Lately, I’ve been playing this little text-based game called Nation States. (I actually first discovered it back in college, but I let my game die out pretty quickly then.) There is no stated object of the game. You are the theoretical parliamentary leader/monarch/president/dictator/whatever of a nation state, and the legislative decisions you make directly affect your citizens.

It’s a slow game. You can only make two decisions a day, and you don’t see the effects of your decisions until the next day, which is why many of the nation states fizzle out pretty soon after someone starts them. It takes time to get there, but it’s kind of addictive.

The drawback the game has is that it takes your decisions to their logical extreme. For example, when I was given the decision of banning smoking in public in my country, Condamania, there were three options, 1), ban it except in private residences, 2), ban it completely or 3) do nothing. Libertarian that I am, I chose nothing — and now it says that my country allows 8-year-olds to smoke in public (and possibly nude). Likewise, my government is seen as “favoring Catholicism” because I chose the option of a conservative Catholic priest as a spiritual advisor over that of a pagan almagamationist or an atheist. I didn’t choose to ban imports of certain products from other countries, and so I was reclassified from “inoffensive centrist democracy” to “compulsory consumerist state.” At one point I was a “Father Knows Best State.”

Another thing I’ve noticed with the game is that most players eventually end up as  either a “Benevolent” or “Psychotic Dictatorship.” I think the power goes to their head. 

With Condamania, my decisions are being made like I would make them if I was an actual ruler. Interestingly, because the game takes all decisions to their logical extreme, Condamania isn’t really made in my image anymore. So today, I decided to start a second country, Condomentia, and I’m going to rule it like a neocon.

We’ll see where that goes.