The "Help" Section Edit
This is a collection of all that is on the help page, directly copied and pasted from the game on 1/17/2013 at approximately 9:00 P.M. PST. EDIT: Rules section updated on 12/27/2014 at approx. 2:30 P.M. CST.
Your Character represents one politician in the congress of the world of Clout. You won an election to earn your office, and will have to continue to win subsequent yearly elections (1 month real time) to stay in office. Your chance to win these elections is based on your constituent support. Your constituent support will waver if you act outside of your party's ideals, gaffe on bills, or get involved in scandals. Losing an election is one way to lose the game. Eventually, plans to continue after election loss as a lobbyist/etc may be implemented. For now, you'll just have to make a new character. If you really don't want to risk this, just don't do anything dirty and debate on party lines. Not much fun, though.
Your character has 4 stats: Speaking Ability, Charisma, Attractiveness and Intelligence. These all affect various aspects of the game. Primarily they affect the magnitude of losses/gains to your person or bills you act on. Wearing different equipment and choosing different traits at character creation are the only way to alter your stats.
Speaking Ability (SPK): Primary stat that affects strength of abilities played on bills.
Charisma (CHA): Large effect on Clout gained from getting your bills passed; minor effect on ability strength.
Intelligence (INT): Medium effect on ability strength and Clout gained from any source.
Attractiveness (ATT): Large effect on Clout gained from getting your bills passed; minor effect on ability strength.
Cash and CloutEdit
There are two currencies in Clout: Cash, and the eponymous Clout. The former is used to buy items in the store and at the black market. The latter is used to introduce bills and buy abilities. You earn money weekly from your congressional salary. You can also engage in various illicit activities to generate more cash if you so choose. Clout is earned by introducing bills that pass and acting on bills that pass, or acting against bills that fail. Being on the losing side of a failed bill, or introducing a bill that fails does not earn you any clout. Clout and Cash can also be bought in limited monthly amounts on the Offshore Accounts page using real money. The amount you can buy is limited to a fairly low amount to make it mostly useful for newer players who wish to advance quicker and emergency situations for advanced players. This game is not Pay-To-Win. It's more like Pay-If-You're-Impatient-Or-Fuck-Up-And-Need-To-Fix-It-Before-You-Get-Unelected. Something tells me that name isn't going to catch on anytime soon, though.
Abilities are what you use to act on bills. When you use an ability, text will be generated and added to "argue" for or against the bill, as selected. Most abilities have the same baseline stats -- more expensive abilities are not strictly better than less expensive abilities. However, more expensive abilities are more likely to be strong/weak against certain bills. If you use an ability on a bill and it's strong against that bill, the effect of your ability use is doubled. If you use an ability on a bill and it's weak against that bill, the effect of your ability is halved. It's also possible to play an ability that is nonsensical on a bill and cause a gaffe. This will apply your ability use to the opposing side, your ability text will show in brown, and you will lose some constituent support for the gaffe. An example of a gaffe would be playing the "Think Of The Children!" ability to try to get an "Increase Education Spending" bill to fail. Suggesting that children would be helped by such an action is ridiculous, and thus it's not a good play. Playing multiple different strong abilities and/or the "Rational Debate" ability on a bill causes a synergistic effect which makes all your and your allies' abilities stronger on the bill you're playing for/against.
Some abilities have a fundamentally different function or baseline strength that varies based on conditions in a bill. An example is Rhetoric, which gets stronger as your side plays more abilities on a bill. Another example is Filibuster, which stops anyone from playing abilities on a bill until you exhaust your energy or stop filibustering. You'll have to figure out the rest on your own.
Committee actions are a special sub-set of abilities that you don't play in the normal way. Once you have a committee action, you can form a committee using the button in the header of the "Acting Members Of Congress" pane in the bill view. Forming a committee costs some Clout and much more energy than a normal ability. Each committee action also has a special effect that's very different from a normal ability:
This committee action forms an oversight committee that stops anyone from playing other committees or poison pill on the bill. It will also advance the bill progress by a good amount since Congress feels more secure about the legislation honestly achieving what it claims to, and is thus more willing to support the bill in general.
Budget Accounting Committee
This committee will cause the nation effects of the bill to be delayed by 24-120 hours after its passage. It will also set back the bill a minor amount.
