Month: September 2017

NationStates

I can’t believe this game has been around for a decade or more and I’m only just discovering it! NationStates is a browser game that gives players the task of managing their own nation, complete with political and legislative challenges. Every day you’ll be given Issues to decide upon, and the nation’s laws change according to how you deal with them. For example, you may be asked about gun laws following a tragedy in your nation. Your options may be to ban guns entirely, enforce stronger licence constraints or simply ignore the issue and hope it goes away. Depending on what you decide to do, your nation’s laws will change and it will affect the everyday running of the country. It’s a bad example, but you’re better off just playing and seeing what it’s all about for yourself! Go to nationstates.net and play for free now!

My nation – Bundyland – looks like this:

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The People’s Republic of Bundyland is a tiny, genial nation, notable for its daily referendums, punitive income tax rates, and devotion to social welfare. The compassionate population of 9 million Bundians enjoy extensive civil rights and enjoy a level of social equality free from the usual accompanying government corruption.

The enormous, socially-minded government juggles the competing demands of Education, Welfare, and Law & Order. The average income tax rate is 61.6%, and even higher for the wealthy.

The basket case Bundylandian economy, worth 74.2 billion Keirs a year, is driven entirely by a combination of government and state-owned industry, with private enterprise illegal. The industrial sector, which is quite specialized, is led by the Beef-Based Agriculture industry, with major contributions from Basket Weaving, Door-to-door Insurance Sales, and Book Publishing. Average income is 8,244 Keirs, and distributed extremely evenly, with practically no difference between the richest and poorest citizens.

Science centres and state of the art laboratories are ubiquitous, young children are learning advanced physics to scientifically disprove the existence of Santa Claus, the government officially wants you to slow down and speak more clearly, and the army lures cannon fodder with promises of a college education. Crime is totally unknown, thanks to a very well-funded police force and progressive social policies in education and welfare. Bundyland’s national animal is the Elephant, which frolics freely in the nation’s many lush forests.

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Going Analogue For October

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What if, for one month, I just didn’t log into either Facebook or Twitter? What if, for a while month, I didn’t Tweet about my day, didn’t post photos on Facebook? What if, throughout October, the only “social media” I used was this blog? I wonder what that would do to my mind, to my body even! Would I go mad? Would I suddenly find myself sane? What kind of changes would I notice in my moods? What kind of changes would I notice in my social life? Wouldn’t it be interesting to see if I could do it, let alone whether it would have an impact? I thought so.

So, today I came up with a really stupid idea: I’ll just not use any form of social media for a whole month. I won’t Tweet or visit my Facebook. I won’t share interesting links or retweet stuff I agree with or disagree with. For a whole month, I’ll live my life as though I don’t have a Twitter account or a Facebook page. I’ll forego the temptation to let everyone know what I’m doing and concentrate instead on just doing it. I’ll have four weeks off.

I’ll keep track of my progress by writing about it here, on this blog. I might post links to the blogs I write on my Twitter and Facebook pages, but I’ll do so by sharing directly from WordPress. I won’t log in on any of my social media apps. I think it’ll be difficult, but I think it’ll be fun! I have a feeling it might put some things into perspective for me, following a bout of illness that has pretty much left me under self-imposed house arrest.

I hope I can stick to it. I urge you all to make me. If you see me online, tell me to disappear. Don’t let me sneak my way back in. Or how about this? Why not give it a go with me? Why not try to take a break from your own online life? The great thing about the internet is that the life you lead there will still be there when you come back – if you come back. It’s an experiment. And I’m determined to do my best with it. It may not mean anything, but it’ll be interesting nonetheless.

So, October 1st until October 31st: No Twitter, No Facebook. Let’s have a go.

Detectives For A Day

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Today some friends and I took part in a live-action mystery game called “Cardiff Casebook: The Mystery Of The Star Eaters”. We took the role of consulting detectives tasked with discovering the whereabouts of a university professor whose obsession with an ancient local legend had apparently led to him vanishing without a trace.

We walked all over the city, interviewing witnesses and collecting evidence, putting the pieces together one by one. It took us three and a half hours, but we cracked the case and even earned membership of an ancient organisation with an unbelievable secret!

We all had an amazing time. It was immersive, challenging and great exercise. We had a taste of what it would be like to be Sherlock Holmes (or, more fittingly, Dirk Gently). While some of the clues were fairly easy to follow, a couple of others were frustratingly difficult. The storyline was far-fetched but incredibly interesting, incorporating ancient cults, buried treasure, crooked conspiracy theorists and greed, greed, greed.

Next year the company plans to stage another, new case and I am pleased to say we’ll be among the first to sign up to take part. I wonder what they’ll have for us next time?! These Casefile games happen all over the country, so if you notice one happing where you live then please take the plunge and go along.

It isn’t cheap. Participation is set at £7.00 per person though, while all six of us paid this time, next time we’d be more tempted to get just one ticket, as each team only got one set of evidence, regardless of how many of them had paid to play. We know this for next time. And there will be a next time. We can’t wait to play again!