Imagine a game where about the only premise you get is that every player controls a nation. If they want, they can interact with others on a forum on the internet, about
This is the premise of the browser-based game NationStates
. Despite (or because of) the very limited premise
, Nation States can be played several ways, either Mechanically (Decide how your nation evolves through daily ethical issues that you alone can solve
), or Creatively (Roleplay
your nation on web forums, act out wars, resolve diplomatic crises, participate in World Cups or develop your Region
As you might guess, which part of NationStates the real game is
means something different for everyone. The Roleplaying aspect is commonly seen as a combination of 19th century Imperial politics
, 20th century military strategy
and cutting-edge 21st century military technology, along with some random bits from across time
Based off the story Jennifer Government
by Max Barry. But not really. Here, have a link.
See also Cyber Nations
, a nation sim game with more focus on gameplay.
NationStates (the actual nation-building simulator) contains examples of:
The region & forum-based roleplaying form of Nation States contains examples of:
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Both played straight and subverted by many people in future tech roleplay.
- Alternative Calendar: Many nations run on alternate starting dates, or even alternate systems of timekeeping entirely.
- Anyone Can Die: Varies from one nation to the next, but most of them have killed off their national leader at least once.
- Sadly, this is becoming far too common in the form of either sad plots or bad Role playing.
- April Fools:
- In 2010, Max Berry addressed the complaints of "bias" in the system by rotating the site between "conservative" and "liberal" versions throughout the day.
- In 2011, he altered every player's nation pages to appear that their account had been hacked, and posted fake abusive messages on their regional message boards under their names (said messages were only visible to them). While it did convince many players to upgrade their account security, it was generally regarded as a failure - namely, it was ''too'' convincing. The result was most of the playerbase experiencing panic attacks and rushing to change every password shared with NS, while simultaneously feeling just as humiliated and embarrassed by the fake messages as actual victims.
- In 2012, he supposedly gave all players 1 share in the "NationStates" company for every million citizens their nation had. He himself kept 250,000,000 shares. Within minutes, there was a new section to the forum where players sold their nations for shares, demanded embarrassing favors for shares, set up lotteries for shares, and one or two threads where people debated whether it was a joke or not.
- For 2013, NationStates became Nation StatesZ, with "Zombie Control" options for extermination, finding a cure or exporting your zombies throughout your entire region.
- A full collection can be found here.
- Arbitrary Maximum Range: Fleet combat relies on this.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The long list of crimes punishable by death in this nation takes this to an extreme. Captial crimes include the three in the trope namer as well as theft, drunk driving, sneezing, coughing, and saying the word "coconut" among many, many others.
- Author Appeal: Quite a few nations.
- Banana Republic: Various nations fully embrace the cliche of a third world nation with the corruption, good weather and banana plantations you would expect. Or insist that their nations are second world nations with pretty much the same characteristics.
- Berserk Button: Many characters have this.
- Black and Gray Morality: Most older nations become like this eventually out of sheer pragmatism.
- Bland-Name Product: Frequent.
- Blob Monster: Sometimes straight out horrors, or cute little pets that are attached to their master's hips. Trash Slimes, for instance.
- Blood Sport: Specifically, one involving immigrants, if you choose the option in a certain issue.
- Blue and Orange Morality: Too many nations to list.
- Blue Blood: Personified by the nations of Imeriata and New Nicksyllvania
- Captain Ersatz: The automobile manufacturers appear to be this, with VLT a hybrid of Volkswagen, Fiat, Chrysler and Chevrolet in one.
- Casual Interstellar Travel: Ask the FT roleplayers. Space Does Not Work That Way be damned.
- Church Militant: While less common than fascist or communist regimes, some nations do intertwine their military with a religious background.
- The nation of Tergnitz is known for having a Church as the fourth branch of government.
- Con Lang: Some people actually designed the language for their nation instead of using an existing one or just implying a different one is used. See here for a list of NS languages.
- Cool Boat: Many people design their own ships which leads too...
- Cool Plane: Played straight by damn near everyone in modern tech roleplays, most of whose Air Forces include the F-22, F-35, YF-23 or Sukhoi PAK FA.
