By Fuentana, Poet Laureate of Haiku
There’s always something new out of NationStates. Last year I was able to experience lots of new things. From the victory of the Crabs of the Apocalypse to learning how to put on festivals to running VC Disco raves, I saw ways to bring freshness to this once cutting edge game. When I stopped lurking in the fall of 2019, I knew that I would be hooked—not because of how flashy NationStates is but because it requires that its players be creative. As members of the NationStates community look forward to a new calendar year, I offer some musings, suggestions, and occasionally random thoughts on how to make NationStates fresh this year.
Some of the best moments I’ve had in this game are off-site on Discord servers and regional forums. In regions like ours, we are lucky to have a band of committed and remarkably creative players, and to count many similarly creative regions and players as friends. I’ll never forget what a hit it was to hear Rabbitz put on a cello concerto on Discord—it was sublime, transcendent, and remarkable. I also remember fondly many of the vocal performances, especially the times Erinor would sing.
But there are also remarkably mundane moments. Though we haven’t published a Haiku Review in a few months, I want all those RMB Haiku writers to know that I love and appreciate your poetry. Especially stellar is Willow Gate. It’s refreshing to be in contact with creative minds on a daily basis. This makes NationStates less a simulator and more a community.
Speaking of community, I continue to appreciate how NationStates has been and continues to be an incubator of communities. As many TWPers know, some of our players have been here since near the beginning. Besides witnessing (or being party to) some serious politicking, these players come back because they’re thoughtful people who feed other thoughtful people. Where would we be without Bhang Bhang Duc’s snark and his solar observations? What about Dilber’s humor, which has stretched the form of Haiku to its limit—and has in fact transcended that form altogether?
It’s a treat to see and be around thoughtful folks. In The West, we’re committed to building thoughtfulness, and I hope that every player finds a way to participate in this. Lean into our Today In The West program for public service announcements, elaborate prank opportunities, and invitations to cultivate mind, heart, and even soul.
Finally, some encouragement: the thing you’re thoughtful about—that’s something that can enrich our community. You might be a sports person, a culinary aficionado, a creative DJ. Share those interests and talents!
Crabs, Shawarma, and Cheese
What can be more thoughtful than crabs, given that everything keeps evolving unto crab? This is a great example of creativity and thoughtfulness, and I feel really lucky that two years ago I was invited to be part of the crab invasion. Last year, it was amazing to unleash radiation upon all of NationStates in the name of the Crabs of the Apocalypse. P.S., want to re-live that victory? Here’s a video!
With a new year, it may be good time to ponder and imagine what crazy thing will be part of our creativity, thoughtfulness, or even our madness. It might be shawarma, it might be potatoes, it might be cheese. It will probably involve teasing Zoran. New players: find something tastefully bizarre and memorable, and it might unfold into a great community-building tool or motif to bring something fresh and new. Visit The Pacific and hug someone, or get stocked in Karma. Join curling in the Sasquatch Republic. And shoutout to all of you great communities for being, well, great communities!
Speaking of crabs, we need thoughtful people to support the West Pacific Crab Sanctuary. Please consider this important Public Service Announcement.
Interesting Random Tidbits
I had plans for another piece, but I might as well throw it in here since it could spark some fresh ideas for musical curation and sharing for Karaoke Friday. I did some digging and discovered that in the era of RMB history, some of the following songs have never been posted:
Michael Jackson - Human Nature
NSYNC - Bye Bye Bye
Adele - Rolling in The Deep*
Luis Fonsi - Despacito*
*Someone referenced Adele, but because the entire song was not posted, I am not counting it. I posted Despacito in December in order to announce that no one has ever played it as part of my #RareMBop playlist.
Tidbits on songs or artists that have only been posted once:
The Doobie Brothers - Jesus is Just Alright (posted by Bhang Bhang Duc);
BBD is also the only person to post The Killers - Mr. Brightside. In fact he’s done it 3 times, and I’m ashamed I’ve never posted this excellent song;
Blink 182 has only been posted by Darkesia and by yours truly;
Only one nation has posted Carly Rae Jepsen - Call Me Maybe, and they CTE’d;
Folks, new things are on the horizon. We won’t know exactly what they’ll be, but if I could pitch a hint or two to spark something: take a virtual trip over to Brazil and see what might percolate. Or think about great songs and see if anyone has ever posted them. It may be time for a #UnplayedGreatestHits day. But mostly, get ready for a new delegate, new themes, and new good times.
Here’s to a new year on an old game! Hail Giovanniland!
Throughout the year of 2021, the West Pacific has sought to expand foreign relations beyond its traditional allies, a process that has seen treaties signed with various regions and organizations. The Memoranda of Understanding were signed with the United Regions Alliance regarding cultural and World Assembly affairs, and The Laika Accords with The Communist Bloc and The Leftist Assembly have opened a new relationship recently celebrated by the Harvest Festival in November. More recently, treaties were signed with The Sasquatch Republic (TSR) on October 24th and with Lone Wolves United (LWU) on November 11th, which are the topic of this article.
