The Struggle of Nations
Copyright 2016 by M.E. Brines – all rights reserved.
The Struggle of Nations is a play-by-e-mail game in which players take a historical nation and guide it past all the pitfalls, world wars and crises from from Victorian times to the development spacecraft and beyond. The size of your nation doesn't matter as much as what you do with it. You're ranking in the game is based on the amount of improvement you've made from last turn, not the absolute size of your country.
There is no disadvantage to joining the game late. Just check the economic report and choose one of the nations that doesn't have a player, contact the Game Master and he'll get you into the game right away. Be sure to join the game forum. New players play FREE for the first three months.
Players receive a player packet, which they fill out with their orders for the turn, returning it to the Game Master (GM) by the weekly turn deadline. Once the turn is processed they can read of their exploits in the newsletter and discuss it on the newsgroup. The game rules, maps and economic report are available on the web site. Each weekly turn represents one game year. The game usually takes a two-week break around Christmas and New Years.
The game costs $4 a turn for a weekly newsletter, a fistful of backstabbing "allies" and the chance to rule a nation and maybe conquer the world. Where else can you get so much for so little? (And in a depreciating currency, no less.) Players who control no territory play for free. Payments should be made with a check or money order to: Mike Brines, 1253 S. 30th Street, Mesa, AZ, 85204. Payment by credit card may be made using Pay Pal: https://www.paypal.com/
If you contact the GM please mention which country you play. There are a lot of players and it’s hard to keep track of which address goes with which player, especially when your message might come from your work address.
Issue the orders to run your nation by filling out a turn packet and sending it in to the GM every turn. These "rules" are intended to help you do that. But just as real world leaders don't have a "game manual" that tells them exactly how everything works, these rules explain how to issue your orders but not necessarily the results. Treat it like a role-playing game.
The turn packet is a spreadsheet. Spreadsheets are EASY to use. (Twelve-year-olds have successfully played this game.) And spreadsheets are very helpful. They'll do all your messy calculations for you. All you have to do is decide what to do and fill out the orders. But you will need Microsoft Excel or Open Office Calc to open the turn packet. Open Office Calc is available as a free download at www.openoffice.org
Another nice feature of spreadsheets is if you hold the cursor over one of the boxes (cells) that has a little red “tag” in the upper corner it will display a note telling you about that cell. All you really need to know to use a spreadsheet is you put the cursor over the box you want to write in, left click the mouse and start typing. Hit “enter” when you’re done. Just remember to only write in the colored-shaded spaces. If you can send an e-mail you can fill out a turn packet. If you have any questions, just ask the GM.
DO NOT change any information in the uncolored sections. The colored boxes (cells) are for YOUR use. If you want to invent some formula to calculate some special information, or track your economic progress–please use a separate page. Don’t monkey with the turn packet. If typing on a line is about to extend beyond the colored cell – hit enter, and continue on the next line down. Don't write outside the colored cells.
Open your turn packet and take a look at it. The first few lines are informational, your country, who you are, your account balance and your e-mail address. Please keep your account balance above zero.
Scroll down to the Cabinet Meeting. The cabinet meeting consists of suggestions and reports from your underlings. They'll clue you in on specific problems and crises your nation may be experiencing this turn, as well as any particular concerns they may have. These are your advisers. If you have specific questions for them contact the GM.
A national crisis might take the form of bank failures, stock market crashes, famines, outbreaks of disease, unrest in a foreign country that affects your nation, or even demands by domestic political factions in your country for “action” of one sort or another. You gain or lose popularity depending how you handle each one. Never let a good crisis go to waste!
Vital Interests are relatively long-lasting issues important to your people. If your packet says you have a vital national interest you can earn popularity by accomplishing it, or lose popularity if you fail to maintain it.
Directly under the cabinet meeting is a list of Social Programs. Each one has a percentage funding and the budget based on that. You can set the percentage of program you want to fund by changing the percentage in the colored box. The spreadsheet will automatically calculate the budget based on your total production. One hundred percent funds the program up to a current Western European-style social program. If you want a different style program (fancier or more plain) just set the percentage desired.
