by Max Barry

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by Coalition factbook administrator. . 17,587 reads.

[UPDATED] NationStates Guide

NOTE: Please refer to the UPDATED GUIDE for more relavant information

New Player Guide

Preamble | This is a guide for players who have queries regarding NationStates.

What is NationStates? | NationStates is a multiplayer government simulation browser game. It was created by Max Barry and was publicly released on 13 November 2002, based loosely on his novel Jennifer Government. The game has hosted over 3.7 million nations with 112,698 current active nations in 16,223 different regions. The game is expanded by users via off-site forums to construct centers of learning, discussion, and play.

The object of the game is to lead a country in the way the player finds best. At the start of the game, the player chooses a few basic characteristics including country name, flag, motto, currency, national animal and style of government. Answers to a short questionnaire determine the initial ratings of the country's civil, economic and political rights. The nation's population starts at five million and increases every day automatically with play.

What are Issues? | Every day, nations log on to check and answer their 'issues'. Issues are political decisions that players make, which shape their nations as a result. The choices you make on your issues directly affect your civil rights, economic, and political freedom levels, as well as your tax rate. Over time, they also determine what type of government you have, from 'Democratic Socialists' to 'Psychotic Dictatorship'.

You can decide how often issues come to you by clicking on 'settings' in the side-bar on the NS game.

Ratings you can achieve



Political Freedoms

Civil Rights




Widely Abused












World Benchmark











Very good

Very good


























Basket Case

Unheard of

Unheard of





Government Types | A nation's government type is determind by an algorithm which calculates a nation's civil liberties, economic, and political freedoms and based on this result, allocates the nation a government type appropriate to that nation. There are 27 government types, ranging from Scandinavian Liberal Paradise, to Iron Fist Socialists, to Psychotic Dictatorship.

What are Telegrams? | Telegrams are messages that can be sent between players. Think of it as a private messaging system. As soon as you sign up to the game, there's a very good chance you'll be bombarded with recruitment messages, inviting you to join the 'best region around'. Take what is said here with a grain of salt, and remember you are under no obligation to join anyone. Keep in mind that whilst sending messages to another player is free, if you include additional recipients, you'll need to spend real money for stamps.

What is a Dossier? | A dossier is a document complied by you which features information on selected nations and regions. It is incredibly useful in times of (imaginary) war and (also imaginary) economic crisis, where you are attempting to manage relations between several players. You can use the built in dossier system, whilst technical-savvy players can upload their written version, which can also be shared with other players.

What is the Settings page for? | Within the settings, players have the ability to modify certain aspects of their nation, such as the classification (whether you're a republic, dictatorship, queendom, etc), the currency, national animal and motto. As your nation grows, you also unlock the ability to classify your capital city, leader and religion. Then you have game-specific options, mainly the amount of issues you want to receive (maximum of two per day) and what kind of telegrams you want to receive.

What is the Overview page for? | The overview page gives you and other visitors a randomly generated look at your nation. The information given is mainly based on your response to issues. Say for example you decide to allow the police to carry out phone taps, you'll most likely find this particular gem of information available for all to see. It will also mention your population, the trustworthiness of the government and you as a leader in general.

What are Dispatches? | Dispatches are statements issued by your nation and fall in to one of four categories:
    Factbook: Descriptions relating to your nation, or anything you choose.
    Bulletin: For all things relating to gameplay.
    Account: Articles or stories about your nation.
    Meta: Matters relating to gameplay which stem from a real-life perspective.

People, Government and Economy |
    People: A pie-chart illustrating the leading causes of death throughout your nation.
    Government: An illustration showing the distribution of your budget.
    Economy: An illustration of the division of the public and private sectors.

Analysis? | Every day, the game will generate a Census Report on a particular subject and will rank all nations and regions from highest to lowest. Such topics include 'Most Extreme', 'Most Cultured' and 'Best Healthcare'. Score well enough and you'll be awarded a little medal that appears on your nation's page.

What is the World Assembly? | To have any sort of influence in NS, you should consider joining the World Assembly (WA). By being a member, your nation can endorse other nations, and also receive endorsements. You may also vote on the current WA resolution, shown by clicking on 'World Assembly' in the side-bar on NS. With two endorsements, you are allowed to submit proposals to the WA, which may be put up for a vote if they receive enough support.

Even though you are allowed to create more than one nation, you are permitted to have only one nation in the WA at a time. This is important. Violating this rule could get you ejected from the WA permanently or, even worse, deleted permanently.

Councils | The World Assembly is divided into two main sections: The General Assembly and The Security Council.

The General Assembly focuses on international law that applies to all nations if passed. These normally concern shipping laws, military safety and other similar topics.

The Security Council focuses on one nation at a time. More often than not, these involve praising individual players and 'liberating' nations, allowing free entry. Whilst there is no battle system set in place by Max Barry, the Security Council's resolutions often relate to keeping the peace.

