First off, shout outs to my homie fiercesob for naming me Player of the Day the other day.
Now. I was driving along with a mate and we struck the subject of online games. He asked me if I played any. I replied that I did; Cyber Nations. Having never heard of it, I endeavored to explain the basic mechanics of play. And at first, I almost couldn't.
"Well," I started, unsure of what to say next, "it's a political simulator. You get a nation and you run it."
"Like running your own country?" my bemused cohort enquired.
"Yeah. You have to manage your economy and trade with other nations."
"Oh. How do you play?
"Its all browser-based."
"Are there any pictures?" he said, sounding rather startled.
"Well, it's text-based mostly. Number crunching, and such."
He was taken aback. "No pictures? Then how does it work? What happens, etc. etc."
After a lengthy explanation of merely the front-end of the game itself, the discussion inevitably turned toward to the community aspect of the game; the alliance structure and how play is generated by users. Let me tell you, it was desperately difficult to describe to him and we ran out of road before I could even start to explain the relationship between the OWF and gameplay worked. The closest analog to explaining the alliance structure was to compare them to nation-states; each with their own goals, culture, identity etc. He took each alliance as homogenous. But the political systems that belie them can vary wildly - the goals of micro-alliances differ to that of the sanctioned alliances, as well as certain alliances such as GRE that focus on Economics and tend to shy away from diplomacy; there exists ideologically driven alliances (CPCN, FCC etc.) or even neutrals (TDO, GPA.) What seems almost common-sensical to us, the seasoned CN player, seems almost bizzare and foreign to an outsider. At the end of it all, exasperated and at a loss for words, I simply suggested that he should try it out if he wanted to make certain of what CN was all about. It's how I did it!