Beneath social programs is the military roster listing your armed forces. The first thing at the top is a box marked “promotion by” and either Loyalty or Merit. Promoting your officers by merit would seem to be the better course. Your armies will be more effective. However, being “effective” might lead one of your generals to decide he'd run the country better than you. Promoting by loyalty means you promote your relatives, nobles, or politically correct party members that support the current government (you) regardless of their actual military talent. If you promote by loyalty your military upkeep counts 50% toward repression and you don't need to fear a coup. You can switch from one style to the other any turn by declaring a purge, which can be peaceful (you retire the old generals and promote your new favorites in their place) or not, as you please. However, the turn of the purge your forces will not fight better nor will they count for repression.
Now look at the column headings:
Unit grade, type and TL lists all your current military forces by the training grade, plus a one to four letter abbreviation indicating the type of equipment, followed by the tech level (TL) of the equipment. Training grade is either “g” for green, untrained units or “v” for trained veteran units. For example, untrained infantry with tech level eight equipment (repeating rifles) would be indicated as gN8. The cell is color-shaded for your use. If you want to buy a new type unit, just add it in on a new line as green.
Cost is the cost in production to purchase that type unit. Just plug in the number provided by the equipment chart on the web site.
LR stands for logistical requirement, the amount of upkeep a military requires to operate on active duty and the number of supply depots it requires in involved in combat. It's generally half the unit's cost.
At start are the number of units of that type and TL surviving from last turn. The GM records this. Don't change this.
New is a colored box you can use to fill in the number of new units you want to buy this turn. You can only buy units of your current TL or less that cost no more than the total production of that TL you control. As long as the production limit is higher than the total cost of the unit(s) you’re building this turn and of the same TL as what you want to build, you’re OK. If you don’t have a high enough TL ( perhaps you want TL7 infantry weapons but you're only TL6) you might be able to import the equipment from a more advanced country.
Units can be assigned to one of three states: active duty, reserve and storage. The default is storage. Put the number of units (which can't exceed the total of at start and newly bought units) you want on active duty in the active duty box. Veteran units can be put in reserve. You don't have to indicate the number stored. The spreadsheet figures any units that are not on active duty or in reserve are being stored. The total number of units on active duty, in reserve and stored can't exceed the total number of those units possessed. If the number “stored” is a negative number, you're doing it wrong.
Active duty units can defend your nation or be ordered to attack. Green units remain green the first turn, but if placed on active duty they become veterans the beginning of next turn. Active duty units, whether veteran or green, require upkeep based on their LR, which the spreadsheet will calculate for you.
Reserve units train one weekend a month and a couple weeks in the summer to maintain their skills. Because green untrained units have no skills to retain, only veteran units can be placed in reserve. Units in reserve can be placed on active duty on subsequent turns, being treated as veteran units. Or if you're attacked they can be mobilized directly from reserve to defend you. Reserve units have greatly reduced upkeep requirements but will need supplies equal to 1.45 times their LR if mobilized to defend the country. Cavalry units cannot be placed in reserve. (Horses have to eat more often than two days a month.)
Units in storage do nothing. The soldiers are discharged and their weapons parked in an armory someplace to gather dust. Any unit placed in storage immediately becomes green but requires no upkeep. Cavalry units cannot be stored. (Horses have to eat.)
Supply depots are used to supply other units. They cost two production points each. If you have chemical weapons you'll have separate chemical supply depots in addition to regular supplies.
Building capital ships takes a long time. Units marked on the equipment chart with two sets of costs (12+12) are built in two stages. First a “hull” is constructed of the same TL. Then on a subsequent turn you pay for a new capital ship to convert the hull into a green unit of the desired type. You can use a hull to build either a battleship or aircraft carrier, as desired.
Scrapping equipment is listed under all other orders. Just tell the GM which units to scrap and he'll deduct them and credit your gold reserve with 10% of their cost.
