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Welcome to NationStates!
This guide will help if you are a new player to this game or an experienced player looking to expand your knowledge of NationStates.
The aim of this guide is to help you:
Prepare you for the limitless possibilities;
Find out the the varying aspects of this game; and
Manage your nation.
This guide is reasonably long and as such, it is recommended that you refer to the table of contents to aid you in locating specific information you may desire.
Before this guide begins, I would like to personally express thanks and credit to Testlandia, Euroslavia and Goddess Relief Office who have kindly provided commendable information and tips to this guide.
What is NationStates?
NationStates is a multiplayer online text-based game which stimulates a government setting. It was created by author Max Berry and was released on the 13th of November, 2002 as a means of promoting a novel Jennifer Government. The game has hosted over 3.7 million nations with 112,698 current active nations in 16,223 different regions.
Players (under the guise of their nation) operate their own country by making decisions that have an impact on the economy, society and culture of their people. 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.
Issues are political decisions that players make, which shape their nations as a result. The choices a player makes on issues directly affects the nation's civil rights, economic, and political freedom levels, as well as the national tax rate.
As time progresses, issues will determine the type of government a nation has, with the game categorizing the type from 'Democratic Socialists' to 'Psychotic Dictatorship'.
A player can decide how often he or she wishes to receive issues by accessing the settings page and choosing from a list of options under the sub-heading New Issues. The options avaliable for selection are: None; One per weekday; One per day; Two per weekday; Two per day; or Vacation Mode
(prevent a nation from receiving new issues and extending period after-which a nation will be deleted for inactivity, from 28 days to 60 days)
One per weekday;
One per day;
Two per weekday;
Two per day; or
Depending on the options a player selects, they will achieve varying ratings relating to their nation's Economy, Political Freedoms, and Civil Rights (visible on a nation's homepage).
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.
The following information has been kindly provided by Goddess Relief Office and reproduced here with his express permission. You are invited to read a guide to different issue types for more comprehensive information on this subject.
NationStates has five different categories in which issues are organised into; general, population-based, issue option, statistics, and special issues.
General issues form the majority of issues which a nation will receive. Issues of this type are randomly generated with there being no precondition to receiving them.
Examples of general issues include:
Population-based issues are those which can only be unlocked by a nation's population. If a player chooses to dismiss issues of this type when he/she received them or chooses an option which he/she may later regret, the player will still be able to receive population-based issues. However, the player will receive the specific issue later and not immediately after dismissing it. Through such issues, a player will be granted the ability to edit the player's capital city, leader, and national religion.
Examples of population-based issues include:
Issue-option are only unlock-able when a nation chooses a specific option to one issue. The result of the issue and the effect of the decision on the nation will be a catalyst for an Issue-option issue.
Examples of issue-based issues include:
Statistic-based issues can be unlocked when a nation has reached a pre-determined statistic relevant to the issue. Depending on how a player chooses to lead his/her nation, different statistics will apply to the nation. For example, a nation which is led in a dictatorial fashion will most likely receive an issue which relates to tyrannical nations, for example the issue Too Low on Laws, Says Citizens. However, a nation which has high political freedoms would not received such issues.
Examples of statistic-based issues include:
Too Low on Laws, Says Citizens is unlocked when a nation is categorised as an Anarchy;
A Taxing Dilemma is unlocked if a nation's tax rate surpasses 70%; and
Maxtopians Demands Return of the King is unlocked when a nation is rated highly culturally.
Special issues do not occur often and are a rarity. For example, World Assembly Woes are only unlock able by member-states of the World Assembly.
Similar to special issues, there are easter egg issues which reward nations with a unique badge to be displayed on nations' main page. There are several easter egg issues available. However, the methods of attaining them vary. For a more detailed discussion on easter egg issues, please refer to this discussion.
Telegrams are private messages that can be sent between players. When a nation is founded, it will receive approxiamately two dozen telegrams from regions seeking to recruit new nations.
