This guide will help you get started with a new game. It covers the basics on how to access the game you are playing as well as the core concepts that you need to have filled out before you can properly start playing.
One thing to note, the game is constantly in development. As a result, certain aspects of the start guide may be out of date when you viewing it.
Step 1 – Accessing the Game
To access your game, you will first need to obtain your pass code. This access code is set up by your Game Master and is a series of digits that applies to you. Because the game does not collect or store any personal information, the code is just a shell. If you lose it, you will need to request it again from the GM.
If you received the code by e-mail, you can proceed to opening the player console. Here you will be prompted to provide the code which will determine which scenarios you are actively participating in. Simply select the one you wish to play and the console will open.
The first time you access this, the console will likely be blank. This means you are ready to proceed to Step 2 and onward. Each time you complete a step, refreshing the console will provide an updated view of your country.
Step 2 – Select a Country or Entity
Once you know your code, your GM will provide you a list of available entities to select. These options are technically endless, but the GM will try to simplify these into a core group of “interesting nations” that will provide the best experience.
Each nation has a defined number of regions associated. In general, the more regions in a nation the more complicated it will be to play. However, if you select a nation with only one or two provinces, you will be limited on the number of options at your disposal. The size of your nation also determines how much sway you will have in the political and economic theaters. If you select a country with too many provinces you will be overwhelmed with the options available to you.
The selection of a nation is completely up to you, the player. Your GM can help guide you through the selection process, and if multiple players are in the same scenario, may suggest your selections based on what will make things the most interesting.
- If this is your first time playing, select a nation that controls at least 3 provinces but no more than 7.
- Do not select a nation that owes allegiances to another nation or entity (i.e. colonies)
Step 3 – Select a Leader
You will be playing as the executive leader of your country. Once you have selected your country, refresh the console and you will see a menu bar at the top of the screen with your executive leader’s title. In most cases, the historical leader for this time period is pre-selected for you. If you do not have a leader or wish to change it, follow the steps below.
To select a leader:
At the start of the game, you can change your leader. Once the game starts, the process for changing a leader is much longer and can sometimes have adverse in-game impacts. This will be covered in more detail under game mechanics in another guide.
To change your leader in the start-up phase, take the following actions:
- Click on the title of your leader in the menu bar.
- In the messages screen, select the topic titled “Leader of Your Country”
- Add a comment to this message thread with the name of the leader you wish to use, or requesting additional information.
- When you are satisfied with the leader you chose, you can either close the topic or comment that you are done and the topic will be closed for you.
To view a list of leaders available to you, take the following actions:
- On the status bar, select Leaders in the Actions Dropdown. This will bring up a list of leaders
- Click the leader you wish to view in detail and the Information Bar will populate with the available statistics for that leader.
- Note that unique game-related stats are not shown. This is intentional and will only be available to you once that person has been placed in the position.
All leaders come with a pre-set list of attributes that define how they interact with the game. These mechanics are important to understand because all game-based decisions will react to these attributes, even if you did not intend it. The attributes define the options available to each leader and how likely they are to be supportive in any action you take.
- 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.
Leadership attributes change over time based on the performance of that person. There is not scale for the values, with higher numbers being better. That said, most values do not exceed 5 points per attribute.
- Your leader title is set based on your government type. The most common titles are Emperor, King, Prime Minister, and President. You can change at the start by making a request to your GM or by changing your government via revolution during the game.
- Except for the first one, every subsequent leader swap you make impacts your government performance. Doing it too many times will cause you to start the game in a corrupt state. Only your GM can override/reset this state.
Step 4 – Set Your Government
Once you have set up your leaders you are ready to set up your government. The government status appears underneath the leader attributes. Everything in this section can be changed at any time. It is meant to represent the current objectives your administration wants to achieve and provides status information on how the rest of your country feels about these decisions.
To modify your cabinet status:
To modify one of the attributes of your cabinet, create a new topic with the cabinet name and attribute you wish to modify. The game will attempt to automatically determine the attribute you want to update and make the change. If this cannot be done automatically, the GM can change it manually based on the input you provided.
Your cabinet status is based on the following values:
- Status/Morale – This is a measure of how well your cabinet is doing. This is a measure of morale. This cannot be directly changed by the player as it is a calculation of everything else going on in the background. For example, if you set your cabinet to be pacifist and you are at war, the morale/status of your cabinet will be low until the war ends.
- Policy – Your policy statement is the most important focus of your administration. They are often long term alignment goals. A policy does not have to be in line with the rest of your government, but it will impact the support you get towards them. Policy statements are often universally known, meaning other players and nations have the ability to figure this out, especially if you select a foreign policy.
- Objectives/Missions – A mission is a specific task, usually in line with your policy, that indicates how you are going to achieve your primary policy. Unlike policy statements, missions and objectives are not common knowledge and require undercover work for other nations to determine. Your missions and objectives do not always have to be in sync, and you can set secret policies by aligning your missions separate from your policy statement.
- Favorite Nations – This is a list of nations that are current allies in the eyes of your leader. It’s important to note that setting a favored nation impacts how you (and by extension your nation) acts towards that nation. This is not meant to be a list of all your allies, but a list of where you are directing your preferences.
- Disliked Nations – This is a list of nations that are currently at odds with your leader. This can be for any number of reasons, but some common ones are belligerence, disputes, political difference, religious difference, or even culture. Setting a disliked nation impacts how you act towards that country. Adding or removing a country to this list is limited only to you and does not impact if other nations have done the same.
- If you are new, it’s generally advisable that you start your policies focused on domestic ones such as social and economic reform. International policies can put you at odds with other nations and cause long-term difficulties if you are not experienced at setting them.