Military orders is where you indicate what you want to do with your forces. When you've decided on your troop deployments, issue orders for the actual attacks or defenses here.
In the orders section list your active duty units in one or more groups. A group can be assigned to DEFEND your territory, or to engage in ATTACKS against one or more enemies. For example World War II Germany might divide their forces between units assigned to battle the Russians on the Eastern Front and those assigned to resist the Western Allies. Units assigned to DEFEND will protect all areas under your control. You do not have to specify exactly where each unit is located. (In a year-long turn, they could move around, reacting to enemy attacks as needed.) You can list units in reserve in your defense total, just indicate they are in reserve.
You may assign targets or issue specific commands if you like, but these are generally unnecessary beyond a general strategic direction. You can be as vague or detailed as you like. The territory taken by an attack depends on the forces engaged. It is assumed valuable homeland areas will be more heavily defended than peripheral regions, so advances will more likely occur along the edge of enemy territory than directly into the heart of their homeland. A lot will depend on the circumstances and the specific orders of the nations involved. If your forces are significantly superior to the enemy they will attempt an offensive, otherwise they will dig in and hold.
Forces that engage in combat require supplies equal to their LR, otherwise they cannot fight. These will be deducted from your stockpiles by the GM when necessary. Militia and reserve units can be assigned to defend and are mobilized in the event of invasion at a cost of 1.45 supply depots per LR. Militia and untrained units (practically the same thing) fight very poorly and generally aren't worth the supplies expended. If you don't want them to engage in combat, assign green units to active duty and then don't list them as part of your defense.
Naval units defend against enemy naval operations and amphibious attacks against your territory. Fleets can blockade enemy regions overseas, costing them production. If your surface navy isn't powerful enough to defeat the enemy fleet, use submarines to sneak past and attack their merchant shipping. Destroyers and long-range bombers can hunt enemy submarines and protect your convoys. Issue your orders accordingly, just don't use the same unit for more than one task per turn.
Army units can attack freely across land borders. Attacking overseas requires an amphibious landing. Regions are either fertile (the default) or rough or have a railroad network. Rough terrain are low-population regions with high mountains, forests, jungle, etc. They're indicated on the map with a terrain symbol. Players may attack into but not out of rough terrain regions. Underlined names indicate regions with a railroad line.
A minimum of 1 LR of troops per 20 industrial complexes is required to take control of a region not your homeland.
Overseas deployments of army and air units, whether for defense or attack, are limited by the number of active duty capital ships and transports you control. (A nation with a large, powerful navy typically has a lot of civilian shipping to count on when they need to move troops around or supply large armies overseas.) A battleship, aircraft carrier or nuclear submarine adds thirty LR to the amount of troops you can use for an amphibious assault. A naval transport adds five. Units used for amphibious assaults, or just deployed on foreign shores count against this limit. Naval units do not. Amphibious landings must be within two sea zones of a friendly base
Certain strategic straits control access to some sea zones. The controller of Denmark can control access between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. The controller of Anatolia can control access between the Black Sea and Eastern Mediterranean Sea. The controller of Gibraltar can control access between the Atlantic and Western Mediterranean. The controller of Egypt can control access between the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean. Control of a Suez or Central American canal can also provide or deny access between the Pacific and Caribbean. You cannot perform naval operations beyond a restricted strait not controlled by you or an ally.
Coastal defense ships can only be used to defend your coast or to make certain limited-range attacks against targets in coastal waters or against an adjacent enemy coastline. Britain and France share coastal waters through the English Channel.
Aircraft can support ground or naval forces or bomb enemy industrial targets within range, which depends on the type of air unit and its TL. On military operations you can use airships, air transports and helicopters to land troops behind enemy lines. You can move one unit of lightly-equipped men such as infantry, paratroops, special forces, or a heavy weapons battalion per air transport or helicopter unit.
