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brainstorm : what define a country.

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OK, I am in a state of brainstorming right now, and putting down some ideas on the paper. My goal is to figure out components that can describe a country. Anything. I''ll do the sorting afterwards. My thoughts are directed towards recreating a game with the spirit of Guardians CCG. That is, funny, often parodic, based on medieval fantasy. Technically, I am basing my thoughts on the game Chaos Overlords by NewWorld Computing. So far, I am trying to define the different sectors in a country : politics, economy, military, sorcery, spiritual, science -internal politics define the type of government. This influences the goal of the game, and emphasize some aspects of the country over others (a theocracy will emphasize religion, a military dictator will emphasize military, etc ...) The attachement of the people is also changed by this. (it''s much easier to create a revolt in a country governed by a dictator, than in a country governed by, say, a just and wise king) -external politics is used to create links with other countries in different domains. Spies, propaganda, diplomacy are directly related to this sector. Commercial links help build roads, trading posts, guilds of merchant, markets, etc. Military links will allow alliances, sharing of information, training/sharing troops and training. Spiritual links, to build missions, exchange knowledge, share resources of the church, monetary and spiritual. Magical links, sharing knowledge, resources... By having links with another country, you take the risk of seeing this sector increase his influence in your own country. For instance, a neighbour spritual leader could have churches in your country. His spiritual influence could slowly but surely defy your military dictatorship ... -economy : primary sector is based on nature. Agriculture, herding, and land related activity. This sector provide food (animals and vegetal), animal resources (for war, trading, building) I am hesitating to put building based on wood in this category... secondary sector is based on Minerals and what you do with them. this include mining (ores, metal, gems, etc), quarries (stones). This sector is directly related to building, also the war industry. Tertiary sector is based on using the brain resources ... that means anything from education, to sorcery, science, medicine, etc. (I have to do a better list than that) Another I can see right now, is that spirituality/sorcery/science are tightly linked and antagonists. The choice between which is most important is directly related to the type of goverment (Theocracy, shamanic society, democracy, etc) OK, this are my thoughts so far, I am really only starting to write down everything and every link I can make between ideas (which I can''t really show here ...That''s the power of paper over the internet). Right now I am not even thinking in game terms, I am rather interested in everyrone''s ideas about what is important in a country/nation/society. What are the elements, What are the relations between elements ? Have a go !

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There is also the class structure of the society of the country. Whether a country has the possiblity of vertical movement in its class system can be very important. Are there lowly serfs or even slaves that do most of the work? or are there a crafts and smith professions. I would think that a mostly stagnant social structure would be slower in developing new ideas.

If there is a strong craftsman stratus to the society, are they allowed to organize? Unions can do a lot to stiffle innovation.

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buster : So how do you deal with a federal country ? where the juridic systems are not shared. There is a common army, different polices ? how do you deal with a capital state, where the country is really only a city (Italy, 17th 18th century), or a clan based country ? where there is no real country, rather a bunch of tribes sharing a language, or a belief system ?

antknei : thanks. The cast system in india, the heavenly order in feudal Japan, the old tripartism in France before the revolution (clergy, aristocraty, peasants), the after-revolution system (clergy and aristocracy are destroyed, stays the politics, and the growing importance of economy), yeah, I''ll dig that a bit more

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Age of a country is very important when determining cultural depth. An older country will also be more likely to be more conservative in it''s attitudes than a younger nation. Then at course you''ve got geographic locations, this plays a major role in war time, i also has an affect on the attitudes of the military not to mention weather conditions, disasters etc.

Available reasources of the country will also play a major determining factor for the general survival and growth of the country. A country that has little resource will more likely be less industrialised and more orientated towards clerical/management skills for their growth and survival, or make them very military aggresive.

I guess this could be argued to the cows come home but, it''s something.

"So you're the one that designed that game are you?"
*Gulp* "Umm, yeah"

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Larger countries are often divided into smaller states, provinces, or territories. Often the people living in say the Western Province will have different ideals than the Eastern Province. This might affect something like revolts. People are sometimes more proud of the region they come from than the country itself.

