by Max Barry

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Happy Holidays, Nations!

by Max Barry
Tue, 23 Dec 2014

That's twelve years now. Bam! A lot of people, when they hear about NationStates, laugh and say, "Wow, is that site still going? I had a nation like... ten years ago." Then they check it out and revive their nation. I'm guessing about that last part. But I bet they do.

Whether you're new here or have been around far too long, like me, thank you! I hope you have a great break and come back in 2015. Because we'll be here. Oh yes we will.

New theme: "Rift" (beta)

by Max Barry
Tue, 09 Dec 2014

NationStates is getting a new theme! And not just the kind of theme that simply tweaks how things look, oh no! This is the kind with features.

Eventually Rift will become the site default, with the current look (which is named Century, FYI) remaining available for those who prefer to stick with it. Rift is still in active development, but you can switch over and preview its awesomeness right now: Go to your Settings and choose "Rift (experimental)" from the Theme drop-down selector.

Or check it out at!

As well as a cosmetic spit-and-polish, Rift offers:

  • Banners: A rotating, targeted, customizable, unlockable set of images on nation pages. 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 your own images, once you've reached particular population levels. To select which banners display on your nation after switching to Rift, look for "National Banners" on your Settings page (or click here)!

  • Notices: Get a notification whenever a nation quotes you on a Regional Message Board, or endorses you, or you gain a new banner, and more!

  • RMB Likes: "Like" a post on your Regional Message Board to show your appreciation for your fellow regional residents' wisdom/wit/delusion!

  • A redeveloped side panel offers larger, more tablet/phone-friendly buttons, along with direct links to things you need to access faster, including a quick-jump box to dossier nations and regions!

Now the major drawback: currently Rift doesn't translate well to the forums, especially if you use the forum sidebar (which is the default). If you turn off the forum sidebar by clicking the tiny X in its top-right, you'll get a topbar instead, which is somewhat more useful. In time, Rift support will extend to the forums, but for now it's not so great.

Since Rift is still in beta, things may keep changing! You can help this process by reporting bugs or offering feedback in the Rift discussion thread.

Have You Got Issues?

by Sedgistan
Thu, 06 Nov 2014

This post comes courtesy of Senior Issues Moderator Sedgistan.

Update: The Issues Contest is now closed! Thank you to everyone who entered! More details...

Issues are an integral part of NationStates, blending topical political commentary, incisive wit, and no small amount of ambitious family members. The overwhelming majority of these issues have been written by you - the people playing NationStates. In order to correct the occasional typos, formatting errors and garbled syntax that even the veteran NationStates player can fall foul of, we have a small but dedicated team of Issues Editors.

These Editors pluck promising submissions from the pools of mediocrity, polishing them to a gentle sheen, before dumping them in the laps of our governments.

We're now running an Issues Contest - the third such one, in fact, which offers you - yes you, the chance to become an Issues Editor. How do I enter, you ask? Simple - write a new, original daily issue according to the official guidelines and email it to Submissions are limited to one per player, and please ensure that you include your nation name in the email.

For further information on the contest, see this thread in the Got Issues forum, where you can find additional advice on how to write a winning issue, and also post any questions you might have.


by Ballotonia
Fri, 31 Oct 2014

Like last year, a zombie apocalypse is expected to occur this Halloween, continuing our annual tradition. Is two years in a row enough to call something a tradition? Let's go with it anyway.

Zombie apocalypse begins in:

This time the server hamsters have been fed a bit extra and have been in training. The idea is handle the onslaught more smoothly although the apocalypse lasting 6 hours longer than last year means it'll be tough to beat the record 20% survival rate. Especially with certain nations (*cough* you know who you are *cough*) purposely trying to help the zombies take over our beloved NationStates.

What You Need to Know

  • The zombie apocalypse will begin 9 years 228 days ago.

  • It will run for 36 hours, ending 9 years 226 days ago.

  • As before, you will have three options: attempt to exterminate zombies with military force, try to research a cure, or join forces with the zombies.

  • Extermination quickly converts your zombies into dead citizens, posing no further risk to the uninfected.

  • Researching a cure slowly reduces your region's infection rate, and can even convert zombies into survivors.

