Review of "Prime Minister Forever"

Note: This represents our ongoing review of this excellent 80soft product. It will be completed as and when time permits (the UK General Election is also keeping us busy at the moment!)

Political games software is rare, and high-quality political games software is rarer still. Prime Minister Forever, by, delivers on all counts. It is a high quality product, providing a very good controllable simulation of the 2005 UK General Election Campaign, that is also excellent value for money at £7.95. Players can take charge of one or more of the major parties, change the leader if desired, and then run the campaign the way it should be run. The games contains most of the elements of a real-life campaign - frantic movement around the country, targeting of key seats, spin, research (if only designed to undermine opponents credibility), campaign themes, adverts, money, attempts to influence the media, etc. etc.

At the start of the game the first key decision is which Party to choose. In this UK Election 2005 simulation it's easiest to win if you choose Labour - they already have most seats.

But I chose the Conservatives. I already knew that would make things more difficult, but I had chosen the easiest difficulty setting. Would I be able to steer Michael Howard's party to victory?

It was March, but everyone knew the election would soon be called for May 5th. My first move was to the South-West, where some targeting of seats appeared to be required. Looking at the seat details for the South West, it seemed there was no shortage of suitable marginal seats, where it was clearly well worth investing campaign effort (workers - 'footsoldiers' - and money).

After targeting a few likely seats, it was time to consider the ad campaign focus:

There were quite a few interesting possibilities - Asylum and Immigration perhaps? - but no, leadership and integrity seemed to be more promising themes. Would they be effective? I would have to wait a few days to find out.

Meanwhile, it was time to see who the media were considering endorsing, and perhaps to try and influence their considerations. Consulting the help file, it seemed that endorsers "can give you a large boost to momentum, or a cash infusion. You can use PPs (Political Points) or CPs (Campaign Points) to influence an endorser". The Times seemed a good possibility as they were already leaning Conservative - well worth a little expenditure to ensure their support.

It was time for me to sit back and wait, letting a few days pass to see what developed. Although it was important to keep an eye on the daily events..

A Tory MP sacked for policy claims? (Would that happen in real life? Surely not?) Oops. A bit of spinning was clearly called for, with the emphasis on firm leadership.

The general situation also needed looking at. A quick check of popularity trends so far revealed a less than encouraging situation:

Howard flat-lining while Kennedy gains slightly! Perhaps the position on the key issues needed to be looked at:

Would it be possible to make some adjustments to win greater support? Any change to the Conservative position would definitely risk a backlash from supporters, and accusations of indecision. It was probably better for me to wait and see for a few more days, simply concentrating on targeting a few more marginal constituencies and creating a few more ads, before taking any more drastic action. Meanwhile, the election was officially announced :

But if the polls over the next few days showed that the Tories were still behind nationally and not gaining then some change to the campaign would be required. But what?

More of this review to follow...

See the Prime Minister Forever section on the 80soft website for detailed  information on the game, including a sometimes lively discussion forum.

To forecast any (real-life) British election (General, Scottish, Welsh, London, UK European or your local council) - order UK-Elect v5.55: Available products and prices




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