars with those other races in order to get control of vital areas.
Which political video games do you love? Let us know in the comments.