Calling a conference committee puts the bill into a different state than is normally possible. The status is set to "In Committee" and the ability-playing interface changes to a voting interface. Each player in the game can then cast their vote on your committee action. Votes in a conference committee are cast to double or halve the bill pass effects, and if the bill has a poison pill on it, a secondary vote for removing/keeping the poison pill becomes available for use. No matter what the outcome of the conference committee is, the bill progress will be advanced by a good bit once the action finishes as congress has reached a greater level of agreement about the bill.
Legislative Review Committee
The legislative review committee is called to determine the possible illegality of a bill. Once called, the bill is put into a vote state much like with Conference Committee. However, you only vote to declare the bill legal or illegal. If the bill is declared illegal by congress, the bill has its points set to 1, essentially ensuring failure. If declared legal, however, the bill will advance by even more than the other two committee actions.
Using or buying anything at the Black Market, and engaging in most actions under the skullduggery tab runs the risk of causing a scandal. Scandals are not caused automatically. They are "discovered" by the press or player-enacted investigations at a later date. If and when they are discovered, it will cause a scandal for you. Scandals will harm your constituent support by a large amount and cause a good amount of stress. The support loss is recoverable, but if the scandals start to add up just before election day... you could be in trouble.
Using drugs, whether from the black market or not, can cause you to become addicted. When addicted to a drug, you have to continue taking it at regular intervals or suffer stat penalties. The severity of these penalties depends on the drug and your duration of abuse. You can cure addictions by not using the substance you are addicted to for a certain time period, drug dependent.
Energy and StressEdit
Energy and stress are entertwined in many ways in Clout. Acting on bills costs energy, and causes a bit of stress. Your actions on bills also get less effective as your stress level rises. Using drugs can alter your stress and energy levels, usually as a tradeoff.
The rate of regular energy regen is 1 energy/8 real-time minutes for all characters.
Bills are the primary gameplay element of Clout. Bills are introduced, acted upon, and then pass or fail. When a bill passes, its contributors gain clout. Whoever introduced the bill gains a large amount of clout. When a bill fails, its detractors gain clout. Whenever a bill passes, it also affects the nation in a small way. Passing the same bill repeatedly will start to have a tangible effect. This will cause changes in some aspects of the game, and if the nation is legislated into a bad enough state then the game can be "lost" in effect. The game will reset at that point with a character wipe.
You may have noticed that there are tags of a sort that appear after certain bills' names. These denote special bills that have unusual properties. Not only that, but being on the winning side of one of these special bills gives the chance to earn a 'relic', a special item with much better stats than items you can buy in the store.
Binary Bills are denoted by a grey "B". They're called Binary Bills because they have a binary effect, as opposed to the incremental effect of normal bills. Only one side of a bill is available at a time (ie Repeal/Enact DOMA), and once one side is passed the other side 'unlocks'. Only one bill of each binary type can be in Congress at a time. On top of those features, these special bills are much more difficult to pass than normal bills, and undergo a slightly different process for passing. First, the bill gets put "In Committee". The committee phase works just like a normal bill. If the bill passes committee, it gets sent to Congress to be put to a vote after 9 real-time hours. Playing abilities for/against the bill changes the chance that the bill has to pass at the end of these 9 hours. It will be rare that you can completely ensure that one of these bills passes (or fails).
Win Condition bills are denoted by a yellow "W". Passing one of these bills will actually win the game for your party. The human race pretty much always loses in a horrific way, but you get bragging rights! heeeeey. The game will reset if anyone ever actually manages to pass one of these (they probably never will).
The subterfuge section is where you go to commit scandalous acts for the benefit of your character. You can take "campaign contributions" in return for introducing bills, you can investigate other players, and you can launch "pvp" (player vs. player) missions from the "skullduggery" section. Most things you can do under the Subterfuge tab will cause a scandal.
The subterfuge main screen contains some vital information about your scandals, and your chance for reelection. You can't directly see your constitutent support, but your election chance will give you some idea about it. If you have a 100% chance of reelection, there's nothing to worry about. When scandals are leaked to/discovered by the press, you will see some info about them inside the "newspaper" section.
Little more than a euphemism for bribes, "campaign contributions" are an integral part of the American political system. Essentially, a private interest donates campaign funds to you, and in return you do them a "favor". In the case of the game, this favor comes in the form of introducing and attempting to pass a bill. Since you're already being corrupt, the bills you introduce are NOT limited by your party as normal. However, it will cost you significant amounts of constitutent support to champion bills that are out of line with your political affiliations.