Allies. A player can declare another nation his ally by issuing orders to that effect. If you declare a nation your ally and you share a common border and they can reach your territory without having to go through a rough terrain region, they can defend your territory or use it to attack from, but you cannot use theirs unless they declare you as their ally. Defending an ally's territory is an ATTACK order, so if they are overseas, the units you use to defend him count against your amphibious landing limit. An alliance is only good for that turn unless you issue orders to renew it every turn. You may lend amphibious capacity to an ally. Make a note on your turn. He should note on his how much he borrowed and who from.
Militia are free. You may deploy two militia battalions for every 3 supply depots expended up to the total production of the country. Militia are the same TL as their country. They fight poorly.
Guerrillas are sometimes employed by conquered nations to resist their occupation. Guerrillas cannot be forced to retreat. They merely withdraw to to wilderness or sanctuaries across the border in a friendly nation. Only militia, heavy weapons battalions and units equipped with small arms can fight as guerrillas. All other units must retreat if defeated. Guerrillas are subject to overseas deployment limits if their controller's capital lies overseas. Players cannot organize guerrillas in nations other than their own. However, players with special forces units may fund, organize, support, and supply guerrilla forces of other conquered nations including both players and NPC nations.
Missile units use the regular rules for supplies. Their actual combat value is not related to their LR (having more to do with their expensive ammunition) and is very marginal unless equipped with nuclear or chemical warheads, but feel free to lob Scuds or V-2s around if it thrills you.
Nuclear, Biological and Chemical attacks can be made if you have the appropriate weapons of mass destruction. Any player attacked by weapons of mass destruction can retaliate in kind the same turn by leaving orders to do so.
The next section of the turn packet is for all non-military orders. You can use production to to fund research programs, scientific expeditions, economic development, or anything else you deem necessary. Just put the amount of production used and write a short description of the project. Keep your description short and to the point. When writing it up, do not let your words extend past the black border. If they're about to, just hit return and continue on a new line. Be sure total up the costs of these orders and plug that into the “all other orders” line of production allocation.
You can give military equipment in storage to other countries by issuing orders in All Other Orders to (for example) “Give France” and then list the number, type and TL of equipment, which must be in storage.
The final section of the packet is where you're presented with the bill for your dreams.
First fill in the Total Production off the economic report into the box marked “Total Production.” Use the total for your country from off this year’s economic report on the web site. Your total production is the total value of everything produced in your country this year. The economic report is found on the game’s web site. Just scroll down to find your country. The totals are off to the right. Everything’s labeled.
Beginning Gold Reserve is the amount of production left over from last turn, plus any foreign aid you received. Enemy blockades can reduce this or even make it negative. The referee records this. Note that this cell is NOT colored. Don’t monkey with this number.
Law & Order is the cost of police, prisons and your court system. This is pretty standard and a required cost unless you're a Somali pirate warlord.
Social programs, military upkeep and procurement are all calculated by the spreadsheet based on your previous decisions. Don't mess with these numbers. If you don't like 'em, go back to the military roster and make different decisions.
The next line says “Internal Security” with a colored box. Put the desired amount of your production you want to devote to internal security in the box. Internal Security is funding for the paramilitary forces and political police that maintain you in power, including perks for the ruling class nomenklatura that support your regime. Obviously the lower your popularity and the higher the degree of social control your internal security department is required to enforce, the larger the budget they will require. You might want to check with your current popularity (below) before setting a budget.
All other orders is where you put the total for everything you spent in All Other Orders.
Remember, only put numbers in the colored boxes. The others are used by the spreadsheet to calculate costs for you. If you don't like the numbers in those boxes, you can only change them by going back to previous sections of the spreadsheet, such as the military roster, and changing your decisions there. You can change things in the colored boxes any number of times and try out different things to see how you like them. Nothing is final until you submit your orders to the GM and even then you can submit revised orders up until the turn deadline. Just don't change anything in any cell than isn't color-shaded.
The spreadsheet calculates total expenditures and subtracts them from total production. The production you didn't use is available for the free market. You can't use more production than there is, so the free market can't be a negative number. If it is, you need to revise your orders until it's at least zero. The free market generates economic growth and innovation. The more production you keep for your government's use, the lower your popularity and the lower economic growth and innovation. You can make up for this through various economic development projects but a government that absorbs the bulk of production and does no development ends up with a stagnant economy.
