Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Introduction
    What NationStates is all about.
  2. Gameplay
    How to play.
    1. Issues & Politics
      Growing your nation, one law at a time.
    2. Regions
      Invasions, Founders, and Delegates.
    3. The World Assembly
      Ready to step up to the international stage?
  3. Technical
    Troubleshooting, tech talk, and general help.
  4. Etiquette
    How to avoid the wrath of admin.

FAQ doesn't solve your problem?

Introduction

So what is this?

NationStates is a free nation simulation game. You create your own country, fashioned after your own ideals, and care for its people. Either that or you deliberately torture them. It's really up to you.

Is it a serious political thing, or just for fun?

You can play it either way. NationStates does have humorous bent, but that's just because politics is naturally funny.

Gameplay

What do I do?

First, create a nation. From there, it depends. Most nations concentrate on developing their laws and ideology by answering Issues, which pop up several times a day. Others prefer to engage on the international scene by winning a position of power in Regions, crafting international law in the World Assembly, or discussing various matters in the Forums. You can explore or ignore different areas of the world as you choose.

How do I win?

Beats the hell out of me. You can make an infinite variety of nations, but no-one can tell you which are best. Nations do get ranked on many different scales by the bean-counters at the World Census, but being ranked high on a scale isn't necessarily a good thing. Is it a badge of honor or a mark of shame to reach the top of "Most Religious?"

Can I attack other nations?

No. Nations cannot be damaged or destroyed by foreign powers. You develop your nation the way you want, without being forced to take care of the military, or the economy, or anything else you don't especially prioritize.

But I keep hearing about invasions.

Some nations craft battles, trading pacts, and more on their regional boards or in forums such as International Incidents. But there's also a type of interregional invasion known as "raiding" or "R/D". This is where organized groups of nations attempt to seize control of regions by moving there en masse and endorsing each other to gain political power. Unlike nations, regions can effectively be captured and destroyed. This isn't common, but isn't unheard of, either.

Issues & Politics

How do I develop my nation?

A few times a day, you'll face an issue and need to decide what to do about it. How you respond determines almost everything about how your nation evolves. There's no micro-management. You control your nation's destiny by making broad policy decisions, not tweaking numbers.

I don't agree with any of the options on this issue!

Dismiss it! This is the equivalent of ignoring an issue until people stop talking about it. If you were a real government, you'd do this all the time, of course. But it's usually more interesting if you take a position.

I just banned skateboards and my insurance industry boomed! Why??

Because of the way so many factors can interact, it's hard to predict the effects of a decision even when you know all the variables. Banning skateboards, for example, can lead to unhappier teenagers, who generate more youth crime, which increases the level of fear amongst the general populace, which spurs insurance sales.

But why did it change so much?

The world is realistic but more so. There's a logic to how things work, but everything tends to gravitate to the most extreme outcome, with the largest consequences. Fear not, though: This also means it's usually easy to reverse the effects of earlier decisions.

Why am I a Corrupt Dictatorship?

Your nation's government category is determined by the nerds at the World Census, who classify you according to the amount of personal, economic, and political freedom in your nation. Here is a neat visual representation.

How do I set taxes?

You don't need to bother with such petty details! You're a big picture kind of person. Bureaucrats will automatically adjust your taxes as necessary to fund whatever government spending you've authorized.

How do I increase my population?

Your national population grows steadily over time no matter what you do. It just does.

This issue boosted Civil Rights in one nation but not another. What gives?

Issue effects depend on the state of your nation. For example, shutting down a newspaper that's critical of your government is just another day at the office for a Psychotic Dictatorship, but a major policy shift in a nation with a history of protecting the free press. Sharp ideological changes will be very visible, but if you only reaffirm the status quo, some issue choices will change nothing at all.

My nation just outlawed street racing and was awarded a banner for tyranny! That's a bit extreme, don't you think?

Banners are awarded when nations reach a particular state. If your nation is already very close to that state, one more small step in that direction can get you over the line.

Similarly, approving a broad-based program can qualify your nation for a banner specific to one thing. For example, broadly supporting public spending might cause you to gain a banner for Education funding, while doing something that's good for business in general might trigger a banner for the mining industry.

Isn't this "simulation" biased towards your politics?