A player can choose to filter telegrams he/she receives by accessing Telegram Preferences. There are four categories a player can select:
Recruitment: Recruitment telegrams are sent by nations attempting to convince players to join their regions.
WA Campaign: WA proposal authors may send WA-member nations telegrams of this sort to lobby for a player's vote.
Region (official): Founders and (if allowed) World Assembly Delegates may send regional telegrams without the need for stamps. Unless selected, these telegrams will be sent to every nation residing in the region.
External: External telegrams are sent using stamps and in-which the author had not pre-selected the telegram label of 'recruitment' or 'campaign'.
A player may choose to block particular nations from sending him/her telegrams. A player may add a nation to the Ignore List by writing the nation's name in the search box of Telegram Preferences. Alternatively, the player can click on a telegram's timestamp which will link to a page showcasing the individual telegram, with there being a 'Block Sender' link near its bottom-right.
NationStates is a free game however there are upgrades avaliable to a player. One such upgrade is an Inbox upgrade which is part of packages: Supporter, Postmaster and Postmaster-General.
- Supporter will:
remove ads (for faster page loads);
reward with a upporter trophy for your nation page;
permanently reserve nation name; and
give a player a 'warm, fuzzy feeling of supporting NationStates.'
includes the aforementioned benefits of Supporter;
expand folders to hold a 100 telegrams each (up from 20 telegrams);
create 3 additional custom folders; and
create a 'deleted items' folder which will retain a maximum of 100 deleted telegrams.
includes the aforementioned benefits of both Supporter and Postmaster;
expand folders to hold an unlimited number of telegrams;
create an unlimited number of custom folders; and
includes 500 telegram stamps.
Telegram stamps allow player to send multiple telegrams at one single time. Normally, a player would only be able to send a telegram to a maximum of eight nations. Mass telegrams using telegram stamps can reach substantial numbers of nations quickly and easy and provide Delivery Reports which detail who has received a telegram and who has not.
A player can personalize the telegram sent by applying %NATION% to the text of the telegram. This will automatically translate to the nation's name when he/she receives it.
- Similarly a player can select a particular group to receive the telegram:
region: <Name> will send a telegram to every nation residing in the region listed.
tag: New<Number> will send telegrams to the aforementioned number of newly founded nations.
tag: Refounded<Number> will send telegrams to the aforementioned number of refounded nations.
tag: NewDelegates<Number> will send telegrams to the aforementioned number of new World Assembly Delegates nations.
tag: Delegates will send a telegram to the every Delegate.
tag: WA will send a telegram to the every nation who retains current membership to the World Assembly.
tab: All will send a telegram to every nation in NatiomStates.
tag: Welcome will send an automatic greeting to new arrivals in their region. However, telegrams of these sort can only be sent by a Founder or Delegate of a region.
A newly-founded nation in NationStates begins with a population of 5 million. Every 24 hours, the population of a nation increases. The higher the population rises, the greater 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).
The starting population, with the population size descriptor 'fledgling', and a population growth rate of 1 million per day.
The population size descriptor changes to 'tiny'.
The population growth rate increases to 2 million per day.
The population size descriptor changes to 'small'. The population growth rate increases to 3 million per day.
The population growth rate increases to 4 million per day.
The population growth rate increases to 5 million per day.
The population size descriptor changes to 'large'. The population growth rate increases to 6 million per day.
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.
The population size descriptor changes to 'very large'.
The population size descriptor changes to 'huge'.
The nation can receive the issue to create a custom-named national capitol.
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.
The player will have the option of stating the leader of their nation as well as attributing the national motto to said-individual.
The population size descriptor changes to 'massive'. The nation can receive the issue to create a custom-named national religion.
The population size descriptor changes to 'colossal'.
The population size descriptor changes to 'gargantuan'.
A nation's dossier is a compilation of brief information on other nations & regions which a player can select. It allows the player to easily move between nations/regions the player considers of interest and can be a useful tool in maintaining track of puppet nations a player may have.
The brief information provided in the dossier are limited to the nation's name, the nation's WA category (for example, left-wing utopia), when the nation was last active, the region in which the nation resides, and the WA status of the nation (whether the nation is a member of the World Assembly).