- Some people go out of their ways to design new aircraft, in case real planes just aren't cool enough. Especially in Sci-Fi RPs.
- Sometimes subverted by communist and eastern bloc nations, who may well still have MiG-21s and the like in their air forces.
- Cool Ship: The FT RPers wouldn't be caught dead without them.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Played straight and averted, sometimes within the same nation. Sometimes it seems that this is all some nations are. There are even certain regions to cater to these nations.
- Crapsack World: Perpetual war, nuclear and chemical exchanges, and genocide a go-go, baby!
- Deadpan Snarker: The mods.
- Some players are this two, in the telegram Gmodia and even Neomoskull, but that is rare.
- Death from Above: Some nations like to soften up their enemies with MONTHS of strategic bombardment.
- Deus Ex Nukina: Subverted: even threatening to use a nuke sparks massive flame wars unless nuclear weapons are acceptable as part of a tech-level appropriate arsenal (i.e. FutureTech/FTL settings).
- Disproportionate Retribution: The amount of RP's which go from the sending of angry communiques to full-scale invasions would surprise you.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Ersatz copies of nations both real and fictional abound.
- Dystopia: When there's a Police State, it is probably this.
- Easy Logistics: A global map doesn't exist. Ships leave port and arrive at their destination a post later. Generally more experienced RPers try to factor in logistics in their equations.
- Semi-justified in FT since there is FTL travel involved and it varies from a day to hours for some nations.
- Egopolis: Half of the RPers reach for this.
- Elaborate University High: A lot of plots are based in or visit some variation of this. Shiro Academy in the East Pacific is probably the longest-running example.
- Eldritch Abomination: Lots of these in FT. Some come out of Subspace or Hyperspace, though oftentimes it's more a case of a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere.
- The Immortal Pathogen is also a good case of something you don't want to meet in a dark alley.
- Emotions vs. Stoicism
- Enemy Mine: Happens a lot. International politics can get very convoluted, much like in real life.
- Enforced Cold War: Lots in roleplay, mostly because there's no way to actually force someone to let you invade them. Regional wars sometimes escalate into this when enough regions get involved.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Certain evil nations tend to have qualms about things like slavery,or Rape, or cannibalism.
- Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Saursia and Whairtia, for different reasons however.
- The Evils of Free Will: A common view of Dystopias.
- Expy: Western Australia Edgerton is, at least, an expy of American Samoa - using the flag, anyway, even though it's also an expy of Kirklees, West Yorkshire too (due to size and geography).
- False Flag Operation: Not often, but people do it sometimes. Hard to pull off in a forum environment for obvious reasons, at least against the will of the target.
- Possibly subverted in Ryouese Black Island's recent RP in which he changed his ship from a Freekish flag to his own. People worried less and laughed more.
- Fantastic Racism: Allied Governments.
- May be part of roleplays. Also referenced to in some of the issues.
- For the Evulz: The modus operandi of many poorly RPed evil nations.
- Full-Circle Revolution: Nations can and have gone from being a Monarchy, to a Socialist People's Republic, to a Fascist Dictatorship and then back to a Monarchy all within the same thread.
- Gas Mask Mooks: Sometimes played straight. Petrokovia subverts it, as their citizens (and many people they RP with) see their military as good people (usually), and the masks are removable (usually worn during conflict only).
- General Ripper: Everyone wants one.
- A God Am I: This country where the head of state claims to be God and is worshiped as such.
- Gondor Calls for Aid: Occasionally.
- Good Republic, Evil Empire: Many dictatorships have no respect for human rights and dignity, most democracies do. At closer look they often might be Not So Different.
- Gorgeous Period Dress: Some armies march into battle dressed resplendently. Overlaps somewhat with Bling of War and Highly Conspicuous Uniform, especially in Anglosphere nations.
- Ironically it is a national animal of a nation, it is apparently a rock animal.
- Government Conspiracy: Rarely.
- Government Information Advert: News articles from seemingly 'independent' sources are usually just veiled and sometimes overt government propaganda.
- Grammar Nazi: Very common. Taken literally in-universe by one country, which has grammar, spelling, and speaking reeducation camps.