The flag of The Sasquatch Republic, designed by Bran Astor (Illahee).
Firstly, we will talk about the Cultural Agreement between The Sasquatch Republic and The West Pacific. TSR has deep ties with our region, because many prominent TWPers have also played an important role in its history. For example, its founder Illahee is known in the West as former Delegate and current RP Worldbuilder Bran Astor, while the current Delegate Chodean Kal is none other than Dalimbar. Other members of our community also hold significant roles in TSR's community, for example The Holy Principality of Saint Mark (Bukwas) and Nieubasria (Altai Almas), while Minister of World Assembly Affairs Teralyon is our ambassador to TSR.
The treaty itself was drafted by Dilber and Illahee, representing TWP and TSR respectively. It outlines several fields of cultural cooperation, for example study of each region's culture, history and events, colaboration between media and sport organizations, and communication of both regions' Regional Message Boards through embassies. Furthermore, it also encourages World Assembly cooperation in both the General Assembly and the Security Council. The treaty was completed and signed by the two parties on October 24th, although it was only publicly announced later.
In fact, the treaty has already proved the important cultural bond between the two regions, as seen by the 1st Interregional Curling Bonspiel hosted by TSR (December 10th-12th), in which TWP and other friendly regions such as Karma were invited. Blue Bubble, Fuentana, Giovanniland, Hertfordshire and Jammbo (H&J) and Zoran from TWP all participated, besides other TWPers that entered as TSR residents. All entrants were encouraged to share a unique team name, create a roster of 4 or 5 players, and drawing a team logo in order to add to the team's skill level and increase its chance of achieving better results.
After a five-match round robin, all TWP teams except Blue Bubble qualified for the knockout stage. At first sight it might seem that said stage wasn't good for TWPers; Fuentana, Giovanniland and H&J all lost during the round of 16 and Zoran during the quarterfinals. However, they were not eliminated from the competition: losing R16 teams went to the B event while winners stayed on the A event, and later, the losers of A and B in the QFs went to events D and C respectively.
Therefore, TWP teams continued to compete and achieved interesting results! Fuentana and Zoran won the third place matches of events C and D respectively, while H&J and Giovanniland won the final matches of their final events, namely B and C. The winner of Event A and overall champion was Altaysk Golf and Curling Club from Altai Almas. And of course, TWPers and other participants alike posted roleplay stories about their teams throughout the event, which can be seen in pages 42 and 43 of TSR's message board.
The flag of Lone Wolves United, designed by Fantoccini (Scardino).
Meanwhile, the other recent treaty is called Treaty of the Pirates' Den, and was negotiated with Lone Wolves United during October and early November. TWP and LWU have maintained a diplomatic relationship for a significant amount of time, with Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Varanius being the current ambassador. Furthermore, the militaries from each region have collaborated on many operations for several years, with the treaty serving as a way of increasing this relation.
The initial treaty draft was written by Khan of LWU A Bloodred Moon and some suggestions to the text were made by Giovanniland. Meanwhile, Fuentana later proposed to add a casual version, which is an unique TWP feature shared with other treaties such as the Laika Accords. As for the content itself, the first article solidifies diplomatic relations, the second one encourages cultural events and relationships, and the third and fourth ones strengthen the military cooperation between the two regions. Last but not least, the last clause deals with general provisions of the treaty.
After both versions of the treaty were written and agreed upon by all parties, a name was chosen for the treaty and it was announced publicly two days after. A Bloodred Moon is listed as the sole signatory from LWU; while Dilber, Fuentana, and Giovanniland officially represented TWP as Delegate and the two leaders of Foreign Affairs respectively. Members of the Hall of Nations were happy with the announcement, and our region hopes for the military, cultural and diplomatic relationships with LWU to continue for a long time.
All in all, those two treaties show long-standing relations developed with TSR and LWU, and it is our hope that they both grow into even closer relationships. That's all for this article, but stay tuned for more future articles about our interactions with other regions!
A Midwinter Shenanigans banner designed by Fujai.
Every December, the citizens of the West Pacific spread joy and cheer to each other by carrying out Midwinter Shenanigans. This year, joyous TWPers participated in such wonderful, celebratory events like the annual Secret Santa, Tree Decoration, a Reindeer Death Match, holiday music curation and more. Let us gather around the fireplace and look back on these events in this article! (Note: Card events like the Christmas Card Collection Contest are covered in a different article.)
