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Thread: [Forum Game] Civilization Builders

  1. #1

    [Forum Game] Civilization Builders

    (This idea is shamelessly stolen from another forum I frequent. I thought it would be fun to bring it here too.)

    The premise
    30 colonists (15 of each gender) are travelling in cryostasis aboard a colony vessel. There is a malfunction in the ship, and it jettisons the colonists in a shuttle towards a nearby Earth-like planet before exploding spectacularly. The shuttle lands in the ocean, and though the colonists are able to make it to shore, it sinks irretrievably.

    Now here's the kicker - while these colonists are physically adults, they are actually clones (though of 30 different people) brought to maturity in a matter of months. While they were being programmed by the ship, the premature ejection means that they only have a basic elementary school education. Because of their hasty retreat, all they have are the obligatory sci-fi jumpsuits (which were intended to be disposable and won't last long) - no tools, no food. In order to survive, they must build a life out of nothing, which is where you come in.

    The game
    Your role is to teach these colonists inventions and methods that they will need to survive and maybe even thrive: how to make weapons, forage for food, make fire, and so on. When dilemmas arise, it will be up to you to use existing technology and resources to solve them.

    The rules
    1) Anyone may join and may discuss with relevance to the game.
    2a) You may only post a single invention and may not post another before 2 other players have.
    2b) Linking to a Wikipedia article does not constitute an invention. You must phrase them yourselves.
    2c) Inventions must include instructions and may not assume to use things that aren't decidedly available (i.e. you can't sharpen a wooden stick without cutting tools or methods).
    3) You may not assume success or failure on any invention or directive. You are only to instruct. I review what is instructed and provide according reaction.
    4) You may assume that raw materials of almost any kind sensible for the climate/season/etc are available. If the materials you need wouldn't normally be available, your invention is on hold until you find the resource.

    Status report 1
    Season: It is the beginning of autumn.
    Location: We are camped out on the shore. The ocean next to us stretches on indefinitely. There is fresh water, and a large forest that also stretches as far as we can see.
    Problems: We are cold. We are hungry. We have jumpsuits but they won't last long.
    Technology: None
    Current events: None

  2. #2
    Backer Eberict's Avatar
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    If the colony vessel included thirty people, and those thirty people are all clones, who are we? Friendly native aliens? HAL AI? Promethean gods defying Zeus and bringing fire to the people?

  3. #3
    Invention: Fire
    Owing to their elementary school education, I expect the colonists already know that fire requires fuel, and what trees or plants look like. Instructions for making fire from nature:

    1) Find a fuel, such as wood or other plant matter. The forest should provide many branches and leaves on the ground. It is important that such fuel is dry; if necessary wet fuel can be dried next to a fire for future use. Fibrous material (like dry moss or grass) is ideal for getting a fire started, after that more massive fuel can be used.
    2) Find an ignition source. Sparks from striking two rocks together can ignite dry kindling. Two good stones for this are quartz, a crystal-like stone that come in many different colors, and pentlandite, a yellowish bronze rock which produces a bronze-brown or greenish black stripe when dragged across other rocks.
    3) Hold the pentlandite steady in one hand, and rapidly and forcefully move the quartz over the surface of the pentlandite. This should produce sparks, igniting the kindling.
    3) Shield the burning kindling from rain and wind.
    4) Blow on it slightly to increase the flame.
    5) Add somewhat less fine fuel, such as leaves, enlarging the fire.
    6) Add gradually less fine fuel, eventually working your way up to branches and large pieces of wood, making a large fire.
    7) Use this fire to easily light other fires.

  4. #4
    Backer Eberict's Avatar
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    Addendum to Fire from Friendly Alien Overseers

    Fire is dangerous and wild, so please follow these simple precautions.

    1) Surround where you are making your fire with large stones and clear burnable 'fuels' away from the ignition point. This will prevent the fire from suddenly spreading.
    2) Get a large leaf and cover it with sand. If the fire goes out of control or you want to turn the fire off, lift the leaf by grabbing it at both ends and dump the sand on the fire!
    3) If nobody is watching the fire, douse it with the sand. Do not leave fire unattended!

    Stop me if I'm doing it wrong.

  5. #5
    Invention: Bow
    I suppose it's possible given some luck finding proper materials. Copy pasted from different sources.

    Choose a piece of wood for the bow
    Straight sapling at least 6' long & 3-4" thick. Use a sharp stone as an ax to cut it down.
    Shape the bow
    Some sharp stones for carving & thick sticks for splitting the sapling, and a heavy duty stone for a hammer. Ideally, you will want the bow to be strong (and hence thicker) in the center. If the sapling has a natural curve, cut against it and this will add some recurve power to the bow.
    Cut notches to hold the bow string
    Use a sharp stone to cut notches about 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm)from each end of the bow.
    Select a bow string
    The string can be made of vines, sinew, rawhide, hemp cord, strands of cotton or silk from caterpillars.
    Select sticks for arrows
    Straight sapling at least 3' long & no more then 1" thick.
    Construct the arrowheads
    Use the fire to harden a point on the business end of your arrow, with burning & scraping off the charcoal until you come to a point.
    Make fletchings (optional)
    Split the feathers down the middle and apply glue (evergreens like pine work best) down the bottom half of the feather you are using. Apply it to the arrow shaft tying the feathers down on the starting end with some long grass.
    Last edited by belamoor; 05-20-2012 at 04:20 AM.

  6. #6
    Hm, Belamoor, where are our colonists going to find feathers if they don't have any tools for hunting birds? And given an evergreen, how do you get glue from it? Both are an obstacle to feathered arrows, at least for the moment.