Very possibly. Not intentionally, though.

Why can't I set my nation's pretitle, Capital City, Leader, or Religion?

This becomes possible at particular population levels:

  • 250 million: Your nation will receive an issue that allows you to set a Capital City in some circumstances.

  • 500 million: You can write a custom pretitle in your Settings.

  • 750 million: The Leader issue.

  • 1 billion: The Faith issue.

If you dismiss the issue, or select a choice that doesn't unlock the custom field, you will receive the same issue again at some point in the future.

Regions

Which region should my nation be in?

It depends on what you're looking for. Anyone can create a region for any reason and there are thousands of them. To find one, you can browse the tag cloud, or the world in general. Most regions are looking for new residents, and you will probably receive a small flood of recruitment telegrams shortly after your nation is founded.

You begin in one of the Pacific regions (known as feeders): these tend to be large, vibrant, and somewhat spammy. Stay there if you like, or move somewhere else! You can shift regions whenever and as often as you like.

To change regions, find one and look for the link near the top that says, "Like what you see? Move to (region)!"

Does it matter?

Yes. Your region has its own message board and its own World Census rankings, so you should find somewhere you enjoy the company of your neighbors. And if you get involved in regional politics and the invasion game, it matters a lot.

The invasion what?

In a region, the nation with the most endorsements is automatically appointed Delegate. This usually grants significant powers, including the ability to eject other nations from the region.

One way this can work is a region's residents endorse the nation they think would make the best Delegate, and that nation rules over it with a wise and gentle hand. Another way is that nations make private deals on who to endorse in order to make sure that their ally gets into power. A third way is a bunch of nations from outside rush in, endorse each other, and seize the Delegacy in a coup. This one is called "the invasion game" (also "raiding," or "R/D" for raiding/defending).

This whole area is controversial: Some nations exist for the thrill of trying to conquer regions; others think it's reprehensible. Either way, it's worth knowing that it exists before you start your own region, or rise to the leadership of an existing one.

Both the invader and defender sides are highly organized, although there are plenty of smaller-scale conflicts. More information can be found in this forum post: "Basics of Military Gameplay."

Who's in charge of a region?

The person who created a region is known as its Founder. Founders usually have complete power over their region, being able to eject other nations, password-protect it, establish and cancel Embassies, suppress message board posts, and modify the World Factbook Entry (its main description). However, many regions have no Founder, many have inactive Founders, and a few have non-executive Founders, which means the Founder has relinquished power. In these cases, the nation in charge is the Delegate.

The region's Delegate is the nation with the most World Assembly endorsements. It usually has the exact same powers as Founder, but a Founder can strip the Delegate position of power (by making it non-executive), while the reverse is not true. For this reason, a region with an active Founder is effectively immune to serious invasion.

Founders can administer their region as they see fit, but Delegates must spend "influence" in order to perform some actions. This limits the power of invader Delegates.

What is regional influence?

It's a measure of how well-respected a nation is in its region. Nations earn influence in a region the longer they remain there and the more endorsements they have. When a nation leaves, its influence in that region begins to decline.

The more influence a nation has, the more influence the Delegate requires to eject it from the region.

My region's WA Delegate is an evil dictator who abuses her power! Make her stop!

Delegates are elected: If you don't like yours, it's up to you to get that nation unelected! Delegates are free to use and abuse their power as they see fit.

The World Assembly

What's the World Assembly?

The World Assembly is the world's governing body. It's your chance to mold the world to your vision, by voting for resolutions you like and scuttling the rest. However, it's a double-edged sword, because your nation will be affected by any resolutions that pass. (Unfortunately you can't obey the resolutions you like and ignore the rest.) In other words, it's a hot-bed of political intrigue and double-dealing.

Your nation can join the WA, but it's not compulsory. If you remain outside, you're unaffected by its decisions. If you're ready to mix it up in international politics, though, the WA is for you.

There are two main benefits to WA membership: you can vote on resolutions, and you can give and receive endorsements to and from other nations in your region, which detemines who is Delegate.

You mean like the United Nations?

Funny you should say!

What's the benefit of being Regional Delegate?

Except in regions where the Founder has stripped the position of executive powers, a Delegate can alter the World Factbook Entry, set a password, eject other nations, suppress message board posts, establish and cancel regional Embassies, and more. Some Delegates use this power to keep the region safe and orderly; others do it to cement their grip on power. And some, it's a little of both.