- Gratuitous German: Rampant among the German-based nations. One nation's motto is "Please stand clear of the doors" in German.
- Hand Wave: Every Future Tech nation out there seems to come from a different Earth. Some from a different planet altogether.
- I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: Numerous examples.
- Gholgoth and rape dungeons. That is all.
- I Know You Know I Know: Regional politics tend to turn into this alarmingly quickly, at least when war is involved.
- I Love Nuclear Power: Nuclear powered everything! Regular access to orbit by means of Project Orion! Nuclear tank rounds! Even 81mm nuclear mortar rounds (with Shown Work (and exotic uranium isotopes)!
- I'm a Humanitarian: Some nations really do invoke this trope.
- Improbable Weapon User: The invasion/defense community. The game doesn't have an officially supported war system, and so a niche population of players hacked together a combat mechanic out of what amounts to bureaucratic white noise.
- Informed Ability: Although almost everyone claims to have competent politicians and generals, many do not succeed in making this believable. Probably because they're not competent politicians and generals.
- Informed Flaw: If there is supposed to be a notable flaw, then there is pretty damn good chance that it will not get in the way when things get serious.
- Intellectual Animal: Bears Armed roleplays as this.
- And the Kangaroo Republic.
- Any FT nation not from (The many, many fractal) Earth(s) technically applies, go even further and even Humans count.
- Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: There's an issue that allows you to let your military/law enforcement agencies torture people. It's also done in roleplay quite often, with variable quality.
- Katanas Are Just Better: Both subverted and played straight by many people.
- Knife Nut: FIX BAYONETS! (Just about everyone)
- Kudzu Plot: The histories of some nations would confuse even the writers of LOST. On one of the off-site forums, they have nations whose histories are as professionally written as in Real Life.
- Last Stand: Happens very VERY often.
- Law of Conservation of Detail: Heavily played straight.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: If its not the number of players, then its within those nations who like to keep track of EVERYONE they've ever introduce, from Ambassadors to Parliamentarians.
- VLT Automotive N.V and Forza storefronts take this Up to Eleven
- Macross Missile Massacre: Generally called just "Missilespam".
- Particularly common in FT. Feazanthia is notorious for it especially.
- Most naval battles in MT that don't follow realistic lines tend to be this, especially at ludicrously short ranges.
- Magic A Is Magic A: Mostly averted. There are many different magic-using nations out there, and each one has a different idea as to how magic should work.
- Martyrdom Culture: Too many examples to list. Just about everyone has their people more than willing to become a hero of the Empire/Republic/Confederation/Kingdom etc.
- Mega Corp.: Numerous examples.
- M.I.B.: Some of the better RP's involve sub-plots, usually involving a conspiracy of some sort.
- However involving said conspiracy does not guarantee RP success.
- Military Mashup Machine: You name it, it's been done. If it's been on a video game, it's been done at least twice.
- Mnogo Nukes: All Russian nations.
- Money Is Not Power: Played more than strait by Petrokovia in the sense that money has no real use in the nation, as everyone is paid the same exact wage, the government owns all business, and more currency is not allowed to be printed, as it is strictly backed by Gold, Silver, and Platinum. This means that money moves in a very circular fashion, back and forth between the government and people, not gaining any debt, and not really serving any purpose. Also inverted by the same exact nation, in the sense that because their currency gains zero debt over the years, its global purchasing power increases over time. However, this also is meaningless, as they only trade goods for goods. Petrokovia has a lot of fun with this trope.
- More Dakka: Ubiquitous.
- The Multiverse: Previously assumed between certain roleplay scenarios, now codified by the Portal to the Multiverse forum.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: EVERYBODY wants to be one of these. Few achieve it.
- Nice Hat: The ubiquitous pith helmet.
- And let's not forget Imeriata's tricornes.
- Not forgetting the Tsar of OMGeverynameistaken's Space Russia, a man who has filled an entire orbital space station with his spare hats.
- Noob: You have no idea the level of hate players who have joined in the past 2 years get from those who have been playing for more than 3-4 years. Or from those who have been playing for more than 5-6 years. Or those who have been playing since the game started.
- No Swastikas: It's in the game rules.
