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Who is the governor?
The concept behind the term puppet is derived from the pejorative notion of the real life puppet government or puppet régime, whereby a state or government is virtually controlled by a more powerful (and sometimes hidden) political body.

Accordingly, players who control more than one nation commonly consider one to be primary, and the remaining to be puppets. Said puppets can be used for gameplay and roleplay purposes; or simply to test the effects of choices for issues, which would not necessarily be realised with one's principal nation state. UN puppets can aid in several aspects of gameplay, both in the invasion game and in protecting a primary nation from deleterious UN effects.

It may be noted that the application of puppets to the gameplay, as well as the roleplay theatre, has certain limitations. For gameplay purposes, it is possible to exercise the use of puppets by quite simply maintaining watch over alien regions, for instance as embassies or spies. However, ownership of multiple UN nations (For in- depth gameplay) is illegal, and ground for ejection from the UN or even deletion. Furthermore, using puppet states in order to augment one's overall military capacities is frowned upon. This is known as puppet wanking.

Puppets are also used in the forums to present a different viewpoint than one might present with a primary nation. Unknown puppets can be used to inflame or calm a situation, and conversations between hidden puppets and the primary nation can allow a topic to be pointed in a certain direction. Having one's puppet's 'outed' in such a situation has a tendency to make this tactic backfire.

The most famous incident involving puppets in sports roleplaying involved Spaam and his puppet East Spaam and has been immortalised as Spaamgate. The two teams were drawn together in the same World Cup 9 qualification group; East Spaam topped the group while Spaam finished one place outside the qualifying spots, despite Spaam holding the higher ranking. East Spaam withdrew, which normally would have allowed Spaam to take their place in the World Cup itself; however this was frowned upon, and it was decided to punish Spaam by allocating the free space to the fourth-placed team in qualifying.

Those possessing known puppets are occasionally referred to as puppetmasters.