by Max Barry

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Gameplay Overview, Q&A panel

by Ballotonia
Sun, 20 Aug 2017

A follow-up on the recently held NationStates Roleplay Symposium 2017 is coming up this week.

The Madhouse Role Play Group wrote:

Madhouse Productions, and the Madhouse Role Play Group, proudly present: GAMEPLAY OVERVIEW, A Questions and Answers Panel.

By request, Madhouse Productions will sponsor a Gameplay panel the last Saturday in August. This is a continuation of the Gameplay panel held during the 2017 NS Roleplay Symposium. Our panelists will offer roleplayers a glimpse into the world of Gameplay, and answer questions you might have about terminology, purpose, and organizations.

This event is open to all NationStates roleplayers regardless of subforum haunt. It will be hosted by the NS Mentor Discord Server, Invitational Venue Service.

DATE: Saturday, 26 August 2017
TIME: 5 - 6:30 PM EST
MODERATOR: Swith Witherward
FEATURING: Ever-Wandering Souls (The Black Hawks), Jakker (The Black Hawks), Reventus Koth (The Black Hawks), and Zwangzug (United Defenders League, retired)

For more information, please contact Swith Witherward.

Enjoy the panel!

Invader, Defender, and Roleplay summer activities

by Ballotonia
Sun, 02 Jul 2017

When summer hits the northern hemisphere the effect is noticeable here on NationStates, and in this case in a positive way: a variety of fun activities pop up all over the NationStates world.

The third annual RaiderCon is already underway, taking place from July 1st through July 6th. It offers an opportunity for players to discuss the Gameplay activity know as Invading or Raiding, from various perspectives.

Jakker wrote:

From the early beginnings of NationStates, there have been nations who invade regions. The practice has made a lasting impact on the game and this convention looks to explore the players and groups that have engaged in raiding over the years. RaiderCon is open to all players and has many interactive opportunities including discussions and raiding games. Attendees can also check the musical submissions from this year's RaiderVision.

Players who focus on the other side of the aisle, the Defenders, are not sitting still though. They have the 2017 Defender Awards going on.

Witchcraft and Sorcery wrote:

After a few years' hiatus, The Defender Awards are back! To counter the plight of raiding, there have always been defenders for the purpose of countering their effects. The Defender Awards allow for a way to recognize the best defenders of those serving, as well as some raiders, in a well-regarded and historical awards competition. The Awards are open to all players, and will have plenty of discussions and fun to be had for all who come!

And in addition to all that the NationStates Roleplay Symposium 2017 is coming up soon!

Kyrusia wrote:

Are you a roleplayer, or are you interested in getting involved? From Saturday, July 8th, through Friday, July 14th, the Mentor Program (in collaboration with others) will be presenting the NationStates Roleplay Symposium 2017. Including Mentors and collaborators from sub-forums International Incidents, NationStates, NS Sports, the Portal to the Multiverse, and everywhere between, the Roleplay Symposium aims to bring greater interest in different roleplay sub-communities, tech levels, and genres across the forums; roleplayers will be encouraged to get to know one another, introduce others to their communities, and provide their varied, myriad experiences from the NationStates roleplay community.

Lectures and new guides will be premiered, as well as panels and workshops to be conducted each day of the Symposium on the NS Mentors Discord; players and participants will be invited to submit their questions and discuss a range of topics, to include worldbuilding, observations on Gameplay from a roleplayer perspective, formatting and thread marketing, a Moderator panel, and much more. Players will be invited to showcase their roleplay regions and Out-of-Character organizations, share their unique cultures, and possibly even rope-in a few new recruits. We may even indulge in a bit of silly fun, from time to time; supposedly there's to be a "Midnight Madness" hour, but you'll just have to find out for yourself...

For more information, please drop by the NationStates Roleplay Symposium 2017 thread! We hope to see you there!

As you can see there are a lot of fun activities going on, enjoy!

While You Were Leading

by Max Barry
Thu, 29 Jun 2017

Plenty has been happening on NationStates! I don't like to bother you with every little thing, but here are some of the more notable updates since I posted last:

Customized Newspaper Images: A large number of issue newspapers now feature images carefully chosen for maximum journalistic and absurdist effect by our diligent Issue Editors.

