This guide will cover some of the game concepts seen in the game. For advice on how to use them or deeper analysis on what they do, please refer to the strategy guides or player comments. This is meant to be functional only to help explain how everything works.
The game interface is broken into Four parts:
- Header – The header at the top of the page provides high level information on your game and the nation you are playing. Aside from some of the interactive buttons, you can switch the nation you are viewing here as well as see the in-game clock.
- Advisor – The Advisor bar appears directly underneath the Header. It is a list of tabs, each one representing a distinct cabinet/advisor in your government. Selecting one of the tabs will show you the statistics for your advisor, state of the government from that person’s point of view, and a list of topics the person is discussing with you. Much of the interactivity in the game will take place here.
- Map – The map is a view of the world from your nation’s point of view. The map has several layers which can be turned on or off via the cog icon on the top left. The map’s objects are interactive and will utilize the map console. The map refreshes every time the game clock advances.
- Map Console – The map console is where game object information is displayed. This is also where reports can be run by using the set of dropdowns at the top of the panel. The console usually appears on the right side of the map, or underneath, depending on how you are viewing the game.
The game interface has several cosmetic options within each panel. The rest of this section will explain how to use each section.
2.1.1 Header Nation Name
In the header section you will see the name of your nation on the top left. If you are playing a complex nation, you may have several nations or entities that are under your control. It may be necessary to speak on their behalf for certain events, and therefore you need to change the name of your nation. You can do so by simply clicking the name of your nation in the header.
- Locate the name of your nation in the header bar on your game interface.
- Click the name of your nation or the downward-facing triangle next to it. If you have any available options, you will see them listed below the current nation you have selected.
- Click the name of the nation you wish to switch to and the name will update in the header bar. You are now playing on behalf of that nation.
- To undo, simple click the name and select the nation you started with or press the refresh icon (exclamation point icon) in your notifications.
2.1.2 Header Game Time
The in-game clock shows the current time for the game world you are playing. Note that game time is based on military hours and the format shown in the header is for usability only. The game clock has no interactive features, but is important to note that when you are accessing the game interface it “pauses” time to allow you to take actions. This means if your game master has the clock in “resume” mode you are still seeing a snapshot of that point in time.
Any actions you take at this point will retroactively take place in the game world that your game master is playing. This can cause confusion for your game master so he may put a time limit on turn action length. If so, it means he cannot advance the clock unless all interfaces are closed, or he has overridden any open actions to allow safe progression without impacting other players.
Jim is playing the United States and opens the console ready to drop a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima. He hesitates to get additional information from his advisers. However, he leaves his console open and the game master progresses the game to three days later. In the meantime, Rob is playing Japan and has decided to surrender to the United States. To progress the surrender option, the game master advances three more days (a total of 6 days since Jim started discussing with his advisers).
Jim has decided to drop the bomb based on information he had from 6 days ago. He has failed to pull a new “point in time” by refreshing the console, and is still operating in 6 days ago. He gives the order to drop the bomb. Because the game is now 6 days in the future, this has residual impact on all events, including the surrender already in progress, and has shaken up adviser options for the past 6 days of in-game time. The game master now has to reconcile the differences.
While Jim did nothing wrong, it creates a lot of re-work for the game master and Rob now has to retroactively decide what he will do different, if anything. This game mechanic was intended to work this way as we are reviewing alternative history, but it’s important as a player to help your fellow humans in preparing for these types of things.
2.2.1 Advisor Tab List
The tab list shows the titles of all your ministry and cabinet positions you have open. You can have as many or as few as you prefer. You must have at least one available to represent the leader you are playing. Clicking on the tabs will open details oft hat specific ministry or cabinet.
2.2.2 Advisor Information
When you select one of your ministers, the panel on the will show its critical statistics. Most of these depend on the leader you have selected, while others depend on how well this department is doing and the state of its position within the country.
- Ministry Overview – This provides an overview of this cabinet and its history. For the most part this is purely information and has no impact on the game.
- Leader Overview – This provides a picture of your leader (if applicable) and a description of his in-game achievements. To issue a change in leadership, you can click the wrench icon and a popup box will appear with a list of names available for you to select. Leaders have the following attributes:
- Communication – This defines how well your leader communicates with others. Communication determines how you approach conversations with others as well as your charisma when dealing with individuals and situations.
- Loyalty – This defines how loyal this leader is to you (the player) and to your nation. Low loyalty means he may not take your actions or may not act in the best interest of his country or superiors.
- Intelligence – This is a measure of the leader’s intellectual skills and education. It takes into account several factors such as education level, IQ, instinct, acumen, and problem solving. Higher intelligence allows more detailed responses to certain situations and initiatives.
- Military Experience – This measures the military experience of the person. This can include strategic, operational, tactical, and logistical expertise. To achieve the highest level of military experience the leader requires educational and practical experience in all military categories mentioned.
- Empowerment – This defines how well your leader seeks their own solutions to problems and operates independently. A highly empowered leader needs to rely less on their cabinet than a low empowered leader.