Starting popularity from last year's crises handled, propaganda stunts, and scientific expeditions is set by the GM. The more production you tax for your government's use, the higher the unrest and the lower your popularity. Maintaining law & order and funding social programs increase popularity. Negative totals indicate unpopularity. If current popularity is less than zero, you are unpopular and face revolt. If you don't have at least as much repression as your current negative popularity you will have a revolution or a coup. You can avoid this through repression using military upkeep (if you promote by loyalty) and by funding internal security. Or you can go back and re-do your orders to fix whatever is making your people so upset.
There are two types of governments in the game: those with elections where the rulers can be voted out of power and those without. In the Struggle of Nations "elections" refers to free elections that have the possibility of changing the government in power. Rigged elections that simply maintain the current regime in power are considered propaganda. On any turn you may switch from having elections to not having them. Just mention you are changing in All Other Orders. The advantage of elections is rather than having piecemeal rebellions, when you score less than 50% of the vote you lose control of the country and become the opposition until you can win an election.
To win elections, spend on propaganda, social programs and propaganda stunts. If you have high taxes you’ll probably have to have high social programs to keep the support of the voters.
Elections are held every year. This is to make it even between players who have elections and those who don’t. The dictators have to maintain control every turn or suffer revolt; the politicians have to maintain popularity or lose the election.
If you lose the election, don’t despair. The opposition will run the country until they lose an election and then you’ll take over. In the meantime you can campaign against them. Your turn packet will consist of your political platform – unless you want to attempt a coup or lead a rebellion.
When you’re done writing up your orders, save the packet using the year or turn number as the file name to prevent confusion. There’s nothing quite as aggravating as discovering you sent the GM the wrong orders and he processed them. Then at or before the deadline send an e-mail message to the GM. For subject put “<the name of your country> packet.” Attach your filled out turn packet and send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If your orders change before the deadline, revise the packet, attach it to a new message to the GM using subject “Revised <your country’s name here> packet” and send. He will process whatever is the most current "revised" packet. If no orders are submitted he will run your country as an NPC position that turn. If you miss three turns in a row it is assumed you have dropped out of the game, although you can return later, if you like.
What do all these acronyms mean?
How do I issue orders to run my nation?
How do I submit my orders for the turn?
How do I maintain control of my country?
How do I spy on other nations?
How do I obtain advanced military equipment?
So, what kind of army should I build?
What is a propaganda stunt?
How do I fortify my borders?
How do I engage in diplomacy?
How do I send foreign aid?
How do I develop my economy?
How do I organize rebels in another country?
If I'm conquered or overthrown, how do I organize resistance?
The game uses a lot of them but you don’t have to memorize them. Just go back here and look up any acronym you don’t recognize.
GM = Game Master, the referee, the poor, underpaid, unappreciated guy who runs this game.
LR = Logistical requirement, the amount of upkeep a military requires to operate on active duty and the number of supply depots it requires when involved in combat.
NPC = Non-player country, a country run by the GM because it doesn’t have a player yet. (So go recruit one of your friends.)
PP = Production points. The cost of most things players do in the game.
R&D = Research and development
RP = research point. Required to fund research programs, scientific expeditions, and secret weapons. Equivalent to a production point.
TL = Tech level. The type of equipment produced in a particular region. For a description of particular TLs see the Technology rules.
If an acronym isn’t listed here it’s probably a type of military unit. Check the equipment list.
Intelligence reports posted on the forum give you an idea of other nation's armed forces. As soon as you receive your new packet, post an intelligence report on the game forum. Just go to the forum, and then cut your entire military roster out of the packet and paste it into a message. You can then change the pasted roster, adding or subtracting from the at start numbers depending if you want to inflate or conceal the actual state of your armed forces up to a total of +/-100 total ground or air units. (So for example, you could add 99 to the number of tank battalions you have and subtract one from the number of air squadrons.) Then post the report to the forum. If you don't post this within a few days from when the turn results are made available, you risk the GM leaking your entire packet to the forum, so don't delay. Do it as soon as you get your packet.