More Issues: Speaking of which, there are now over 750 issues in total! We had to add a chart to track their numbers because they're coming in so rapidly. For more information on how this happens and why, see this news post from six months ago, back when 600 issues seemed like a big deal.

New Issue Chain: And among those new issues is a major issue chain, "The Enemy Within." An issue chain is a storyline that flows over multiple issues, evolving depending on your choices. These spend a particularly long time in development and it's exciting to have a new one.

Special Edition Issues: A common problem for national leaders over the years has been failing to notice when a particularly important issue arrives, which may unlock the ability to select a national religion, capital, or customize their own office. You don't want to miss those. They're now visually highlighted as special editions.

New Formatting Tags: You can now use the formatting tags [sup], [sub], and [strike] to prettify your text on Regional Message Boards, World Factbook Entries, and in telegrams.

Faster Daily Updates: The speed of the global daily update was cut in half, allowing those nations who enjoy the push and pull of interregional global warfare to conduct their business with less waiting around.

Nation API Private Commands: The NationStates API continues to expand, and now offers the ability for technically advanced national leaders to control their nations via remote automated script.

Telegram Inclusion/Exclusion Filters: Filter Recruiters gained new targeting options, so that telegrams can be sent to, for example, only the WA members of certain regions, or nations that will one day be founded in a particular region.

And More! Prettier colored bars in World Census ranking tables, clickable times for the World Activity feed, an auto-pluralization upgrade, backend engine improvements... and bug fixes! Lots of bug fixes!

Plus! We have a new admin! Eluvatar has been a Tech Modling for quite a while but was recently trapped into becoming a full admin.

Peace Returns to the Land

by Max Barry
Sun, 02 Apr 2017

The non-irradiated part of the land, that is.

If you survived the nuclear apocalypse, congratulations! If you didn't, thank you for nuking!

Stats and final leaderboard to come. As I write this, no more nukes can be launched, but there are a few still in the sky. Stand by!


Final Leaderboard

1.Augustin Alliance45,938Conch Kingdom
2.Jak Attack41,050The Black Hawks
3.International Geese Brigades26,813Rushmore
4.The International Brigades25,814The Internationale
6.The Best Pacific!24,590The West Pacific
7.The North Pacific22,206The North Pacific
8.TCB Official19,880The Communist Bloc
9.North Atlantic Treaty Organization19,374North American Free Trade Agreement

Full Leaderboard

Congratulations to Augustin Alliance of Conch Kingdom! They are our "winner," in the sense that nuclear wars can be won, with an impressive 45,938 points.

Special mention to "runner-up" Jak Attack of The Black Hawks with 41,050 points, who also recorded by far the most strikes, landing 123,843 nukes.

In total, there were 2,378,022 nukes launched, with 1,236,500 scoring (striking a target that wasn't already fully irradiated). More than 3.2 million nukes were targeted in total.

That's a lot of nukes. But what I thought was impressive how quickly tactics and strategy evolved, given that nobody knew what was coming or how things worked at first. You would think that given a second chance, it might become even more strategic. But of course, there are no second chances with nuclear weapons.


Update 2: It has been pointed out to me that "second runner-up" International Geese Brigades finished with zero radiation. That's not bad.

Update 3: NSindex has an excellent article on N-Day with more stats and observations!

The Nuclear Option

by Max Barry
Fri, 31 Mar 2017

Some people say the only way to win a game of Global Thermonuclear Warfare is not to play. We'll see about that!

It's now possible to develop nuclear weapons, target your enemies, and watch your great metal birds arc across the atmosphere until they either impact your target or are shot down by an advanced satellite defense network, whichever comes first.

If this sounds like something your nation would do, get started by picking a Faction!

Choose a Faction

The war will last for 36 hours, after which nations will be swept clean of radiation.

Arms Agreement in:

Update: For all your post-apocalyptic needs, please enjoy Vault 41, the new forum.

Update 2: Targeted nukes now return to your stockpile if not launched within 1 hour.

