I’m busy preparing a princess for her fast-approaching ascension to the throne. She’s doing fairly well: she can recite the religious texts, understand ciphers, handle a bow, and waltz without tripping over her own feet. I’ve even grown fond of young Elodie…

Priestess_robe

…even if she refuses to implement my wardrobe advice. Yikes.

Then she gets the munchies and decides to open the chocolates that just arrived at the castle without a proper return address. One cherry cordial later, she’s green and crumpled on the floor.

Poisoned

“Idiot!” I yell and mash the escape key. I fleetingly wonder if this is how Anora felt when Cailan did something stupid.

Welcome to Hanako Games’ Long Live the Queen, the cutest political strategy game I’ve found. Elodie must avoid assassination attempts, civil rebellion, foreign conquest, forced marriages, and the courtiers’ determination to undermine her authority.

She died, and she died a lot, as I worked out what skills a leader needs to be effective. She and I finally made it to her coronation, a lovely affair…

Coronation

…that masked her (and my) disillusionment and frustration with national politics. Long Live the Queen taught us:

  • An effective leader must possess some degree of self-control and tact when dealing with other nobles and ambassadors. Truth doesn’t always matter.
  • An effective leader must be well-versed in public speaking. Few people care about sincere intentions.
  • An effective leader must have a large information network both at home and abroad. Spying on everyone is essential.
  • An effective leader must keep the masses on her side either by favoring their cause in court or by funding state-sponsored programs. Loving animals and being “spiritual” also wins her points with the commoners, but it isn’t necessary.
  • All the other lessons one can focus upon – martial skills, history, economics, military strategy, and a strong faith – have very little impact on a leader’s surviving and continuing as ruler.

Great. Queen Elodie is now Bill Clinton, and I’m her James Carville.

Excuse me while I restart the game and shape Elodie into an empathetic, studious ruler. She may not last long, but at least we won’t be so depressed. Besides, if she has to die, at least I can make sure she goes in style. I’m leaning toward this:

Monster

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