So You’re New to NationStates...
A Beginner’s Guide to the game:
Hello there! I assume that since you’re reading this, you are new to the game of NationStates and confused about what to do next.
Well, first let me congratulate you on becoming the leader of a brand new nation in the world!
So tell me something about this game.
The game we today know as NationStates was originally created back in 2002 by Max Barry (he writes books) to promote his then-new book called Jennifer Government, set in a dystopian (or utopian, if you’re mean enough) world where everything down to even the government has been privatised and the cheeky American bastards eliminated the glorious and true British accent.
Sorry, my Englishness is showing... Let’s get back on topic.
In this game, you are the leader of a nation and you decide on the course your nation charts in the glorious NS multiverse (because imagination is your only limit). You can craft a nation based on your ideals or deliberately treat your own citizens like your little playthings, or both if you’re inclined like that.
Now what just happened? Where am I and why am I getting all of these messages?
Each nation starts its life in one of the “Feeders”: the North Pacific, the East Pacific, the West Pacific, the best Pacific and the bland, vanilla Pacific. These are just one category of “game-created regions” (GCRs), alongside the “sinkers” (Lazarus, Balder, Osiris and the Rejected Realms) and the oft-forgotten “warzones” (Warzone Africa, Warzone Asia, Warzone Australia, Warzone Europe, Warzone Sandbox, Warzone Airspace). The feeders and sinkers tend to be vibrant and kind of spammy, while the warzones tend to be somewhat unstable and devoid of “natives” (long-term inhabitants).
All the other regions are called “user-created regions” (UCRs). These are the culprits of your telegram frenzy; they are the ones sending you “recruitment telegrams” trying to convince you to join their region. Every interest, ideology and real life place imaginable has its own region and if you don’t like any of the regions, you can always create your own!
So how do you play?
However it suits you! (^_^ ) Some people just sit back and answer issues and try to collect badges from the daily World Census reports. Others choose to roleplay things like trade, diplomacy, sports and war. Then there are those who choose to argue over legislation and pedantics in the World Assembly. And others who argue over real life and pedantics in General. And the self-righteous who opt for military and interregional diplomacy in the realm of Gameplay.
How do I declare war?
You don’t. NationStates is a purely political simulator and when they tried to make a second version that included war, it didn’t go over too well... So that leaves you with two options: either get involved in roleplays in the International Incidents forum or get involved in gameplay warfare on the game side of things.
Then how do I win?
But what is “winning”, grasshopper? NationStates isn’t a game that you can “win”. You can, however, answer issues and compete for the shiny World Census badges handed out daily. Each time you answer an issue, it’ll change your nation’s stats on things such as Civil Rights, tax rates, Godlessness, Scientific Advancement, etc.
Just a friendly warning: issue results tend to be bizarre and all the answers are meant to be wrong in some way. But such is life!
So then what else can I do?
Lots of things, of course!
You can start answering issues to improve or decimate your Civil Rights, Political Freedoms or Economy. You can get new issues up to four times a day, depending on your settings.
You can summon the big black helicopters and change regions in the world.
You can alter your nation’s flag, motto and national animal. Options like your capital city, leader and national religion become available later on, along with the option to creation your own nation “pretitle” (such as “Commonwealth”).
You can chatter away with other nations on the Regional Message Board (RMB) of your region and (possibly) those of regions that have embassies with your region).
You can write dispatches: Factbooks that describe your nation, Accounts that document important events in your nation and Bulletins that describe gameplay.
You can send telegrams to other nations.
You can join the World Assembly and trade endorsements, vote on Resolutions and propose ones of your own (once you have at least two endorsements).