by Max Barry

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by The Liberal Dictatorship of His Excellency. . 3,970 reads.

How to NationStates: The Comprehensive Guide (for noobs)

The "I'm new to NationStates I have no idea what I'm doing" Comprehensive Guide to NationStates

*Or more sadly, the "I wished I had this comprehensive, yet mildly funny guide when I was new" Guide to NationStates

🚧 This guide is still under construction!
Please bear with us as we add more and more content.
Thank you all for your support!

Hello newbie, welcome to NationStates! NationStates is a multiplayer text-based nation state simulator which was created to promote a new novel known as Jenn- oh whoops you drifted off already.

Yeah no .. I'm not going to bore you. You're welcome. The guide is written in chronological order, but you can skip to specific parts using the contents page.

My telegrams are being bombarded. How the f*ck do I stop this spam?

Oof. The first thing most new players get is a cascade of junk mail in their inbox. A large majority of your spam mail are recruitment telegrams which want you to join their region (I'll explain that in the future, but basically they're like tribes or clans).

But right now you don't give a sh*t. Firstly, we need to stop more garbage polluting your inbox. To do this, click this link. Under Filter, go to Recruitment and click Block All.

Click update filter when done. Now you will no longer receive more recruitment bullsh*t! Hooray🎊! All you need to do now is to delete your inbox and send angry telegrams telling your spammers to never spam you again.

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What are issues?
Issues are the main feature of NationStates and it's the thing that makes the game fun! You are the leader of your country, and issues are scenarios your country is going through. Each issue has a list of different options you can pick to resolve these scenarios. The fun thing about all the issues is that usually none of the options are 'good'. They all have drawbacks and some of the options you pick can have unintended consequences.

Let's take a look at an example...

Oh dear. In this issue, you basically have two options: force the company to give the pay rise or frankly fire the fish farmers furiously (I apologise for the abject alliteration).

So let's assume you go for the "DSJFJISDFJISDFJIPSDF CAPITALISM! DESTROY CAPITALISM NOW!!111" option. Under this scenario, the workers now have a 20% pay rise and the prospect of not having fish and chips this Friday has been thoroughly diffused. Power to the workers🚩! Viva la Revolution or whatever you hip socialists say nowadays, idk.

The unintended consequence however is that now your people know if they want something, they can go on strike. So they will do... like all the time. And you'll be getting a f*ckton of strikes now.

To illustrate why this may not be a good thing, I have hired an economist from the Department of the Treasury of His Excellency to draft a graph showing the relationship between economic productivity and the amount of people going on strike:

In other words, your economy is going to die. Oof.

So let's go for the other option then, i.e. "Tiannamen Square 2: Electric Boogaloo (ft. Margaret Thatcher)". Crush those fish f*ckers! Now you've given companies and corporations more power to make your economy more competitive. Yay to laissez-faire economics📈!

As a side effect of relaxing industrial laws, now thousands of people will randomly be fired (because their bosses don't like them or something), creating mass unemployment. And also.. uh.. rolling in the tanks isn't very.. shall we say.. conducive to democracy I mean like, as a dictatorship this is actually a very very good thing, but this guide is supposed to be "impartial" so pshhh.

So overall, none of the options are 'good' options. They all have glaring flaws in them. So you have to pick the best one out of all your crappy options. But that is what makes this game so fun! There is no 'right' answer, and some options have wildly unanticipated side effects. Issues are important because the way you answer issues affect the statistics and status of your country (which will be explained in more depth in the next question).

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What are civil rights, economy and political freedom? Isn't 'political freedom' an oxymoron?

Civil rights, economy and so-called political freedom are the main gauges of your nation. Every time you do an issue, your civil rights, economy or political freedoms will go either up or down. Your nation classification (in this example, the classification is Civil Rights Lovefest) depends on how much civil rights, economic freedom and political freedoms your country has.

In this example, a progressive policy has led to the economy to go down. But don't worry! You'll soon have lots of other issues which will give you opportunities to get it back up. It is possible to have any classification and increase your statistics even if they're currently crappy, it just takes time and answering specific issues.

So to roughly recap, here is a table you can refer to tell you what your country is like:


Having lots means..

Having little means..

Civil rights

Pot-smoking, gay rights loving, liberty spreading, freedom embracing lovefest

Slavery is a good idea as it gives people jobs which they can never resign from


GDP is bigger than a potato

GDP is a potato

Economic freedom

Pinochet did nothing wrong

Stalin did nothing wrong

Political freedoms

Rule by ballot

Rule by ballistic missile

It is also possible to check your statistics over time. If you go to Trend, you can see the ups and downs of your basic metrics (civil rights, economy and political freedoms) in the form of a graph.

Presumably you are a noob, in which case your graph will consist of three straight lines. If you're an old player, you can see something slightly more interesting than straight lines like squiggles, bumps, dramatic falls and exponential rises. *The audience proceeds to go "ooooh"*

Just look at this very exciting graph!

What do you mean you don't care?

However, civil rights, economy and political freedom aren't the only metrics and measurements you can use to gauge your nation. There are also other ways you can measure your nation such as the policies it has enacted (which will be discussed in the next question).

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What are policies? And lul wut since when did I legalise polygamy?

Policies are general laws your nation has passed. You get new policies by answering issues. Depending on what policies your country has, you may get certain issues. For example, if you are an autocracy (dictatorship), you won't get any issues related to democracy. The fun thing about policies is they are a by-product of issues, and therefore sometimes you will enact a new policy as an unintended consequence.

For example, look at this cute little boy on the right. He has a passion for acting. Who could dare to crush his innocent dreams of being an aspiring actor? me lol SURPRISE BISH💥 You just legalised child labour. Now go work in the factories for the fatherland! *throws the cute child into the assembly line*

Or, another example, marriage laws. If you have a compassion level that is higher than a literal kidney stone, you would be naturally inclined to legalise gay marriage. However, read the small print very carefully. Or ... SURPRISE BISH💥 You just legalised polygamy. Not what you meant? Sorry, your civil servants got a bit overzealous and now you have this weird law you did not ask for or maybe you did, I mean I won't judge😒.

Like statistics and all the other metrics, policies are reversible. So don't worry if you have a democratic robo-socialist polygamous pot-smoking feudal society. Just give it time, answer the right issues, and it will change.

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What are the 'people', 'government' and 'economy' statistics?
The categories of "people", "government" and "economy" are another form of metrics to gauge your nation. Each three of these options are presented in a pie chart. [insert sarcastic amusement here] It's not really that exciting unless if you like maths and yes I call it maths do you have a problem, no that's what I thought.

So unless if this arouses you in some way...

You really needn't bother. I am only aroused when 100% of money is spent on defending oil- I mean uh self-defence yeah.

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What are ranks? Is this just more statistics?
Ranks are individual statistics to measure your nation. They vary from boring statistics such as "economic output", to more average ones like "averageness" (yes there is a literal statistic on averageness), to more exciting interesting ones like level of public "nudity".

"Holy sh*t. Why are there so many statistics in NationStates?" That's a dumb question. You're playing a text-based simulator you dimwit. What did you expect? "Are you making me ask stupid questions to insinuate and perpetuate stereotypes of my ignorance as a noob?" Yes.

Depending on how you answer every issue, your plethora of statistics change. To see these changes, you can scroll down after answering an issue.

What makes ranks so much more different that the other eight million other statistics in NationStates, is that you can get badges for ranking high on each of these ranks!

These badges appear below your nation's main page and they are usually a source of honour and pride for the owner of the account. Green badges are given to top 10% of nations (of that certain statistic) in the entire game, orange badges are given to the top 5% and golden badges given to the top 1%.

As you can see, this is my own private collection. I'm extremely proud and honoured to have the Top 1% for Public Nudity. "I don't care, do you have any other information regarding ranks?" My golden badge reflects on a sadder tone of general society. Societal progres- "Yeah OK, I'm going then." - WAIT WHERE ARE YOU GOING?

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What are regions?

Time to finally explain what regions actually are. While your individual nations are the single player aspect of the game, regions are the multiplayer aspect. Regions are basically groups, clans or guilds. Every nation must be part of a region. As you've probably encountered beforehand, there are a f*ckton of regions and they all want you to join them.

If you are a newbie, you are probably in one of the five main starter regions: the Pacific, the North Pacific, the South Pacific, the East Pacific and the West Pacific. New nations are automatically randomly assigned to be born in one of these starter regions, s-pacifically known as 'feeder' regions. I refuse to apologise for this pun.