Tree & Treble: Tree Decoration and Holiday Music
The celebration started on December 1st with sign-ups for Secret Santa opening. This was followed on the 4th with the first Tree Decoration decision—a nice Douglas Fir was to serve as this year's Christmas tree! A great deal of baubles, froebel stars, candy canes and snowflake ornaments were then hung up as decorations with the collective efforts of TWPers. After that, the West Pacific voted overwhelmingly to add lights in pleasing shades of purple and red, the regional colours. Finally, TWPers creatively opted (by a rather narrow margin) to honour this magnificent tree with another, smaller duplicate at the top!
TWPers also celebrated Christmas via a different sensory medium: hearing, by way of music! This year's Midwinter Shenanigans was notably the very first occasion on which residents' submissions were neatly indexed and sorted to create a 44-song playlist filled to the brim with wintery goodness and celebration. Timeless classics such as "Silent Night", "12 Days of Christmas", "Joy to the World" and "Jingle Bells" were obviously included, accompanied in the ranks by more contemporary but still wildly popular hits such as "Last Christmas", "All I Want For Christmas Is You" and "Do They Know It's Christmas". Many songs included in this playlist are universal in appeal—everyone can vibe, sing and dance to them—and perhaps that is the magic of Christmas-induced happiness at work.
Sweaters, Selflessness & Santa: Art Creations, Charity Fundraising, and Gift-Giving
Other events were also featured during Midwinter Shenanigans. Carrying on the fun in a more hilarious way, TWPers enthusiastically engaged their artistic minds to deliberately create ugly sweaters for Ugly Sweater Week, a rather unconventional but enjoyable exercise in creativity! Some residents created baffling designs while others submitted actually cozy, classic looks that would fit great in a store clothing rack! Delegate Dilber and Heir Apparent Giovanniland announced the Delegate and Heir awards, with the winners being Bhang Bhang Duc and Aluminum Oxynitride respectively. TWPers also heartwarmingly extended a helping hand to needy people across the world via donating to Médecins Sans Frontières as part of the 2021 NationStates Christmas Charity Fundraiser (NSCCF), which raised US$4,305 for a great cause. Some even participated on streams to help promote the charity fundraiser, for example Dilber and Varanius.
In other news, the region also had two events themed on Father Christmas himself. The first one was the 5th Annual Secret Santa, with sign-ups open from December 1st to 7th, and the period for delivering gifts taking place from December 25th to 31st. Residents and visitors alike joined this event, for a total of almost 30 participants, and the gifts were varied—flags, drawings, poems, songs, cards, and many more. The other one was an activity created by Fuentana to seek nominations for which TWP member should play Santa in 2021. Altino from Karma stated that they would make the perfect Santa Clauwlse, referencing owls, while Former Delegate Bran Astor nominated themselves as Branta Claus. Eventually, the Sasquatch Santa won the popular vote, with over two thirds of the region voting for Bran.
Antler to Antler: Reindeer Death Match
And finally, TWP residents also (disturbingly but) passionately watched this year's Reindeer Death Match! In a brutally entertaining fashion, Santa's beloved creatures were pit against each other as TWPers cheered on for their favourites, with some entirely ignoring the others in the process. Dancer, Prancer, Donner and Cupid were the first four to give up the ghost, being sacrificed for Hogswatch. In the 2nd round, Dasher and our lovable red-nosed Rudolph came up short, thus leaving Vixen to end vengeful 2020 champion Comet's road to the top in the 3rd round! In the championship match, Vixen continued its hot streak and vanquished reigning champion (and Comet's past rival) Blitzen to earn itself the crown! A really spectacular win from Vixen indeed—defeating the champions of the past two years and denying both a chance to fight each other for the throne are both tough feats.
All of us at the Western Post hope you had a very merry Christmas; we also thank all those who participated in any and all of the Midwinter Shenanigans. Stay tuned for many more regional events in the future, and look forward to another month of wintry fun in the celebratory cold when next December comes!
By Blue Bubble
I enjoy baking, when I have the energy and time to do so, and I enjoy making new things. I also like experiencing new things outside the little British town I call home. If you know me, you know I am someone who enjoys traveling, and my job (as tiring it is) also reflects that. If you know me, you also know that I also work hard and don’t really book time off for far away holidays. Nevertheless I have found a compromise. This being food. Now, I am not an expert in asian cooking, or just cooking in general. But I love to find new tastes and experiences, and I think I have somewhat stumbled across such once again in my nearest city.
I have been saying for a while “Oh I want to try Korean BBQ”. I turned 21 on the 21st December, and my best friend, who was home for the week, said “I want to take you out for dinner and that, my treat”. As she knows me well, she knows she has signed up for something new. In my defence, she seemed up for it at the time.
Pictured is the hot plate - I also have a picture of the meat and the grill, but as it's raw meat and octopus, some may not have enjoyed such a view. I can send it on Discord if requested, however.