A Delegate also represents the region before the World Assembly. She can review upcoming proposals for legislation and promote those she approves. When legislation reaches the resolution voting floor, she wields additional voting power over regular WA members: 1 extra vote for each endorsement. Delegates of large regions therefore have considerable influence over whether resolutions pass or fail.

A nation must have at least one endorsement to be elected Regional Delegate.

I'm a WA member! What should I do?

Endorse some other WA members in your region, as a way to signal you like their policies, or their cool flag, or their willingness to endorse you back, or whatever. The nation with the most endorsements is elected Regional Delegate: you can support the incumbent or push for change.

Be aware that some Delegates are more democratic than others. Some will happily allow a fair ballot; others will ruthlessly eject anyone they consider a political threat. Dictatorial Delegates must be overthrown by building opposition in stealth.

You can also contribute to NationStates international law! The World Assembly has two Councils, the General Assembly and the Security Council, which each propose and pass resolutions. You may vote for or against any resolution at vote. Depending on how ardent you feel, you can also debate the issue in the WA forums, and discuss which stance your Delegate should take on your Regional Message Board.

How do I endorse another nation?

You can only endorse another nation if:

  • You are both members of the World Assembly
  • You are both in the same region

If this is true, the other nation will have an "Endorse [Nation Name]" button in its World Assembly section.

I have more than one nation. Can they all join the WA?

No. While you can have as many nations as you like, only one may be a World Assembly member at a time.

What if I sneak them in?

First, please don't. This is against the rules, and considered cheating. Sophisticated pattern-matching software constantly scans for suspicious behavior and will expel nations from the World Assembly that it determines are likely to be cheats (known as "WA multies"). Repeat or large-scale offenders are deleted.

I only have one WA nation but my brother has one and he sometimes uses this computer.

Unfortunately that's asking for trouble. We try to identify WA cheats accurately, but we have no way of telling exactly whose fingers are touching the keyboard at any given time. So unfortunately if you don't want to run the risk of being ejected from the WA (or worse), you shouldn't let anyone else operate WA nations from your computer, either.

Sharing a network or IP address is usually fine. The game does not rely on any single method of identifying WA cheats, but combines data from many different methods to calculate the likelihood that multiple WA nations are operated by the same person.

What's the difference between the General Assembly and the Security Council?

The General Assembly is concerned with passing international law: resolutions to improve human rights, environmental standards, and the like. They have an immediate and material effect on all WA member nations, and can change your laws and category. For example, if you are a protectionist nation, and the WA passes a resolution promoting free trade, you may find your nation becoming abruptly more capitalist.

Broadly speaking, the General Assembly does not concern itself with individual nations or regions, but humanity as a whole. It has a vibrant role-playing community in the General Assembly forum, which debates and drafts legislation.

The Security Council, on the other hand, is very much about specifics. It passes resolutions that Condemn or Commend particular nations or regions, and authorizes Liberations, by removing a Delegate's authority to set a regional password (usually to restore order following its capture by invaders). Compared to the General Assembly, it is more concerned with gameplay (regional politics, invasions) than role-playing.

Both Councils function similarly in that they accept proposals, which enter the voting floor to be voted on as resolutions. Each Council may have a resolution at vote at the same time.

Can I propose a World Assembly resolution?

Yes, once you have at least two endorsements, you can also propose resolutions. If approved by enough Delegates, your proposal will be voted on by the entire World Assembly, and if passed, will become international law.

Over time, the WA has developed a significant body of protocol governing proposals. To maximize your chance of success, you should familiarize yourself with it. You can find out more in the WA forums.

Whether a proposal reaches the voting floor is determined by the Delegates. If at least 6% of all Delegates approve it, it is said to have attained quorum, and will enter the resolution voting floor at the next opportunity. If it fails to gather enough approvals, it will be dropped.

Getting a resolution up is no easy business, and usually requires support from many key players (especially Delegates of large regions who are active in the WA).

Why don't my proposals ever make it to resolutions?

