Gameplay proposals based on major theories of sociology and political science

Hello, I would like to contribute to the development of the game and especially to the social phase and the industrial phase.
To do so, I would like to transcribe in terms of gameplay the thoughts of different thinkers from political science, sociology and economics so that you can develop the game in the most realistic way possible. This topic will therefore be a reservoir of ideas for developers.
I am available to discuss if developers or simply players wish to debate my gameplay proposals.
I would gradually add content to the topic.

Institutional Gameplay inspired by Aristotle’s theories.

Variable of class 1

  1. A single sovereign

  2. A small group of rulers

  3. A sovereign people.

Variable of class 2

  1. Probity

  2. Bribery

For Aristotle, the passage from a degree of probity to a degree of bribery would be caused by the attraction for the general interest or the pursuit of particular interests.
For Aristotle, for society to serve the common good, six public functions must be properly performed :

  1. Food distribution.

  2. Commercial power.

  3. Military defense

  4. Taxation.

  5. Religious cohesion.

  6. The exemplarity of justice.

Aristotle maintains that if these functions are ensured, the middle class can develop and society can prosper.

If, on the contrary, these parameters are unbalanced, society is affected by bribery.

Possible combinations :

  1. A single sovereign + Probity = Royalty (enlightened despotism)
  2. A single sovereign + Bribery = Tyranny (dictatorship)
  3. A small group of rulers + Probity = Aristocracy (government of the wise / meritocracy )
  4. A small group of rulers + Bribery = Oligarchy (government of the rich)
  5. A sovereign people + Probity = “Republic” (Democracy)
  6. A sovereign people + Bribery = Demagogy (failing democracy)

Effect :

  1. Tyranny = (+) military innovation; (-) economic innovation; (-) cultural innovation; (+) discipline; (-) civil liberty; (-) social integration; (-) stability/longevity.

  2. Royalty = (+) military innovation; (-) economic innovation; (-) cultural innovation; (+) discipline; (-) civil liberty; (+) social integration; (+) stability/longevity.

  3. Aristocracy: (-) military innovation; (+) economic innovation; (+) cultural innovation; (-) discipline; (+) civil liberty; (+) social integration; (-) stability/longevity

  4. Oligarchy: (-) military innovation; (+) economic innovation; (-) cultural innovation; (-) discipline; (-) civil liberty; (-) social integration; (-) stability/longevity.

  5. “Republic” (Democracy): (-) military innovation; (+) economic innovation; (+) cultural innovation; (-) discipline; (+) civil liberty; (+) social integration; (+) stability/longevity.

  6. Demagogy : (-) military innovation; (-) economic innovation; (-) cultural innovation; (-) discipline; (+) civil liberty; (+) social integration; (-) stability/longevity

Example of gameplay interface :

Source : “Politics” by Aristotle

Sociological gameplay inspired by the theories of Weber :

Types of political domination :

  1. Legal-rational domination = Legitimacy of political law (Rule of Law, Republic)
  2. Traditional Domination = Legitimacy of social tradition/custom (Empire, Royalty, Feudalism, Constitutional Monarchy)
  3. Charismatic domination = Personal legitimacy of the leader (Despotism, Authoritarianism, Totalitarianism)

Effect :

  1. Legal-rational domination = (+) military innovation; (+) economic innovation; (+) cultural innovation; (-) discipline; (+) civil liberty; (-) social integration; (+) stability/longevity

  2. Traditional domination = (-) military innovation; (-) economic innovation; (-) cultural innovation; (+) discipline; (-) civil liberty; (+) social integration; (+) stability/longevity

  3. Charismatic domination = (+) military innovation; (-) economic innovation; (-) cultural innovation; (+) discipline; (-) civil liberty; (+) social integration; (-) stability/longevity

Example of gameplay interface :

weber example

Source : “The Three Types of Legitimate Rule” by Max Weber.

Sociological gameplay inspired by Durkheim’s theories.

Variable of class 1 :

  1. Lack of social regulation = Individuals are completely free of their actions and constantly ask themselves existential questions (Libertarian/anarchic society)

  2. Excessive social regulation = Social life is extremely regulated, individual margins of maneuver are reduced (Authoritarianism, Totalitarianism, police state).