Korean BBQ is where you have a grill in the center of your table, and you grill the meat you have chosen there and then. We chose a set of meat, and then also ordered octopus (at my request). We also ordered rice and Kimchi as two sides. The set of meat was a whole steak (which we cut into strips), Belly Pork strips, Chicken pieces in a red chilli paste marinade (Dak-Galbi), and beef pieces which were marinated with a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, ginger, scallions, sesame oil, garlic and pepper (Bulgogi). We were also given a green onion salad called pajeori and a plate of lettuce and cucumber and other vegetables to eat with the meat.
I loved it, I found it fun and although grilling octopus is weird to watch, it was my favourite dish. I can understand why some people would not be attracted to the idea of having to cook your own food, but it helped keep things casual and gave my best friend and I a longer time to have a catch up. She did not enjoy it as much, and was thinking of trying something else like a Korean hot pot or Bibimbap if we go again. This was mainly as she felt like the experience did not live up to her expectation, which is fair enough. I strongly suggest trying it if you want to try something which is a little more casual and fun as an activity and as a meal. I am quite desperate to go back, so I might drag my 'Sapphic Golden Retriever' to give it a go too.
On 11 December Elegarth joined Punk Reloaded (#65), TAO the Watcher (#167), Westwind (#168), Darkesia (#279), Minineenee (#348), Halo (#364), Dalimbar (#372) & Eli (#373) among the ranks of West Pacificans to be honoured by the World Assembly Security Council for their righteousness or devious villainy, receiving a Commendation authored by our Heir Apparent Giovanniland alongside Aluminum Oxynitride (ALON). That Elegarth was deserving of this Commendation was widely accepted by the international community, with over 88% of the votes cast being in favour, with every feeder region voting in favour.
Elegarth’s contributions to The West Pacific are celebrated throughout the resolution, with particular highlights being his role in defeating DEN’s coup after DEN had been handed the delegate nation by rogue delegate United russoasia. Elegarth’s exemplary service as Delegate between November 2015 and September 2016 is recognised, with treaties with Equilism & Europeia being ratified during his reign, both of which stand to this day. Elegarth is also responsible for the time honoured tradition that is Punday Monday, an event that has been practised every week for the past 6 years; the current all time winner is coincidentally the co-author of the resolution.
Drafting for Elegarth’s commendation began on August 27th 2021, and initially based on the regional commendation which was spearheaded by ALON during their term as Speaker of the Hall of Nations. Drafting continued for just over 2 months, with significant contributions by Retz, Waterfall State (Dimitri) from The Pacific, with the resolution being posted on the forums on November 2nd. The draft was relatively uncontroversial, there were only 31 posts before the proposal was submitted, with the vast majority focussing on the quality of the nominee and proposal. Substantive suggestions were made by Emodea, Thousand Branches, Guess and Check & Bhang Bhang Duc, resulting in one redraft by Giovanniland, a relatively low number for a Commendation proposal, which is indicative of the quality of the initial draft as prepared by Giovanniland, ALON, Dimitri & Retz.
The Western Post was able to obtain exclusive comments from Dilber, Giovanniland & Elegarth. Dilber remarked: “I'm extremely happy to see Commend Elegarth pass. He's been of massive importance to the region both as a member and as an ally. It was well deserved and probably should have been done sooner.” Meanwhile, Elegarth had the following to comment: "I'm deeply honored and simultaneously ashamed: I appreciate the appreciation but I also feel my deeds and accomplishment are the work of many people, not entirely mine," which is important for all commended and condemned people to recognize as well.
Finally, the author Giovanniland emphasized the contribution between two communities in this project, stating that: “In my opinion, drafting and passing this proposal was a very interesting experience! Even though it certainly isn't my first authored resolution, this was the first one with a more collaborative effort, as opposed to previous ones where it was a mostly solo work. Dilber initially suggested the idea, and then I decided to plan it together with the NPO due to Ele's contributions to both regions. Even when leading the project as the main author, it was nice to have feedback from many people, including Retz, Waterfall State, and of course the co-author Aluminum Oxynitride.”
Anyways, that's all for this article, although our region continues to have future plans in the Security Council. Therefore, stay tuned about more articles about commendations and/or condemnations in future editions of the Western Post! Furthermore, if any resident is interested in taking part in World Assembly drafting, be sure to join the Minister of Word Assembly Recruitment today.
Thanks for reading! Tell us about your favorite part on our RMB!
The Western Post Staff - Delegate-in-Editor-in-Chief: Dilber Editors: Fuentana, Fujai, Giovanniland - Staff: Aluminum Oxynitride, Blue Bubble, Bran Astor, Fhaengshia, Gryphonian Alliance, Podium, Santos-Dominius, Teralyon, United Adaikes, Zoran, and YOU
All your chocolate belongs to Darkesia
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