Thursday, September 16, 2010

Gaming and Econs

How come it feels like you need a diploma in economics to play certain games?

Cause that's exactly how I felt when playing Paradox Interactive's Victoria 2. Not that it's a bad game, it's actually very fun and interesting. But the way their econs work is not for the faint-hearted.

Usually games ship with this kind of design. Population gives you taxes. The higher your population, the higher the taxes you get. How your people get paid is not of your concern, but they always have money to pay their taxes.

But Victoria 2's system is different. Their population is divided into different class groups. You have farmers, labourers, clerks, craftsmans, bureaucrats, soldiers, officers, clergymen etc.

Farmers get paid when people buy their produce. Labourers, clerks, craftsman get paid when people buy manufactured goods. Soldiers, officers get paid by the government (that is YOU) and their salary is defined by how much you put into the defense budget. Bureaucrats and clergymen are the same, but is defined by the Admin budget and the Education budget seperately.

What does this mean?

If your taxes is low, and your government spending is high, what immediately comes to mind is to reduce the defense/admin/education budget to reduce your spending. But what really happens is that as your soldiers/officers/bureacrats/clergymen get lower salaries.....they pay lower taxes.

So lower spending = lower tax intake. And they get less money to pay for the goods they need from the farmers and labourers. And their tax contributions drop.

Which means I see a downward spiral in my economy once it gets in, and I cannot see how I can turn things around. Other than take massive loans while raking up spending to give people money to spend aka FDR and push the economy up.

Keynes, anyone?


  1. Wow! Sounds like a game with much micro-economic management.

    The massive loans you mentioned sounds like some things governments today are doing. Maybe the goods and services from the farmers and labourers need to change somewhat or risk facing a general glut. Maybe some change in the govt. policies can help haha! Does the game system allow that?

    The game sounds quite 'cheem' manz ;P

  2. wa what game? can conquer other countries? lol

  3. Since I cannot edit comments...

    My first few games as China, I suffered massive economic woes. I'm literally getting hammered by the western powers since I am unable to modernize my army due to lack of funds/tech.

    China starts with and has the biggest army in the world. But even the 172k strong army I start with is useless if my army consists of mainly irregular troops (the worst) with no tech. Faced against a 42k British army of regular infantry and artillery, I lose. Guangxi is lost. Guangdong is also lost.

    But this current game panned out different. I started off with massive tariffs (100%) which did not help me to stave off debts. However, a combination of massive tariffs, 0 military spending and 100% taxes for the aristocrats and the middle class has actually managed to turn my economy around. My debts were paid off, and now the economy is booming. To the tune that military spending is back at 50% and taxes are slightly lowered. How that happened, I don't know. Possibly reliance on the huge farmer/labourer/aristocrats consumption + tariffs managed to outspend the loss that I suffered from the poor soldiers/officers that are not getting paid.

    Which brings the point to the tutorial that claimed that knowing your populace is key.

    It probably is.

  4. And yah, you can annex countries in Victoria 2.

  5. I saw the game review over at gamespot... very strategic game, no nice graphics, alot of numbers... I am eye candy gamer hehe