Delegates | Delegates are elected by a region to serve as their representative at the World Assembly. Unlike ordinary members, they have the ability to approve newly-suggested resolutions. Delegates may also have administrative control over their region, though this is entirely dependent on the settings decided with the region's creation.

Becoming a delegate can be an easy or difficult process, depending on the circumstances. To be elected, you need endorsements (a minimum of two) from the majority of members in your region. Whilst a region composed of you and your friends can guarantee you a spot, bigger regions with a vast collection of players are often much more challenging. Not only must you convince people to support your cause (and potentially get the old delegate demoted), you need to hold this position by respecting the demands of the region.

Gaining Endorsements | If you've decided to join a bigger region with little to no support from friends, here are a few tips to receive the endorsements needed:
  1. Patience is a god send. Don't expect to march in some random region and have endorsements thrown at you. You need to prove your place.

  2. Get friendly with some of the other nations, people who you can count on to support your ascent to power.

  3. If they have one, find out about the current delegate. Is he well liked? Does he listen to the nation's wishes? Does he abuse his power? Use this to your advantage...

  4. NationStates truly is a game of politics and roleplaying. To that end, feel free to blackmail and bribe your peers.

Voting for a Resolution | To vote for a resolution, click on its link within the World Assembly tab. You'll be taken to a page giving you the full details, including the category, resolution number and who proposed the resolution. Below that, you'll find a complete explanation, with the option of voting FOR or AGAINST.
Passing your own Resolution | To pass your own resolution, you need at least two endorsements from members of your region. Once you have those, you can propose your resolution to the World Assembly. However, before people are given the chance to vote on it, it needs to be approved by 6% of the World Assembly Regional Delegates. If it reaches the necessary number of approvals, it will be brought onto the voting floor, where all members of the WA can make your resolution law, or fail to pass it.

When you decide to pass your own resolution, you have two choices. You can create a brand new one, or you can attempt to repeal an old one.

Creating a new resolution is basically one that does not currently exist. If you do so, make sure you look through all previous resolutions. There's nothing more embarrassing than attempting to introduce laws on toilet paper which already exist...

If you too are angered about the increase of tax on tea bags, then you have the chance to get things changed! You can vote to re-appeal a resolution, which will render the resolution in question null and void. This is normally when old laws conflict with new methods.

Tips on Passing a Resolution:

    Gather up support within your region. If it was proposed by someone, all the better!
  1. Spread the word on the forums. There is a section dedicated to the discussion of resolutions. You can make friends and get some critique on your law, which will let you make the edits necessary to give it an air of professionalism.

  2. Don't get too frustrated if your resolution doesn't make it to the voting floor. You can always try again.

What is Influence? | You may have noticed it already, your nation and our region is given an 'influence' automatically by the game. A nation's influence is a measure of how well-respected a nation is considered in its current region. Nations earn influence in a region the longer they remain there, and the more WA endorsements they have. When a nation leaves, though, its influence in that region will begin to decline.

Although being boast-worthy in its own right, Influence serves an important gameplay purpose. The ability of WA Delegates to eject and ban nations from their region, and to password-protect it, is limited by their Influence. Delegates consume some of their Influence to exercise their power, so the more often he uses his influence, the more difficult it is for him to wield those powers in the future.

When a nation moves to a region, it has no influence within that region. Nations accrue influence in a region by remaining in the region, and by receiving endorsements from the region’s members. Being a member of the WA has no effect unless the nation gains endorsements, the more endorsements one gets, the more influence one will accrue.

The regional influence is equal to the sum of the national influence of all its members (updated each WA update), and is displayed as a ranking on a scale ranging from ‘Backwater’ to ‘Extremely High’.

The national influence ranking (ranging from ‘Minnow’ to ‘Hermit’) is determined by the ratio of national influence to total regional influence and the previous WA update.

Influence levels you can achieve

# ↓#

Influence Level






























Eminence Grise













Population Growth? | A newly-created nation in NationStates begins with a population of 5 million. Every 24 hours, the population of a nation increases. The higher the population gets, the more the population increases per day, up until the population reaches 62 million.

The population of a newly-created nation increases by 1 million per day.

The population of a nation is related to the descriptor of it's size. As a nation's population increases, it progresses through a series of size descriptors, which are: fledgling, tiny, small, large, very large, huge, massive, colossal, and gargantuan. As a nation's population increases, it eventually gains a number of new custom nation traits, including the capitol city (250 million), the nation name pretitle (500 million), the nation's leader (750 million), and the national religion (1 billion).

Different population marks at which a change occurs

Population Mark

Change (s)

5 million

The starting population, with the population size descriptor 'fledgling', and a population growth rate of 1 million per day.

7 million

The population size descriptor changes to 'tiny'.

10 million

The population growth rate increases to 2 million per day.

20 million

The population size descriptor changes to 'small'. The population growth rate increases to 3 million per day.

32 million

The population growth rate increases to 4 million per day.

40 million

The population growth rate increases to 5 million per day.