Investigations are an important information-gathering tool, and can also serve a pvp function for attacking another player's constituent support in some cases. When you run an investigation, you will forever after be able to see some information about your target when you look at them (depending on your degree of success). In addition, you will have a chance to discover a scandal that your target has committed. If you discover a scandal, you can release it to the press or blackmail your target with the information. If your target accepts the blackmail offer, you lose access to the scandal and cannot expose it in the future. If you happen to investigate somebody with the "Skeletons in your Closet" trait, there's a small chance that you will uncover a career-ending scandal.
Skullduggery contains direct pvp missions. You can set thugs out on somebody, have them robbed, assassinated or enact a slanderous media campaign upon them. Here's a brief description of each mission type:
Thugs do health damage and stress the target out. You can't kill with thugs, but they can put somebody in the hospital/a coma.
The larceny mission will take money from your target, and some of it will even be returned to you. Larceny can actually be profitable if you choose the right target.
Assassination missions have a small chance to kill your target outright, even from full health. More commonly, they will severely damage the target and likely hospitalize them. Beware of using this mission -- discovery of your involvement will almost certainly mean the end of your career.
Running a media slander campaign attacks the constituent support of the target. The slander campaign will essentially concoct a random scandal out of thin air and pin it on your target. Since the evidence is nonexistent, the media slander will do less constituent support damage than if the scandal had actually occurred. The damage to a person's reputation can still be sizeable in some cases. A lot of people will see the claim and not the refutation -- a well-known effect of false attack ads.
The Cronies section of the game is where you interact with your Kongregate friends. You can invite friends, or promote friends which already have a character to "Crony". You do not gain any bonuses for having a large number of friends who play the game. Your Cronies do give you bonuses, however. You can never have more than 6 Cronies.
Bonuses you gain from cronies are small, and are based on the crony's clout and background traits. The main purpose of adding cronies is so that you can see what your friends are up to in-game. Once you add someone as a Crony, their pertinent activities will show up with hotlinks in the "Recent Crony Activity" section. You can then jump to bills your cronies have introduced or acted upon and help them out. Helping pass bills introduced by your Cronies will give some bonus clout compared to helping a non-crony.
The World section is where you can get an idea of the state of the nation and its relation to other nations in the world.
In the Nation View section, you can see the current state of the nation. A list of the politicians with the most clout is given alongside the stats of the nation and the political party breakdown of all current players.
In this section, you can see how the in-game US currently stacks up against other nations. The stats used for ranking countries are pulled from the CIA world factbook. These stats, such as GDP/debt ratio, public health, public happiness and others are fed into a ranking equation and the results are output in order from best to worst. Passing bills in-game will affect the stats of the in-game United States. These changes can accumulate over time and improve/worsen the nation relative to other nations. The overarching goal of the game is to improve the state of the nation. If this goal is ignored, the nation can end up in a bad enough state that EVERYONE loses the game and the game starts over with a wipe. This will not happen easily.
Why does energy regenerate so slowly?Edit
There are a lot of reasons for this. First, the game is a text-based politically-themed game. As such, there are MANY casual players who don't even play daily. If the energy regen rate gets very high, these players can't be competitive. Additionally, the rate has to be kind of slow to entice anyone to use drugs, cause scandals, and get unelected. If the rate was super fast, nobody would ever risk it. That would severely reduce the comedic potential of the game, and we can't have that now can we? On top of that, if I were to give energy regen on bill passage or something like that, it would actively discourage playing with others (and also of course negatively affect casual players). Why bother rallying support from your party if you can just pass everything yourself? You'd also have little fear of anyone ever acting against your bills. The game would get pretty boring pretty fast at that rate. Anyway, as you can probably tell, I've put a lot of thought into this and based a lot of game mechanics around it. I sped it up by 20% after porting the game to Kongregate, but that's as far as I can move it without screwing stuff up. Sorry.
What bills am I supposed to support?Edit
Support anything you want! Your constituents just might not be so happy about it. This is an intended feature of the game so that you can roleplay your character with your/their own opinions. If you don't want to lose constituent support, stick to supporting bills you can introduce and opposing those you can't. There are some bills you should support even though you can't introduce them, but this is uncommon and not generally encountered as a new player.
Which drugs give/take energy, etc?Edit
Here's a list:
Cigar: Tiny energy loss. Small stress loss.
Liquor: Medium energy loss. Medium stress loss.
Dextroamphetamine: Small energy gain. Minor stress gain.
