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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.

Crowded World

by Max Barry
Mon, 18 Apr 2016

Only last month I noted there were 150,000 nations in the world, the most ever. Well, now there are 190,000. Nations are springing up everywhere!

Ever More Numbers

by Max Barry
Tue, 12 Apr 2016

You know the overwhelming tide of numbers that washes over you after answering each issue? Well, if you're the kind of person who finds that tide not overwhelming enough, may I introduce the new "Show more stats" toggle, available in your Settings.

This will triple the amount of numbers in each tide, by adding before and after values for each affected World Census Ranking scale. You're welcome!

BREAKING: Open Election for WA Secretary-General!

by Max Barry
Fri, 01 Apr 2016


Word coming in now that following a breakdown in negotiations, the World Assembly has thrown open its doors to an open election for the position of WA Secretary-General—the WA's head, imbued with powers too vast to mention!

★ Election Stats & News: Your Election Hub ★

Nations have already entered the race for Secretary-General and plenty more are hastily preparing campaigns. Voting is open to every nation of 30 million citizens or more, even non-WA members!

I'm told the Election will run over several days and contain several rounds. The first three rounds are open to all candidates, and the results determine the ballot order of the following round, such that the best-supported candidates get the prized positions at the top of the ballot.

Then the General Election will be held, with the ballot restricted only to the top five candidates and voting restricted to WA members.

Never before has the election of the WA Secretary-General been so visible! This is a truly shocking moment. We can only imagine who might be elected, and what it means for us all.

Update: Regions are breaking out in support for candidates! If you have authority over Appearance in your region, you can start boosting via Region Control.

Final Update: It's all over! Congratulations to WA Secretary-General Elect Caelapes! A tight race in the end, but well-fought, and with very little actual bloodshed, that anyone saw.

World Assembly Whispers

by Max Barry
Wed, 30 Mar 2016

Well this is curious. I'm not sure it's worth bothering you about... it's probably nothing. But I'm hearing there's some kind of internal strife in the World Assembly, with factions unable to agree on...

You know what, that's nothing unusual for them. Forget I said anything.

500 Issues

by Sedgistan
Thu, 24 Mar 2016

A special message from Senior Issues Moderator Sedgistan.

As modern progressive nations, we are all by now used to our citizens confronting us with their dilemmas at every hour of the day, demanding an immediate response. With this never-ending stream of problems, it's a relief to know there is at least some variety to the ceaseless demands of the numberless masses. After all, there's only so many times one can crack down on those long-haired bicycle-riding idiots before even the most dedicated of dictators becomes jaded.

We have now reached the milestone of 500 issues, covering topics from banning Harry Potter books, through any number of Bigtopian crises, to the controversial reclassification of everyone's favourite planet, Fido.

This is an amazing achievement, and certainly not one that anyone could have anticipated back in 2002, when there were a mere 31 issues to contend with. At least that's our excuse for why so many nations feature powerhouse Basket Weaving Industries, yet Construction, Banking and Pharmaceuticals are strangely absent.

A huge thank you to everyone who has contributed to this: all those who have authored issues, our dedicated team of Issues Editors, those that have shared feedback on the issues they've encountered -- but most of all everyone who taken the time to answer an issues. We know you care... even if your citizens don't.

Precision is Progress

by Max Barry
Mon, 14 Mar 2016

Improved sensitivity in testing methodologies and instrumentation has allowed the World Census to begin measuring Civil Rights, Economy, Economic Freedom, and Political Freedom to a precision of two decimal places! You may notice a slight bump or dip on each scale as a result.

World Census Update

by Max Barry
Thu, 03 Mar 2016

Got a quick note from the World Census. They're pleased with how the rankings are tracking, although we should expect some minor adjustments as they refine their algorithms over the next few weeks, apparently.

There's also a new ranking, Residency, which tracks how long nations have been in their current region. A lot of the older data for this was scraped together by interns with flashlights from the World Census basement, so it's basically the best they could do before the razor-toothed basement rats were drawn to the smell of human flesh.

Also: 150,000 active nations! This is the most in world history.

Fragile February

by Max Barry
Sun, 28 Feb 2016

Service will be interrupted at approximately 6:30pm PST / 9:30pm EST / 2:30am GMT / 1:30pm AEDT today as we roll out the threatened updates.