The WA takes itself seriously and will not approve proposals it sees as inappropriate. There are two common mistakes inexperienced contributors make:

  • Not reading the relevant rules for General Assembly Proposals or Security Council Proposals.
  • Proposing something beyond the scope of the WA's authority. For example, proposals cannot change the rules or mechanics of the game itself, nor ask for new features. They should not reference events, people, or things in the "real world" that do not exist in NationStates.

The best path to success is to get involved in the forums: the General Assembly forum or the the Security Council forum. There you can meet key players, propose your idea as a draft, gather feedback, and build support even before your proposal hits the queue.

How do I approve a proposal?

You must be a Regional Delegate. If you are, then you will have an option to approve proposals when you view the list. By allowing unapproved proposals to fall by the wayside, Regional Delegates make sure that the WA only votes on worthy issues.

Can I make a resolution to add war to the game?

No. Well, you can, but I'm still not going to add war. The WA is not there to request new game features. I admit this would be nice: propose a change, vote it through, and BAM! The game gets better. But then, I would have to make the BAM! part happen. It would require me to spend so much time rewriting game code that I wouldn't be able to pursue my real passion, which is earning enough money to buy food, and staying sane.

WA resolutions are a way to bring all member nations into line on a particular issue; be that environmental, democratic, free trade, or whatever. Don't suggest game improvements there. They just clutter up the place. And they make people think, "Hey, yeah, that would be cool! Why doesn't that bum Max Barry get off his ass and do that?" I get e-mails.

Technical

Why do you want my e-mail address?

So you can recover your password, should you forget it. You can also elect to be notified if your nation is about to be deleted for inactivity. And if you join the World Assembly, you have to verify your e-mail address in order to enforce a one-WA-nation-per-player rule. That's it. No spam from us.

Something's not working—what should I do?

Bug reports go in the Technical Forum. If you have a question, you can post it there, although please do try searching first.

I'm not receiving any new issues!

Nations can hold a maximum of five issues. Dismiss or deal with some first, and new ones will begin flowing in.

I didn't receive my WA e-mail from NationStates!

First, check your nation settings and make sure that you have entered an e-mail address, and that the address is correct. If it is, your e-mail is probably being blocked by an anti-spam filter. This might be something in your e-mail client, but more likely is a program running on your ISP's server. Anti-spam filters aren't perfect, and so sometimes block e-mail from NationStates. Unfortunately there's not much you or I can do about this.

I'm going on vacation—what should I do?

In your nation's Settings, check the box marked "Vacation Mode" and click "Update Settings". This will stop your nation from receiving new issues and grant it a longer grace period before it gets deleted for inactivity: 60 days.

How do I delete my nation?

You can't. I decided it's better to have people upset because they can't start over with the same nation name than people upset because their nations got accidentally deleted. If you don't log into your nation, it will be deleted automatically in 28 days.

My nation disappeared!

First, make sure you're using the right name: "mynation" and not "the republic of mynation", for example.

Although inactive nations cease to exist after 28 days, you can restore them via the login page.

If you're looking for information on an ex-nation, try the Boneyard.

How do I use formatting in my telegrams and posts?

You can use some BBCode-style tags to improve the look of your telegrams, Regional Message Board posts, and (if you control a region) your regional World Factbook Entry. These are:

  • Bold: [b]Hello[/b] becomes: Hello
  • Italic: [i]Hello[/i] becomes: Hello
  • Underline: [u]Hello[/u] becomes: Hello
  • Regions: [region]The Pacific[/region] becomes: The Pacific
  • Nations: [nation]Testlandia[/nation] becomes: FlagThe Borderlands of Testlandia
    You may optionally specify "short", "long", "flag" and "noflag" formats. If you omit these, the default is "long+flag".

The following tags work in Regional World Factbook Entries, but not telegrams or Regional Message Board posts:

  • Links: [url=http://www.maxbarry.com]Hello[/url] becomes: Hello
  • Colors: [color=blue]Hello[/color] becomes: Hello
  • Horizontal lines: [hr] becomes a line

How do I send a telegram to many nations at once?

Go to your Telegrams page and click Compose New Telegram. In the "To:" box, enter a list of nation names, separating them with commas.

You can also address telegrams to a region or special group. A telegram sent to region: Lazarus, for example, will be delivered to all nations in the region Lazarus. A telegram sent to tag: delegates will reach all World Assembly Delegates.

