A good yarn, that leads straight to some meaty policy schemes:
This is how I spent many wasted years, and I still like the concept. I was really into the shapes of certain cities, particularly island and archipelago cities like Montréal, Hamburg, Stockholm, Venice, and also the concept of the city-state; the idea of middleman minorities, subethnic populations, biohistory; fragmented political systems and proportional representation; and the broad idea of institutional excavation/ruin-in-a-nation — how did the dominant forms of family life emerge in a particular society, or of public institutions?
So I’d make maps with keys, departments, provincial boundaries, maps of resources and clusters of industries and election results.
This happened in dialogue with early, primitive iterations of games like SimCity and Civilization, and I’d sketch out my ideal form of a simulation game — I fantasized about massively multiplayer games that would mimic The World ca. 1955: individuals would act as firms or as political entrepreneurs or as leaders, and, if you were in the Politburo, there might be murder involved. The idea was that you could generate millions of crude counterfactuals.