Prime Minister Forever

The latest offering from Eighty Dimensional Software, the people who created the insanely addictive political game President Forever, has just been released — Prime Minister Forever moves the action to Canada, letting you lead the Liberal, Conservative, New Democratic, and Bloc Quebecois Parties as they fight to win a Parliamentary majority in this year’s elections.

This is a very clever direction to take the game in — Canadian politics might not sound interesting, but the elections up there are turning out to be quite the nail-biter as what was supposed to be an easy coast for current PM Paul Martin’s Liberal Party has instead turned into a desperate fight by the LP to avoid having their majority pulled away by a newly lively Conservative Party. This makes for good gameplay regardless of whether you play as the LP or the Tories (and I’ve even had fun playing the spoiler role as the New Democratic Party, picking off seats from the ailing Liberals to keep anyone from getting a majority).

And since Canada has a parliamentary system, the game has had some major modifications from its US-focused edition. Most significant of these is the new focus on fighting local elections. To be PM, you need to get your party to win a majority, so unlike American Presidential campaigns you’re not really running about yourself — you’re running to convince people to vote for your party’s local candidate. The developers have accommodated this by allowing you to pick a small batch of “ridings” (local elections) for special focus from all the individual contests being fought across Canada. Your party will then pour additional resources into these contests, increasing fundraising, recruitment of volunteers, and so forth. The question then becomes: which ridings will you concentrate on? Will you defend your incumbents, or try to identify strong challengers who can pick off seats from the other party? It’s a completely different dynamic from American presidential politics, and a fascinating one.

Best of all, Eighty Dimensional continues their tradition of great value for money by offering a free demo for download, and selling the full version of PM Forever for a very, very low price — $11.99. And if that’s not enough, purchasers of the registered version will receive free upgrades adding support for Australian and British elections to the game as these become available over the next few months. That’s a steal, folks. (And President Forever is still available for $12, if you haven’t bought that one already.)