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NESing Guide

Discussion in 'Never Ending Stories' started by Gelion, Apr 28, 2006.

  1. Gelion

    Gelion Captain

    Joined:
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    This is the "final" version of the Guide. Changes will be made, however in its current form it is still usable. Please Sticky...


    Guide to NESing

    0. Authors Note

    What is this guide for? Why was it written? To introduce people to the world of NESing the world of creative writers who enjoy history, learning and making it. If you are reading it, chances are you’ve seen a NESing game and want to learn more about the concept and how to NES. Well this is what the guide is for. After reading it you will know a lot more about NESing, how its played, made and most importantly why people enjoy NESing. If you like history, communicating with people from many cultures and creative writing you’ve hit the right place. NESing is not just a game – it is a way of life.

    This guide was designed with two ideas in mind. One was to help new players to get involved with the NESing that we have at Civfanatics Forum. The other was to help the people who enjoy NESing start games at their own forums. NES is a fun concept suitable for any forum with interest in story-writing, history (politics) and role-playing. If you want your forum to have NES games – this guide will help you set them up. And so we commence…..

    1. Introduction

    What is NESing? This question has no short answer; however a short response should be nevertheless tried. A NES is an Internet Forum game originating from Civfanatics Forum. “NES” is a “Never Ending Story” that started out when posters wrote stories about possible history of the world. It wasn’t a “game of history” at the start, however after 4 years it has developed into a very flexible concept suitable for many historical and non-historical settings allowing people to play in a great number of different universes.

    NESing is fun in a number of ways. Firstly it is a way to interact with other people. NESing joins people of certain character together and chances are if you like NESing you will meet a lot of people you will like too. NESing unites people who are interested in history (alternative or real), governing (nations), writing stories, politics, commanding armies (strategically and personally), geography, role-playing, making up new worlds and discovering them, diplomats, merchants… I think you get the idea. NESing began at forums related to Civilization game series. If you like Civilization you will most certainly like to NES.

    NESing also brushes up your skills in a lot of ways: you will be writing stories (if you like it), reviewing military strategies, learning about new nations and possibly quite a few words in foreign languages and learning how to manage your country well as a diplomat and a ruler.

    Lastly NESing is just fun to do as players shape the history of the world through their actions. It is very satisfying to see your nation rise from the ashes of civil war and foreign domination to a world power affecting the whole of mankind.

    This guide was prepared by us NESers, with the purpose to introduce you to the world of NESing. After reading it you will not be an expert, but you will certainly not be a newbie.

    From personal experience I can say that if you are already interested in what NESing deals with it may be hard to find places where these games actually take place. If you found this guide, look no more – you will soon immerse in a world of making history. I’ve been looking for something close to NESes for over 3 years on the net and I was happy to find it on CFC. Hopefully you too will like the concept and become a NESer like the rest of us.


    2. What is a NES?

    A NES is “Never Ending Story”. For history of the concept go to section 6. For game concept – read on!


    2.1 The Basic Concept

    A NES is essentially a simulation of the real life world. Although NESes normally tend to simulate certain historic periods on Earth any setup that the players find interesting is possible. A NES can be about anything as long as the game structure remains the same.

    The best analogy to NES that you will certainly recognize is a Dungeon Keeper game. Over there you have a “keeper” who presents players with challenges and coordinates their actions. NESes work on the same bases.

    In a very basic format NESes have the following structure. A NES is a game run by a mod, a “dungeon keeper”, who coordinates the game. A mod will accept players into the game and make sure that their actions are not ruining the game and fit into the game environment. Players are what makes the game run. In a typical game (let’s take it as an example) players interact with each other as heads of state. They write stories about their nations, initiate in diplomacy, fight wars and rule their country. The mod keeps a certain “score” of their activities recorded under stats (statistic). Stats represent the player’s achievements. Stats normally include: country name, player name (for reference), domestic structure (type of government, happiness level, economy level, domestic projects, technologies and other similar things), and the strength of the armed forces. NESes run in periods from one update to the other. Before the update players write orders where they, well, give orders to their nation. The mod collects the orders by a certain date and writes an update. An update is a story written by a mod in a form of “world news” informing the players on what happened in the world. Basing on that story the mod will then update the player’s stats (and thus the state of the world). Mods reserve the right to delete or change anything they find unbalancing the game (like nuclear weapons research in the dark ages for example) or unrealistic in the game world (like a communist revolution in Britain in 1700’s). Rules are not to be forgotten. Rules are regulations written by a mod to help players understand the game mechanics and what is possible for them to do. Rules also include the information about stats to help the players. Rules are to be respected by all and especially the mod. All information about a game is generally held at the first page of the game thread. NESes also generally posses a map which is a graphical representation of the game’s progress.

    NOTE: NESes were designed in an internet forum format and are likely to remain like that for a long time.


    2.2 Types of NES:

    NESes themselves are classified into types according to their mechanics, most importantly game rules. Here is an overview of NES types:

    Traditional – Stories are a main focus of this NES; sometimes it may even lack a mod. This type of NES is more about writing “the Annals of History”, as the main goal of this type of NES is write good stories about the world development and have fun. Traditional NESes could have basic player statistics and map (if a mod is present). Conflicts between players might arise if they forget the main goal.

    Story Based – this type of NES is more widespread. While the players focus on stories a great deal, the stats determine a lot. Mods play a greater role in this type of NES and have to watch out for unrealistic behavior by players. This type of NES can be played both for fun and to “win” i.e. achieve your nations superiority.

    Stat Based – NESes are more difficult to make and to run. In this type of NES the mod has normally worked out your every possible move, any structure you can build, army you can raise, projects you can make. While stories are still welcome they are less flexible and most of the game revolves around players interacting with each other with a goal to win the game. All (or most) of what the player owns is recorded in the stats and rules are normally quite long.