Similarly, the dossier provides brief information on regions which players choose to feature in their dossier. The information is limited to the name of the region, the population of the region, and the name of the region's World Assembly Delegate.
Another feature is Advanced Dossier. This feature allows for greater control on the nation's which feature in a player's dossier. As opposed to having to independently select nations, a player can upload a text file to NationStates featuring nations' names. Alternatively, a player can download a text file which contains the identity of the nations in the dossier.
The settings page allows a player to modify aspects of his/her nation. A player can set the currency, motto, demonyms, national animal, et cetera. The settings page also provides players with the opportunity to change their nation's password, flag, and select banners.
Banners are a rotating, targeted, customisable, unlock-able set of images on nation's page. There are over 250 banners, which unlock upon achieving various feats, such as developing a strong economy or reaching high levels of political corruption. There are also custom slots for uploading a players' own images, once they have reached particular population levels. For a full list illustrating every banner achievable, you are invited to view this collection.
People: A pie-chart and accompanying percentages illustrating the leading causes of death throughout a player's nation, for example old age.
Government: An illustration and accompanying percentages showing the distribution of your budget, for example education, environment, healthcare, public transport, and administration. The illustration also details the amount of a player's currency and the percentage of the player's total gross domestic product (GDP) spent on government expenditure.
Economy: An illustration of the division of the public, private, and state-owned sectors. Here, a player can also read the total GDP of the nation and the GDP per person.
Each day, there are two updates in NationStates. The major update occurs at approximately 00:00-01:00 Eastern Standard Time/Eastern Daylight Savings Time (EST/EDT). The minor update occur at approximately 12:00-13:00 EST/EDT. Due to the large number of nations and regions, these updates may take an hour.
In the major update, NationStates generates a World 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'. If a nation scores highly in these reports, the player may expect to be rewarded with either a silver or gold badge which will feature on the main page of the player (top 10% and 5%, respectfully).
In NationStates, regions is to a nation how a real-life country/city is to a person. It is a community of nations which generally incorporates at least five basic social values that all regions, regardless of their ideological foundation, are expected to provide and uphold for the benefit of their citizens. These values are: security, freedom; order; justice; and welfare. This is not to say that there are no regions in whom's founding ideals differ from those stated. There are thousands of regions in NationStates, each with it's own personality and direction, for example a Pokemon-themed region, a Communist region, or a democratic region.
Different regions have different focus points, some choose to be specifically themed with a general purpose whilst others are just a casual gathering place for nations. The defining aspect of regions are their home-pages (which you can locate by clicking on a region's link). The regional home-page showcases a wide range of customizable features:
World Factbook Entry;
World Census Report;
Regional polls; and the
Regional Message Board (RMB)
Nations can select the region they want to belong to by various means; accidental stumbling upon, specific searches, recruitment telegrams, looking at regional tags, etc.
For a comprehensive guide to "Building a region", you are invited to view this forum thread.
Pursuant to the international diplomacy theme which underpins NationStates, an important aspect of the game is an institution called the World Assembly (WA) formerly known as the United Nations. This is a fairly large component of the game and therefore this guide will detail it under sub-sections (highlighted in bold)
Membership to the World Assembly is entirely voluntary. A player may choose to join this organization and in doing so, gain them in-game functions of being able to endorse other nations as well as receive endorsements. However, the player also submits their nation to the effects generated by various WA proposals. This may have an inadvertent effect on a nation's statistics, for example their military situation (ability to construct nuclear weapons may be limited by a WA General Assembly resolution). A player can choose to join the World Assembly by clicking on the 'Apply to join' button in the World Assembly page.
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, a nation need endorsements (a minimum of two) from the majority of members in their respective region. Whilst a region composed of said-nation and a friend(s) can guarantee the nation the delegacy, larger regions with a vast collection of players are often much more challenging. Not only must the nation convince people to support their cause (and potentially have the current delegate demoted), the nation needs to hold this position by respecting the demands of the region.