The most important part of ruling a country is remaining in power. Even if you tax nothing, malcontents and criminal elements may rebel against you. You will need to budget something on law & order, internal security, propaganda, social programs or use some of your military to enforce martial law.
But how much do you need? The primary determinant of unrest is the amount of the economy you control (tax rates.) The higher the rate at which you suck resources out of the economy the more unrest you generate. There are other variables that affect popularity such as economic conditions, vital interests and propaganda stunts. An economic crash will drop your popularity even if you had nothing to do with it. And you don’t have to stay popular to remain in power. Nobody liked Stalin or Saddam Hussein but their secret police prevented any trouble. Stalin died in his bed. Saddam didn’t, but that was because his secret police couldn’t cope with the 4th US Infantry Division. (Go team!)
Your country may not be as technically advanced as others in the world, and you might want military equipment of a higher TL than you can produce locally. You can import higher tech weapons than you can produce from other countries or develop an indigenous military industrial complex to manufacture them yourself. The first requires a bit of diplomacy while the second generally requires research and a large investment in economic development.
When you buy equipment from another player you use your packet to send him an agreed upon amount of money and he uses his packet to ship you the equipment. The GM makes the transfer. The downsides to this are you can't use the equipment until the turn it's actually listed on your packet and the orders aren't conditional. If he doesn't ship, you're still out the money.
You may always purchase small arms and naval transports two Tls lower than the highest world TL on the open market. So if any country is TL8 you can buy TL6 naval transports regardless of your actual TL. “Small arms” are used to equip infantry, cavalry, engineers, elite infantry, paratroops, special forces and bicycle units.
Or you could build up your own TL. The drawback is this takes time and a lot of money. See "How do I develop my economy" for details. Check with the GM if you have questions.
There are all sorts of unit types listed on the equipment list. What should I build? How well do they fight?
Well, real world leaders ask the same sort of questions. There’s no magic formula and no rule book to look up the answer in. A lot of it depends on your opponent and what you aim to do. As a rule of thumb, the cost of a unit is a good measure of the relative combat power. But this depends on circumstances and what sort of equipment the enemy has.
The newsletter sometimes makes mention of military organizations. This gives good suggestions for what you might consider organizing for yourself. Usually nations don't deploy individual regiments and battalions into combat alone. They usually go in groups alongside supporting weapons.
A brigade is several regiments of the same type unit commanded by a brigadier general.
Several brigades make up a division commanded by a major general. An infantry division would be mostly infantry with a few supporting units such as artillery, cavalry, engineers, and other weapons depending on the prevailing technology (antiaircraft missiles, tanks, armored cars, helicopters etc.)
Two or three divisions makes a corps, sometimes with a few extra brigades or battalions of specialized troops. Two or three corps make an army. Several armies make an army group.
Feel free to ask your military advisers (the GM) for advice. Another resource is the game newsgroup. Many players have their own opinions and are often glad to share them.
A propaganda stunt is a military operation designed specifically for propaganda or moralistic purposes. Such an operation grants a popularity bonus if successful and might be an “attack” (military maneuvers designed to show off your massive and well equipped army, such as the annual Soviet May Day parade), a “patrol” (Theodore Roosevelt’s Great White Fleet expedition, or Britain’s 19th century anti-slavery patrols off the African coast), an escort mission (like the neutral American anti-submarine patrols in the Atlantic in the early part of World War II), or even a commando or bombing raid to destroy a particular enemy target (Israel does this all the time.) However, to qualify for the bonus the GM will have to be convinced that the primary aim of the mission is political and that it does not enhance your military posture. In other words, a normal attack cannot claim this bonus. Moving your fleet from San Diego to Pearl Harbor to "let the Japanese warlords know we mean business when we tell them to halt their aggression against China" would. (The Japanese don't care where your fleet is. Hawaii is just a couple of days closer than California. The point is to make an impression on American voters.) Invading Kuwait so you can make it your 19th province doesn’t qualify. Firing cruise missiles at "chemical weapons factories" in primitive Sudan would. (And it might keep you from being successfully impeached.)
