Take two princes within the same kingdom. Both have about a dozen subjects, with total holdings of perhaps fifteen hundred acres. If you were told that one of them would one day be a King of his own kingdom, and the other would never get close to it.... how could you tell which was which?
Is there a difference? After all, the requirements for a kingdom are the same for both, and they're both in the same position now. A kingdom is just what happens when they get the right amount of land and gold. Right?
While that may be true for some, it is my belief that it is not true for all- or even most- kingdoms. The one thing that every kingdom I've known well has had is an identity. By this, I mean more than just a name- I mean it's a group of people, working together for something that has a name, but that is more than a name-- that means something to them and why they play.
The old saying has it that "birds of a feather flock together". If you're one of those princes and you decide to assemble the flock, the first question you have to ask yourself is what color your feathers are.
If you're like me, you love watching the announcements come up that give titles in the various kingdoms. Sometimes, it's obvious that the title and the kingdom go well together- that the people in it are part of that particular cultural theme or idea. If you don't know what I mean, watch the announcements for yourself. Soon enough, you'll see some which go so well as a single full title that you begin to wonder if the title was made for the kingdom... or the kingdom for the title.
In a sense, perhaps the kingdom was made for the title. It may have come first, but that person was likely part of it before it became its own kingdom. The kingdom name and independence was just a recognition of the camaraderie and ideals that already existed.
That said, one way to find a potential kingdom is if a group has been formed for it. We created the group for the Tiny Empires kingdom of Caledon long before the kingdom existed- back when we were a dozen or so Caledonians just getting started. It was (and still is) actually open to any Caledonian who plays Tiny Empires, formal Kingdom membership not required. But the question that had to be answered for us was the same as I posed above. What defines the Kingdom of Caledon? What particular theme, method of operation, and ideals determine it? Fortunately, since Caledon itself already existed, it was relatively easy to point out how the Caledonian culture combined with the Tiny Empires culture, and thus our group description was created as follows:
Caledon- a land of Ladies and Gentlemen, where consideration and manners accentuate an appreciation for the finer things in life.
Tiny Empires- a game of feudal proportions, where one can be a Lady or a Gentleman, and enjoy advancement and prestige by being with your friends
This group is for anyone who likes that combination! Come, citizens of Caledon, to a land where anyone with diligence is but a breath away from nobility... and where your "liege lord" is also your best friend!
So if I were to pull out the kingdom idea themes from there, we have:
1. A common medieval/vintage theme
2. Consideration, manners, culture
Although large parts of the Tiny Empires Caledon has gone beyond its formal borders, I like to think that much of the core concept described above runs throughout the entire kingdom.
As to how that theory works out in practice, those details are for another day and another post...