Gaining Endorsements, 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: (note: the following is the author's own opinion)
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.
Get friendly with some of the other nations, people who you can count on to support your ascent to power.
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...
NationStates truly is a game of politics and roleplaying. To that end, feel free to blackmail and bribe your peers.
Councils, the World Assembly is divided into two entities; 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.
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.
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. (note: the following is the author's own opinion)
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!
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.
Don't get too frustrated if your resolution doesn't make it to the voting floor. You can always try again.
Influence is a game-determind categorization applied to each nation. 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 accumulated. When a nation leaves, though, its influence in that region will begin to decline.
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 the Delegate uses their influence, the more difficult it is for them 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. Arguably, 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 game-update (refer to Analysis)), and is displayed as a ranking on a scale ranging from ‘moderate’ 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 achievable
The following advice has been kindly provided by Euroslavia and reproduced here with his express permission. Should you wish to further explore this dynamic aspect of NationStates, you are invited to read the many role-play guides available in the forum
Welcome to 'Getting Started with Nationstates'. This (advice) will provide the basic framework for general rules and learning and all things in regards to how to properly Role Playing in the International Incidents and Nationstates forums. The following is merely a snippet of advice, please visit this forum thread for more comprehensive information and advice relating to role-playing in International Incidents.
Work things out OOC: First piece of advise is fairly simple; you will find that when you start an role-play with a nation you may have combat with, you will find that most of the time you will both have different technologies and ideas on how the role-play will go. As such it’s important to work out any problems OOC before you start the RP. You can do this in MSN, telegram or even in a separate thread… if you don’t do this you may waste a lot of time arguing with the other nation over the power of your weapon, why they aren’t taking enough damage and so on.
Spelling, Grammar and Format: This is a quick addition, but basically if you want to be understood you should make it easier to read for everyone else. Basically you should try and make sure that you’re spelling it reasonable, your grammar is ok and your format makes it easy for people to read. The best way to achieve this is to use a program like Win Word to spell check your post and maybe even point out some grammar problems.
Its freeform baby!: Yeah, I know I should have pointed this out earlier, but it goes without saying. You can RP anything you want and there is little anyone can do about it. Remember, while you can role-play anything, you can also ignore anything. So while you can RP your nation being the best in the universe, everyone else can ignore such a claim and choose not to RP with you. That’s the beauty of freeform, and it’s greatest frustration. This is why you should be reasonable.
Be descriptive: This isn’t really as important, but it makes the thread a whole lot better. The more description you put into it, the more interesting it is to read and the more you will enjoy the role-play on the whole.
Have fun: It gets forgotten a lot of the time but Nationstates is just a game; albeit an addictive game which takes a lot of time and effort for some people. The important thing is to have fun; if you are not having fun then you should try something else. Tired of having wars with everyone? Chill out and try something else, make peace with those you fight or have a peace conference… that way you automatically have a character/diplomatic role-play.
To garner more information on general role-playing, the author strongly recommends a visit to the forum thread Roleplaying Tips and Suggestions.
Role-playing in NationStates is such an exciting and fun aspect of the game, as such, there are thousands of people all around you who would be happy to help you, you need only ask. Similarly, if you are stuck on something or would just like a bit of advice here and there, the forum contains dozens of guides and helpful tips. Always remember, the world is full of possibilities and you are only limited by your imagination.
Players not accustomed to formatting may have noticed custom markup tags being used in the regional message board, the NS Forum or in Dispatches. These custom markups help to format a text to make it bold, italics, add images, add url, etc. These are known as BBCode or Bulletin Board Code.
BBCode or Bulletin Board Code is a lightweight markup language generally used internet-wide format posts in blogs and message boards.
The BBCode tags usually have a beginning and ending tag similar to HTML. BBCodes are usually indicated by the square brackets [ ] and contains a keyword within the  tag , and the ending tags have the same keyword with a backslash ” / ” preceding the keyword. These BBCodes are parsed during the run-time to produce HTML or XHTML that can be understood by the browsers. It should be noted that players need to nest the tags properly as otherwise it might not work.