Punitive Expeditions are small military expeditions against native tribes in North America, Africa or remote parts of Asia conducted as a propaganda stunt. Colonial campaigns are generally successful against disorganized and poorly equipped tribesmen, with certain famous exceptions (General Custer, Isandalwana, Adowa, etc.)
Atrocities are propaganda stunts designed to lower the popularity of the government in an enemy country. They are treated in all respects like a propaganda stunt except they affect only the enemy. Examples might include attacks targeting enemy population (instead of bombing his factories you firebomb the cities), particularly horrifying biological or chemical attacks against civilians, having your air force attack refugees, terrorist attacks performed by guerrilla, commando or special forces-type units targeting non-military cultural-type facilities (blowing up the Super Bowl) and such like. Be aware that it is entirely up to the interpretation of the GM whether the deed qualifies as an atrocity for the bonus. Some deeds might even harden resistance in the enemy population (such as 9-11.) In some instances an atrocity might be performed upon your own population as a publicity stunt. For example, slaughtering the inhabitants of the village of Lidice to intimidate possible supporters of the resistance. (That particular Nazi atrocity actually worked as intended.)
Another type of propaganda stunt is the "Scientific Expedition" sponsored for the purpose of increasing scientific knowledge. Such expeditions provide valuable scientific data, but also a propaganda bonus if you're the first nation to succeed at that mission. All the expeditions and their requirements are given in the technology rules. The success or failure of the expedition depends on your TL and the amount of research points expended. The benefit to your innovation and propaganda depend on the RP you allocate. You always receive innovation bonus' whether you succeed or not but you only get a popularity bonus if you're the first to succeed at a particular feat. Your accomplishment will then be mentioned in the game newsletter.
Expeditions often have prerequisites. For example, you can't send a man into space unless you have developed a rocket of some kind to do so.
Expeditions should be listed in the All Other Orders section of your turn packet along with their exact nature and the number of RP expended. Nations may join together on joint projects. Every nation that participates receives half the value of success.
Forts represent the walls, barbed wire, mines, trenches and installations that add to the defensive power of the garrison. Every “point” of forts in a region doubles the fighting power of one LR of defending units but only if attacked across the border or coast the fort is constructed along. Fort points cost $3 each and are destroyed if captured.
“Diplomacy is the art of saying nice doggy until you can find a rock.” – Will Rodgers.
There’s a diplomatic list of players and the country they run. If you want to communicate with them, please do so directly, using the listed address.
Non-player countries (NPCs) are countries that don’t have a player yet. The GM runs these until such time as a player signs up for them. To engage in diplomacy with NPCs contact the GM.
You may reach all the players as a group by posting on the newsgroup. This is good for making announcements, comments on the newsletter and general chit-chat. Avoid profanity and drunk posting when using the newsgroup. Some of the players are underage and the rest of us don’t want to read that garbage.
Foreign aid can consist of gold, supplies, military equipment or territory. Foreign aid transfers CANNOT be made conditional. If you make a deal to sell somebody a unit or a province for a set amount of gold, the GM will not check to see if he paid you the correct amount before transferring control. Enforcement of any “deals” is up to the players involved. (But keep in mind what goes around comes around and usually picks up speed along the way.)
Gold doesn't require transport. (Vast fortunes in gold don't take up much room and in modern economies might be replaced by bales of currency or computerized accounting notations.) To send something record the item and amount in All Other Orders along with the name of the recipient. They won’t be able to use it until next turn.
Gifts can be prevented, either by hostile territory or blockades that cut off alternate routes through neutral countries. Blockades sink 1% of gifts shipped per LR of ships in that sea zone unless an alternate route exists through neutral territory. Gifts cannot be seized, only destroyed or turned back.