A telegram sent to more than one recipient is a Mass TG.

There are three ways to send a Mass TG:

  1. Enter a list of comma-separated names. If there are more than 8 names, each additional recipient requires 1 telegram stamp.
  2. Address your telegram to an entire region or special group. This usually requires telegram stamps, although Delegates and Founders may send Mass TGs to their own region for free.
  3. Write a script or program to interface with the Telegrams API. This doesn't require stamps but is limited to a fairly low number of recipients per day.

The other option is to copy and paste your message over and over to a smaller number of nations each time, keeping under the 8-recipient limit. If you do this, please use a Telegram Template! These make the process a little faster and less error-prone for you, as well as providing handy Delivery Reports. Create a template by addressing your telegram to tag:template, then use the special code it gives you to send copies to other nations.

What are Telegram Stamps?

Telegram Stamps are purchased from the NationStates Store and required for some high-volume Mass TGs, such as sending a telegram to an entire region.

What are the differences between Mass Telegrams and regular telegrams?

The differences are:

  • Mass TGs include Delivery Reports, so you can tell exactly who received the TG and who didn't. These are viewable in your Sent Items.
  • Similarly, when used for recruitment, Mass TGs include Recruitment Reports, which track who clicks a link from your telegram to your region and subsequently move there:
  • Mass TGs support personalization via the macro %NATION%, which, when used in the body of a message, expands into the name of the nation reading it.
  • Mass TGs can reach large numbers of nations quickly and easily. For example, you can telegram all current World Assembly Delegates with "To: tag:delegates". You can also send telegrams to nations that don't exist yet, using "To: tag:new" or "tag:refounded", and nations will receive a copy of your message as they qualify for it (i.e. as they are created or refounded). With the exception of Delegates and Founders sending a TG to their own region, this functionality requires the purchase of Telegram Stamps. For a full list of available tags, open advanced telegram addressing by clicking the "" button beside the "To:" box when composing a new telegram.

What are the rules on sending telegrams?

Generally, you can send telegrams as often as you like. The game has inbuilt "flood" control and may slow you down if you try to send a lot in a hurry—and, of course, you should stay within site etiquette rules and avoid spamming people with messages of little relevance.

Advanced users should be aware of a few more rules:

  1. A telegram that encourages the recipient to move regions is a recruitment telegram, and must be marked by checking the appropriate box before clicking Send. (The checkbox can be exposed by clicking the "" beside the "To:" box.)
  2. Similarly, a telegram that encourages nations to vote on a World Assembly resolution or proposal must be marked as a campaign telegram.
  3. Scripts, bots, and browser tools must abide by site Script Rules. All automated telegram-sending must be done via the NationStates API.

What special groups can be reached using Telegram Stamps?

You can address a telegram to:

  • region: <Name> to send a TG to all residents of a region. (Also available without the need for Telegram Stamps to the region's Founder, Delegate, and authorized Officers.)
  • tag: New<Number> will queue a Telegram for attempted delivery to the next <Number> newly created nations. Be aware, however, that new nations are telegrammed very quickly by very many region recruiters. In order to reduce spam, the system throttles recruitment messages so that nations only receive a few at a time; additionally, new nations have a limited amount of space in their Inbox. This means that many recruitment telegrams wired to new nations will arrive late or not at all—and consume Telegram Stamps even so. There is no special priority for recruitment Telegrams based on how quickly or by which method they are sent: All recruitment Telegrams enter the same queue and exit it in random order.
  • tag: Refounded<Number> will queue a Telegram for attempted delivery to the next <Number> of nations who are refounded (i.e. restored by their owner after previously ceasing to exist due to inactivity).
  • tag: NewDelegates<Number> will queue a Telegram for attempted delivery to the next <Number> of nations who become World Assembly Delegate for their region.
  • tag: Delegates will send a TG to all current World Assembly Delegates
  • tag: WA will reach all World Assembly member nations
  • tag: All will send a Telegram to all nations. (Please be aware of site rules!)
  • tag: Welcome can be used by Regional Delegates and Founders to set up an automatic greeting to new arrivals in their region. This requires no telegram stamps! Delegates/Founders can find the appropriate control on their Region Control page. A region can only have one Welcome Telegram active at a time, and it will be canceled if the sender loses power in the region.

