Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Nation States

I've been playing this little online game. It's called Nation States. I started when I was still at work, and it proved to be an excellent time waster. Your role in the game is that of a nation's leader. What you have to do is respond with a policy prescription to the various issues that your government is presented with daily. You'll normally have an issue and about three possible avenues to take as a response. For example today's issue:

The Issue:
A group several thousands strong hailing from a remote, isolated corner of Icemenistan is staging a massive demonstration on the front steps of your capitol. They demand that their local dialect be recognized as an official language.

The Debate:

1) Roxanne O'Bannon, your Minister of Culture, has nothing but disdain for the demonstrators. "The language of Icemenistan is as important to our national identity as our history is. A truly erudite individual uses perfect grammar and refuses to speak as those ruffians do." Your Finance Minister is quick to chime in as well, "If business is required to print every road sign, instruction manual, and fast-food wrapper in two languages, it would increase everybody's overhead. That means higher prices for the person in the street."

2) "Smarker, but ee's gone blongie 'round the clonger! Trandy in the blang warked a newtie on the Cheebers, quaff me a duggle if it's brine. Sorky, hang our trandy high!" says Hack Hamilton, speaking for the demonstrators, in an apparently rousing response that draws a cascade of cheers. After a few uncomfortable minutes with a professional translator, you find the speaker said, "I respectfully disagree with the Minister. Multilingualism has brought stability to richly-cultured nations such as Brancaland; indeed, I challenge you to provide a single counterexample. I encourage this government to adopt a policy of multilingualism throughout Icemenistan!"

3) Samuel Jong-Il, a radical opposition member who seems to tag along to every demonstration she can find, has her own proposal. "The language barrier is keeping us all apart. What Icemenistan needs is a new identity defined by a new language that we can all agree on. That's unity without favoritism."

So what you have to do as ruler of your nation is pick one of the three listed options. You also have the option to dismiss the issue (the ramifications of which I'm yet to figure out). Every choice that you make as a ruler in response to an issue will shape the course of your nation's fate. This translates to an altered synopsis under your country's description and a variance in your country's three key performance indicators: Civil Rights, Economy and Political Freedoms. Finally, you'll receive a United Nations category for your state. Mine is currently "Left-leaning College State."

Here is the description of my country, Icemenistan, and how it is currently faring:

The Republic of Icemenistan
"Give me liberty or give me death!"

UN Category: Left-Leaning College State
Civil Rights: Superb; Economy: Fair; Political Freedoms: Excellent;

The Republic of Icemenistan is a huge, socially progressive nation, renowned for its punitive income tax rates. Its compassionate, intelligent population of 211 million enjoy extensive civil freedoms, particularly in social issues, while business tends to be more regulated.

It is difficult to tell where the omnipresent government stops and the rest of society begins, but it juggles the competing demands of Social Welfare, Education, and Social Equality. The average income tax rate is 71%, and even higher for the wealthy. The private sector is almost wholly made up of enterprising fourteen-year-old boys selling lemonade on the sidewalk, although the government is looking at stamping this out.

The nation's youth is held blameless for all crimes, female newsreaders distract the nation by breastfeeding during broadcast, the people elect the Supreme Court justices directly, and trespassers often find themselves impaled by crossbow bolts. Crime -- especially youth-related -- is moderate, and the police force struggles against a lack of funding and a high mortality rate. Icemenistan's national animal is the ardvark, which frolics freely in the nation's many lush forests, and its currency is the dollar.

Icemenistan is ranked 60th in the region and 16,863rd in the world for Most Politically Free Nations.

Despite (or maybe because of) its being quite nerdy it's actually quite addictive. It only takes about 2 minutes out of your day and watching your country develop is quite entertaining.


nuke said...

I love that that game is still around :P
Have you read Jennifer Government? Or Syrup? Pretty much anything by Max Barry.

Anonymous said...

NS is great fun. My nation is almost two years old and has nearly 3.5 billion citizens :)

And Jennifer Government is great... I finished it a day or two ago. Very very funny and almost scary in its accuracy.

Don Quixote said...

I haven't read Jennifer Government but it's been recommended to me a couple of times. Well, looks like it has to go onto the ever-increasing reading list.

The only thing that they could add into Nation States is more interaction between the nations.

MrLefty said...

I gave up on NationStates when it became apparent that no matter what you do, the game takes the most extreme possible result from it. So you either end up with anarchy or a police state. Grrr.

Don Quixote said...

Yes, there is that drawback. But I keep telling myself that tomorrow could bring new and exciting questions; ones that don't require me to either kill the masses or let them take control of government.

Brendan said...

Nation States is quite fun. I have a nation called Zeta Neapoli, which I'm still trying to bring back from its authoritarian roots and bring up freedom a bit. I'm quite happy where it is, as a Democratic Socialist state.

LOL! Funny you should use that issue. I just got that issue (yet again) today.
I love that "Smarker" bit. I often use that in public as an opening to anything I might say just to ensure that I've got everyone's attention. :D

Brendan said...

Ach! I thought my name was capitalized! In fact, I know it was capitalized.