Modern World STGOD Concept

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Modern World STGOD Concept

Postby Steve » 2014-04-28 03:05am

Some of the core SDNW veterans have been pondering trying a modern day, "strangereal" planet STGOD again, and since we've finished private discussions it was considered time to post it openly.

Our concept right now is this:

It would be a world with an original map, a la SDNW1 and SDNW2, set in 2000. There would be no major rules for things like military sizes or such, just common sense. There will be tiers, to be determined by experience primarily, but nowhere near as curved as they were in the prior two STGODs of this type; instead the tiers will be closer in capability and we will determine who gets what tier by their experience with these games and how well their "nation proposal" is drawn up. Show something interesting and intelligent and not wanky, you'll get a better tier since we know you're not as likely to go nuts.

A player can choose to forestall military power straight up for other power, such as economic, and we will consider such once things are in operation.

Nuclear power exists, but uranium is too rare for nuclear weapons to be affordable; thorium and other similar materials are the main source of fuel for reactors, that is, stuff that can power reactors but not be useful for nuclear weapons.

You don't have to be a miltech arcana geek to have a functioning military.

There will be one mod who enforces, if necessary, against bad behavior and wankishness, advised by at least two others who can step in if the mod is unavailable.

And finally.... this isn't a game you win, necessarily. "Winning" can be not having a major war break out by showing restraint or becoming a respected world power known for fairness in international relations. You can be more like Switzerland instead of the US and still "win". While players will still sometimes face off with other players, we're hoping to keep it from becoming too nasty and thus creating flame-bait.

I leave it to my compatriots to fill in on anything I've missed, and for other posters to comment on thoughts and give suggestions and even nation proposals as desired.

Let's see if we can get some magic going. :D 8)
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Re: Modern World STGOD Concept

Postby Siege » 2014-04-28 05:12am

I'm game. These games were lots of fun, and I knew I wasn't drawing up a new version of San Dorado for nothing :).
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Re: Modern World STGOD Concept

Postby Simon_Jester » 2014-04-28 06:09am

I am also game, though setting up tiering by 'experience and proposal quality' raises a few questions.

1) Who's scoring this?
2) How many tiers are there? Could we tie them to real-world references as guidelines for the scale we should be thinking on?
3) To what extent does it matter that my nation concept revolves around its size and power?

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Re: Modern World STGOD Concept

Postby Steve » 2014-04-28 06:43am

Simon_Jester wrote:I am also game, though setting up tiering by 'experience and proposal quality' raises a few questions.

1) Who's scoring this?
2) How many tiers are there? Could we tie them to real-world references as guidelines for the scale we should be thinking on?
3) To what extent does it matter that my nation concept revolves around its size and power?


I think the who will be the heads of the game.

As for tiers? I was thinking three. If the top rank has a GDP of 5 trillion (the old Imperiums) then the lowest tier would have a GDP of 2 trillion.

As for the third, it would play a part in that, for newer players, it tells us what kind of player you'd be. Declaring you're going to have a centralized surveillance state where everyone is genuinely okay with police powers like nationwide CCTVs and mandatory DNA and fingerprint databases and that your military's personnel are perfectly competent and cool-headed and professional is, for instance, is not going to endear us. Being a modern republican democracy with opposing political influences, or an almost-anarchic corporatocracy with entire sections of its capital full of squalor and violence that is openly admitted to and is a clear con? That's showing you're making a realistic state, not just your ideal state where everything goes well.

Edit: To make it clear, if you want a country that's a surveillance state, that's not the issue. Declaring that every single one of your citizens has no problem with the government going Big Brother on them and that you have no domestic opposition to your policies? That your nation is entirely perfect and nothing ever goes wrong internally? That's an issue. Being a munchkin, in short. That's not what we want to see.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: Modern World STGOD Concept

Postby Simon_Jester » 2014-04-28 11:15am

Steve wrote:As for the third, it would play a part in that, for newer players, it tells us what kind of player you'd be. Declaring you're going to have a centralized surveillance state where everyone is genuinely okay with police powers like nationwide CCTVs and mandatory DNA and fingerprint databases and that your military's personnel are perfectly competent and cool-headed and professional is, for instance, is not going to endear us...
Well, what if I want to explore something of that nature?

The Technocracy of Umeria, re-imagined for a 2010-ish setting (we're allowed to invoke 2010-2015 level technology, right?) is... kind of inspired by the present state of China. Developing nation, with a government dominated by a quasi-academic meritocracy and a political structure that enables this.

The population has flirted with democracy, but it was kind of a one night stand that Did Not End Well. It exists on the local level but is functionally meaningless on the national level.

They don't have nationwide CCTV or DNA profiling, but only because they can't afford it; they probably DO have a national fingerprint database but a lot of the records are still on paper, not electronic. They'd be working on that.

At the same time, the government is basically good-natured and civil. Seniors are expected to take their duty of care to juniors dead seriously; if they fail to do so heads may literally roll. It is possible to get sent to a labor camp for being a bad boss, if you try hard enough. The secret police spend most of their time ferreting out incompetence and poor management rather than political dissent.