  • Embracing the zombie hordes quickly increases your region's infection rate, as infection rates are region-based: if a region contains many nations with high numbers of zombies, all resident nations will become infected quicker.

  • The extermination and research options are more effective the more survivors you have, becoming ineffective if you wait until your military and scientific experts have mostly been eaten.

  • During the zombie apocalypse, Founders and Delegates can close the region's borders at no Influence cost. A special Z-Day Border Control feature will be available to facilitate this.

Good luck all!

Update! By now the zombie apocalypse is almost halfway through. A rather disturbing death toll is building up, way higher than the figures from last year's Halloween zombie apocalypse. This is an indication that the survivors will have to fight even harder now to stay alive. And this apocalypse lasts longer than the one before... Not a good omen. As expected, the big regions are hopelessly lost this time around as well. Some smaller regions managed to quickly take action and get the infestation under control. All those in the middle find themselves in a fierce battleground.

Like last year, a Z-Day Tally Board is available. You can compare that with the final graph from last year.

Update 2! In the second half of the apocalypse, the survivors fought back! After their number dipped below a meager 60 trillion they managed to get the upper hand. It also helped that quite some zombies ran out of brains to eat and perished. In the end almost 70 trillion survivors managed to carve out a space for themselves while holding off the remaining 12 trillion zombies. What an easy life! At a survival rate of 21.7% (a new record) these happy civilians can look forward to a new post-Halloween dawn. Don't mind the pile of close to 240 trillion dead, move along now, move along!

Thank you for partaking in the third NationStates Zombie Apocalypse event, we hope everyone had a great Halloween!

"Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. She never mentioned zombies."


by Max Barry
Mon, 14 Jul 2014

As NationStates continues to grow in depth and complexity, I'm pleased to announce the addition of the cutting-edge Conjugator Mk IX Grammar Simulator shard to our core nation-modeling engine. With support for nouns, adjectives, and plurals, grammar has never been so much fun!

So you can specify what your people are called, instead of having the game take your nation name and stick "ians" on the end. Go to your Settings page and you'll find a new Demonym text field. There's also a little "(?)" for help and extra options for those sophisticated/persnickety nations that require total control over national grammar.

This will be used in your national description on your main nation page, and in various issues when referring to your people and national assets.

Embassies are Now Good for Something

by Max Barry
Tue, 17 Jun 2014

Not that regional embassies have been pointless. They have had plenty of points. It's just that you've had to decide for yourself what those points are. Now, though, there's something regional embassies are unambiguously good for! Posting!

Delegates and Founders will find a new setting in Region Control for granting posting privileges on the Regional Message Board (RMB) to nations in embassy regions. There are two ways to go with this: opening the board up to every nation that sits in a region with which your region shares an embassy, or only Delegates and Founders. It's entirely up to each region.

Unless that setting is changed, posting on Regional Message Boards continues to be restricted to residents only.

If you're concerned about peace of mind, never fear! Nations banned from a region cannot post there, regardless of embassies.

While we're talking RMBs, did you know you can preface a nation's name with the @ sign to create [nation]-style tags? Probably not! Because it wasn't announced anywhere! But you can!

There are a ton of great new features nearing completion at the moment, so step back, buckle in, and prepare yourself for a FEATURE EXPLOSION. Maybe don't buckle in. I mean, it could be another couple of months, and then you'd just be sitting there, wondering when to unbuckle. And just as you stand up: FEATURE EXPLOSION. We don't want that.

My Book is Smaller and Cheaper

by Max Barry
Wed, 02 Apr 2014

Page-Turner of the year
Chicago Tribune

The year's smartest thriller
Time Magazine

Buy Lexicon from

The words brilliant and exemplary aren't adequate enough to convey the amazing craft of Lexicon.
Associated Press

The Guardian

You know the problem with novels. They're so expensive! Until, that is, they come out in neat, affordable paperback:

Time Magazine Top 10 Fiction Books the Year

Goodreads Best Books of the Year

Kirkus Best Fiction of the Year

Chicago Tribune Page-Turner of the Year

NPR Best Books of the Year

2014 Alex Award Winner

iBookstore Best of the Year Best Books of the Year



So now there's no reason to put off getting that awesome book everyone's talking about. By which I mean Lexicon. The book I wrote. That's the book.

brb buying ByteCoin

by Max Barry
Tue, 01 Apr 2014

BitCoin has been in the news a lot lately, turning ordinary people into millionaires, then back into ordinary people again. The wonderful thing about BitCoin is it's a currency, but without any of the cumbersome government regulation that stifles innovation, facilitates tax, and prevents banks making off like bandits with all your money.