Variable of class 2 :

  1. Lack of integration = Individuals are not attached to society and think only of themselves (Individualistic and multicultural democracy)

  2. Excessive integration = Individuals live to serve a political ideal (Nationalism, Theocracy, Communism)

Effect :

  1. Lack of social regulation = (-) discipline; (+) freedom; (+) innovation; (-) centralization of the State ;

  2. Excess of social regulation = (+) discipline; (-) freedom; (-) innovation; (+) centralization of the State ;

  3. Lack of integration = (-) social cohesion; (-) stability; (+) innovation; (-) centralization of the State ;

  4. Excessive integration = (+) social cohesion; (+) stability; (-) innovation; (+) centralization of the State ;

Particularly dangerous effects :

  1. Lack of social regulation = Risk of political implosion (such as the implosion of the Holy Roman Germanic Empire or the fall of the Roman Empire) and development of competing political factions (warlords, militias, gangs, political movements, …) within the country to the detriment of the State.

  2. Excessive social regulation = Risk of popular insurrection and revolutions.

  3. Lack of integration = Risk of ethnic secession, civil war and community conflicts.

  4. Excessive integration = Risk of exile of marginalized populations, economic recession, and diplomatic weakening of the country.

Gameplay interface example :

Source : “Suicide : A Study in Sociology” by Emile Durkheim.

Historical gameplay inspired by Hegel’s theories.

According to Hegel, the goal of History is to achieve the synthesis of freedom and reason. The actors of History are not individuals but peoples. Each people would have a mentality.

Each stage of history consists of three procedures:

  1. The elaboration of the thesis A = a people A established its state on a territory.

  2. The elaboration of the antithesis B = a people B claims this territory.

  3. The appearance of the synthesis C = People B conquers people A and adopts its customs or people A and people B form a political alliance (fusion of A and B). The synthesis of A and B gives birth to the people C (A+B=C).

The stage of synthesis absorbs the two previous actors, without sacrificing their own significance.
To go beyond, in Hegel’s case, is to deny but to preserve, without annihilating.

In the social era, the player’s objective is to absorb the attributes of other peoples of his species for his own benefit. In this respect, each people has its own attributes.

Examples of attributes :

  1. Culture of Migration = faster migration/movement of the group, allowing faster access to food-rich land and avoiding starvation and death of the people.

  2. Culture of Sacrifice = increased social cohesion and increased cultural innovation

  3. Culture of Discipline = strengthening of social cohesion and productivity but weakening of innovation.

Source : “Lectures on the Philosophy of History” by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.

Decadence gameplay inspired by Montesquieu:

In several index are to be monitored to ensure the stability of his state:

  1. Government stability (some types of government being more unstable than others) ;

  2. Territorial expansion (suffering several defeats, losing cities repeatedly or simply losing territorial influence impacts the stability of the State) ;

  3. Epidemics (diseases can cause sudden population declines and weaken power) ;

  4. Corruption (an index that grows when the political system has not been reformed and the territory has not expanded for a long period of time) ;

  5. Diplomatic image (certain political actions or certain types of political regimes can be detrimental to this index) ;

  6. Cultural power (social cohesion must remain strong, otherwise cultural rebellions may appear).

Degree of stability :

Very stable = Degree higher than 75

Stable = Degree between 25 and 75

Stagnant = Degree between -25 and 25.

Unstable = Degree between -25 and -75

Extremely unstable = Degree less than -75

Effects of instability:
If a state becomes extremely unstable, it will lose part of its territory/cities (50%) and new small independent nations will appear on it.

Some doctrines can facilitate state instability while others limit it.

When a state collapses, some of the states it had conquered may reappear on the land they once occupied.

Source : “Considerations on the Causes of the Greatness of the Romans and their Decline” by Montesquieu.


I just wanted to ask one thing : how would the UK or any other parliamentary monarchy work in this system? You said that a republic is a good democracy and that a monarchy is an enlightened despotism. However, AFAIK the UK only has a ceremonial monarch and the Prime Minister is the one who can actually do things. Also, most republics in the world aren’t democracies, but dictatorial states.

I think the system itself is very clean and mathematical, which I admire. The only problem is that politics seems to change overtime. Again, I don’t really know much in politics so I might be wrong.

Anyway, welcome to the forums!

Just because a country has the word republic in its name doesn’t make it a republic, Borge North Korea and China say they are a republic but are most definitely not.