    All the above NESes can be set in any historical period (real or alternative history) and are broadly called “Normal NESes”. “Normal NESes” in reality vary between the level that both stats and stories play in a game.

    There are also certain “Concept NESes”:

    Fresh Start – Fresh start NESes start on a blanc map normally in 4000 BC (Civ fans know why ;) ) or 2000 BC when the “world” is more developed (start of ancient civilizations like Egypt). The goal of the game is to create your nation from scratch, developing new technologies, fighting wars, accumulating wealth and knowledge. Level of stats varies from game to game and is up to the mod. Fresh start NESes normally have maps with great details including cities, majour farmlands, trade routes and fortifications. Players normally take names of known nations with “established character” for easier gameplay. However fictional countries are welcomed.

    Fiction NESes – include any type of science fiction or fantasy-themed NES. These NESes normally have a good balance between “story-based” and “stat-based”, perhaps being more of “story-based” than “stat-based”. Rules are totally up to the mod as normally fantasy NESes do not have analogies. They are the most difficult to run as they require dedicated players who know the “fantasy universe”. Thorough moderation and good maps are required for this type of NES to run smoothly.

    Board NES – these include the few NESes that are mostly stat-based, but in addition have a “board”-like map. Board NESes often have very specific theme like “gang wars”, “monsters city rebellion” or “siege of Stalingrad”. If organized well these are fun to play if players are into board games.

    NOTE: Sometimes the terms for different NESes change. This is particularly true when a lot of new players start NESing. NESes were classified in this way to reflect the various types of NESes that exist now. With time more types and concepts are sure to appear.

    Some NESes are historical some are alt-historical. While historical NESes start at one point in real history, alternative NESes re-write the real history. A mod will normally say when things turned away from “real history” events and write a timeline (long or short) of how things developed since that moment. History NESes are more fun to play if you want your nation to behave better than it did “in real life”. Alternative History NESes are more interesting for “what if” scenarios.

    2.3 “Terms to Know” (What makes up NESing)

    Forgive me if the Guide sounds too detailed, but I am operating on a very basic level, trying to explain the core of NESing. Do skip if you think this is too basic.

    Now that we are familiar with the basic NES types and concept we shall go into a more detailed overview of a “Normal” NES. So, what's what there?

    Moderators - Usually there is only one moderator in a NES. Moderator is the one who “runs” the game: carrying out player’s orders, writing updates, making up random events, ruling NPCs, answering questions, updating the front page and solving disputes between players. They can be considered "Dungeon Masters" in D&D terminology. A NES is essentially a moderator’s game and all the players are “guests”, thus what moderator says is final unless he changes his mind. Moderators (mods) should be reasonable people without “favoritism” to players or states. The most important skill for a moderator is to stay consistent continuing moderating a NES which can be quite time-consuming. Generally moderators also create their own rules for a game or modify the existing rules of another moderator. The main duty of a moderator is to make sure that the NES is carried out in a way that is, hopefully, both fun and realistic (the latter part is often ignored).

    Players - Its not hard to guess who those are - they are indeed the people who play the NES. When they are “guests” of a moderator in his game, they are also the ones who shape the NES with their actions. Players pick a country from the ones still free (i.e. NPCs) and rule it. Players write orders and stories, do diplomacy for their nation. If their actions are unrealistic for their country or time period a mod will warn the player or will not carry out his instructions. Players can enter or leave the game at any time. Mods generally accept all the new players if they have space available. Sometimes, there are player limits, but most often there is no such a thing. Players should remember that NES is a game and that they are the driving force in it.

    Stories - While stories are far from necessary, most moderators encourage them, especially as they help them to get more involved in the NES. Stories involve events that happened in your nation or with your citizens. Writing about other countries where you have no control will most probably be ignored by other players and the mods. As NESes began by people writing stories, story writing is encouraged and mods will often give bonuses or positive random events. Stories do not only include “stories” as such, but nicely written diplomatic messages, treaties, declarations of war, news reports (by players), articles from encyclopaedias, records of a meeting and any other form possible. Stories must be posted in the game thread(s), or occasionally included in orders (in that case only appreciated by the mod only).

    Orders – Orders are sent to NES moderators, sometimes in thread, more often by PM (or email) A moderator will set a deadline when the orders are due as he needs to compare and analyse them before making an update. In orders player basically says what he wants to do with his nation. Orders are even more diverse than stories: "continue wonder, grow economy once, grow education twice, invade Monaco with 5,000 conscripts" (though this, of course, is a simplification). Some orders will have an effect on stats (like grow economy), some will be memorised by the mod (i.e. prepare for invasion from Monaco. If Monaco invades they will have less success than if the order was not given). Some moderators want to see maps in the orders (if there’s war for example). Most moderators appreciate detailed and clearly labelled orders. If the orders are unclear it is very easy to misunderstand them and they either get ignored or carried out in a wrong way which may lead to conflicts. Mods like to see clearly organised orders and they are sometimes divided into sections: "Domestic", "Military", "Espionage" etc. Usually mods will not set any format for orders, but always try to make them clear. The time spent by the mod trying to understand your orders could be spent writing good stories. If you do not want other players to find out what you are doing mark parts of your orders as “secret” and it will not appear in the update or will appear in a form that will not have a link to your nation. Orders are largely the only way to affect the game.

    Updates – Updates are generally long stories that moderators write based on players orders (most part) and what happened in the thread (stories, diplomacy and other info). Some of players orders may not go according to plans of the players (for example, the army sent by San Marino to invade Monaco could be intercepted by Vatican’s forces). Updates represent a certain time period that passed between the previous and the current update. They generally include that long story the mod wrote and a map to show the game’s progress. Other regular additions are also possible like random events, awards of bonuses for stories, or notes from the mod (rule changing, comments on orders etc). Besides writing the update the mod should also update the stats and other game information on the first thread page. Most moderators now try to update once a week on a certain day.