For details on what's changing, browse down the News page! But here are your Top 2 Need-To-Knows:

Trophy Format

Trophies will look like this:

  • GrayNo trophy
  • GreenTop 10%
  • BronzeTop 5%
  • GoldTop 1%

If you're ranked #1, the trophy will also have a border. For example, the top-ranked nation in a region of 15 nations will have a green trophy with a border, signifying that it's #1 as well as being in the top 10%.

Issue Confirmation

Issues will pass immediately when you select an option. If that sounds a little too accident-prone to you, you can avoid sparking a revolution by mistake by visiting the Issues section of your Settings (after the update) and enabling "Require confirmation before passing legislation." You will then be prompted to confirm each issue choice before it is enacted.

Fast Issues: You Are The Law, With Less Delay

by Max Barry
Mon, 15 Feb 2016

Last week we learned the World Census is planning to unlock a treasure trove of new live data about the world's nations. Well, this set off a small firestorm, with people asking why an ancient, conservative organization with alleged paranormal dealings like the World Census can get all fast and modern while the rest of us are still doing this:

  1. Consider an issue.

  2. Make a decision.

  3. Come back tomorrow to see what the consequences are.

Now, in my opinion, there's nothing wrong with this. Fine leaders have raised great nations this way. Although, admittedly, it does require patience and a good memory, since you have to remember what everything in your nation looked like before.

Nevertheless, I'm not one to stand in the path of progress. Times are changing, it seems, and we need to get with them. So this will be happening:

  • Immediate legislation. When you make a decision, law will be enacted right away. That's right. No more waiting around for lawyers/senators/minions to get your Act together. Your will shall be done without delay.

  • Immediate feedback. Newspaper headlines and a talking point will be gathered from your citizens. Additionally, the new World Census real-time data stream will be hooked up, so you can study what just happened to your Kitten Softness Rating, or a World Census scale you actually care about.

  • Anytime issues. Currently, issues are painstakingly gathered from your citizens via twice-daily polling and delivered to your desk at the same time each day. Well forget that! Instead, issues will be wired straight to you wherever you are whenever they arise, which can be any time.

  • More issues. Life was simpler, back in the old days. National leaders only had to deal with the same thirty or so simple issues, over and over. That was all they could handle. But today there are nearly five hundred. This isn't actually part of any update. It's just the steady progression of life, as curated by your dedicated staff of issue editors. But I thought it was worth remarking on. That's a lot of issues.

  • More frequent issues. Your staff are careful not to bother you with more than two issues per day. But modern leaders can handle more stress, probably. So that will increase to four.

I should mention there's some chance the world may end because of this, or at least become difficult to access for a while. Some teething problems are to be expected when 145,000 nations modernize at once. I mean, some of those nations, not yours, the other ones, they're basically rubbing sticks together. Anyway, please bear with me, and resist the urge to execute your IT staff.

Tomorrow is a new dawn!*

* Not actually tomorrow. That's an expression. Probably around the end of the month.

World Census Turmoil!

by Max Barry
Wed, 10 Feb 2016

When you think of the World Census, you probably imagine a faceless bureaucracy of bean-counters and pencil-pushers. Because that's exactly what they are. Sure, once a day, they manage to publish a global ranking of nations on some scale or another, but no-one knows which one they'll choose, and if you miss it, it's gone.

Well, there's change in the air! After an allegedly bloodless coup, the World Census is nearing the end of a major modernization, with the old-timers pushed out, hungry new talent rising to the top, and pencils and beans being replaced by tablets in the cloud.

What does this mean for your nation? Plenty. Rumor has it that the new World Census will offer:

  1. New scales. Many rankings had their scoring metrics revamped to introduce more real-world data, such as crimes per hour and atheism rates, and a few new ones have been added, including Highest Foreign Aid, Economic Output (GDP), and Average Incomes.

  2. Live rankings. No longer must you wait months to find out where you sit in the world for Largest Basket Weaving Industry, Nicest Citizens, or Nudest! All nations will be able to see where they rank on every scale at once.

  3. Historical tracking. What was your crime rate last week? You'll know. Because there will be a chart.

  4. Regional trophies. Regions that rank among the top in the world for religiousness, tax rates, corruption, or anything else will be graced with appropriate icons. And, as with nations, you'll be able to see where regions rank on all global scales. And their historical performance will be tracked graphically.

