Coded blue.

Saturday 17 January 2004

Sim country map

Pic of the day: Map of Sad Desert, now with blossoming towns and roads and railways.

Sad Desert

I cannot remember the name this sim country had when I took it over. I gave it a more descriptive name: Sad Desert. The place was sparsely populated, there were barely any roads or railways, the finances were deep in the red, and there were only a few factories, privately held and struggling with an uneducated populace. I have no idea what had happened to bring the country into such a state. Perhaps a war, or perhaps just bad government.

Today it is number 190 (among a few thousand) and rising fast. The economy is running a safe surplus and there is plenty of cash. The other countries in the same league are usually militaristic countries with colonies, but Sad Desert is a peaceful country. It has risen from poverty (in fact, I looked for the most pathetic country I could find) to affluence though my gentle and wise leadership, experience and dumb luck.


Make no sudden movements: I have spent a few minutes almost every day for months, usually late in the evening. Approximately three game months pass during one of our days, so that is just fine. Each time I order 50 miles of roads and 25 miles of railroad tracks. And each time I slash the wages of government employees with 2%. OK, that requires an explanation. For some obscure reason when I took over, the salaries for government employees were sky high, while other workers were dirt poor. Probably it had once been a high cost, high earning country, before whatever disaster befell it. So I have gradually narrowed the gap. I have also each day / 3 months ordered five new high schools, and a new university whenever I had enough professors. This is a self fueling process, since more universities educate more teachers.

In Game of the Worlds, you cannot count on small entrepreneurs to employ your people. All people are employed either by the government, state owned big companies, or big companies held by multinational corporations. You may make your country attractive to investment by keeping corporate taxes low; this will fix the problem of unemployment (if you have enough workers with the necessary education). But if you have the time to manage the economy, you can do better by building state owned corporations. (The game is Dutch; I cannot imagine an American game being so blatantly social democratic.) Of course, you can also go horribly wrong. There needs to be a market for the products you make. Preferably they should be in high demand most of the time. It takes a bit of experience to find out which products have the necessary price stability.

In my case, I based the country's future wealth on services. Almost every other business needs services, so it is easy to underestimate the need for them. Lots of players evidently do, because they are in high demand most of the time. When they are not, I stock up on cheap services in my other businesses as well as the state. So far the demand has bounced back every time. The other state companies deliver products for the service industry, mostly products that are sometimes hard to get and may stop my service industry from delivering: Electricity and high tech services have turned out to be the ones missing most often in this game world, so I have a couple of each. Then I build factories that deliver products for these again, once again only when there are recurring shortages: Software and computers for the high tech industry, oil refineries for the electricity. When services are in a slump, I can sell to these subcontractors. The profit is less, but better than a loss. I also don't sell out everything during a glut, but keep some stock for when demand picks up.

That's what there is to it, really. Oh, and I always ask for more than market price. If something is in demand, people should be willing to pay accordingly. Of course, if everyone did as I do, it wouldn't work. Then again, if everyone did as I did, I would do something else. That's how market economy works. Some people do one thing, others do something else. And some do better than others, usually those who try to meet others' needs, and have patience even when things go up and down.

I guess with such resounding success, I should consider going into politics in real life.
Provided, of course, it doesn't take more than 10-15 minutes a day.

Meanwhile, Game of the Worlds can be found at

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Five years ago: Perseverance vs synchronicity

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