Sunday, September 20, 2015

Stories and Tradeoffs in Political Party Animals

This is Ka Eldereta.  He is a tribal chieftain that represents the interests of the indigenous people of Summer Island.  His name is a play on words, as “Kalderetang Kambing” is a traditional Filipino stew made with tomatoes, liver paste, carrots, potatoes, and most importantly, goat’s meat.  Filipinos have an almost embarrassing affinity for wordplay and puns, and it’s something that we wholeheartedly embrace.  For example, we have an excel spreadsheet of animal names for Owls that includes “Owlfredo” and “Owlberto”.  If that made you chuckle, then you’re probably going to like our game.

I was reminded of Ka Eldereta a few days ago because of recent news in the Philippines having to do with indigenous peoples.  I debated for a long time whether or not to write this blog because it felt a little gross to be linking the game to a tragedy, as if we were trying to market the game based on the sufferings of indigenous people.  My internal compromise was that I would not mention the specific incident in this blogpost.  A google search on indigenous people in the Philippines should already give you a wealth of information on the indignities they’ve had to endure under majority rule.

Still, I felt it was it was very timely to talk about it because it reminded me of one of the reasons we wanted to make this game in the first place.  We wanted to tell stories.  Political Party Animals is primarily the story of the player as politician, and the compromises they are forced to make on the campaign trail.  But it’s also the story of citizens engaging with the politician to further their own interests.

Stories from the Campaign Trail

Some of those stories are hilariously mundane.  For example, the aforementioned Owlberto has as idiot of a son named Owlfredo, who needs an internship with a political campaign.  If you take him on you will have one of your staff replaced with notoriously inept Owlfredo, who will bungle up your campaign (in-game translation, -50% to the result of every action he takes).  But the tradeoff is that Owlberto will be your BFF, and as a patron he’ll give you a substantial bonus to your campaigns in his district.

But other stories will highlight the classic struggle between a weak minority and powerful business interests (or when seen from the other side, a respectable business dealing with radical activists).  For example, we see here Ka Eldereta and other activists protesting against mining activities.  If you champion their cause you will gain their trust (and more importantly, their votes!) but you will displease one of the Patrons in the Mining district, who will now make it very hard for you to campaign in the district.  How will you proceed?

Tell us your stories

These are the stories and tradeoffs that make politics an interesting and often infuriating business.  Despite what people might think there often isn’t one right or wrong way to go about things, just a series of tradeoffs that must be weighed against each other.  For now, the events in Party Animals will be based around political stories in the Philippines, but as we move forward in the game we’ll be soliciting stories from people around the world and finding a way to integrate them in the game so we can hopefully tell stories from around the world.

Thanks for reading.  If you'd like to tell us a political campaign story from your side of the word, you can email us at heypartyanimals@gmail.comTo be one of the first people to try our closed alpha, please sign up for our mailing list!


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