- Aggressiveness – This defines how aggressive a leader will be at obtaining a solution or answer. Someone who is highly motivated in their beliefs or has a history of accomplishing what they set out to do will have high rankings in aggressiveness.
- Organization – This defines a leader’s ability to handle complex situations, large teams, and support difficult initiatives. Organization is a shared skill, so they supplement others work with the leader as well.
- Status Report – This section will provide some statistical overview of the state of your department.
- Status – Color coded status of your cabinet. This can indicate a problem, but will not explain the underlying problem behind it.
- Policy – This is your department’s primary policy. This policy is the primary goal of your leader and the ability to achieve it under your administration will impact the status of the department.
- Objective – Objectives are interchangeable and indicate the intended focus of any decisions made. Most of the time this will be in line with the department’s policies, but will usually include more specific tasks or goals to achieve.
- Favorite – This is a list of nations or entities which are currently favored by this department. This is an essential statistic for any international positions such as Foreign Affairs. Favorite nations are usually in line with the leader’s preferences, but this can be changed based on country policies.
- Dislike – This is a list of nations or entities which are currently disliked by this department. This is an essential statistic for any international positions such as Foreign Affairs. Favorite nations are usually in line with the leader’s preferences, but this can be changed based on country policies.
- Topics – For each leader there is a list of available topics. To read the history of the discussion, click the title and it will open the history of discussion. You have the following options:
- Send Reply – Select an option from the Type dropdown, Send To dropdown, and type a message in the text area provided. Once you are satisfied with the message hit Send Reply and the message will be send to the recipient you selected. This may mean the message will shift out of the queue where you read it and into it’s new owner.
- Close Topic – This will close the topic and send a note the the Game Master that you no longer with to see the topic or reply to it.
- Hard Close – This is a DM-only option and allows you to force close a topic on behalf of someone else. If you are not the DM and see this option create a topic to notify him of it.
- Create New Topic – If you do not see an existing topic listed in any of your minister screens you have the ability to create a new one. You can do so by clicking the tab of your leader. You will see a Create Thread Option.
- Create a Subject Line of your choice. If you create one with the same name as a topic already available to you, it will move the discussion to your tab.
- Select a Type. The higher the confidential level, the longer it will take to deliver but the less likely it is to be intercepted. Selecting Public Knowledge will allow everyone to see it, including NPC’s which may react to it as well.
- Select a name in the Send To dropdown. This will determine where the message will go and who can see it.
- Enter a message in the text area that you wish to send.
- Click the Create Threat option.
2.4 Map Console
2.2.1 Reporting Console
The top portion of the Map console includes two dropdowns which are used for reporting and actions.
- Run Report – The dropdown shows a list of all available reports. Global Reports are available to all players and include basic information that is available to everyone. National reports are avaialble only to you and often include information confidential to you alone. In most cases, Global Reports and National Reports are identical except you will have additional columns for some National Reports.
- Run Action – The dropdown shows a list of all available actions for the map object selected. Actions submitted are final, so make sure you verify what you have selected in the console before you submit any changes.
The game includes a complex system of economic mechanics that will be described at a high level through this guide. A lot of the mechanics and the behaviours depend on how the players interact and what the AI attempts to do with the parameters it is given. This section will attempt to stay true to the mechanics and avoid making too many recommendations on how to exploit/manage the economics of the game.
3.1 Economic Modeling
At the heart of the economic engine for the game is its economic modeling. This is a framework of high level parameters which are set to mimic a specific behavior. These are set at the GM level and are not covered in detail. However, these parameters will determine how the economy will proceed with common economic terms such as inflation, stock markets, gold standards, and predictive impacts. The model will determine how all future sections of the economy interact with one another.
3.2 Focus and Groups
Economic production is handled through the use of Focus and Groups. One of these is controlled by the national government, the other is not.
- Economic Focus – This is your government’s primary focus to develop the economy. The majority of their budget will be spent in the effort you select and your politicians will push to support it. A Focus can be changed over time with no penalties and your selections over the course of a year are meant to reflect a percentage of the budget you spent on certain economic initiatives.
- Economic Grouping – Also called Economic Classification, this is where the majority of the local economic is truly spending its effort. Classification always lags behind the Focus, especially when a major shift occurs, since it includes things such as mobilizing industries, infrastructure, and workers. An economic group always represents the classification that is the majority of economic value.
Economic Classification is the true state of where the economy is versus when it was set in motion. An example would be how a government will declare a recession only after it has already started. Economic advisors are directly tied into correlation between focus and grouping and are given a randomized chance based on their stats and experience to detect a change in alignment before it occurs.
At every level (local, regional, national, and global) there can only be one focus and one group at a time. For example, that means one region cannot have two economic focuses at the same time. While in reality it’s possible to have multiples, the concept is that the focus will be changed regularly to represent the general focus over a period of time. The game’s engine is not meant to work as a snapshot in time, but usualyl requires running for a least a year o game time before it is comsidered stable and accurate. Most of the time, the GM will run the economic model for a year in advance of game start for this reason.