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Mm, OK, I think I am being too open, and you people get scared, so maybe i should describe a bit more what I have in mind.

basically I played this game years ago, called Guardians. It was a card game, based in a medfan setting. The emphasis of the game was *fun*. It played a bit like a board game, and the main thing in the game were creatures. You would build squads of units, move them on a little 3x3 grid formed bu land cards, and fight it out.
As I said, I liked this game because of the strong graphics (still the best today, IMHO), simple gameplay but tailored to fit perfectly the purpose of the game, the inherent fun of the whole thing. The cards all had weird names, more than often parodic (for Magic fans : Black Locust, Small Pox, Lizards on the Toast, etc). There were some strong themes in the creatures, and more than often you ended up building a deck around fun to play themes, rather than killer combos (though you could do both, sometimes). There is no other game where you can win a battle by trampling your enemy with a horde of giant penguins, or stand strong against an invasion, with the help of your giant flamingos ...

Now the problem is that the game system itself was not to complex, to allow a smooth game. But the thing I was interested in keeping is the spirit. Mainly, the possibilty to have very "personalized" decks.

Then I played this game Chaos Overlords. It was a board game, with lotech graphics. But a very evocative background. As evocative, in fact, than the former Guardians. Same fun, same ease of use.
They actually had some interesting game modes, but the problem is that the small size of the map made it impossible to win without conflict. That''s something I''d change.
As well, the units where hilarious gangs, but you couldn''t really choose, and you ended up with a balanced mix of everything.
And that''s something I am *really* getting tired of.

so, my goal here is to expand my ideas horizontally, rather than dig one deep.
For instance, I am interested in finding out different types of government in a society, in order to compare their various advantages and disadvatages. I''d like to be able to play a whole game with a tribal society, and still have fun. Or be able to play a totally pacific country (say, Switzerland style), or a totally nomadic one, that don''t really bother with economics (they just use other people''s ).

I must say that there wouldn''t be a victory as such, but rather the game would play for a given length of time, until an end game condition is reached. And players would get rewards and ranking on various game areas (here, you would have the best economist, the best warmonger, the best sorcerer, but also things like the fastest population growth, biggest population, biggest territorial expansion, etc.) The idea being to give enough room for everybody to tailor the game to fit their own play style, and still be able to "win" (by reaching whatever reward fit the goals they chose ... e.g. best diplomat if you decided to play a total pacifist)

So, let''s rephrase the question : what areas of a society would allow for customisation ? what makes a society/country, different from others. What is so different between, say, english, welsh, irish, scotts ?
What makes a country be more than a borderline with gards on it ...

youpla :-P

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Maybe you''re looking for national personalities? A quick and easy way to reflect beliefs?

I''m thinking of ranges, say,

-World Affairs-
Egotism vs. Humanism: Are others equal, or are they less than us?
Intervention vs. Isolation Do we get involved, or stay home (in military, economic, or diplomatic terms)

Policies: Imperialism (US Latin American policy), Destabelization (Europe in Africa, 1950s), Unification (U.N., League of Nations), Conquest (Third Reich), Export Revolution (terrorism, Communism)

-National Affairs-
Security vs. Freedom: Trade-off directly results in personal freedom limits
Stratification vs. Egalitarianism: Caste society, or lots of upward / downward mobility
Individuality vs. Conformity: Lawlessness + change, or smothering rules & safety?
Tradition vs. Innovation: Affects technology, social change & reaction to problems
Uniformity vs. Diversity: Are we nice, wholesome, monoculture Borg, or diverse individuals?

Anti-X = Oppose whoever done them wrong
Establishment = Keep status quo, don''t like change. Ever loyal to gov''t
Sheeple = Sheep + People, uncritical, easy to be led, but anger quickly (childlike)
Disunified = Someone or something scattered the culture to the four winds; a serious disadvantage
Jingoist = Our side, right or wrong (usually wrong)
Reactive = Radical modifiers, throw tradition to the wind. First to adopt weird things like new styles, techniques, and technology. Generation X
Citizen = Enlightened, responsible, take voting and politics seriously (New England)

Benign Dictatorship - People love the king, and he loves them back
Democracy - Rare, probably unacheivable w/o Citizen culture
Corrupt Democracy - Money == Freedom
Corporate Oligarchy - Megacorps rule
Corporate Democracy - Elite had it, so I''ll put it. Stock == vote.
Theocracy - Priests rule on behalf of God(s) (sure, whatever)
Technocracy - Scientists & techs rule (I''m happy! )

Is this what you meant?

Just waiting for the mothership...

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wavinator : yes, *this* kind of things I knew you''d show up somehow... after all you could use it in your own design for planets and civilization. That''s why I was staying very vague about the context. But too much freedom and people get worried

Now I have to think more about this ... *grabs a piece of paper*

youpla :-P

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