Decided to pre-order the game last night and play for an hour or two before going to bed. Now it's 4.50 in the morning, whoops!
Really enjoying the game so far, and decided to to share my initial thoughts.
1) The amount of retired people needs to be reduced drastically. I'm in my third term as Chancellor of Germany and the amount of retired people has been at 100% for quite some time now.
2) I started with 85% difficulty rating and game feels far too easy. Don't know how easy it is to make it harder but i'd recommend 30% increase in difficulty across the board so one wouldn't have to play with maximum difficulty level to have some challenge.
3) The national population should be dynamic, i noticed the the population of Germany didn't change at all during my game time. It would be great if it was more dynamic and change depended on health care rating and immigration.
4) There could be some things to send money on. For now there are some expensive ideas/laws i have not implemented but due to the chaotic nature of the economy i'm somewhat hesitant to do that. So i think maybe there could be some laws that cost initial money rather than/in addition to quarterly costs. Right now i have 2.5 trillion saved up and nothing to spend it on and i'm making 112billion profit each quarter. I'm very strict about keeping my budget balanced and not going into the negative so being able to spend the money i have piled up every now and then would be good. Some things that money could be spent on: Stockpiling oil- Spend x amount of money to increase the Oil Supply(*), it would give boost to it next time you end the turn and then continue to decrease/increase as normal. Building infrastructure- Spend money to boost your Tourism(*) by building hotels/tourist attractions and other things like that. It could be fun to also be able to invest some of the money from your reserves and make even more money (or lose it when global economy goes bust) This could either be lump sum or policy idea with monthly cost, doesn't really matter. But it should only be possible if you don't have any debt.
5) Similar to last point, i recommend option to Give Temporary Tax Breaks(*), instead of tweaking every individual tax you can issue a tax break that reduces all taxes (and thus your tax income) by, let's say, 50% for a year (4 turns) and increases the opinion of Socialists, Liberals, Self Employed, Poor, Farmers, Capitalists, Middle Income, State Employees, Retired, Trade Unionists and Wealthy.
6) More Foreign Policy ideas to enact. There's not very many at the moment and to me personally that's the most exciting policy group. I'm sure i'm not the only one to feel so. Few recommendations - Host International Conference(*)- boosts your foreign relations for a certain duration (Costs the lump sum of, let's say, 300million). Intervene in a foreign conflict(*) - Greatly reduces your foreign relations and boosts the opinion of Patriots and maybe Conservatives and reduces the opinion of liberals. Also slightly increases production and/or gdp due to military industry. And also reduces the membership of Patriots (Due to them getting killed in the war).
7) It should be harder to get rid of Religious People, in my current game i managed to almost wipe out that population group in 1-2 terms in office. Religious people in general are not very adept to changing their views so easily.
8) Few more things should be explained in the Manual, mainly about the options when creating a new game- For example what exactly does checking/unchecking "Monarchy" option mean in the game? What exactly do the Innate Liberalism/Socialism sliders do? And what exactly does the difficulty slider change? And the Political Apathy one? And what do hurricanes and earthquakes do and how often do they occur? Also does checking anything other than "No limit" in the term limit option mean that game simply ends after the term limit?
9) Possibility for election fraud. When you know that you might lose the upcoming election you could turn to some "special measures" for a bit of a vote boost. This policy idea would guarantee a certain % of extra votes in the upcoming elections, let's say 5-10% or whatever is a good amount. But it would have drastic consequences and your popularity would be greatly reduced amongst all population groups. The effect would be smaller for Patriots maybe. It would also greatly reduce foreign relations. This means that you might win these elections but you have to work extra hard to make sure you don't lose the next elections after this because the devastating effect from election fraud to your popularity might mean you wont win the next elections even with fraud.
10) More dynamic opposition. Right now it feels that opposition is just some random number in statistics that has no real effect on anything. Don't really know how to improve that in a way that doesn't require drastic game-play changes. But perhaps it should be possible to assign not only name but also political view (Liberal, Socialist etc) to your own and opposition party which would make that political group much more likely to vote for the party that supposedly represents their political ideas. For example when you are The National Front and the opposition party is The Socialist Coalition then you have to work much harder to get Socialist votes than they do but are much more likely to get Patriot votes.
11) It's too easy to max out health and education and almost completely wipe out crime. Positive effects to those ratings should be reduced from all policies.
12) Too many state employees. In my game at the moment i have 57% people working for the government.
13) Popularity effects of the Abortion Law could be tweaked a bit. It feels to me that there's no point of every having it on anything else but "Limited Circumstances" because then it provides a nice boost to your relations with Religious and Liberal groups and doesn't hurt them with anyone. Changing it to something else seems much less beneficial and i'd only ever change it for the role-play purposes. If combined with the idea #3 abortion law would directly affect the population growth and therefore be much more important of a choice.
14) The cabinet of Ministers seems bit confusing to me and i don't quite understand how to handle them. They seem to constantly be unhappy/disloyal with me and keep leaving. Why does a very loyal minister all of a sudden become very disloyal? And also what determines the maximum political capital you can have saved up? Don't think they need any changes, just bit more explanation in the tutorial/manual.
15) The playable nations are all very big and successful nations with more or less similar starting situation and when playing them, they don't feel very different from one another. Perhaps it would be fun to add, if not more then just one nation that has very different starting stats, such as Russia or China that are also huge but much more poor and less free and with smaller average life span. Or India which is the world's biggest democracy with big and poor population and so-so economy. I'm sure there will be mods that add nations (If that is moddable), i might even make one myself because it seems like fun. But it would be good if there was one in base game aswell for people who want a bit different challenge and don't know where to look for mods.
The policy ideas that have (*) after them are supposed to be repeatable ones that don't appear on the main screen with all other policies but can only be enacted once per your term in office.
I'll probably get additional ideas when i play some more but I think that is enough for now. Thank you for reading my wall of text and hopefully you get something useful out of it.