And @LittleTony I like these ideas, but I don’t see how a certain type of government decides how militaristic and economic a country is.

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I just saw this and thought: SOCIOLOGY! (Also, why does it seem like everyone hates sociology? Just because it’s a derived science doesn’t make it less than.) Then I read it and thought: complicated.

I love this idea, and hope something of this sort will be implemented. The only issue is: how does the player influence their socitiy? How would the player influence a democracy at all? How would changes of power be dealt with? I hope you don’t see this as me trying to change the topic, and I don’t see it this way. I would think, like, for example, in a charismatic government you would choose a prospective governor every (a few years less than average leader lifespan) and play as both them and the current leader. This way you could run projects and wars during a transfer of power and play through the dramatic political battle of a power change. This is just how it could work for charismatic government, legal-rational and traditional governments could have their own methods.
(Weirdo-insperational thingy that I drew some if this from: rules for rulers by CGP Grey, on YouTube.)

And another “axis” (say, the Aristotle axis) could effect how you get to choose what to do. To declare war, all a one-ruler government has to do is say “I declare war on Made-up-vania” but a democracy could make you do, and I kid you not, paperwork! Terrible, huh?

Anyways, welcome to the forums!

Oh boy. Classical philosophy and some more modern sociology. Takes me back to debate. Anyway, welcome to the forums, and glad to have you!
So… Aristotle was influenced by the Athenian and wider Greek culture he grew up in, though a lot of the specifics are fuzzy. Some key things I feel are necessary for working with his works (I apologize at how badly I’m going to butcher this):

  • Aristotle was an interesting mix of optimistic about people, in and of that he believed people could and should do good for it’s own sake, though his works do note the unfortunate (for him) truth that people fall short of his ideals (can see this really well in his assorted writings and debates on rhetoric). In politics, if I remember correctly, he more or less postulated that as long as people received those public services that society was set up to proved (see the list above) that people would act in a manner supportive of the greater good (probity) while inefficiencies led to men acting in self interest (bribery/corruption).
  • He also thought that the general populous should not be making decisions. In general, his works tend (however much) towards supporting oligarchical forms as the… best? most stable?.. state. And, to be fair, the rise in democracy as a functional governing type has corresponded with increased social stability, and with in education, something that was lacking amongst the lower class (and can still be seen in class dynamics nowadays).
  • There’s some other stuff that’s part of it, that boils down to the difference between the chance to live a better life and the liberty to choose your own life (seen in comparisons between his works and renaissance philosophers/sociologists like Locke).

As much as I’d love to give (terrible) outtakes on the other three, I haven’t actually read and broke down the works proper, so I’ll leave it up to someone who’s actually qualified for those. I ended up arguing Locke and Kant a lot more, and my collegiate sociology class was… a joke, so I can’t really pull anything from there.

This should get fun fast.

Hey, someone else mentioning CP Grey! Ja, rules for rulers has some really nice bare bones breakdowns of governance. For those of you who are too busy, lazy, rushed, or uncaring, CP frames governance via power structures - a position of power has a series of “key” supporters that help ensure the continuance of power. During the video there’s also a correlation drawn between the source of wealth (and thus influence) and the type of governance, whereby wealth sources that require a productive populous tend toward democracies, while those that do not, or may be entirely divorced from the populous, tend towards dictatorships.

As I weed out the logical errors in my personal opinion, of which there are likely many, I’ll get them added. For now, here’s a quick, terrible breakdown of the videos.

For an overview though, democratic states only work well in when the interconnection of the society in question does not outpace the challenges faced by said society, which is part of the reason why we see democratic societies occur in tribal societies, as well as some primate (there are probably others, this is just off the top of my head). Once the ability to communicate and react to said difficulties starts to diminish is when you see the formation of power consolidation. Take, for example, kids playing. The harder it becomes to integrate the kids into a game, the more likely that some will naturally end up taking the lead. The actual change is, like most human things, on a sliding scale rather than neatly discrete, and partially dependent on host culture and the children themselves, but it does follow the general rule of how humans organize themselves naturally.

