Gameboard of the Gods takes place a hundred years in the future. Around our current day, religious extremists unleashed a virus called Mephistopheles (they saw it as a demon punishing the world) that took out half the world's population. Countries and infrastructure crumbled as a result, causing many places to descend into chaos and even regress. Different regions coped in different ways. Some weren't very effective at all and went totally Mad Max. This part of history is referred to as the Decline.
The majority of the former US and Canada banded together to create a new country called the Republic of North America. It's usually referred to as the RUNA in the book, pronounced roo-na. Its capital is Vancouver (shout-out to British Columbia!). Noticing that those of mixed genetic backgrounds had greater resistance to the virus, the RUNA instituted a harsh policy where large parts of its population were forcibly swapped with those of another emerging country formed from parts of China and Russia. As the two countries began breeding heterogeneous populations with greater survival rates, they were able to better weather the virus until a vaccine was created.
Fast-forward a century later, to the book's setting. The RUNA's policies have made it the leading country in the world. It's regained the technology it lost in the Decline and has started to advance past where we are today. It's a bright, shiny country with compulsory education, efficient energy, birth control laws, a mighty military, smart phone-esque devices that manage every part of your life, public transportation everywhere, and all sorts of other good stuff. Citizens have small chips in their hands that facilitate what parts of the country they can move through. The RUNA has a very high opinion of itself and looks down on all other parts of the world--many of which are still totally a mess--which it calls "the provinces."
Genetic mixing is no longer mandatory, but those who still reproduce with "genetically optimal" partners get stipends from the government. In addition to this, the RUNA has one other big policy that it used in its recovery. In its eyes, religion was responsible for the Decline. The RUNA sees religion as a source of unrest, creating separatist attitudes and irrational behaviors. Consequently, it has a very strong stance against religion and belief in the supernatural. Most religions were stamped out, though some remained--including many new ones that were revivals of older gods from around the world. Those groups that are allowed to exist must be licensed and deemed not a threat. Any group that seems unstable or is growing too large is disbanded. Stay tuned because this particular policy forms a large part of the book's plot.
And that's a lot of stuff, so I'll close and let your minds boggle over that. Next time, we'll delve into our principle characters.