- Not So Different: Ruthless genocide can be fun even if you are supposed to be The Federation.
- Nuke 'em: Carpet-nuking is a valid tactic at times. Though usually subverted, as the mere threat of a nuclear weapon is enough to cause a massive flame war.
- On the other hand, though, FT nations commonly deploy massive amounts of nukes and Antimatter weapon every battle.
- Odd Couple: Played in many different ways, either by multiple nations backing other nations who seem to be different, sometimes the opposite of them, or sometimes found within a nation, such as odd culture mixes. An example is Petrokovia, whose culture is based off of both the Soviet Union and Germany.
- Officer and a Gentleman: When they aren't General Ripper.
- One-Federation Limit: Averted at the beginning by the limited choice of standard state types - Federation, Kingdom, Prinicpality etc. But once you can make up your own, the sky's the limit.
- One World Order: What many players wish they could enforce.
- Our Dragons Are Different: Strykla has his own race of bipedal European dragons and consistently maintains that dragons are better than anything else.
- Our Presidents Are Different: If they exist at all and there are not 20 of them in one year.
- Paid Harem: It pops up from time to time, most commonly with a Sex Slave scenario.
- Patchwork Map: People will slap together a map with disregard for their climates. Or for national borders, in the case of nations that lay claim to the same real estate on Earths' continents. Amusingly, this has led to dozens of different versions of Earth for people who insist on having their preferred chunk of land.
- Patriotic Fervor: Played ridiculously straight by most nations
- Said nations can definitely be described as a flavor one variant of Eagleland, where the US is replaced by nation x.
- Peace Through Superior Firepower: Perpetually.
- Petting Zoo People: Often a minority in several nations, occasionally a nation made up of these will appear but they usually get destroyed by an evil nation to show how evil they are or because they can. Also, see Fantastic Racism above.
- Police State: Check.
- President Evil: It is more fun to Roleplay a completely evil leader than a nice democratically elected president, thus many nations are ruled by mindbendingly evil dictators. Most nations fail at it, and just seem like a 12-year-old just finished playing Grand Theft Auto.
- Considering the demographics of this game...
- Well, F7 anyways. The average NSer is in the 18-30 demographic, I believe.
- Private Military Contractors: A dime a dozen.
- Product Placement: The game was created to advertise Jennifer Government. There even exists an issue referring to the book, which among other things allows you to ban it in your nation.
- Conveniently enough, if you bought any of Max Barry's books, you can use the "Remove Ad" button to get rid of the ad banners.
- Psycho for Hire: Quite a few nations that are essentially big mercenary companies are like this.
- Putting on the Reich: Why invent a new flavor of evil when you can just use a historical one?
- Reality Is Unrealistic: More common than you'd think.
- Redshirt Army: Poor bastards who get steamrolled. Many communist nations have these.
- La Résistance: Usually limpwristed, but there.
- Retcon: More likely than you'd think. This happens quite a bit when someone gets bored with a roleplay and wanders off without bothering to finish it, or when someone doesn't like the way a role play is going. Given that players are allowed to ignore anything they don't like by the site rules, this can be a source of frustration for some, as there are no permanent consequences unless a player is willing to allow them.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: It is rare that any kind of political or economic turmoil, not matter how trivial it may seem, does not end up turning into some form of armed conflict.
- Romani: Traditionally the Butt Monkeys of the real world, Gypsies seem to have come into their own on NationStates... there are several Roma-ruled nations.
- Rouge Angles of Satin: Sadly, happens quite a bit. Though there are some really good writers on this site's forums, there are some very bad ones too. Rarely will a bad writer on NS improve, and most good RPers were already good from the get-go.
- Rule of Cool: Used so often it has acquired its own Catch Phrase: "But this is NS!"
- Rule of Funny: Used especially in sports roleplaying excessively.
- Screw the Rules, I Make Them!
- Sex Slave: A Berserk Button for many, given it's usually done in rather poor taste.
- Shoddy Knockoff Product: VLT clones have appeared, due to a Loophole Abuse, although Van Luxemburg hasn't (yet) complained about this. Then again, letters or phrases can't be trademarked.