The following information has been kindly provided by Testlandia and reproduced here with his express permission.
BBCode may be used in Dispatches, Telegrams, Regional Message Board (RMB) posts, Regional World Factbook Entries (WFEs), and World Assembly proposals. However, not all coding are valid for all message types: see below.
These BBCode-like tags can be used in Dispatches, Telegrams, Regional Message Board (RMB) posts, Regional World Factbook Entries (WFEs), and World Assembly proposals. Not all tags are valid for all message types: see below.
[proposal=chester_pearson_1421530135]War Crimes Tribunal[/proposal]
[resolution=GA#2]The Rights and Duties law[/resolution]
[url=http://maxbarry.com/]Max Berry[/url] created NationStates
Max Berry created NationStates
RMB & Dispatches
[quote=amerion;100000]Oppa gangnam style[/quote]
[pre]You bold like [b]this[/b]![/pre]
You bold like [b]this[/b]!
Dispatches & WFE
[tab=10]This is an indent[/tab]
This is an indent
[box]This is a box[/box]
This is a box
This code is valid for Dispatches
Tags: table, tr (table row), td (table cell)
Fourth row, which goes on at some length about nothing. It also has a line break in it. Here it comes. Ready? Okay!! Here it is!!
Hovering over a row highlights it
Not bad, eh?
Result of the Table Coding:
A table's first row looks different
Fourth row, which goes on at some length about nothing. It also has a line break in it. Here it comes. Ready? Okay!! Here it is!!
Hovering over a row highlights it
Not bad, eh?
Ban: An act which prevents a nation from entering a given region.
Cease-to-Exist (CTE): The deletion of a nation after a period of inactivity lasting 28 days or 60 days if vacation mode is set. A nation can be 'refounded' by the owner by login.
Eject: An act of ejecting a nation from a region. This can be performed by the Founder (with cost to the nation) or by the Delegate (with an influence cost incurred on the Delegate). Nations who have been ejected will relocate involuntarily to The Rejected Realms.
Founder: A nation who 'founded' the region and hence is the original inhabitant. The Founder, depending on access to the administration panel, has the power to ban, eject, banject nations, change tags, suppress RMB posts, change the flag, construct and close embassies, and change the World Factbook Entry.
Out-of-character (OOC): Post of this sort is used to convey messages unrelated to the roleplay, such as informing fellow players that you will be out of town for a week and therefore will not be online in NationStates.
Puppets: Nations created to be used secondary to the primary nation. Some players choose to use puppet nations as WA nations while others choose to use it to boost a region's population. Reasons vary and there is nothing wrong with creating puppets for one's purpose.
Regional Message Board (RMB): A chat function visible in a region (scroll down the region's homepage). This aspect allows nations to communicate and displays their flag as well as allowing them to 'like' others' messages and quote them.
Telegram (TG): A private messaging system that acts as emails for NS.
Warzones: Regions which have no founder and cannot be refounded. In these regions, ejections/bannings do not incur an influence drain on the Delegate but can only last a limited amount of time. Warzones include Warzone Airspace, Warzone Africa, Warzone Europe, Warzone Asia, Warzone Australia, and Warzone Sandbox.
World Assembly (WA): An institute of global governance in NationStates, similar to the United Nations in real-life.
World Assembly Delegate: A nation who possess the largest number of WA endorsements in the region, thereby allowing it to represent the region in the World Assembly.
World Factbook Entry (WFE): World Factbook Entry is an area visible at the top of a region's homepage which describes the region, etc. Typically, it would state members of the region's governing entity, links to an offsite forum, etc.
 Testlandia, Euroslavia and Goddess Relief Office contributed whole information towards sections regarding Bulletin Board Codes, Role-play, and Issue Types, respectfully.
 Exact figures may fluctuate over time as new nations are being founded and existing nations are ceasing-to-exist.
 This information on World Assembly Councils was garnered from Frequently Asked Questions.