The military is moderate in size relative to the population, and mostly defensive in character.

It's all functioned so far. Somehow. BUT...

Being a modern republican democracy with opposing political influences, or an almost-anarchic corporatocracy with entire sections of its capital full of squalor and violence that is openly admitted to and is a clear con? That's showing you're making a realistic state, not just your ideal state where everything goes well.
It is entirely possible that the wheels will come off during play. There is still a lot of relative poverty- literacy and electrification have gone well, telecommunications are spreading, but getting mass consumer goods to the populace is a serious weak spot as in the Soviet system. The only thing keeping it from being as bad as the Soviets had it is that the Umerians have started shamelessly pandering to the export market (as did China).

There are several readily identifiable failure modes for the Council of Technarchs, and in SDNW6 (just a name I made up) there is no magic box picking the leaders. It's worked for about... two long generations, or three middling-short ones. There is little guarantee it will work indefinitely.

Edit: To make it clear, if you want a country that's a surveillance state, that's not the issue. Declaring that every single one of your citizens has no problem with the government going Big Brother on them and that you have no domestic opposition to your policies? That your nation is entirely perfect and nothing ever goes wrong internally? That's an issue. Being a munchkin, in short. That's not what we want to see.
See, the main thing I want to preserve is that we have some freedom to imagine a society that does not exist in precise form on this Earth, but still works. To some extent that requires us to rethink the social 'truths' that everyone in this world accepts and takes for granted. For example, it's an article of faith that central planning of economies does not work.

But to what extent is that true because of incidental factors, like the poster children for a state-planned economy also trying to enforce military dominance and authority over a large block of territory, and thus maintaining a deliberately inflated military force? Perhaps someone who pays more attention to "butter" (and drill presses) and less to "guns" would enjoy more success. Perhaps figures more like Lenin, Khrushchev, and Xiaoping would do a better job and make it more functional than figures like Stalin, Brezhnev, and Mao- if the system were so configured that it tended to select for the former over the latter.

And again, we can answer with more truisms: "that shouldn't work because X."

But at some point, nation-creation becomes far less interesting if we lose the ability to say, "but what if X isn't a law of the universe?"

Otherwise I might as well just drop in alt-France or something and call it a day, which is boring.

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Re: Modern World STGOD Concept

Postby Siege » 2014-04-28 11:44am

It isn't about which modes of government ought to work or not, but rather about what styles of play we want. You're free to run whatever form of government suits your fancy, even peculiar ones we might find realistically unlikely to work for very long. What you're not free to do is munchkin it up by writing your perfect people out of every pickle they might find themselves in in a manner entirely bereft of consequences. And the tier you find yourself in is directly based on the amount of confidence that's had in your ability to do this.
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Re: Modern World STGOD Concept

Postby Simon_Jester » 2014-04-28 03:15pm

Fair enough.

I figured it'd be like that; I just wanted to get it out there- if nothing else, so that others are not discouraged from playing countries that aren't Stereotypical Western Democracy. After all, it's at least as easy to set up one of those and pretend there are no problems endemic to the system; hundreds of millions of Americans and Europeans do exactly that in real life.

Having a few bloody-handed (or bloody-minded) dictatorships in the game would probably make things more fun, in my opinion- it helps keep the action stirred up. I can't speak for SDNW1-3, but SDNW4 was definitely richer for the occasional dickery of people like Shep and Force Lord and Shroomy... who were playing states that the average galactic citizen would not approve of. That very 'unpleasant' character granted them motivation and justification to do exciting things.

Anyway, I do appreciate having it spelled out that the people running these countries aren't some kind of loving slave-minions or anything of that nature. And that people who want to play that kind of game are going to be looked at in a funny way.


Aaand, because I'm a mathy person... hm.

Hm. China has a huge GDP and would actually be a superpower- I'm not sure I want Umeria to be that large, to the extent of being the 800-pound gorilla in the set of "developing polities." Given the spread of GDP suggested, the mid-tier might be hovering around 3.5 trillion USD annual GDP, about right if we scaled down China by a factor of 2.4. Maybe a bit more- Umeria never had anything like the lunacy of the Maoist period, and is a bit further along its development curve.

So... downscale GDP by a factor of 2.4 to get a 3.5 terabuck GDP for a 'mid-tier' nation. Upscale per capita GDP by, oh... a factor of 1.5 (placing it somewhere between Romania and Turkey in terms of per capita GDP)...


You get a population (1/(1.5*2.4)) times the size of China, roughly 375 million. Which is appropriate- large for a developing nation, but not stupidly, overpoweringly so.

If this is upscaled to 5 teraUSD 'superpower' state, population increases by a factor of 1.4 to about 530 million, nothing else really changes.

