- Developer: Stardock Corporation
- Publisher: Stardock Corporation
- Platform: PC
- Format: Digital Download
- Release Date: Summer 2012
- Play as candidates Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and others
- Test your political skills against the computer or a friend
- Address such issues as Afghanistan, "Obamacare" and the economy
- Hire operatives to run smear campaigns
- Manage funds to spend on travel, advertising, and more
Stardock’s whimsical political sim series returns in time for the 2012 presidential election with The Political Machine 2012. For those unfamiliar with the series, the gameplay has you and either the computer or an online opponent alternating turns while trying to secure enough votes to win the presidency.
Your objective, as one of the real-life candidates, is to win over as many states as possible by making strategic decisions throughout each week in your campaign, placing you in the best position to win on election night. The game is played from an overhead-view of a United States map, with each presidential candidate represented by a smiling bobble-head figurine.
The choices you’ll make on each turn will typically involve sending your candidate to a particular state, and deciding to give speeches, spend money on advertisements, and/or seek out endorsements in attempt to influence the voting public in each state, based your responses to various hot-button issues. You’ll also be able to hire operatives to engineer smear campaigns or provide positive spin on your actions.
Playable candidates in The Political Machine 2012 include Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, and Newt Gingrich. Players can also create a custom candidate before hitting the campaign trail, adjusting such attributes as face type, body, clothing, hairstyle, and accessories.
Whether you choose an existing candidate or one of your own design, you’ll need to play to his or her strengths and minimize potential weaknesses. Candidates are rated in 11 different areas, such as religious appeal, charisma, fundraising ability, and stamina. The more stamina a candidate has, the more actions he or she can perform on a given turn.
Among the issues you’ll address during your campaign are gay rights, income disparity, troops in Afghanistan, the economy, national debt, and "Obamacare." Regional issues that will need to be addressed as you visit each state in your campaign include farm subsidies, local environmental policies, right to work, state minimum wages, and more.
While the game features the same play mechanics and objectives as The Political Machine 2008, there are a number of enhancements to the visuals and user interface to streamline the turn-based strategy for those new to the series. The Political Machine 2012 is available exclusively as a digital download at a suggested price of $9.99.