''President Forever 2008 + Primaries'' is a political simulation game that incorporates realism mixed with fiction. It simulates United States presidential elections and primary elections in 1960, 1980, 1992, 2000, 2004, and 2008. ''President Forever 2008'' was developed and released by TheorySpark, a developer specializing in political games, on October 12, 2006. The game is an updated version of the original ''President Forever''.
Players must win enough Electoral College votes to win the election, or for smaller parties or candidates a successful campaign may require as little as achieving 5% nationally. The player is responsible for all aspects of their chosen candidate's campaign, from planning and buying advertising to recruiting high-profile and grassroots supporters.
Once the player has decided on their candidate, it's time to crush the opposition. Starting on October 1, 2007, a successful candidate must develop strategies that will out-wit their opponents and also focus their limited resources by choosing which states they will target and how much expend on each one. Players can recruit new foot soldiers in individual states to help boost the momentum and draw voters based on local efforts. To help spread the campaign message across all states in a candidate's strategy, a player can use big-name crusaders to travel from state to state to help drum up popular support.
Like most strategy games, all candidates have a set of attributes that help them when performing activities throughout the game. Attributes such as leadership, integrity, charisma and experience remain static throughout the game, but other attributes like issue familiarity and debating skill can be developed by practice and research. All attributes work together to help a candidate during debates, speeches and their vulnerability to high-powered scandals.
To effectively win supporters, a player must decide on the theme of their campaign as well as their beliefs on the core issues. Changing a candidates position on hot issues will help attract voters to their campaigns, but drastic shifts from the candidates original beliefs will cause the candidate's campaign to be discredited due to "flip-flopping". The media will release high profile news stories which will damage a candidate's national momentum and voters will become alienated.
A candidate's success throughout the elections is closely tied to their momentum in each state, as voters are drawn to high-profile candidates with lots of momentum driving their campaign forward. Candidates need to focus on gaining momentum by creating advertising campaigns, visiting states and fundraising. Good advertising campaigns will help convince the electorate that they are right for the presidency or a player can create campaigns focused on tarnishing other candidates in the lead. Negative advertising campaigns run the risk of backfiring and therefore painting a player's campaign as overly negative. Visiting the voters in their states, or barnstorming, works well towards drawing voters and also helps to boost the morale of the candidate's foot soldiers in that state. Barnstorm too often though, and your message will fall on deaf ears.
A candidate also needs to work on creating a well established campaign by investing time, money and command points into developing the campaign. A well established campaign brings in more fundraising dollars and provides the player with more Command Points to work with.
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