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Re: Modern World STGOD Concept

Postby Starglider » 2014-04-28 04:00pm

I have a concept for a nation that could be fun, but not sure if I have enough time to contribute usefully. Depends on the pacing although with the reduced board population I doubt it would be as crazy as the early SDN World threads.
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Re: Modern World STGOD Concept

Postby Simon_Jester » 2014-04-28 04:11pm

There's room for modest-sized countries run by occasional-participators, in my opinion.

Especially people who aren't going to completely walk away from and ignore the game entirely for extended periods (as in, will respond in at least short form if a player pokes them), and who have a proven track record of creativity (so that they provide interesting ideas for others to play with even if they themselves are absent for a few weeks).

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Re: Modern World STGOD Concept

Postby Jub » 2014-04-28 04:14pm

I'd be interested in joining something like this but instead of a nation on the rise maybe a nation on the decline. A once superpower who's bubble has burst creating a rapid decline. I'd take it up on the rebound like early 2000's Russia.

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Re: Modern World STGOD Concept

Postby Siege » 2014-04-28 05:29pm

Simon_Jester wrote:There's room for modest-sized countries run by occasional-participators, in my opinion.


Oh yeah absolutely. Think of the GDP thing as a rough upper bound, it's not something you're bound to in any way beyond it being a hypothetical max limit. You could have a ball playing a crazy warlord in a ruined postcolonial hole with no recognizable central authority whatsoever -- in which case your GDP might not be anything spectacular but who cares when there's fun to be had?

I intend to play as San Dorado, a city-state of (in its current draft) 51 million people packed into a mere 20.648 square kilometers of land. There is no central government; San Dorado is fully in the clutches of vast conglomerates whose reach far exceeds the boundaries of the city. Its primary means of power projection is pure economic clobbering might; it doesn't have an army, though it has PMCs. GDP per capita might make it look like a pretty nice place to live... But GDP per capita is a horrible, horrible lie. The rich are affluent beyond human measure; the poor are destitute.
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Re: Modern World STGOD Concept

Postby Simon_Jester » 2014-04-28 08:02pm

Byplay between them and the Umerians could be hilarious. :)

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Re: Modern World STGOD Concept

Postby Steve » 2014-04-29 12:21am

Yeah, Siege was right, people did take my statements to mean the specific example.
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American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: Modern World STGOD Concept

Postby Shinn Langley Soryu » 2014-04-29 12:56am

I've been participating since the first SDN World, and I'd certainly be up for another go.

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Re: Modern World STGOD Concept

Postby Fingolfin_Noldor » 2014-04-29 03:57am

I'm thinking of doing a Christian Theocratic state, that's going to be as Christian as possible, meaning it's going to be very very Communist.
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Re: Modern World STGOD Concept

Postby Force Lord » 2014-04-29 09:30am

I'm interested in joining. Maybe do a constitutional monarchy or go fascist again.
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Re: Modern World STGOD Concept

Postby Simon_Jester » 2014-04-29 09:48am

You could do both- think about the end of Francoist Spain in the 1970s, with the ghastly-old military dictator finally losing his grip and dying, and a newly appointed (and not actually heir to the old dynasty) king having to step in to patch things together and manage the transition to democracy...

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Re: Modern World STGOD Concept

Postby Thanas » 2014-04-29 01:25pm

I'd be up in general for it, but don't really know how much time I can spent on it. Certainly not as much time as spent on SDNW3.
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Re: Modern World STGOD Concept

Postby Skywalker_T-65 » 2014-04-29 06:30pm

I'm definitely up for it. I've improved my writing fairly significantly since SDNW5, so I think it could be fun to try my hand at a modern nation.
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Re: Modern World STGOD Concept

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2014-04-30 05:11am

I'm interested. I might create a democracy (maybe a constitutional monarchy) that has a small military and focusses on diplomacy, espionage, and humanitarian aid rather than war. Also, it would be dealing with a separatist movement and a high unemployment rate.

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Re: Modern World STGOD Concept

Postby Steve » 2014-04-30 11:01am

Shinn Langley Soryu wrote:I've been participating since the first SDN World, and I'd certainly be up for another go.

*obligatory Ace Combat and Code Geass references go here* :P


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"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: Modern World STGOD Concept

Postby madd0ct0r » 2014-04-30 11:14am

colour me interested. Let's see how green a german level developed version of Bangladesh can get :)
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Re: Modern World STGOD Concept

Postby Steve » 2014-05-01 11:13pm

I'll try to get some start-up material done this weekend. I apologize, but I've become sick and I'm still dragging myself off to work with 4 hours of sleep every night (hard to sleep when your sinuses won't stop producing goo and giving you headaches).
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: Modern World STGOD Concept

Postby Ahriman238 » 2014-05-01 11:16pm

I'm interested, haven't taken part in one of these before.
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Re: Modern World STGOD Concept

Postby Simon_Jester » 2014-05-02 12:15am

Be delighted to have you with us.

Steve, hope you get better soon. Don't push yourself too hard; we want to balance "have the game start in a timely fashion" with "actually give us time to do stuff."

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