Hi, thank you for your comment
You’re talking about Aristotle’s system, which dates back to antiquity and which I described first. It is quite normal that it is not adapted to parliamentary monarchies because they appeared only after the Renaissance and near the industrial era.
Aristotle’s model is only one model among others. I have described other models from the theories of other sociologists and thinkers of social sciences like Hegel, Weber, Durkheim and others. So, if one model does not suit you, you can choose other models from a wide selection.
I intend to gradually add other models from the theories of other sociologists, historians, economists and political scientists.

The usefulness of these academic theoretical models is that they allow to structure a gameplay and give it a basic mechanism. This helps developers to have a picture of the pillars of the gameplay and thus more easily build little by little on top of it.

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Thank you. I have not yet touched on the question of militaristic or economic societies because they do not figure in the political model of thinkers that I have cited for the moment. But other thinkers have thought about the question and I will introduce them as I go along.
As I said, my aim is not to propose a single theoretical model. I’m trying to propose a myriad of different models so that developers can use one or combine some with others.

When it comes to the name “Republic”, you’re absolutely right. I have only taken the names used by Aristotle but nothing prevents the developers from changing them and adapting them if they wish.

Thank you.

It all depends on the approach you want to take.
For example, Seymour Martin Lipset states that the degree of democratization is linked to the socio-economic development and the level of modernization of the country. Lipset bases his argument on a comparison between countries classified according to their political system as stable democracies, unstable democracies or dictatorships. Empirically, the degree of democratization is statistically correlated to the state of a country in terms of wealth, industrialization, urbanization or education, although there are some exceptions.

In this respect, Lipset summarized his theory as follows: “the more well-to-do a nation, the greater the chances that it will sustain democracy”.
Far from asserting that modernization would necessarily lead to democracy, Lipset simply explains that there are conditions for democracy.

Thus, it is possible to propose a gameplay in which democracy could only be achieved if the socio-economic conditions Lipset describes are met.

I plan to write a more in-depth gameplay model on Lipset’s theory to highlight all its subtleties.

In my opinion, one must distinguish between changes in leadership and changes in regime.
A state can change rulers without changing regime, as in democracies (elections) or monarchies (dynastic succession).
But a state can also change regime without changing ruler, as was the case in Germany under Hitler (he was chancellor of a representative democracy and became a dictator).

I think that changes of rulers should not harm the gameplay. You should be able to embody several leaders and you should also be able to change regimes. The only reason why the player should lose would be the fall of one’s state (if one has achieved the creation of a state) or the disappearance of his tribe (if one still embodies a tribe).

In terms of regime change and particularly transition processes leading to democracy, the work of Terry Lynn Karl and Philippe C. Schmitter is very interesting on this subject.

According to them, there are four modes of transition to democracy :

  1. The pact (conservative reform) corresponds to a multilateral compromise between elites, old and new elites (for example, the restoration of democracy in Uruguay, which was the result of secret negotiations between the military and opposition groups).
  2. Imposition (revolution from above) corresponds to a unilateral decision by the elites (for example, Gorbachev’s decisions in the USSR that led to the disappearance of the communist regime).
  3. Reform (reform from below) is a decision favored by the masses without the use of force (for example, peaceful demonstrations, strikes, referendum, …).
  4. Revolution (social revolution) is a unilateral process imposed by the people by force and which can degenerate into persistent civil war.

I will also try to further develop Karl and Schmitter’s thinking because I am sure that there is a lot of potential to be exploited.

Absolutely, but it’s more about the gameplay of international relations, which deserve their own gameplay. I’m also going to try to propose gameplay about game diplomacy because there’s also a lot of content, good ideas and good theoretical models to exploit.

Thank you very much, I’m happy to debate this topic.


More specifically, he supported the aristocratic form, which he defined as the governance of wise councils.

Absolutely, Aristotle argued that a city could only function properly if the middle classes (merchants, craftsmen and small landowners) were prosperous, and this could only be possible if public services were properly provided.

This psychological approach is one possible approach to the question of democratization. Personally, I am more inclined towards the institutional approach. More generally, I think that three main approaches to democratization can easily be transcribed in terms of gameplay: the institutional approach (like Aristotle for example), the cultural approach (like Hegel or Weber for example) and the economic approach (like Marx or Ricardo for example).

I would be happy to discuss this point with you.

Instead of quadruple posting, you could have simply edited your first answer. This is quite legendary, though.

Added a gameplay of civilizational decadence inspired by Montesquieu’s theories on the fall of the Roman Empire in the main post.