Nuclear Apocalypse Imminent

by Max Barry
Tue, 28 Mar 2017

One thing I think we should all be proud of is that no two democracies on NationStates have ever gone to war with each other. Or two nations of any type. No matter how great our differences, we've always been able to resolve them through diplomacy and compromise, as opposed to a violent emptying of nuclear arsenals that endangers all life on the planet.

We should appreciate this while we can.

Nuclear apocalypse begins in:

General Assembly Secretariat

by Max Barry
Tue, 21 Feb 2017

You know what the World Assembly needed: more bureaucracy. And arbitrary rules! You can't have too many of those.

If you've ever complained that the World Assembly is pretty good and all, but it should have more red tape, great news! I am pleased to announce the General Assembly Secretariat is up and running. They're already hard at work, assessing General Assembly proposals, judging which adhere to the GA's strict rules and which don't.

GenSec is a new organization, and from what I hear, a lot of the details are still to be worked out, so who knows where they'll end up. Creating ever-more sub-committees, probably. Or possibly extending the glorious history of the World Assembly into a bright new era of self-governance. One of those. Maybe both.

For more information on GenSec, see here, or discuss in the General Assembly forum!

Five Miiiiiillion Nations

by Max Barry
Tue, 14 Feb 2017

Congratulations to RMS Carpathia, who recently became the five millionth nation founded! RMS Carpathia appears to be a lovely Inoffensive Centrist Democracy with a vibrant economy, pro-spirituality leanings, and alarming income inequality. It is also open to tourists, so maybe consider it for your next vacation.

NationStates World Fair V

by Max Barry
Fri, 20 Jan 2017

The fifth annual NationStates World Fair has begun, offering an opportunity for representatives of various regions to come together to discuss common interests. Here's the scoop:

Todds Diplomat wrote:

What is the World Fair, you might ask? Well, good leader, as you may know NationStates is comprised of hundreds of regions, each with their own history, culture, and flair. It can be a bit daunting and perhaps impossible to truly learn them all, but it is our goal that this fair will at the very least bring regions (and nations) together in unity and cooperation. Many regions have already established areas on these forums to share their cultures, referred to as "booths", and all nations are encouraged to visit, explore, and witness. We do hope your region does well in expressing itself to the 'verse around it. Are you in a region without a booth? Well, simply have your regional government request a booth and we will review it.

Find out more!

Three Small Improvements

by Max Barry
Wed, 14 Dec 2016

Here in the NationStates Innovation Laboratories we're always looking for ways to improve your nation-building experience. After all, those citizens won't oppress themselves. Here are three recent features you may not have noticed:

  1. Recapitalization

    Sometimes when you're founding a nation, some underling screws up the name on the paperwork. Then you're stuck with an embarrassing typo. But you can now correct minor capitalization errors in Settings!

    You can only change capitalization, and names still must begin with a capital. We know some nations want bigger changes, but we're still researching the necessary advanced typography technology.

  2. AutoComplete

    Many places you need to enter a nation or nation name, like the search box on the World page, now auto-suggest likely candidates, taken from your Dossier and the world at large.

  3. Telegram Address Filters

    When sending a telegram to a group of nations, you can mix and match advanced filters for precision targeting. Want to reach only WA member nations of particular regions? Now you can! See here for details.

Always More Issues

by Max Barry
Thu, 08 Dec 2016

People often ask me, "Where do issues come from? I mean, are you deliberately pushing a hidden agenda by steering the national conversation toward certain topics or what?" And I say ha ha no of course not.

The truth is that issues are carefully curated by a panel of experts, known as Editors, who sift through your nation to find the most urgent, thought-provoking, or challenging matters of the day, and present them to you in handy multiple choice format.

But where do Editors come from? Good question. Honestly, I have no idea. All I know is first one showed up and every time I turn around there are more. So to explain, here is one of them:

From: The Free Secular Federation of Nation of Quebec

Issues are the lifeblood of NationStates. Without them, our nations wouldn't be able to grow and we wouldn't be able to chuckle at in-game typos. We recently hit a milestone of 600 issues and we continue to add new issues every week. On behalf of the editing team, I'd like to extend a big thank you to all the aspiring writers, commentators, stat-hounds, and issue nitpickers who made it all possible. You all make NationStates a better place and it is inspiring to see that people continue to write and contribute to the game.