    Front Page – (First Page) is where all the info about the game is recorded. A mod opens the game by putting all the game stuff onto the first page of a (new) forum thread and then inviting players. Most of the time it includes: Introduction (welcome to a NES and stuff about the game), NES Rules (the game mechanics and stats explained), Purchase lists (for stat based NESes), Nation Stats (nation name, player name, economy, some type of info about the country like government or popularity, armed forces and so on), Map (at the start of the game) and Miscellaneous information (that could be list of wars, list of treaties, NES timeline, pre-NES timeline, “bests” of nations, weapons descriptions etc). The stats should be updated every update, all the other information is updated when the mod feels like its time.

    Threads – Most NESes take place on one thread - it is there that the front page, the updates, the maps and the player activity can be found. Sometimes, though, there are also separate threads for important organizations / alliances (for example the UN, NATO). Alliance and organisation threads, unless run by a mod, may be opened and run by players> The mod does not have to keep track of them, so it is up to the players to inform the mod of all other game threads and what’s going on in them.

    Maps - Maps are supposed to represent the world situation at the moment of the update. The “starting” map is normally put by a mod onto the first page and a new map comes with every update. Maps generally represent only the things that are important for gameplay.

    Diplomacy - or “Diplo” is the way players communicate with each other in a game when “In Character” (see Glossary). Diplomacy is done in form of posts, PM (Private Messages) or over chat programs and is used for creating alliances, signing trade pacts, declaring wars and the like. Sometimes it is official (in game threads), but a lot of the time it is done secretly through media that cannot be read by other players. Results of “diplo” are sometimes displayed in player’s orders. Regardless of the agreements players signed it is the orders that count, not what players might have signed. Like in real life treaties, agreements can be broken and thus signing successful agreements becomes an important and perhaps most challenging part of NESing. Unless mods pay attention to “open diplo” they do not refer to it in the updates unless informed by players. In fact a lot of the agreements are not known by the mod unless he’s been told about them.

    You now know how all parts of the game function. Let’s move on to playing!

    NOTE2: For the purpose of this Guide I will mostly use “Normal” (alt)historical NESes as an example.
     
  2. Gelion

    Gelion Captain

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    2.4 “Standard” NES example
    By this time you are probably dying to see an actual NES example and to see how this theory actually works. Well here it is. This set of rules belongs to one of the “fathers” of NESing das .

    NES2 I

    Yup, I decided to start a new NES at last.

    DO NOT POST UNTIL I SAY YOU CAN!

    Setting

    This is set in a completely different world, differing from the middle ages. Same as most of my NESes.

    This is 1901. One year passed since the nations of the world passed into the 20th Century. Despite the technological breakthroughs in the latter half of the last century and now, some countries did not notice this to be a new era – apart from their politicians who DID notice that the old world order has crumbled everywhere else. Other countries, having just undergone rebellions, coups, secessions and civil wars (as the long-term results of the 1889-1897 World War One), are now reigned by new governments. Old alliances crumbled. Entire countries ceased to exist. Now is truly a new age, not just a new century. A new era, and it is up to you what will happen in it.

    For your usage, each nation has a national background.

    Introduction

    Some of you (those of the new wave of NESers especially) may be confused by me calling this NES NES2 I. Well, you see, “NES” was kinda the name of my first NES series, the other people started adding in their names, the “st” and a catchy title.

    Now I plan to start a new NES, for the first time in over a year. Since I lost count of how much exactly NESes I had, I decided that this should be my second series, thus “NES2”. The Roman number is easily understood.

    Now that we are settled on that matter, let’s begin with the rules. Some of them are my old ones (okay, most of them aren’t). Others – are new, well, for my NES series.

    Rules

    Players, stories, orders, countries, NPCs, updates, map.

    Okay, now this is perhaps “what’s new”. You see, back in my times (I know how this sounds), people didn’t have updates, decided outcomes for battles by themselves, mods played countries, and instead of orders we had everything inside the story. Naturally, that wasn’t very comfortable for everyone back then, especially since I kept to the proud and now-forgotten tradition of actually keeping a timeline. Here is what we will have:

    Players – no limit, for now. I will not play.

    Stories – not necessary, but very encouraged. Good story-writers would get, time to time, bonuses based on their stories.

    Orders – orders in a list. Please, not only stat-based and military orders – I encourage innovative solutions of various problems, like attaching AT mines to dogs, removing swamps and rainforests in massive programs, making government reforms and many other such. There will also be projects – the local analog of wonders, but more about that later.

    Countries – pick a NPC, create your own (tell me where and tell me some details – ruler, brief history, culture - and I will give you the stats) or start a rebellion or demand for independence. Note that these are not bound to succeed. If your country is in dire straits, you can switch country or flee and establish a “government in exile” and lead the resistance movement. If there is a civil war, you should probably pick a side or both sides could storm at the government forces – unless “government forces” is one of the sides in the civil war.

    NPCs – lol, considering they’re NPC, I will play them, kinda. Same as the NPCs in all other NESes of late.

    Updates – these should be when it is convenient for both me and the players. I will try to update every two days, but if more then just one player is against, then it will be postponed until the third day. Updates will feature world news, random events and a special “spotlight” report – looking in-close at either a world event, either a random event. One turn will equal a year.

    Map – I will use Jason’s, though the lack of: Gibraltar, Dnepr, Aral Sea, several African lakes, Lake Balkhash, and Lake Baikal – especially the later – seem to me rather... strange. I will put in cities (black circles), fortifications (line of black squares) and dissent areas (white areas). Some countries will have province/state borders within them, these will be thin black borders as opposed to usual black borders.

    Government

    Government – is your form of government. Please note that while you can get any (reasonable) government, government change can increased OR decrease cultural strength, according to the sentiment of your people.

    Technology Level

    Will use the age system. It is the same as in other NESes of other people, ofcourse the ages are not identical. As ages go, I might add some new stats – some of the stats – just from top of my head - being nuclear power, space forces and such. This starts in Early Modern Age.

    Early Modern Age: infantry, tanks, planes, submarines, battleships
    Middle Modern Age: mechanized infantry, better tanks, planes, carriers, nuclear weapons
    Late Modern Age: space satellites, stealth planes, laser-guided weapons, biological weapons, advanced fuels
    More to come...

    Military

    That will, as of now, consist of army, navy, air force. These will be number-based as it gives more versatility. These will be represented in divisions, task forces, air wings.

    What will you have in it? Anything that is allowed by your tech. level! Infantry, tanks, cavalry – you name it. Each “stat-growth” will increase any part of military by 5.

    Using advanced tactics and strategy is advised. If you just order “attack enemy on the border with 10 divisions”, I will think that you order me to launch a mere charge at the enemy. That might work, but rarely.

    Economy

    This is the most original part, I think. It will be in word-levels. Unlike in the other NESes, you don’t have to pay economy levels to do anything (my reasoning is that no matter what some people say, national economy is not as unstable and absurd as to rise and drop in turns as the years go). You can increase two stats once or one stat twice per turn – apart from economy, which you can increase only once per turn, and only if you don’t increase any other stats.

    If you want to hurry up a project by two turns, you can sacrifice an economy level, please note that you can do it only once during a project. Otherwise you can sacrifice an economy level to be able to increase all six “increasable” stats once during one turn, or three stats twice. You cannot increase a stat more then twice within a turn, apart from military stats, which you can, in case of a “sacrifice”, grow thrice (meaning two military stats thrice). Never more then thrice though.

    Economy can, just like any other stat, grow or decrease due to random events. However it is even more influenced by random events then other stats as this is the crucial one.

    Depression-Bankrupt-Recession-Very Poor-Poor-Normal-Good Enough-Rich-Very Rich-Richest- Economic Powerhouse-Monopoly

    Education

    This is just how your people are... educated, I guess. Obvious enough. With a good education, you have better chances of receiving a good random event, as educated people can often come up with miscellaneous not-crucial but still helpful discoveries. It also affects just how advanced are your weapons, and thus the success of your army in a battlefield.

    Once someone reaches Enlightenment education, he becomes able to randomly to get the next age at any following turn. When he does, he loses two education levels.

    None-Dumb-Illiterate-Tolerable-Literate-Educated-Well Educated-Academic-Enlightenment

    Culture

    This is how culturally strong your nation is. A nation with a strong culture is less likely to fall into a civil war, and it’s people would resist most invaders and otherwise help their government. This also influences army morale. A weak culture is unlikely to be as resistant to outside threats, there are often rebellions and defections.

    None-Divided-Untrusting-Average-Strongly Cultured-Patriotic-Hyperpatriotic-Jingoist-Uberpatriotic


    Projects

    Local equivalent of wonders (that name is inappropriate in most NESes, as these are often modernization programs, national revival and other PROJECTS, not just huge and magnificent buildings). You tell me what it does, I tell you how long do you build it. You don’t have to mention it is being worked on every turn. You can sacrifice an econ. level once for a project to speed it up by two turns. Only three per age for one country.

    Nation Background

    Some may think I stole this from EQ, but I got that an idea once, long, long ago. I know noone is likely to believe that, lol...

    To better fit in as the ruler of your country, you will have a brief history of each country. It will change as the NES goes, TIME TO TIME – after the end of a major era, such as the beginning/end of a world war, rise/fall of an empire, and other such.

    PCs
    Aztec People’s Republic
    Capital: Tenochtitlan
    Ruler: Comrade Panchezuma/Cuivienen
    Government: Communism
    Tech. Level: Late Modern Age
    Army: 69 divisions
    Navy: 34 task forces
    Air Force: 28 air wings
    Economy: Economic Powerhouse
    Education: Well Educated
    Culture: Jingoist
    Projects: Rebuilding Program (+4 Economy, +1 Culture) (Done!), Nuclear Project (Done!), Project Summer (secret) (Done!)
    Nation Background: Azteca some say to be the second most powerful Comintern nation, with good leadership and numerous oil sources. It does not dare challenge Germany, though, and is fighting against the DU.

    NPCs:
    Sioux Republic
    Capital: People’s City
    Ruler: Khawipi
    Government: Communism
    Tech. Level: Late Modern Age
    Army: 58 divisions
    Navy: 47 task forces
    Air Force: 32 air wings
    Economy: Very Rich
    Education: Educated
    Culture: Hyperpatriotic
    Projects: Red People’s Army (+5 army) (Done!), Rebuilding Program (+3 Economy, +1 Culture) (Done!), Nuclear Project (Done!)
    Nation Background: Sioux Republic, the first "communist" state in the world, is currently subservient to Germany and Azteca. Nevertheless, it is not without promise...

    <Add some pages of actual >

    Here&#8217;s where the example ends. The actual NES can be found at this link:

    http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=87575

    2.5 What is possible in a NES

    NES refers to a &#8220;forum game setup&#8221; with generally historical &#8220;stuffing&#8221;. With the tools shown in 2.3 it is possible to turn almost any setting into a NES. Global Wars, Age of Colonization, Crusades, Mongol conquests, unification of European states, Punic Wars &#8211; any of these have great potential as a NES. Any fiction or science fiction setting from books or movies, totally bizarre scenarios can be turned into a NES with the tools shown above. Many, probably 100&#8217;s, of NESes have been played by now. A lot of the big topics were covered, but people love to play them again and again after short periods of time. Many NESes cover the whole Earth at a certain (alt) historical period, one can&#8217;t list them all. In any case I will try to give you an overview of what CFC NESers came up with and played for a long time (you can check the CFC section of the guide). One rule to remember about a NES game: &#8220;if the players fall for it, they fall for it&#8221;. In other words any setup or scenario you make for a NES is fine if the players like it.
    NES is a very flexible game concept that could be applied to many of the scenarios that gamers can think of. Essentially it is a computer game without the software to run it &#8211; only internet and a forum is needed to turn an idea into a game. You don&#8217;t even have to pay for it ;).


    3. Playing a NES

    This part of the guide will tell you a great many of the things you might want to know about ruling a nation or doing actual NESing.

    3.1 Joining a NES

    Joining a NES is easy. Officially the new player has to do only one thing. Pick a country and post in the thread (or PM a mod) that he will be joining as that country.

    In reality there are a number of things to consider before joining a NES. Firstly you must realize it is a time commitment. Writing orders, doing some research on your nation, interacting with players and keeping up to date with what&#8217;s going on takes some time. It is recommended to play only one NES if you are new or not more than three if you are an experienced player. Obviously you are free to set your own limits.

    Then you must read and understand the NES rules. Mods tell you everything you need to know about how to play the game in rules. Most NESes have their own specific set of rules and most of the information there is really valuable. Many NESers just skip onto joining a NES and this causes problems when they write orders and mods have to &#8220;skip&#8221; them. If you don&#8217;t understand the rules you can always PM a mod, or ask him in thread. Other payers will help you too.

    Then it is sometimes better to join a new NES, that is a NES that does not have a huge history. The longer the NES is underway the more difficult it might be to figure out what happened, what are the relationships between players and what does that &#8220;United Islamic States of Europe&#8221; mean. You are free to join any NES if you think you know what is going on there. Even if you don&#8217;t understand what is going on and still want to join &#8211; go ahead. It might take some time to figure out, but if you like the game you are playing &#8211; it is worth it!

    Sometimes to join a &#8220;Fresh start&#8221; or any other NES a player could post the stats for that country&#8217;s stats (from the first page) turning &#8220;player&#8221; from NPC to his/her name. The new stats with a players name are considered an official &#8220;player application letter&#8221;. Example:

    You can judge a NES but its activity by an average number of posts per day. The only exception to that is &#8220;still before the storm&#8221; (i.e. update). In this time all the orders have been submitted, alliances and pacts made, invasions prepared. While a mod works on the update players normally do not post or go totally &#8220;off-topic&#8221; discussing a lot of unrelated stuff or asking the mod then the update will be finished. Don&#8217;t get scared by that it&#8217;s absolutely normal and NES will come into its usual stream after the update.

    3.2 What to know while playing

    NES is primarily a game about the real world. It is important to realize it&#8217;s a game, but at the same time to understand that this game tries to simulate the real world as much as possible.
    Thus you should do some amount of research on your nation and the time period you are in. Interest in NES comes from interest in history or politics so some of the stuff you already know. But it&#8217;s never bad to increase your knowledge! Using atlases, history books, books on military or society, and the textbook on economics is encouraged. Know the history period you are playing; know your nation, its strengths and weaknesses as by knowing them you can run it more efficiently. Knowing your enemies and friends also helps.

    Understand the rules (never join unless you understand the rules). If you cant&#8217; PM a mod and he will help you get into it. Sometimes he may even write some helping up to date history of your nation if the NES has turned from history.




    4. Modding a NES

    You think you are tough enough to run a NES? So you think you have the stomach for modding your first NES? Or perhaps you want to introduce NESing to your forum? Well confidence is half a success. If that&#8217;s so this part of the guide will tell you all about modding a NES in other words &#8211; making NESes work.

    4.1 Before Modding
    If you are not the first person to start a NES on your forum it is recommended that you gain some experience first. Play a couple of NESes of various backgrounds. PM or email one of the &#8220;established mods&#8221; to ask his advice on how to start and talk about how it feels to run a NES. You have to make sure that you can stay committed to your game as modding a NES is a horrible amount of work. Depending on the setup you will have to role-play at least once every few days, normally a lot more. You have to study the subject you NES will mainly focus on.

    Don&#8217;t be afraid if people don&#8217;t join your NES &#8211; they will grow up in time ;). Also keep in mind that not all forums will like the NES idea. Interest in history, alt. history, writing stories and role-playing (a governor) is crucial to NES players so make sure you have those kinds of people on your forum.

    At the same time shouldn&#8217;t be too shy about "inexperience". If you feel that you have the time and a good idea that is interesting to YOU, and then go start it - it&#8217;s unlikely that you won't find any players. Of course, expert mods are always there to advice.


    4.2 So you want to do it? (Setup)

    Pick a subject. Make sure it is interesting to other players, but most importantly to you! Modding style makes the game what it is (i.e. successful or not), but a great concept idea will help you and the players get into the game quicker. Keep in mind that the more detailed and bigger the rules are the less likely you are to get dedicated players. Same is true for specialized NESes. A NES on &#8220;Cambodian civil war&#8221; is unlikely to get many players in contrast to &#8220;Napoleon conquers Europe&#8221; alternative history scenario. Even Lord of the Rings NESes are not that popular. Better try modding a &#8220;broad&#8221; story NES first before moving on to specialized or more detailed NESes.

    Rules are crucial. Only the stats and rules that you really need should be in your rules i.e. rules you know you can manage. You can always edit them later. You can always afford to sacrifice some realism for playability. Keep in mind that a players country is defined by the stories written and stats on the front page. If you can try to minimize the stats for every country, but the stats that stay should represent the country&#8217;s condition well. In other words the players must be able to influence all country stats with their actions. However, you don't have to include ALL factors, only those that are important, those that won't be too hard to manage and that will be easy to take into consideration during the update. For instance, education influents the technologic progress, confidence and culture influence the resistance of a nation's population to invasion. Some stats, how ever useful, can needlessly slow down update - those you could do without. When working on the stat rules, you should be sure to pick those that represent important factors that could affect the way things go in the update.

    Don&#8217;t concern yourself with detail while writing a NES. If you have to make stats for every little territory of the world &#8211; don&#8217;t bother with it, as few people will pay attention anyway. Merge small nations and delete islands if you think this will simplify modding for you and does not create a big problem historically. I.e. deleting Cyprus in a Mediterranean NES is kind of fatal, but I would not bother with smaller islands.

    Always try to have a graphical representation of your NES. Historical NESes are represented through a map. Well drawn and moderated maps are a great asset to NESes that attract players. Keep the maps as simple as you can manage without hurting the gameplay. Generally country borders and influences are enough. Roads, trade routes important production areas and cities can also be added. It&#8217;s important that maps aren't overtly confusing; that's why a small map legend could be useful, i.e. "white=rebellion, small black square=fortification, small black circle=city&#8221;.

    Opening a preview thread for the history setup or a new set of rules is likely to increase your chances to get players. Its also useful for development purposes. If you run out of ideas for rules or something, that's what the other people are for ;).

    In short here&#8217;s what you must prepare upon opening a game thread:
    &#8220;Introduction&#8221; &#8211; kind of self explanatory
    &#8220;History background&#8221; &#8211; not necessary for real history setup. However important to help players get &#8220;a feel&#8221; of the game.
    &#8220;Rules&#8221; &#8211; what players can do. Cut them &#8220;to the bone&#8221; and make sure they relate to stats and map.
    &#8220;Stats&#8221; &#8211; initial stats for players. In some cases stats for PCs are made after they join, but NPC stats should be done before (with some exceptions like &#8220;Fresh Start&#8221; NESes).
    &#8220;Map&#8221; &#8211; &#8230; well map&#8230;. Should be done before and represent the situation at the game start (yeah right).

    A note on organization. This works different for different mods, but I like to keep record of everything going on in a NES. I have a document for &#8220;rules and unchangeable stuff on first page &#8221;, one doc for &#8220;stuff on first page that changes often&#8221;, &#8220;stats&#8221; (could be an excel document), &#8220;PMs&#8221;, &#8220;orders (for all updates)&#8221; and &#8220;annals&#8221; (updates and important stories). I also have maps&#8230;.

    View of Das:
    For me its like this - folder, in it doc files for rules, updates, stats, orders and all the maps. Another important thing is, btw, to come up with a "NES schedule". Practically, you specify the days for your updates and plan for how to do it. Some things you could do before the update itself, like the domestic part of update for those who sent in orders already, but it really depends on you.


    4.3 Modding a NES
    You started? Good.

    How to mod a NES? You must live it!&#8230;.. elaborate? Sure.
    Firstly if you started a NES you must already have the following: background, rules, stats, map. What I say now may sound like common sense, but I better write it all out rather than risking not explaining in full.

    Assuming some of the people join you should see what the people are doing. Normally players post a few stories about their nation (how they see it) and a post saying that &#8220;now my country shall change and go in this direction&#8221;. This is called &#8220;introduction&#8221; or &#8220;assuming power&#8221; speech. Depending on the content you can get the rough idea on where the players are headed. Players will then post some diplo messages to NPCs. You can reply in different manner depending on NPCs and your game vision. If those diplo or stories do not come or there are few &#8211; give a shot yourself &#8211; post some diplo and stories (noting major &#8211; &#8220;major&#8221; is for the update). Players reaction to them should give you an idea of how they are interested.

    It is generally better to &#8220;go easy on players&#8221; in first few turns. Having their great plans ruined in the first turn will certainly discourage them. However as always try to keep things realistic. If a player goes overboard you can always PM him and say &#8220;you can do the same thing, but in a different manner &#8211; like this:..&#8221;. Set a date for your first update. It should not be &#8220;tomorrow&#8221;, give the players at least 2 days to prepare and write orders. If the players say they cannot do it by that time &#8211; postpone it for some time. Treat orders as &#8220;teachers treat homework&#8221; &#8211; if its not there, its not great for players, but a deadline is a deadline. It may be unfair to postpone the deadline for those players that did already send orders. Its up to you to decide if you want your update later or not. Another thing - its important that you don't delay updates needlessly, at least not the first two. Those two updates are the decisive ones. Delaying those is likely to destroy much interest in it - not only for the players, but also for you


    View of Das:
    Note that RPing the NPCs is very important. Frankly I, and many other mods apparently, like to put... colourful personages in charge of NPC nations. Determine (for major and medium NPCs at least if you have lots of those) the personality of those in charge and plan for them accordingly, and then reply to diplo and operate them accordingly. Interesting NPCs are one of the keys to successful NESing. Problem is that you could possibly become too attached to a NPC, leading to something of a bias. Try to suppress it.

    Important thing is to encourage players to ask questions - about their nations current state, their history, etc, etc. Making up things as you go is not really bad, as long as its not in conflict with the information you already gave out.

    As for the deadline, its best not to move it in the last moment, especially as many people like to post stories revealing their secret plans just as the deadline passes. Naturally, that can screw up lots of plans needlessly.



    Once you have orders you can start on your first update. The method I use might be a little time consuming, but it guarantees that you will not miss anything. You are free to simplify it however you feel is best.

    Firstly you get all your orders in one document. You could organize them in chronological order if you want. Browse the thread to get and store important stories and diplomacy. Read the orders to see what is going on with relation to what was posted in the thread.

    Read everything again, get the feeling of what is going on in the world, what will happen. Make a special doc file for &#8220;disposable orders&#8221; which will act as a &#8220;plan&#8221; for the update. Then follow this plan:
    1. Do the orders that involve routine increasing of stats (raising armies, grow economy, wonders countdown etc). These involve automatic increase of stats.
    2. Do other stats increase, but this time those which are caused by orders of players.
    Now you are ready for the update itself.
    3. Implement players orders &#8211; write stories for that and update the stats for that. In case of a disagreement on orders follow your hearts judgment or make the guy who set orders &#8220;before&#8221; the other one win the dispute. Delete stuff from the &#8220;disposableorders.doc&#8221; as I go along implementing them. Make notes on unrealistic stuff you want to walk to players about, diplomacy that comes up form the stories&#8230;.. this is the main part of the update so take your time with it.
    4. Finish polishing the stats, writing updates for small stuff on the first page (weapons descriptions, &#8220;best nations&#8221; or whatever you have there), spelling checks etc. Update a map and host it on your forum or somewhere else. Find pics (and host them) if you want to use them in the update.
    5. Post everything on the forum. First reserve enough space (normally two posts are enough), then the update, then update the first page.

    View of Das:
    &#8220;That's one way, but for instance one could do like I do and divide the update into domestic and military part. You could in the domestic part go order-by-order, edit the stats as you go and write something about them in the domestic part. Also, its useful to edit the map as you go - i.e. after writing about the breakthrough on the Liberian front you could then on the map modify the frontlines there and then also modify the stats to represent casualties.&#8221;

    After which you can sit and relax, enjoying the comments. Oh on a final note this is how an update &#8220;that people see&#8220; is structured: &#8220;update itself (i.e. stories), maybe with a spotlight, diplomacy messages, notes from the mod (OOC stuff) and then the map.

    Technically its up to you, though.

    Oh, also, you can always add some random events to make things more interesting. Not only those I put in my random events, i.e. stat changing ones, but less random things like public movements, succession crisises, NPC diplomatic initiatives... It always spices things up.

    On order requirements - IMHO these should be standardized or something. IMHO its important that people always point out where which of their troops are. Especially the troop numbers should be, if not pointed out every time you split up forces, then at least they should be possible to figure out. YES, that was was the biggest problem I faced thus far with player orders.


    &#8220;Or after writing an update that involves lots of bad things happening to PCs you could disconnect and flee for your underground bunker with lots of bodyguards, and only emerge in the morning to see the comments that most probably don't involve any death threats. But to be on the safe side...:p (And yes, I was quite compelled doing that occasionally in "climax updates"). &#8221;
     
  3. Gelion

    Gelion Captain

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    “Order requirements” – some mods have them. I prefer not set any requirements for orders, but it is good when orders are organized and well written. I always comment on the orders I like to encourage them to continue writing good orders. The more time players spend writing good orders the less time mods spend figuring them out. This sentence should be engraved in every NESers mind.

    Das:
    IMHO you should give a better definition of this. Player vs. player conflicts being the conflicts between PC nations, or - as one could assume from the description of the player vs. mod conflicts - flame wars based on grudges or somesuch? I assume its the former. In that case it should indeed be determined as you see fit - in conventional combat, for instance, taking into mind numbers, training, terrain and tactics. Its best to assume that both armies execute their orders at approximately the same time; also, btw, one should remember that army commanders can override their orders in a radically-changed situation; whether they remain motionless in the absence of replacement orders or act according to their sense of the situation is up to you; I preffer to solve it with the Army Leadership stat and with those genius commanders I occasionally drop by to the various armies randomly.

    As for the public discussions, as long as they aren't offensive they are only reasonable. Frankly I think that the authority of the moderator should be upheld... but the moderator, on the other hand, better have a reasonable explanation for all that happened in the update!


    “Mod = God, but don’t play God”. If you act like a God i.e. favoring some nations over the others, introducing a lot of random events etc people will just quit your NES. Random events (and NPC actions) aren't really bad as long as they don't become more important then PC actions.


    Balance between realism and what players want in their orders. Do not favor players so that they are happy if realism suffers greatly – this will ruin the NES. Once you accept one “allowance” players will ask for more to the point where it destroys the game. For once we had Fusion power inn 1970’s when computers were not even there. The mod had to fix that and put constraints on “what is meant by Fusion power”.

    When it comes to technologic development its best to leave it to the moderator, IMHO. As for development caused by the players, they could develop what they want as long as they could make a good case for it. If they want 70s fusion... sure thing, if they could really explain how do they expect to get it. Same, btw, with other unconventional actions like some of the espionage antics of some people I could mention. If the mod thinks them unlikely, he should make the one who came up with them explain himself.

    As for maps, the most important part is that they, indeed, are a correct graphic representation that isn't excessively confusing. Its hard for a player to come up with plans when he doesn't understand what is where exactly.

    Its best not to change the rules at all during a NES. There are exceptions, for instance in BTs in ITNES (and similar happenings in, for example, GoobNES) when a whole new situation is created, thus allowing the players to create new plans based on it; in that case, rule changes, as long as they are agreed on with the players, are unlikely to be detrimental.

    Note on Maps: Maps are generally the only graphical representation of your NES . Generally a map is a must for a NES so think of ways to attach it to your forum.
    Nicely designed maps attract some players (me for example), so do spend some time working on your maps. It is generally good to get a blank world map (from CFC) for example and use that. Photoshop is not that difficult. However it is wise to add only those things that are important from gameplay such as roads or cities. Some maps only have borders on them and nations colored differently – it is a minimum. Different NESes require different level of details on a map and different maps. Maps could be uploaded to a host site or the forum itself.

    Good hosting sites are: www.photobucket.com


    5.0 CFC NESing

    In this section we will share our experiences of NESing and give some tips. In short – the most important part of the guide :p.

    5.1 History of NESing

    Origins of NESing….

    "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
    - A Chinese proverb (pre-NES, status: unknown, presumably dead).

    It is hard to imagine that now, but once, there was no Never Ending Stories forum. In those times, uknemesis wrote Tom Clancy-style Civ3-THEMED (but not based on any actual games as he was rather disillusioned with it as a game at the moment) stories. Eventually, for some reason, he decided to start a multi-author story, about a Zulu superweapon or somesuch. He called it a "Never-ending Story", hoping that it will never end. Naturally, it did, but that's another story (sorry about the pun).