50 million

The population size descriptor changes to 'large'. The population growth rate increases to 6 million per day.

62 million

The population growth rate becomes randomly variable, ranging from 5 million per day to 7 million per day. The population growth rate does not change after this.

100 million

The population size descriptor changes to 'very large'.

200 million

The population size descriptor changes to 'huge'.

250 million

The nation can receive the issue to create a custom-named national capitol.

500 million

The nation name pretitle changes from multiple-choice to a custom text field. The player may submit issues from now on, at the issues page.

1 billion

The population size descriptor changes to 'massive'. The nation can receive the issue to create a custom-named national religion.

5 billion

The population size descriptor changes to 'colossal'.

10 billion

The population size descriptor changes to 'gargantuan'.

What is Roleplay? | Roleplay is an extension of NationStates gameplay and is generally defined as assuming the attitudes, actions, and discourse of (another), in a make-believe situation in an effort to understand a differing point of view or social interaction. For a more comprehensive guide to roleplay, please refer to this forum thread.
    Thread: The overall topic/conversation/story.

    Opening Post (OP): The first post of a thread. Usually, the person who posts first is known as the Opening Poster (OP). They are usually the person who runs the thread unless stated otherwise.

    Co-Opening Poster (CO-OP): A person who is employed by the Opening Poster.

    Post: An individual reply made by one person to a thread.

    Character: When you make your first post in a RP thread that is where you will name your character.

    Out-of-character (OOC): Out of Character posts are often posted in the Drafting Plane in the respective Out of Character thread. Post of this sort is used to convey messages unrelated to the roleplay, such as informing your fellow players that you will be out of town for a week and therefore will not be online in NationStates.

    Private Message (PM): This is a method where you send a particular person a message.

    Coloured Post: The use of colors, bold, and italics is also applied in many threads. When used correctly, this makes seeing the speech and thought of each PC (player character) much easier to tell apart from the rest of the post. It is suggested that colors be used as a last resort.

    Non-Player Character: A character that is only used for a minor detail or for a small bit of dialogue. These characters are generally flat and will only be involved in a Role Play for a short amount of time.

    Time Skip: A moment where the story will advance upon an agreed amount of time. This is used for when intimate moments start approaching too explicit or when there is no way to advance the plot anymore unless time passes quickly.

    Godmod: Godmodding is in essence when someone’s character has the ability to do practically anything without limits or boundaries. And example is when they simply cannot be harmed by any and all means other RP-ers try.

Terminology |
    Sinker Region: One of the 4 major regions in NationStates, featuring (at times) thousands of nations and has no founder.

    Warzones: Completely open regions that cannot be password-locked. Bans are temporary and last 24 hours.

    Regional Message Board (RMB): The blurb on the front page of our region where you can talk to anyone here.

    Puppets: Non-WA nations that are often used for the purposes of diplomacy, filling, and pure deception.

    Telegrams (TG): A private messaging system that acts as emails for NS. Players often say "PM" or "TG me".

    World Assembly (WA): The political body that passes laws on NS. Very nasty and very beginner-unfriendly.

    World Assembly Member: Gives you the right to vote on WA laws. Click here and click "Apply to Join".

    Word Assembly Delegate: The one member of the region that has the most number of WA Endorsements.

    Rejected Realms (RR): The one place you go after being banned. You're safe in the RR (except from Admins).

    Founder: The Nation that founds a region. Has the power to ban, eject, banject nations, change tags, suppress RMB posts, change the flag, construct and deconstruct embassies, and change the WFE.

    Founderless Region: A region where the Founder has CTE'd, handing all administrative controls to the WA Delegate by default.

    WFE - World Factbook Entry: An area that describes you region, etc. At the top of any region screen.

    Eject: The Act of ejecting a nation from another region. Can be done for free by a Founder, or at the cost of Influence for a delegate. Ejected nations arrive in the Rejected Relams immediately.

    Ban: Prohibits a nation from entering a given region. Costs a WAD more influence than just ejection.

    Banject: Ejecting and Banning someone at the same time, Costs the most influence.

    Cease-to-exist (CTE): The deletion of a nation after a period of inactivity lasting 28 days. A nation can be 'refounded' by the owner by login in again.

Anymore Helpful Hints? | How to format/'prettify' a dispatch?: This guide written by Testlandia exemplifies the results of different BBCodes which will help you further develop the aesthetic appeal of any dispatch.

How to create a Wikipedia-style Factbook: This forum thread created by Ponderosa provides a very nice, clean and effective format for any nation to adopt to create their own Factbooks.

New to Roleplay?: A comprehensive forum thread created by P2TM details the fundamentals of the roleplay community in NationStates as well as providing launchpad to furthering one's knowledge of roleplay through various links.

A guide to different issues type: A guide authored by Goddess Relief Office provides an overview of the different issue types and the methods to unlocking them.

This document has been authored by Amerion.
"I would sincerely appreciate it if you could
up-vote this dispatch if you found it informative ^_^"

Coalition factbook administrator