On that regard, it is my pleasure to announce a new Issues Contest. This is our latest contest that allows you the chance to become an illustrious Issues Editor.

The primary role of an Issues Editor is to turn player-submitted issues into game-ready format. This process involves selecting promising submissions—and discarding those that won't be used, editing the text, and then deciding on the statistical effects the choices will have.

Being an Issue Editor means that not only will you receive a fancy badge on your nation page, you'll be recognized in the forums by that lovely puke-brown color.. You'll get to join a dynamic team who work tirelessly to edit, polish, and help get issues added to the game. You'll be behind a part of that exclusive club who work behind the scenes to make sure that issues are ready to be added to NationStates canon. We're a fun and friendly bunch. The biggest argument we ever had was over what color a character's lab coat should be. Oh, and there's pizza in the back. Max is buying. [Ed: This is a lie. There is no pizza.]

If you'd like to enter, please submit a new, original issue that you have authored via the usual method. Entries are limited to one per player, so make sure you're happy with your submission before entering—there is no rush. The Contest closes on January 15th 2017. Make sure you check the "Issues Contest" checkbox, so we know it's your entry.

Please see this thread for more information. The Got Issues? forum is your friend. Good luck and happy writing!

World Assembly Makeover

by Max Barry
Wed, 23 Nov 2016

A fresh coat of paint for the World Assembly (your dues at work!) means resolutions and proposals may look a little fresher to your eyes today. At-vote resolutions have a neat vote tally bar.

There are also some small functionality improvements, like being able to link directly to a single proposal or resolution of interest.

Rest assured, however, that the World Assembly itself remains the same force for good/evil/totalitarianism as always.


by Max Barry
Wed, 02 Nov 2016

You may have heard people telling you to vote. I would like to join those people, because you are here, running nations, weighing trade-offs, and choosing least-bad options, which makes you far better equipped to vote than most of the people who will actually do it.

I mean, I don't want to say that all voters are single-issue crazies with demented worldviews. But a lot of them are. For democracy to work, we really need to balance that out with people who can look at an issue and notice it has more than one side.

Decisions get made on voting day. The only question is whether it's by your or them. So please do vote, even if you think it won't matter; your voice will still be heard, and recorded, and exert a small but significant influence on the future direction of the world.

Z-Day5: The Reckoning

by Max Barry
Tue, 01 Nov 2016

Well! That wasn't so bad!


104.6 trillion



26.5 trillion



326.7 trillion


Congratulations to those regions that survived, especially those who made the Z-Day Tally Leaderboard!

That required some impressive planning and co-ordination, as well as a steel heart, to maintain border security in the face of so many needy infected. Well done, kind of.

This year's global survival rate of 22.8% is the second-best ever, just shy of the 2015 record of 24.4%. Survival rates are definitely trending up, even though each wave has been more infectious than the one before, and this is probably due to solid preparation by large regions.

This means the future is bright! Unless, of course, something fundamental changes to make zombies much more dangerous in the future. But that probably won't happen.

Happy Halloween!

Z-Day5 Update

by Max Barry
Sun, 30 Oct 2016

Everything is fine.

No need to panic


by Max Barry
Thu, 27 Oct 2016

So, bad news. Our latest tests are showing a definite uptick in post-mortem movement by corpses. It's not much. But frankly any amount is concerning. If we extrapolate from these numbers, we can predict that at a particular point in the near future, there will probably be a world-wide explosion in the numbers of animated dead attempting to infect the living.

Zombie apocalypse begins in:

So that's not great.

On the plus side, we live in a world hardened by four consecutive years of zombie attacks, so that experience should come in handy. I'm actually pretty optimistic that we can do better than ever and achieve a survival rate as high as 25%.

What You Need to Know

  • The zombie apocalypse will begin 294 days ago

  • It will run for 36 hours, ending 293 days ago

  • Zombies move between nations in the same region. This makes it important to be aware of what your neighbors are doing, as will be difficult for an individual nation to hold out in a heavily infected region. Each region will report its infection rate so that residents can make an informed choice about which are relatively safe and which are basically pools of pandemic-level z-virus.