Please be aware that Telegram Stamps don't guarantee delivery. If a recipient blocks your message, the stamp is still consumed. Also, newer recruitment telegrams can push older ones out of a nation's full inbox, so your message may not be seen even if it is delivered. This is particularly relevant for recruitment campaigns aimed at new nations, which receive large numbers of such messages.

How successful are recruitment telegrams?

Sadly (for recruiters), the great majority of recruitment telegrams are ignored, blocked, or never read. In general, you should expect:

  • 10-20% of your telegrams to be blocked by spam filters.
  • 0-1% of your telegrams to convince a nation to move to your region.

These numbers vary by region: Feeders and Sinkers have more inactive nations, and they are targeted more often by recruiters. Newly created and refounded nations are guaranteed to be active, but are targeted by recruiters even more frequently.

Someone has taken control of my nation!

It is against the rules to hijack someone else's nation, and if we see someone do it, we'll ban them. If we don't see it happen, though, and someone changes your password and e-mail address, I'm afraid you're on your own. As far as the game is concerned, your government has been overthrown in a coup.

To prevent people accessing your nation, turn off auto-login in your Settings if you use a public computer. You should also choose a password that is not easily guessable.

I'm a teacher; can I use NationStates in my class?

Yes, some schools are doing very neat things with NationStates. If you're interested in using this site in an educational environment, please see the NationStates for Educators page.

How do I get a custom nation type?

Nations with populations over 500 million can write their own pretitle. Others, however, must choose from the drop-down menu.

Etiquette

It's free speech, so I can post whatever I like here, right?

Ahahahaha! Hahaha! Free speech! No, it's not. I run this web site, see, so you have to play by my rules. It's like my own Father Knows Best state.

What can I post?

You can discuss and argue about almost anything, so long as it's vaguely relevant to politics or NationStates and doesn't fall into any of the categories below. You don't have to be politically correct, but you must maintain a minimum standard of behavior.

What can't I post?

Any content that is:

  • obscene
  • illegal
  • threatening
  • malicious
  • defamatory
  • spam

This applies to your nation's name, motto, and other customizable fields, any messages you write, images you post, or any other content you upload or link to NationStates. If you do, your nation will be deleted. See the site's Terms & Conditions and One Stop Rules Shop for details.

Also prohibited is the practice of "griefing." Griefing is playing with the primary aim of annoying or upsetting other people. If you do this, the game moderators may take action against you.

Does that apply to my nation's flag?

You betcha. In fact, we're much stricter on nation flags than we are on forum posts, because they're not open for challenge and debate. If you want to make a political point, it's best you use the forum, where other people have the right of reply. If you use your flag, you run the risk of having it removed if we determine it breaks site rules about content and behavior.

I got into an argument with this idiot in the forums, and I got deleted and he didn't! How come you allow pro-Catholic argument, but when someone tries to tell the TRUE story of the coming of Christ—

Okay, let me stop you there. It might look as if you are being persecuted for your political views, but what most likely happened is you made a personal attack and your opponent didn't. No matter what the subject matter, if you don't conduct yourself in accordance with the rules of etiquette, you will get into trouble with the moderators. The best way to get your points across in the forums is to remain calm and respect other people's right to disagree with you.

Another player posted something offensive!

People get offended at different things, so first make sure it falls into one of the above categories. If it does, please report it to the game moderators using the Getting Help page, or if it's in the forums, to the Moderation forum.

Because our moderators are players who have volunteered to help out of the goodness of their hearts, please deal with lesser disputes without involving them. For example, if someone in your region is annoying you, your region's Founder or WA Delegate can eject them.

Can I steal another player's nation?

No. This is fraudulent behavior and breaches the site's terms & conditions. The same applies to any attempt to impersonate another player, including attempting to hack nation or region passwords.

Can I invade other people's regions?

Yes. See: Regions.

Can I have multiple nations?

Yes, but only one can be a World Assembly member at any one time.

Where can I find out more about the rules?

While this FAQ (and the Terms & Conditions of Use) cover all of the rules at a high level, you can find more detail than you probably ever want to know in the One-Stop Rules Shop on the forums.

You may also wish to read our Privacy Policy.

by Max Barry

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