- First time players should limit their cabinets to one mission per cabinet. It’s usually advisable that you select no more than one or two missions at any one time. Achieving them gives you a morale boost, but missing them can have significant long term effects.
- When you are just starting, it’s advised that you limit this list to no more than three nations in your favorited/disliked list. Diluting your favored nations can mitigate the impact this has on your friends. Its better to wait and see where all other nations ended up before picking long-term rivals.+
- When starting the game for the first time, you may have a pre-configured favorite/disliked nation set. This typically should not be changed (you can add to it, but don’t remove the existing country) as it represents your historical ties for that time period. Removing a country may have unintended consequences.
- Because of the potential long-term effects of adding someone to the disliked list, it’s recommended you have at least one nation (a rival) and no more than three others listed unless you are at war. During war, you should limit it to only the nations you see as serious threats to your security, or a coalition might form against you.
Step 5 – Set Your Cabinet
Once you have set up your government, you are ready to set up your cabinet. Do this by repeating steps 3 and 4 with respect to each department you’ve identified in your government. You can create and remove departments at any time. This is done by sending a message to your GM. Each department can have one leader assigned to it. By default you will be
given the historical ministries that were set up for your country in your time period.
First time players are recommended to keep, at minimum, the following cabinet positions:
- Foreign Policy Advisor – This cabinet manages your diplomatic assignments. In many cases, this may also include espionage.
- Domestic Policy Advisor – This cabinet manages policies for your regions and local governments. This may also include your law enforcement.
- Economic Advisor – This cabinet manages policies concerning economic development. Since the game centers on this, you may be at a disadvantage initially until you understand these mechanics.
- Military Advisor – This cabinet manages policies that will execute military strategy for your country. Usually you will have this role as well as your chiefs of staff in their respective areas of expertise.
These four areas cover the most complex mechanics in the game. Even you intend to play a direct role in managing these within your government, it is still recommended that you keep them on hand until you understand how the mechanics work. Advisers cover a lot of work behind the scenes for you, including their influence and policy management.
- Do not leave a department position vacant at the start of the game. Each department is assigned specific tasks by default based on how the role is defined, so having no one assigned will start you off with a morale deficit. The game penalizes positions that are left open, and the startup mechanics will view a vacant position at start as having been left unfilled since the start of the nation’s existence. You can close a department by consulting your GM if you don’t have enough members or prefer not to have one, then immediately open it once the game begins.
Step 6 – Set Your Territorial Structure
Once your government is set, you will need to determine how to set up your territories. You can obtain the list of your territories by running the Countries and Territories National Report in the map console.
There are several types of territories where you will have a varying degree of control. Below is a list of common territory types, listed in order of most control to least control:
- Autonomous – An autonomous territory is fully self governed and maintains direct control over itself. Autonomous regions make up the core regions of your country. An autonomous territory can also include territories that are contested or not universally recognized.
- Colony – Colonies are dependent territories under the supervision of an autonomous nation. The parent nation of a colony controls the domestic and foreign policies but leaves most regional management to the colonial government. Despite this, the parent nation can override any policies if desired.
- Protectorate – Protectorates are a dependent territories under the supervision of an autonomous nation. The parent nation controls the foreign policy of a territory under the protected status but can set up its own domestic policies and operates its own independent government. Despite this, the governments will be heavily influenced and restricted by its parent but the control by the parent is not total and all-inclusive.
- Union / Dominion – Union Partners are independent territories under the supervision of an autonomous nation. The parent nation controls the domestic policy of a union or dominion territory due to integrated governments, but the union territory will manage its own foreign policy and government. Despite this, government types available to a union are restricted to those approved by the parent, as its unlikely to integrate an unapproved government, and by extension the parent will exert heavy influence over the union territory.
- Commonwealth / Suzerainty – Suzerainties and Commonwealths are independent territories that owe allegiance to an autonomous nation. In most cases, these countries manage their own domestic and foreign policies but have integrated economic or social ties to the parent. In most cases, commonwealth status is optional and usually the result of a treaty or method of reducing unrest and instability. Some countries with this status can qualify as autonomous territories if desired.
When designing the types of territories you control, remember these are how your government views the world. You do not directly control the cabinet for any government other than your own. You can influence other governments but for all intents and purposes they are independent, set their own policies and have their own agendas.
For example, it’s possible for Germany to become the Berlin Reich, setting up the rest of Germany outside Berlin as a colonial nation. On one hand, this creates a pure and loyal government with defined goals. On the other, it limits your control over Germany and your ability to control their affairs. Moreover, it may lead to another government representing the colonial Germany to become more influential than yours, leading to a coup.
A more realistic example is how Japan set up its territories in the 20th century. Japan made a clear definition of core territories called the “Home Islands” and designed their core government to support these, despite having integrated regions in Korea and Formosa that were considered core territories within their empire but not their Home Islands.
Lastly, a government doesn’t necessarily have to have any territory assigned to it. This is referred to as a “provisional government” or a “government in exile” depending on the nature and reason why it has no territories assigned. Another common name for this is a “puppet government.” In some cases, a prudent planner will design a government to oversee territory it intends to take before they actually control it, to help with transition or provide legitimacy. This will be a government without territory until an occupation takes place. Be aware that this is a recommended strategy commonly employed by experienced players.
- For new players, determine which territories you want to make up your core territories. Make sure all of these are included in your autonomous territories. Colonial territories have a natural desire to either become part of your country or form their own, which will make the game difficult unless you have a home base from which to operate.
At this point, you have finished setting up your government. The next section will take you through the steps to set up your nation’s economy.