The World Census is cloaked in secrecy, of course, and no-one knows exactly who's in charge, but I for one tip my hat to it. It says a lot to me that even those who stood up and opposed the change in the beginning haven't been heard from since, nor seen. Sounds like progress!

Your Stamp Dollars at Work

by Max Barry
Tue, 08 Dec 2015

We've added a new dedicated database server. It's called "squirrel." There's no reason for you to care about that. But it makes things load a little faster and gives us headroom for what I hope will be a really great update in the next few months.

Thank you to everyone who's been supporting the site via the NS Store or by letting ads display! It's much appreciated.


by Ballotonia
Wed, 28 Oct 2015

In only a few days it will be Halloween weekend. A good time for nation leaders like yourself to kick back and relax, contemplating what the future for you and your nation may bring. That budget for next year has to be finalized soon. But you have it all under control, don't you? That's what you'd think, if it wasn't for those pesky Zombies which tend to crawl out of the local graveyard each Halloween, like last year... And this halloween as well, a zombie apocalypse is expected to befall the nations of NationStates.

Zombie apocalypse begins in:

Oracles have predicted that this years onslaught will be a bit more infectious, with stronger zombies. That doesn't bode well! Still, there's hope you can do better than before, especially if you're the kind of ruler who can plausibly proclaim afterwards you really did intend to have fewer survivors this time around.

What You Need to Know

  • The zombie apocalypse will begin 361 days ago.

  • It will run for 36 hours, ending 360 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 converts 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 increases your region's infection rate. If a region contains many nations with high numbers of zombies, all resident nations will become infected quicker.

  • The extermination and research options become ineffective if you wait until the brains of 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.

May good fortune shine upon your nation... you'll need it!

Update! As before, there's a Z-Day Tally Board. The good news is that the total number of zombies is dropping. The bad news is that that's because they're falling down dead due to a lack of brains to eat. And dead is dead, these poor civilians cannot be resurrected (at least not until this Halloween event is over). While there are pockets of green with mostly uninfected, they typically hide behind border control, leaving the rest of the NationStates world to fend for themselves...

Update2! Despite the more infectuous and stronger zombies, the NationStates world managed to handle the zombie apocalypse better than last time around. 24.4% versus 21.7%. Quite the improvement! Notable is that both The Pacific and The West Pacific managed to get the hordes under control despite their status as Feeder regions. Doing so required cooperation among many many nations. Congratulations! One cannot say that it has been a success overall though, as the over 261 trillion dead can attest. Or, well, they can't...

Thank you all for participating in the event, we hope it has been fun regardless of your personal results. As you can see all populations have been restored to normal, but the Z-day results for your region and nation are still available with little "[+] Z-Day" links on the region and nation pages.

"Leader... Leader... do not... do not underestimate the powers of the Zombies or suffer your predecessor's fate you will."

Open Office

by Max Barry
Thu, 15 Oct 2015

Regional Officers are now available to all regions!

Thank you all who provided feedback during the initial few days of rollout. That led to the fixing of many bugs, as well as one major change:

  • The power to suppress and unsuppress posts on the Regional Message Board has shifted from Border Control to Communications

The forums are also hosting intense discussion about what limits we need to restrict the use of Regional Officers as a weapon for raiders, who attempt to seize control of other people's regions. The most popular proposals are:

  1. New Delegates should be unable to appoint new Regional Officers for the first 72 hours (but can immediately dismiss any existing Officers).

  2. New Delegates should be unable to make any changes at all to Regional Officers for the first 26 hours.

  3. Regional Officers should lose office if they're outside the region's borders at update time. (Alternately: only lose Border Control authority.)

  4. Regions should be limited to no more than three Officers with Border Control authority.

  5. Regional Officers with Border Control authority should face a small additional "flat fee" of influence for ejecting nations. (Currently, Delegates and Regional Officers can eject brand new arrivals at no influence cost, which helps when holding a newly captured region against would-be liberators.)

  6. Regions should be unable to eject more than one nation per second. (This would reduce the effectiveness of a team of Border Control Officers working together to hold a newly-captured region against liberators).

So we have to figure out which of these will work and which, like every other thing we've tried to restrict raiders, will actually be subverted into a weapon for raiders. If you have feedback, please contribute! This is a community-driven process and we want to come out with a feature set that accurately reflects community thinking.