NationStates is a progressive place, so it's only right that we unveil a cryptocurrency for nations. But not BitCoin—no, we have something better. Eight times better, in fact. It's NS ByteCoin!

Getting started with ByteCoin is easy. Just navigate to your nation's home page and click the START MINING BYTECOIN button. This commences a process whereby ByteCoin is manufactured out of unicorn tears and orphan wings. It may feel strange and uncomfortable, seeing money produced out of thin air, but that's only because you don't pay much attention to the Federal Reserve. This is actually how it usually works.

Of course, you need somewhere to put your ByteCoin. It's not like you can just pop it into your pockets. It doesn't really exist. So you need to select a ByteCoin exchange to hold it. Exchanges are other nations that have completed a rigorous application process, probably right now while you're reading this, which involves paying a hefty fee. Then they can hold other people's ByteCoins! This is actually completely safe and under no circumstances is there any chance that an exchange will lose your money, unless hackers.

But that's not all. You can also swap ByteCoins into your own nation's local currency. I mean, it's not what I'd recommend. Everyone's really getting into ByteCoin these days. Selling out... well, I won't tell you what to do. But it's weird. Anyway, you can do it. And since the price of ByteCoin fluctuates, just a little, you might even be able to make a little by swapping in and out at the right times.

Good luck! And remember, ByteCoin isn't about getting rich: It's about freedom! And getting rich!

ByteCoin MarketplaceByteCoin Activity

Update 1! Well, the servers are being destroyed by traffic. That's why everything is slow to load. Sorry about that. Of course, back in the day, we often had lag worse than this. Not because of April Fool's events. That was just what we called normal. But nowadays, a server gets slow and everyone's like, WHAAAAAAT.

However! If this is annoying you, don't worry, it will all be over soon. Soon-ish. I'm letting this run a little longer than usual, to avoid forcing US East Coasters to stay up until 3am again, and because a lot of work goes into setting these events up and I like watching them.

Update 2! I'm shocked at how little thievery there was. Oh sure, a few trillion were pilfered here and there, but for the most part, ByteCoin exchanges stayed true to their word and stole almost nothing from their customers. I have to say, I feel it's my fault. I failed to create an adequate simulation of the real world.

There was some debate about whether the ByteCoin prices were market-driven or just some dumb random algorithm. I can now confirm that a true market mechanism was always the only acceptable option for ByteCoin, up until about March 31 when I realized how hard that was to code. So it was a dumb random algorithm. Except for Titanfall, which was a plan by some big ByteCoin players to try to crash the market by all selling at once, which I caught wind of and simulated to freak them out. That was fun.

Thank you for playing with ByteCoin! If you'd like to see your final holdings, you can use the tiny "ByteCoin Status" on the right side of your nation page, or click here.

The World Assembly: Now With More (Health) Caring

by Ardchoille
Sun, 16 Feb 2014

This news post is by Game Moderator and World Assembly Resolution Wrangler Ardchoille. It is, of course, incomprehensible to those of us who don't closely follow the minutia of World Assembly legislation. And quite rightly so. If it were simple and easily understood, it wouldn't be the World Assembly. But here is the short version: There is a new category available to resolution authors named "Health," and the "Environmental" category has gained new options.

The World Assembly,

NOTING that a large proportion of nations never wash behind their ears,

BELIEVING that it's years since most of them cleaned their fingernails, and

TOTALLY CONVINCED that they'd live on peanut butter and two-minute noodles if we let them,

ABROGATES TO ITSELF the power to muck about to its heart's content with healthcare in member nations,

INSISTS that nations extract large sums from their citizenry in the name of aid, development and research, and

INVOKES the spirits of those renowned medicos Dr Hannibal Lecter, Doctor Doom and Doctor Moreau to gently guide international moral decisions in the minefields of bioethics.


FED TO THE BACK TEETH with trying to think up proposals for Trout Fishing,

MANDATES that everyone take a decent swing at miners, loggers, manufacturers and people who do things with (and possibly to) automotive machines and

TURNS A REVEALING SPOTLIGHT on the wicked practices of Agriculturalists, while still casting a beady eye on ALL BUSINESSES whatsoever, because they're probably DOING THINGS TO THE ENVIRONMENT.


WELCOMES anyone who enjoys starting sentences with verbs in capital letters,

PIOUSLY HOPES that one day the Secretary-General will return to us, and

THANKS the Admins and Techies who made this all possible, while

URGING all who oppose our benevolent rule to inflict any abusive emails, repeals, insultingly small bribes, etcetera, on the Secretariat, as it's

TOO LATE TO STOP US NOW mWA-hah-haaahhhh!

Interviewed on the effect of the new WA category on life, the universe and everything, a sober sapient found dancing quietly in the Strangers Bar said it would undoubtedly cure cancer, end the Spon Plague in Upper Examplestan, stop Ponies getting stones in their hooves and turn the tide in the recurrent zombie infestations.

"I can very confidently predict that it will improve the world, one Resolution at a time," he said, disappearing into a nearby blue police box.

Dispatches Are Now A Thing

by Max Barry
Fri, 24 Jan 2014

In mid-2012, I promised to add more uses for dispatches than Factbooks, and sure enough, practically five minutes later, here they are! How we maintain this breakneck development pace, I do not know.

Now your nation can issue dispatches that are not merely descriptions of its own glorious state, but news, opinions, policies, or articles about whatever it chooses. These are handily collected in the new Dispatches page, which is even more handily included on the sidebar, allowing you to easily find interesting new articles from nations around the world. Or at least, that's how it will work if everyone votes up worthwhile dispatches and votes down less deserving ones. I'm assuming there will be no corruption involved.

And that's not all! Founders and Delegates can pin dispatches to their region's World Factbook Entry, ensuring that residents are exposed to whatever they think passes for vital information.

I know! Polls, new World Census Rankings, Dispatches... it's Feature February come early!

New World Census Rankings

by Kindly Professor Hell
Mon, 20 Jan 2014

This post comes courtesy of resident Issues Tech Kindly Professor Hell.

NationStates offers a large number of rankings, allowing nations an opportunity to boast about their impressive achievements: Most Civil Rights, Happiest Citizens, Most Apathetic Citizens, Highest Crime Rate, and so on. Today, we announce two new ways of establishing your nation's superiority.

Most Scientifically Advanced measures a nation's scientific and technological progress. We can't tell you exactly how we measure it, but, yes, rocket science is involved. Or perhaps your nation feels that man should live in harmony with the Earth, and not meddle with things beyond our ken. A trophy for Most Primitive will remind you of the good old days when illness was treated with healing herbs and crystals and when thunder was known to be the gods calling out for more virgins—before the uncouth geeks from the north took over with their alphabets, their metallurgy and their chariots, and eventually desecrated the sacred groves with huge smartphone stores.

It can sometimes happen that a nation ranks highly in both Most Advanced and Most Primitive. This situation usually means that the nation has advanced wearable computers, but uses them only to cast horoscopes.

Another ranking was introduced a while ago, but perhaps is worth mentioning now. This is the Most Developed ranking, which computes a national Human Development Index, similar to the way a certain Unspeakably Named world organization computes it. The HDI is a blend of economic well-being, literacy and lifespan. See this thread for some discussion of how it works.

We think the HDI is interesting, because maxing out your HDI is an interestingly different goal your nation can try after achieving perfect freedom, perfect equality and/or perfect misery. It should not surprise you that a high development score will likely give a boost to your scientific advancement as well.

Polls: Just What You Always Wanted, Possibly

by Max Barry
Sat, 04 Jan 2014

Ever wanted to see a quick poll of your region's mood? Maybe you have. I don't know, because I've never been able to poll you. But now I can!

Polls can now be created in any region by its Delegate or Founder. You can even choose who is eligible to vote, for example restricting it to WA members, to large nations, or opening it up to the whole world (like the one above).

Naturally, the results are available in graphical form with a few interesting breakdowns. Because you can never have too many graphs. Or breakdowns.

We also have a Global List of Polls.