- Shout-Out: There are many, many nations that copy things from various fictional works. The Celsan Vextra being a Shout-Out to the Opel Vectra, albeit with the "X" factor of its name.
- Shown Their Work: A substantial number of players have put quite a lot of thought into their nations, and it shows. To a smaller extent, some people spend months and months designing tanks, ships, planes, and other items for their fictional militaries to use.
- Space Does Not Work That Way. 99% of Faster Than Light drives rely on this.
- At least some FT nations use the String Theory as a reason on how it can work.
- The Spartan Way
- Spin-Off: While a few have been created, the most popular version is a form of RPing via the medium of text-messaging, aptly named SMS.
- Spy Fiction
- Start X to Stop X: A classic motive for regional coups. Sometimes it works. Other times....Not so much.
- Strange Bedfellows: A recurring theme of any in-game alliance based on nation owners being friends out of game.
- Straw Feminist: Several nations oppress their male population. Some don't even have a male population.
- Strawman Political: Overlaps with Easy Evangelism. And, of course, you can find them in nearly every thread on the message board.
- Stupid Jetpack Hitler: Less prevalent.
- Stupid Sexy Flanders: With Spanish soccer player Fernando Torres in the Flanders role. Ask the sports roleplayers.
- Sukhomlinov Effect: Subverted. Some of the better militaries are extremely fashionable.
- Super Soldier: A popular trope that is rarely done well.
- Tank Goodness: Many players design their own tanks, practical or not. Some also like using tanks from their favorite games and movies. If it's been on paper or screen, it's probably shown up here at some point.
- Lyras stands far above everyone else in this department.
- Technology Levels: A nation can be PT (Past Tech), MT (Modern Tech), PMT (post-modern tech), FT (Future Tech), Fantasy (Encompasses high fantasy to steampunk) FanT (Fantasy Tech, like Ponies in F-22's), Alternate Tech (e.g. Steampunk), or even a combination.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Carpet nukespam. On the tactical level.
- And taken to new heights by the FT roleplaying population. Care for a weapon that can drive a sun into supernova? Hows about wormhole weapons ala Farscape? Of course you know there will be exaton level explosions and weapons capable of dishing out that same sort of damage.
- Those Wacky Nazis: All Nazi-based Nations and Regions. There are a lot, and most are incredibly stupid. Some have even been condemned by other nations. Most characters in character RPs have this, although not all are successful in playing it straight. Or well.
- Unusual Euphemism: "Slani". Again, ask the sports roleplayers.
- Utopia: Many non-evil nations are the vision of the player of a perfect government. Some of the evil nations are also their player's version of a perfect government, even if it horrifies other players. See Dystopia.
- Vestigial Empire: Can happen to regions if they aren't careful.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Even most brutal dictators can be absolutely loved by their people.
- The Virus: We are the Rethast. Your species is now obsolete.
- War Is Glorious: What everyone would like to believe. Thanks to state propaganda, many populations believe in this absolutely. Most bad RPers will often play this straight and make a nation full of chest-beating nationalists.
- War Is Hell: Corps sized formations wiped out in under 10 minutes by artillery bombardment, mass use of nerve gas, napalm and landmines, aerial bombardment that lasts for weeks. God help you if you survive and get captured.
- The War Room: Commonly played strait. Petrokovia inverts this, as in the "People's Building" (the building their Premier's office is in, comparable to the White House), there is a War Room used during military planning by the Premier and the heads of the military. However, instead of being the traditional "dark cave" type, it is a relatively small office that is well lit. It does have a table in the middle, though.
- We Have Reserves: Who cares about casualties anyway. They're all just statistics. Many players pursue a zero sum course of action—fight to the last man in the nation regardless of anything.
- Wooden Ships and Iron Men: Some nations still have a naval mentality dating back to this period.
- Yanks with Tanks: A lot of the "American" nations. Subverted by a few people whose nations are almost nothing like their American historical origins.
- You Would Not Want to Live in Dex: Everything in the index. Yes, everything.
- The important thing to note is that this is all your fault. You Bastard!
The World Assembly & Security Council (United Nations Simulator, minus the veto) contains examples of:
Some Nation States RPs with their own pages are: