Cyber Nations

[19 September 2007]

By Patrick Schabe

Everybody wants to rule the world, and what better place to start than as the ruler of your own nation?  Cyber Nations—an online nation simulation game that boasts a world with some 35,000-odd user-ruled nations—offers you the chance to do just that.  Featuring an array of building-block economic, social, and military options, the game offers you the chance to craft a budding super-power or play as a rogue militaristic state.  Form trade agreements with other players, build civic features, join alliances, or fight in wars, do anything you can to continually improve your piece of the pie.

Eurasia as ruled by Cyber Nations

Eurasia as ruled by Cyber Nations

The game also continues “off-site” in both official game and user forums, fleshing out the game options with some real-world politics.  At its most involved—within the machinations of the larger in-game alliances—the game becomes as involved as a multiplayer RPG campaign, complete with war councils and elections.  If you do register a new nation and join the games, take some time to read through the game forums as well, as detailed information and ideas for maximizing your country’s success can be found there. 

Similar in nature to the more limited NationStates, but boasting more interactive features and group play in a manner analogous to the cheeky fantasy game Kingdom of Loathing, at first blush Cyber Nations seems unlikely to hold interest.  You can collect taxes for money only once per day, making the strategy as much about judiciously allocating your resources as it is about action, and navigating global politics and striking bargains are as much parts of the game play as fighting battles.  It’s also worth mentioning that playing alone is a bit less fun—and less advantageous—than getting some friends together to play as a group. However, despite its deceptive simplicity, the limited amount of single-round play is oddly addictive, and given that it’s a free online game, you definitely get more than your money’s worth.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/cyber-nations/