There are also a few other tweaks and additional features to come, such as notifications and the ability to resign an office. And are we keeping Founder/Delegate names at the top of region pages as well as listing them under Officers or what?! I don't know. But stay tuned.

Regional Officers are Rolling Out

by Max Barry
Sun, 11 Oct 2015

Over the next few days, regions will gain the ability to appoint nations as Regional Officers, with authority over specific areas. For example, a Diplomacy Officer can be given the authority to establish embassies with other regions, and a Communications Officer to recruit and manage welcome telegrams. The name and authority of each office is up to you.

To identify the power a nation holds in its region, you'll begin seeing new icons on nation pages beneath the region, signifying their authority: Executive, World Assembly, Appearance, Border Control, Embassies, Communications, and Polls.

This feature has come from much community discussion over a long time: thank you very much to everyone who contributed! It's a big change (affecting over 5,000 lines of code) and could make a big difference to regional dynamics.


  • Regions may appoint up to 12 Regional Officers.

  • Executive authority is required to appoint, dismiss, or modify Regional Officers. Only Founders and Delegates can have Executive authority.

  • Apart from Executive authority, Regional Officers can be granted the ability to do anything a Founder or Delegate does.

  • No Influence is required to appoint, dismiss, or modify a Regional Officer.

  • Influence costs are doubled for Regional Officers. That is, most functions can be used freely, but some Border Controls, such as ejecting nations, are harder to use.

  • Regional Officers retain power until dismissed.

  • The Delegacy can be given a specific set of powers, rather than (as is the case today) being either powerless or fully executive. For example, a region could set their Delegacy to grant authority over Border Control but not Appearance.

For more information, see this helpful forum thread!

More Rankings Now Included

by Kindly Professor Hell
Sun, 21 Jun 2015

We have a new World Census ranking: Most Inclusive! You can find this on the Analysis page, as well as, before too long, a World Census near you.

To tell you more, here is Issues Tech Kindly Professor Hell!

Throughout history, nations have defined themselves in terms of inclusion and exclusion. The ancient Greeks and Chinese divided the world into two groups—people and barbarians—and knew that "the only good barbarian is an enslaved barbarian." In medieval Europe, it was considered good family entertainment to burn pagans, witches, heretics... and, of course, Bigtopians. And until very recent times, everyone knew that women were unfit to rule, even though on those occasions when a woman came to the throne, they proved themselves every bit as vicious and power-hungry as any man.

Of course, these are modern times, and a lot of nations are trying to do better. How is your nation doing? Has it evolved to the point that Bigtopian immigrants, UFO cultists, descendants of slaves, interior decorators and even artificial intelligences, zombies and the vat-born live together in peace, harmony, and mutual respect? NationStates now has a "Most Inclusive" ranking to help you see. Please don't look down on those nations that rank poorly, since that would be disrespectful of cultures that don't value inclusivity as much as yours. Which means: no gloating!

And if you don't happen to care all that much for inclusiveness—perhaps your policies are geared towards developing a Frightening economy, maintaining a pristine environment, and/or building a large enough army to crush your most determined enemies—you can just ignore this ranking, like you do "Most Cheese Exports". Although that's one you really shouldn't ignore. Cheese makes the world go round; if you don't believe me, just ask the Bigtopians.

Cards Against NationStates

by Max Barry
Wed, 01 Apr 2015

It's April 1st! You know what that means: time for another ridiculous NationStates mini-game. We used to do simple, mild pranks on April Fool's Day, like NationStates DS and destroying the United Nations and Liberal/Conservative NationStates and making everyone think they'd been hacked, which was actually not so mild but more terrifying and grossly irresponsibile.

But then we did the IPO Share Offer and it was so much fun that people demanded MORE MINI-GAMES. So then there were zombies and ByteCoin and somewhere along the way April Fools Day turned into "create what would be a pretty respectable site in its own right only to tear it down 24 hours later." Which I'm not sure makes a whole lot of sense. But here is 2015's entry:

Cards Against NationStates

Now I think about it, "NationStates Against Humanity" would have been a better name. Oh well! It's too late for that now.

Try it out! It's actually pretty fun.

Update! The banner link is gone, but the game is sticking around, since, you know, it's not hurting anybody.

by Max Barry

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