By Varanius, Speaker of the Hall of Nations
Hello! As you may or may not know, the regional elections for The West Pacific have recently concluded, and the results are in! The positions that were up for election were: Minister of Cultural Affairs, Minister of Recruitment and Citizenry, Minister of Education, Minister of World Assembly Affairs, Speaker of the Hall of Nations, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Sergeant-at-Arms. All the elections had incredibly high voter turnout, and the region elected some exciting new ministers as well as some returning to their position. I, personally, am incredibly excited to serve as Speaker of the Hall of Nations, even if I'm a little new.
For the Minister of Cultural Affairs (formerly Minister of Internal Affairs), Fujai, who ran on interaction with the WA and recruitment department, while also platforming on the newspaper and roleplay, was victorious in the election. He ran against Recuecn, who campaigned on engaging with new players, roleplay, and the newspaper. When asked for comment on the election, Fujai replied, "Reçu and I ran with the knowledge that both of us would be pleased to serve under the other. Internal Affairs is much more than a Minister and staff—nothing we accomplished under Bran or in the future is possible without the amazing team we have, and I'm very grateful for the opportunity to lead it."
In a very close race for the position of Minister of Recruitment and Citizenry, the incumbent, Overthinkers, defeated Sensorland, who ran on a platform of participation with other ministries and welcoming new players in a friendly manner.
The victor of the Minister of Education was Dilber, who ran on a platform that included instituting a CommRanger program (an RMB program to encourage new nations to become active in the region), the increase in culture brought on by his advice column, and a "University of The West Pacific " idea. He was re-elected for a second term, running against Guardian and former Delegate, Darkesia. He commented that "I'd like to thank everyone that voted for me, and I look forward to my second term as Minister of Education. We have a lot of exciting initiatives in play, and I can't wait for full rollout of all of them."
The Minister of WA Affairs position was won by Big Bad Badger, who platformed on increasing WA numbers, increasing Bran's endorsements, and voicing his strong opposition against the General Assembly, who ran unopposed.
The Sergeant-at-Arms election was contested by Wyvern (Nrevyw), who campaigned on strict enforcement of the endorsement cap, and Novabren. Wyvern went on to win the election, stating that, "I'm very grateful to the citizens of TWP for putting their trust in me for another term as Sergeant-at-Arms. I'm confident that I'll be up to the task.”
For the position of Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, HyFy (Gryphonian Alliance) ran unopposed, mainly on the issue of continuing monthly FA reports, commenting that, "I think it's great to be able to do more for the region. I've been wanting to get more involved in TWP for a while now so working as Deputy Minister is worth the effort!"
And finally, for Speaker of the Hall of Nations, I—Varanius if you didn't know—ran unopposed, running on increasing Hall of Nations activity, and encouraging debate. I'd like to say, despite my newness and general unawareness of a good portion of NS history, I am hopeful for the time I will serve as Speaker.
I feel it worthy to also acknowledge the contributions of our previous Speaker, Dalimbar, who chose not to run for re-election. I also feel it necessary to recognize his contributions to the region, both as Speaker and guardian. Dalimbar, when asked for quote, said that, "It was an immense honour to be Speaker. At times it is a thankless job, but it is an important role as the representative of citizens to government and government to citizens. I was clear on my position of opposition legislation for legislation’s sake, but I always wanted to make sure citizens had a voice in their Hall. We are a meritocracy, and as such that requires us to ensure our leadership has merit. That's why we do elections for Cabinet, to make sure the meritorious are supporting our Delegate. The Hall is the collectivity of our citizenry, able to work together to make TWP even better. Varanius has my absolute support as incoming Speaker, and I am so proud that we have newer folks like him stepping up into leadership roles."
Well, time to talk about me (because I'm sure you've all been so excited for that). I've only played the game for a total of 78 days (as of this printing) and didn’t spend any time engaging with the region until N-Day, when I suddenly became active in the Discord server, and have tried to stay active since. After applying for citizenship, I soon became interested in the diplomat corps, and became The West Pacific's ambassador to The East Pacific. Then I started to engage with the CommRanger program (though I'm not all too active on that front), and then the elections caught my eye. Despite me being, at that time, only 50 or 60ish days into the game, I decided (with some encouragement) to run for Speaker of the Hall of Nations. I'm incredibly fond of The West Pacific, and am honored to serve it in any way I can!
This month, the newly rebranded Ministry of Cultural Affairs plans to deliver cultural activities in a big way. First, for the holiday season, TWP is rebranding as The Wassailing Pacific! Now, if you’re like me, you read the word “Wassailing” and wondered “what in the name of Max does that mean?” Well, fear not, for I shall explain! As it turns out, wassailing is a tradition similar to the modern tradition of caroling. Wassailers would go door to door, singing Christmas carols and offering people some wassail, which is a type of hot cider. There’s also a wassailing tradition of visiting orchards and singing to trees, and that’s a little weird but no judgment here.
So, what is The Wassailing Pacific doing? Well, first, as you hopefully already know, we’re holding a Secret Santa! By the time this goes to press, signups will be closed, but if you’re currently signed up, then you’ll have received the name of your giftee by now, and your Santa will have received your name. Better get cracking on that gift!
Cookie Decorating will be taking place via regional polls the first week of the celebration! (Dec. 7-14) You’ll have the chance to choose things like type, shape, and topping, so be sure to tune in to make your perfect cookie!
Next, we’ll be having another RMB costume contest: Ugly Sweater Week! (Dec. 15-21) Ugly Sweater Week is a chance to turn your flag into an ugly Christmas sweater and join in on the holiday fun. The winners of Ugly Sweater Week will be awarded a special Challenge Coin, so get your ugly sweaters ready!
If you thought the Turkey Pardoning last month was fun, get ready for this month’s Reindeer Death Match! (Dec. 25-Jan. 1) Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer, and Vixen! On, Donner! On, Cupid! On, Comet, and…Rudolph? Yes, that’s right, after the previous Christmas Slay Ride in 2017, the reindeer defeated by Santa’s champion Blitzen have come back from the dead and are seeking revenge! Will Blitzen retain his title, or will another deer take it from him? Tune in to find out!
Over the course of the month, we’ll also be accepting submissions for our TWP Cookies and Cocktails Cookbook! If you have a holiday-related cocktail recipe, you can post it on the RMB, our Discord server, or the TWP Cookies and Cocktails forum thread. We’ll be gathering all the submissions into a lovely dispatch to celebrate the holiday season here in TWP.
Besides the cookbook, we’re also accepting submissions for TWP’s Holiday Playlist! Send in your favorite holiday songs to The West Pacific Master Dispatch, or post them on Discord or the forum thread!
That’s not all! We’ll be having fun holiday-related polls, activities, and mini-events all month both gameside and in our offsite community. So if you haven’t already, you should really join our Discord server and forum to get in on the fun.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Solstice, Festivus, Saturnalia, or whatever else you may be celebrating this holiday season! Thank you for being the most fun and festive feeder, TWP!
A part of On the Shoulders of Giants: An Interview Series
Back in April, I sat down with Westwind to get to know a little bit more about one of TWP’s greats—himself. He invited me into his study, poured me a glass of crimson rum, and arranged himself in his favorite armchair. I, recently returned to the region, decided I had better start at the beginning.
“What originally got you into NS?” I asked. “And what was it that got you to stay? Do you remember the moment you went from thinking 'Ok, this is interesting,’ to ‘I can see I'll be into this for a while’?”
Westwind half-smiled, nodded, and leaned back.
“That's a good question, because it reminds me of what it was like to be a new player in NS. We can become jaded and forget that NS can seem like directionless and confusing place when your nation is first Founded in one of these ‘region’ things.
I was completely baffled by what a region is. It made no sense to me. Where are the Continents? What am I supposed to do?”
Westwind’s first encounter with NationStates, the game we know and love, was short-lived, and came about when his ex-wife, aware of his interests, sent him a link. At the time, Westwind was too busy, but something must have intrigued him, because a couple months later he came back and began again.
Having forgotten his original nation, he founded Westwind—now his oldest nation, dating back to January of 2004. But the nation of Westwind had been conceived even decades before that, on paper; “I did hardcopy NS on my own before Max was even alive,” boasts Westwind. Westwind had drawn maps, tracked economies and international relations, and even written books on his nations—books from which the stories would later influence roleplays in Equilism. But Westwind didn’t get to Equilism right away.
Like many in the west, Westwind claims The West Pacific as his nation’s birthplace. But when he originally founded his first nation, that meant nothing to him.
“Westwind was Founded in The West Pacific. I had no idea what that meant. I read the NS FAQ and I was just as confused as ever. I couldn't grasp the concept of what a 'region' is or what it means.
I received the usual flood of recruitment telegrams, and they did not help me understand NS.”
I smiled as Westwind talked. A lot of what he recounted—even if it had happened in 2004—sounded like the same situation with which new players are faced today.
Having figured out the basic mechanics behind moving regions, Westwind decided on a move to Equilism, still less than two weeks old. He lurked there for a while, but many things were different in that era—no mass telegrams, and messages that disappeared off the RMB as soon as they left the front page. Communication was more difficult, but off-site forums helped to fill that gap. Westwind had arrived in the middle of a constitutional convention, and as it finished, Equilism moved to new forums where he joined and became a senator. It as the beginning of a meteoric rise—within six weeks of being on NationStates, Westwind had become Prime Minister and Delegate.
“NS moved very quickly those days,” he said with a chuckle.
“What led you back to TWP after you’d left for Equilism?” I asked.
“That Westwind was Founded in TWP is certainly important to me. I really can't say why. IRL, I was born in Ohio and my family left there six months later. I have no attachments to Ohio. (Except for Darkesia.)”
Westwind’s return to his birthplace, however, took some time, and only happened once he had built other connections first. Most notably, Equilism was a defender region and its E-Army, of which Westwind was commander, was a member of the ADN—as was TWP. During thepuppetmaster liberation of TNP, he guesses that Equilism made the largest contribution, followed by TWP. His lead nation for that liberation might ring a bell: All Good People.
These events lead to Westwind then becoming more involved in TNP. But as time passed and he tried to use the region as a platform to rekindle gameplay, the old guard refused to work with him, sometime around ‘07/08. He had been banned from TWP during the triumvirate, but now he quietly moved back in with All Good people. When The Faeyas was elected Delegate, Westwind began to reinvolve himself in TWP politics.
Westwind felt that delegacy in TNP had prepared him for his eventual delegacy in TWP. But even before that, the schism in Equilism prepared him for delegacy in TNP. The Equilism schism was very similar to something Biyah had done with the West Pacific Directorate, although Westwind emphasizes that this was merely coincidence. This would have been in late 2006. The secret behind the Equilism Schism was that both sides of the schism were in fact in on it and working together—it was just a big scheme to promote activity.
When he finally came back to TWP, Westwind ran for delegate but lost against Punk Daddy. It was only years later he actually gained the delegacy, by that point a well-known and respected figure in the region. After the schism in Equilism, that region and TWP, despite their very different communities, found similar ideologies concerning game mechanics and the delegacy. Westwind fit right in in both.
Due to space and time constraints, this is all we can print here of the Westwind interview. For the rest of the interview, visit the TWP forums.
What are your Holiday chocolate traditions? Is it a Quality Street tin some chocolate coins or Terry’s Chocolate Orange, or maybe a Yule Cake? For Darkesians, chocolate is an intrinsic part of daily life, but during the winter holidays, many other nations join in this elevation of the chocolate tradition. Advent calendars abound, hot chocolate is always at the ready, and Darkesian chocolate exports spike right around December. As it turns out, Darkesians aren’t the only ones who appreciate chocolate during the holiday season. Here are a few notable ways a few other (RL) countries make chocolate part of their holiday traditions.
ST. NICHOLAS’ DAY, GERMANY AND AUSTRIA
On December 6th, Germany and Austria celebrate St. Nicholas’ Day. Children will leave a boot outside their door overnight, and St. Nicholas, much like Santa Claus, will bring them chocolate coins or other small sweets and gifts if they’ve been good. If they’ve been bad, they’ll receive sticks in their boots instead!
NOCHE BUENA FEAST, PHILIPPINES
Noche Buena in the Philippines is the feast eaten the night before Christmas after midnight mass. A common drink at this feast is Tsokolate, which is a hot drink made from chocolate, milk, sugar, and sometimes, peanut butter whisked together with a batidor.
NOCHE BUENA (BEER), MEXICO
Noche Buena is also the name of Christmas Eve in other Spanish-influenced countries, including Mexico. It’s also the name of a holiday beer! Only sold from October to February, Noche Buena is flavored with chocolate malt and caramel.
HANUKKAH GELT, WORLDWIDE
During Hanukkah, children often receive coins called gelt. Adults give children gelt for playing dreidel or as a gift to keep. In Israel, around 74% of parents give their children Hanukkah gelt. There and elsewhere in the world, gelt has also become synonymous with gold-wrapped chocolate coins.
BÛCHE DE NOËL, FRANCE
The most popular Christmas dessert in France is the bûche de Noël, a chocolate sponge cake fashioned into the shape of a Yule Log. It is eaten after the Réveillon, the main Christmas meal. In Provence, France, it is tradition to serve and eat thirteen different desserts (lei tretze dessèrts), among them the bûche de Noël.
DIWALI MITHAI, INDIA
Diwali is a long Hindu religious festival in India that spans five days during late October/early November. One of its key traditions is the giving and receiving of gifts, which is so popular that even family members abroad will send Diwali gift hampers back to India. Gift hampers can include anything from dry fruits to silverware, but mithai (Indian sweets) dominate the holiday and chocolate sweets have been steadily growing in popularity in the modern era.
CHRISTMAS CAKE, JAPAN
Japan does Christmas differently than the Western world, since for the majority of Japanese people, Christmas is more of a festive celebration than a religious tradition. In fact, Christmas Eve is considered a romantic holiday for couples.
Chocolate is just as popular a gift as it is year-round in Japan, but it also often decorates the top of a more traditional Christmas dessert: the Christmas Cake, which is a light sponge cake with whipped cream and sliced strawberries. Another popular Japanese Christmas treat that might surprise you is fried chicken!
CHOCOLADELETTER, THE NETHERLANDS
In the Netherlands, a chocolate letter known as a “chocoladeletter” is given to loved ones during the traditional Christmas-time feast of Sinterklaas. The letters, which represent the first initial of the recipient’s name, are such a big part of Dutch tradition that chocolate lovers in the Netherlands consume around 20 million of them each year.
In the coming months, we will be featuring one chocolate each month to help educate and evangelize the joys of so many various kinds of chocolate. Next month we hope to provide a brief overview of the basic types of chocolate.
By Big Bad Badger, Minster of World Assembly Affairs
Although I wasn't elected until two weeks ago, I have been working on Delegate endos and WA members for a little over four weeks. We are up over 100 WA members in the region since I have started, with Bran's numbers equally successful—up over 125 endorsements. Going forward, I am going to continue my blitz for utilizing a variety of tactics to get new WA members and more endorsements across the region. In addition, Bran has reworked the welcome TG to make it more clear for new nations joining TWP.
My immediate goals are to get Bran over 500 endorsements by Jan. 1 and to increase the number of nations at or near the endo cap. Right now, we have 8 nations over 150: I would like to see that increased to 30 by Jan 1. Presently we have 33 over 100: I would like to see that number increase to 60. My hope is that with an increase in WA endos across the region, more nations will apply to the WA to join the craze, creating a contagion of WA members and endorsements in TWP!
In addition to these objectives, I am proud to announce the beginning of our Security Council Proposal Writing Clinic hosted on the TWP forum. Our goal is to help develop nations interested in writing SC proposals and to see some of the deserving TWP nations receive Commendations and Condemnations that they have earned.
Every TWP nation can help the WA Ministry by becoming a WA member, endorsing Bran Astor, endorsing the Guardians, and endorsing nations across the region until you have reached the endo cap of 165. Remember that in TWP we have a tradition of returning any endorsement given. But as you are endorsing, be mindful of the number of endorsements the nation you are endorsing has—we want to keep everyone under the endo cap of 165.
Endorsements create influence, too, which makes it harder for potential infiltrators to take power. Influence creates safety! Help protect your region today!
If there are any ideas on how to achieve at a higher level, I am open to suggestions for improvement! Hit me up on Discord at Badger#3997 or send me a TG gameside!
To receive the rank of Youxia, a nation must keep between 100 and 165 endorsements (the current endo cap) over a two week period. These community members represent some of those most dedicated to TWP's safety, as they are much more difficult to eject.
Lost Youxia Ranking: Meow-meow-mia (left region), Liberillia (over cap)