Benzodiazepines: Medium energy loss. Medium stress loss.
Freebase Cocaine: Small energy gain.
Cocaine: Small energy gain. Minor stress loss.
Methylamphetamine: Large energy gain. Some stress gain.
Diacetylmorphine: Large energy loss. Very large stress loss.
Opiate Painkillers: Medium energy loss. Large stress loss.
Can you make the stats for equipment visible in the store?Edit
I could... but I'm not going to. I feel that doing so would significantly reduce the variety of outfits people wear, and also encourage too much powergaming. Just dress your character how you want them to be dressed. I assure you that all items are viable even for higher levels of play as long as you aren't buying the super cheap stuff.
How do I reduce stress?Edit
Stress reduces naturally at the end of every real-time day by 25%, minus 1% for every Active bill you have in Congress at the time. Aside from this, you can use downer-type drugs or sexual relations to reduce stress at the cost of energy and usually cash.
How do I see what time it is on the game clock?Edit
The game server is on Mountain Time US. Aside from that, all ability plays and chats in the Cronies & Associates chat tabs show the time they were made/played... so you can play an ability or send a chat to check the time.
My party opposes/supports some bill and I don't like it/understand why:Edit
If you feel this seems egregiously in error, contact the developer somehow/report it as a bug. It's quite possible a mistake was made.
However, I will also say that sometimes people don't think things through all the way, or misunderstand the satirical nature of the game, in which case I will simply explain why things are how they are.
What does this ability do?Edit
Most abilities don't "do" anything, exactly. The only advantage of most higher-cost abilities is that they are strong against certain bills and have a doubled effect. There are a few abilities such as Rhetoric and Spew False Dichotomies that have a special function and work completely different to this. Rhetoric increases in strength based on the number of abilities played on a bill, and decreases in strength every time you play rhetoric. Spew False Dichotomies gets stronger as a bill is closer to passing/failing for the proponents/opposition respectively. Some of the very high cost abilities also have minor additional effects, but you will be alerted to these in your message log.
My party seems to have a low number of bills, but I can introduce more expensive bills from other parties?Edit
Some parties have access to many more bills than other parties by being able to introduce bills from "allied" parties. As a tradeoff, these allied bills are more expensive to introduce. The more general parties (Liberal/Conservative) have fewer of their own bills and leverage this feature heavily.
Disobeying one of these rules is very likely to get you banned without warning. There aren't many of them, so I'm sure you can manage to remember them all. Thanks!
1. No multiboxing. If you are one human person, and you play more than one character in the world of Clout, you are multiboxing. This is not allowed, since obviously multiboxing would become a requirement to be competitive if I allowed it. That would be super dumb. I'd prefer it if the game didn't become super dumb, so please don't multibox. I will not only ban your alts if you do this, but I'll take Clout from your main to offset how you were trying to cheat.
2. No hate speech. Obviously I'm pretty lassiez-faire about what you can say in chat due to the tone of the rest of the game, but hate speech is not allowed. I managed to make an entire game without using hate speech for a dumb shock value joke, so I'm pretty sure you can manage to keep it out of your chat communications.
3. No griefing. The game is set up so you pretty much can't grief in any meaningful way, but if you were to find a way to do it... I'd suggest not doing it. Making the game shitty for others is not an intended feature of Clout. Please note: use of intended PvP game functions does not qualify as griefing. Those have automatic protections in place against that sort of thing.
4. No exploiting. This one should really go without saying, but don't try to hack the game or otherwise exploit it to use game mechanics in an unintended way that gives your character an advantage or messes up other people's characters. I've extensively protected against this sort of thing, but I'm throwing it out there just in case.
5. Do not post the contents of a private post to a less private post. This information will of course be discovered and shared, but do not do so using public methods. This cheapens the intent of the posts, and will make people less likely to use them and coordinate with others.
6. Do not slander me or the game. I figured this would be obvious, but apparently people need it spelled out: if you play this game, and post untrue and damaging statements about it or me publicly, you will be banned. Please note: denying the existence of the organization stalking me/calling me crazy for talking about it is slanderous and will result in your ban.
7. Having spent Kreds in-game does not entitle you to ignore the rules. Again I figured this would be very obvious considering the number of MMOs that offer refunds to banned players is exactly zero... but apparently people need it stated: spending Kreds gets you what the Kreds bought you. It does not give you special immunity-from-the-rules powers.