To cede control of territory put “Cede” then the name of the region and the recipient. The cessation occurs at the END of the turn so if you lose control before then the area won’t be ceded. You cannot cede homeland regions. If you’re British you can swap African colonies like crazy but you can’t sell Wales to the Russians. Some national interests may also disallow certain giveaways.
Nations have a capacity, a number of industrial complexes and a tech level (TL.) Capacity represents the resources, especially population, necessary for industrial production. A nation may have different amounts of production of differing TL but cannot have more industrial complexes than its total capacity.
Industrial complexes produce supplies and equipment and fund programs of all types. Production has a TL and can only be used to produce things of that TL or lower. Some things, such as supplies, upkeep and social programs, have no TL.
Production can be given as foreign aid to other nations as “gold” which has no TL and cannot be used for economic development or to build equipment. Gold can be used for buying supplies, paying upkeep and other purposes that do not require production of a certain TL.
Nations can build equipment and give it to other lower tech nations, and build development projects for them. For example a TL8 country could build a TL8 industrial complex in a lower tech country.
A nation's R&D limit is three tenths of a percent (.003) of total production. This is the number of research points (RP) available for scientific expeditions, research programs and secret weapons. RP are a form of production points and have a TL based on the nation's production. They're generally considered to be of the highest TL available but the number of RP cannot exceed the total production of that TL available. For example, if a country had 9,999 TL6 production and one TL8 production it would have thirty RP (10,000 * .003 = 30) but only one of those would be TL8. The rest would be TL6. And if the TL8 RP were used for a research project, no other TL8 production would be available for other purposes that turn. The use of RP is more fully explained in the technology rules.
A nation's total production will grow if economic development is available and the nation has not yet reached its capacity. Once it reaches capacity, the number of industrial complexes does not increase, but their TL rises.
Economic development includes building railways, ports, airports, infrastructure, industries, dams, power plants, opening new mines or oil fields, and completing research & development projects and scientific expeditions. These can be funded by government project or through the free market. Typically it costs 13 production points to create an industrial complex, or to upgrade a lower TL complex to a higher TL.
Economic development targeted at a particular region only affects that region. General economic development (such as research programs) affects all regions controlled by that nation. Be sure to indicate in your orders where a project is built or if it is intended as general development.
Nations can buy weapons or economic development only of their own TL or lower. (Although there's not generally much reason to buy lower TL equipment.) The only exception to this are infantry weapons and economic development, which can be obtained from commercial sources through international trade at two TLs lower than the highest world TL. For example, if the most advanced country in the world is TL8, then any country, regardless of TL, can purchase TL6 infantry weapons and economic development as these would be commercially available from foreign sources. Nations can, of course, purchase higher tech equipment from high tech nations but they'd have to come to some sort of deal and the higher tech nation would have to transfer the equipment. So, in our example, a low tech country might be able to buy TL8 weapons or industrial equipment from the TL8 country, if they could negotiate a mutually agreeable price.
Give money and/or weapons to the player or NPC running that country. You will not gain control of the region by funding a successful revolt. It will be controlled by the original player or NPC. If you want to control a region, invade it.
Maybe you’ve been overthrown in a coup or invaded and conquered. In either case your homeland lies under the heel of somebody other than you. How do you get it back?
If you don’t control other territory you can use for a counter-attack, you can still try to organize guerrilla units of the same TL as your occupied country and use them to fight guerrilla-style. These units follow all the normal rules and require supplies and upkeep.
But even constant defeat can work toward victory. As long as you continue to harass the occupier and force him to maintain large numbers of troops there, the occupier may eventually conclude it’s not worth paying more to control the place than he’s getting out of production. At that point he’ll probably declare victory and withdraw. As long as you hang in there, you can’t lose. So hit up the enemy of your enemy for some foreign aid. And if you don’t have enough to fund a reasonable uprising you can always attempt some atrocities (terrorist attacks) to reduce his popularity and keep the fires of freedom burning. (Or at least keep some of his tax offices burning.)
So don’t quit if you get conquered. Just plot your eventual triumphant return.