Democracy 3 is a turn-based strategy game stripped down to its barest elements. Think Civilization V but without the world map. Democracy eschews almost all visual flare in favor of numbers, charts, and graphs. As a government simulator, it makes sense that most of your time is spent pouring over facts and figures, even if that seems to fly in the face of video game logic. It also makes sense that you never actually see the people you are governing. They are problems to be solved: approval ratings, social malfunctions, tax revenue. You never see the drunk or the homeless but know they exist because they’re no good for the bottom line.Assessing your nation - France, Germany, U.S., Australia, or the UK - takes place on one of the most convoluted user interfaces I have ever seen. More than five dozen bubbles litter the screen, broken up into different colors and key sections such as Tax, Economy, Law & Order, and so on. White bubbles represent policies, blue bubbles provide data on the impact of those policies, and red bubbles are situations requiring your attention.Changing a policy requires political capital which is refreshed at the start of every turn. Making a big decision requires more capital, so you won’t be legalizing abortion and removing the cigarette tax in a single turn. Political capital is used to institute new policies in the same way. Adjusting those you start out with is interesting, adding more of your own is even more fun.Experimenting with policies creates a ripple effect on your constituency. More than twenty groups of voters dynamically react to your decisions, raising and lowering your approval rating. Members of your cabinet might also become disloyal and need to be replaced. Radicals might even try to kill you.As a government simulator, Democracy 3 does a remarkable job. Its presentation and wealth of data truly makes you feel like a world leader.For every moment of fun strategizing and eager anticipation there was an equal moment spent wishing the experience was more user friendly. I felt like a president, just as promised, but I was also reminded of why I would never want the job in the first place.Democracy 3 is a game for the politically-minded. It favors substance over flair. Some players might love the added analysis required for each turn but others will find it wearing out far sooner than it probably should. The denseness of Democracy 3’s presentation is its biggest barrier and it leaves one wondering why: Was this really the best way to deliver what, at its heart, is so similar to games like Civilization? For this iteration, it seems so. If you are willing to climb the hill and submerse yourself in numbers and graphs, this might be the game for you. If not, it is probably best avoided.