  • You have three options:

    • Exterminate the zombies with military force. This converts them into dead citizens, who pose no further risk to the living. It is very effective when you have lots of survivors and few zombies, and less effective when your military forces have mostly been eaten.

    • Research a cure, which helps to lower your region's infection rate. Enough nations working together can slow or stop the spread of zombies and even begin to turn infected back into survivors. However, this takes time.

    • Embrace the zombie hordes, becoming part of the problem as you spread zombies all around your region. This option isn't for everyone. But there's always someone.

    Each option also helps build a particular superweapon. Once built, they can be manually deployed against targets of your choice by visiting their nation page and hitting the appropriate button.

    • Exterminating zombies develops Tactical Zombie Elimination Squads, who can enter other nations and kill zombies there.

    • Researching a cure develops Cure Missiles, which can be launched at other nations in order to convert zombies into survivors.

    • Embracing the undead develops Hordes, which can surge into other nations and infect their survivors.

    Superweapons can be deployed every 20 seconds. If you take a hit from a superweapon, the resulting chaos makes your own superweapon unavailable for a few minutes.

  • As an emergency measure, Founders and Delegates will be able to close their region's borders at no Influence cost, sealing themselves off the from the world, and the bleating cries of all the poor nations who wish to seek refuge. I'm not judging that. I mean, it seems pretty harsh. You're just sitting there watching millions of people die. But zombie apocalypses demand tough choices.

I have also heard that Hordes could be more infectious than ever this year. But that's probably not true.

The Z-Day Tally Board will be updated at the start of any widespread undead uprising to keep track of the survivors. Good luck!

Basic Instructions

by Max Barry
Mon, 24 Oct 2016

A handy primer courtesy of CGP Grey:

By the way, let me apologize in advance if the world is consumed by flesh-eating zombies sometime next week. That seems to keep happening. After last year's zompocalypse, nations agreed to strict corpse-burning protocols and they should, in theory, ensure that no more undead rise to feast upon the brains of the living. But you know how protocols are. There's what's supposed to happen and then there's the nation that shoveled its zombies into a ditch and drove away. So we'll see. More information soon.

World Assembly Ends Permanent Bans

by Max Barry
Mon, 25 Jul 2016

Until now, when a nation was ejected from the World Assembly, it was banned for all eternity. But a feeling developed in the WA halls that eternity is a pretty long time. So this has been revised! Henceforth, World Assembly bans last one year by default, after which time, the nation may resume its seat at the international table.

Bans are most commonly applied when a single ruler controls multiple WA-member nations. It's fine to run more than one nation—why confine your wisdom and insight to a single country?—but only one can be in the World Assembly, endorsing other nations and voting on international law, at a time.

If your nation was ejected from the WA, consider re-joining today!

New Nation Creation Process

by Max Barry
Thu, 21 Jul 2016

Founding a nation is one of life's great joys. It's so fresh, so full of potential. It could be anything! A few years in, of course, you're so jaded, you're televising ritual sacrifice of criminals for mass entertainment. Or maybe that's just me.

But the point is: Founding a nation is now more joyous than ever! A technomagical redesign means you can see the likely effects of your ideological choices, so you get a sense of the kind of nation you're shaping before you actually found it and five million people have to live there forever.

Also, for those times when it's too hard to think of a suitable name that hasn't already been used by one of the 4.6 million nations that came before you, there's a random name generator! Calibrated with data from actual NationStates nations, this produces names that will fit seamlessly into the international community, such as "Far Par Lla," "Paper Tzechy," or, my personal favorite, "Gay Habliconiopia."

Ranking Tables: Now In Graph Form

by Max Barry
Fri, 24 Jun 2016

The only thing better than raw data is graphed data, I always say. "But Max," they say, "I just want to use the bathroom in peace." "Yep," I say. "Graphed data is the best."

So there is a new button on all ranking tables, which looks like this:

Image of ranking table with column titles Nation, WA Category, and Motto, followed by an icon of three columns, signifying a chart.

Click that and your table will transform into a bar chart, allowing you to see at a glance how close all those nations are to each other.

P.S. You might ask why the icon for the bar chart is a picture of a column chart. To which I say: Shut the hell up.