    It was then that the first NES map was drawn, and the first semblance of stats (mostly nation name, government type and ruler name, I seem to remember) was written. First "diplo" (in the modern sense of the word with something quite similar to the modern diplo format) appeared near the end of it. Back then, though, it was all about writing stories.

    Next came "Never Ending Story (NES)", my first NES. In a way, of course, it could be called the first real NES as it was then that the stats begun to play a more important role. Still, the moderator only had to moderate the stats, rule out all things unrealistic and maybe write down a timeline - essentially a summary of the things that thus far happened. Also, moderators often played a nation of their own - in the era of Early Board NESes, that proved to be quite a problem.

    Either way, as time went by, dice systems of various complexity became more popular in solving of battle outcomes. Some also used RTS computer games to get battle results. Both systems often incited scandals as well - the defeated players often claimed that the moderator faked the results.

    From the Story NESes and Dice NESes we got to the Early Board NESes. That was a Board NES renaissance. Board NESes bore striking resemblance to the game Diplomacy - with provinces, linear combat and so forth. Now, these too eventually begun declining. Somewhere in Late First-Early Second Generation, the first Fresh Start NESes appeared, where people got to create their nations from the scratch, often on a real world map though there were some random map Fresh Start NESes during the Second Generation.

    It was out of the ashes of the Early Board NESes that the "Standard" or "Moderator" NESes appeared; these evolved greatly in the Third Generation, and still are (in fact, das and NK are the only two people with some measure of knowledge of a comparatively new Standard NES type currently being thought out by the former, and I am sure/know that there are others under work right now). The Moderator NESes were mostly either Fresh Start, either Near Future, either Historic, either Alt-historic; after das' second return to NESing, Alt-historic NESes had something of an uplift (not only the NES2 series, but also, for example, American Empire). A separate type of a Moderator NES is a "RTOR" (Return To Our Roots) NES; it is still a moderator NES, but very simplified, which allowed these to often survive much longer then ordinary Moderator NESes do.

    Today, Moderator NESes are the most widespread; there are also some Board NESes and mixed NESes.
    (by das)


    6.1 NESing Dictionary (Glossary)
    NESers use their own vocabulary. You are of course free to make your own, but this list will help you understand the many examples and terms of CFC NESes.

    OOC – Out Of Character. Used by mods or player to say something that is not an “official” statement.
    IC – In Character. You use “IC” to say something that is meant to be “official”. IC is normally used in contrast with OOC when both appear in the same post. If “OOC” “tag” is not there there’s normally need to post “IC” as all messages are treated to be “IC” “by default”. Sometimes “IN” is used instead of “IC”.
    Update, Orders and Mod – are self explanatory really :)
    PC – “Player Characters” – players or Player Countries
    NPC – Non Player Countries/ Characters
    MPP – Mutual Protection Pact
    NAP - Non-Aggression Pact
     
  4. Gelion

    Gelion Captain

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    Reserved #1
     
  5. Gelion

    Gelion Captain

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    Reserved #2
     
  6. Gelion

    Gelion Captain

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    Reserved #3
     
  7. Gelion

    Gelion Captain

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    Reserved #4

    You may now post if you wish.
     
  8. jalapeno_dude

    jalapeno_dude AKA Panda Judo Eel

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    The link for NES2 I is http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=87575
     
  9. tossi

    tossi Der kleine Prinz

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  10. Reno

    Reno The Studio Ghibli Fanatic

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    Finally, the upcoming NES Guide. Moderators notified about stickying and also, a slight modification to the Notice Board. :)
     
  11. Kal'thzar

    Kal'thzar Chieftain

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    should we do general tactics (so mods don't cry when they see, go there attack :p)? Or the Difference in play between Rebellions etc?

    I know Silver did a good Genocide article.
     
  12. Reno

    Reno The Studio Ghibli Fanatic

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  13. Swiss Bezerker

    Swiss Bezerker Chieftain

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    add IT/BT to the list of terms.
     
  14. Thlayli

    Thlayli Le Pétit Prince

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    I would personally suggest an overhaul of the NES types, I think that most "standard" NESes nowadays are a variant of Story NESes. Though "Traditional" Old-school revival NESes can pop up every now and then.

    Althistory is now an accepted type of NES, as is Science Fiction/Fantasy. There's also the Fog of War type that Iggy and MjM have used, (definitely a "concept") and the Cold War/Modern NES style deserves a category of it's own, I think. And I'm not sure if "Traditional" merits a category.

    I just think that the types should be more suited to the style, rather than general like Story. Because a "Story" NES could be in the Industrial Revolution or in the Ancient Ages, which are totally different categories in their own right.
     
  15. Kentharu

    Kentharu Zebra Commander

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    oh man Gelion thanks so much :D i really needed that "wanting to be a mod" part but then again thanks to das i guess.... who had quotes in there *bows and grovels*
     
  16. Lord_Iggy

    Lord_Iggy Tsesk'ihe

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    NK too.

    And I still believe that it was my idea. Unless someone decides to post something disproving that.

    BTW, I think Fog of War NESes are just a type of Fresh Start. A subcategory perhaps.
     
  17. Thlayli

    Thlayli Le Pétit Prince

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    Yes, you were the first person in my knowledge to propose it, in LINESI I remember, and before MjM or NK did theirs.

    Unless something was done before our time.
     
  18. Lord_Iggy

    Lord_Iggy Tsesk'ihe

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    Yeah, thats what NK hinted.

    But as I said earlier, unless it can be proven that something happened earlier, I'll consider myself the original cradle/fog of war (whatever you want to call it) NESer.
     
  19. andis-1

    andis-1 The Hedgehog

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    Stalin006 was actually first to use this "fog of war". Although he got bored of it after the first turn, he still used it first.
     
  20. Lord_Iggy

    Lord_Iggy Tsesk'ihe

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    Okay, well then at least I made the system work.
     

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