    And thanks for providing that addendum, Eberict. What with man's talent for destruction, the first gift the Knowing Gods bestowed upon the colonists should probably not have been something capable of killing people or causing ecological disasters.

    I have a question about our surroundings. Is it a beach of fine sand, a rocky cliff, or a gravel/pebble beach? Some important minerals might be available in one but not the other.
    Last edited by Kimberly; 05-20-2012 at 10:56 AM.

  7. #7
    The beach is a sandy beach.

    Status report 2
    Season: It is the beginning of autumn.
    Location: We are still camped out on the shore, but have made small forays into the forest for firewood.
    Problems: We are hungry. We have jumpsuits but they won't last long.
    Technology: Fire
    Current events: We tried making bows but don't have any of the inventions required to construct it.

  8. #8
    Err, I have another question. (I'm just full of them.)

    Are we allowed to direct our colonists to a different location? For example, could we tell them to pack up (not that they have anything to pack up) and move into the forest, or try and find another area type?

  9. #9
    You could, but without knowing where to go, you wouldn't accomplish much except spending time - and winter is coming.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Flickerdart View Post
    Problems: We are hungry.
    I though about giving them some means of defending themselves before venturing into the forest too far in order to survey the area, plus maybe hunting. Can't they just eat stuff that's lying around for the time being or do we need to tell them to ? Do they even know how to organize themselves ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kimberly View Post
    Hm, Belamoor, where are our colonists going to find feathers if they don't have any tools for hunting birds? And given an evergreen, how do you get glue from it? Both are an obstacle to feathered arrows, at least for the moment.
    Well, i imagined they would be some feather lying around if you are lucky enough to find a nest. It's not like they need a lot, 2-3 for one arrow. And glue, yeah i haven't though about it much, turns out the sap isn't gluey by itself.

    Invention: Pine Resin Glue
    Materials:
    • Pine sap
    • Pine resin. You can typically find it where the pine tree has been wounded by either insects or a broken limb.
    • Charcoal.
    Process:
    • The first step to making Pine Sap Glue is to melt down the pine sap.
    • While the pine resin is melting down, crush up your charcoal pieces into a fine powder.
    • The formula for making this glue is 1 part charcoal to 3 parts pine resin, but you may experiment with what works best for you. Too much charcoal and your glue will be brittle, too little charcoal and your glue will not be durable enough. After the pine sap has melted down, mix in the crushed charcoal.
    • As your sap cools, it will harden. Thoroughly stir in the charcoal before it cools too much.
    • As the sap cools, you can form it on the stick – which is one the ways of storing Pine Resin Glue.
    • To use the glue simply heat it up over a flame and apply it to whatever you need.

    Also a spear if the colonists decide that the bows are too much work.

    Invention: Spear
    • Locate a straight tree branch suitable for the spear shaft. The branch should be 1-inch in diameter for small hunting (or at least 2 inches if your spear will be used for defense) and 5 to 6 feet long. Use a sharp stone as an ax to cut it down if necessary.
    • Remove any offshoots, large knots or scars.
    • Some sharp stones for shaving the end of the shaft. Fire-harden the head by heating over hot coals. Remove it from the fire just before the wood starts to char.
    • Some long grass for simple cordage to wrap the center of the shaft for gripping. Also, wrap the shaft just behind the head to support the wood.
    Last edited by belamoor; 05-20-2012 at 07:27 PM.

  11. #11
    Method: Harvest Nuts & Berries
    1. Take a spare jumpsuit and tie off one end
    2. Check around the base of tree's for fallen nuts and place any in spare jumpsuit
    3. Check bushes and climb smaller trees
    4. Look for purple and blue berries, avoid white and yellow berries, place berries in spare jumpsuit
    5. Scratch X on trees that have been harvested



    Question: Have our settlers run into any wildlife yet?


    Invention: Spear

    Locate a straight tree branch suitable for the spear shaft. The branch should be 1-inch in diameter for small hunting (or at least 2 inches if your spear will be used for defense) and 5 to 6 feet long. Use a sharp stone as an ax to cut it down if necessary.
    Remove any offshoots, large knots or scars.
    Some sharp stones for shaving the end of the shaft. Fire-harden the head by heating over hot coals. Remove it from the fire just before the wood starts to char.
    Some long grass for simple cordage to wrap the center of the shaft for gripping. Also, wrap the shaft just behind the head to support the wood.
    Is it wise to give these guys weapons just yet? At this point they seem more likely to hurt themselves.
    Last edited by McFly; 05-20-2012 at 08:25 PM.

  12. #12
    Status report 3
    Season: It is the middle of autumn.
    Location: We are still camped out on the shore, but have explored a significant section of the forest for wood and berries.
    Problems: We do not have enough jumpsuits for everyone since they are being used to collect berries. Those without jumpsuits are cold. It is starting to rain frequently, and we are wet.
    Technology: Fire, spears, resin glue, foraging
    Current events: Venturing deeper into the forest, we have spotted large furry animals that run away when they see us.

  13. #13
    Invention: Shelter

    A shelter will provide protection from wind and rain, and help a little with keeping warm.

    1) Find an area that's slightly raised, as on a hill, so it won't flood.
    2) Find the nearest large boulder, tree, or other object. It should be tall enough to sit or crouch behind, and wide enough to shield an entire body when resting against it.
    3) Gather large pieces of wood from the forest, and place them diagonally against the object. Push them into the ground for stability. Place them close together, avoiding holes.
    4) Lay small sticks across the large pieces of wood to close gaps.
    5) Cover the sticks with dry leaves, and then after a layer or two of dry leaves, apply wet and muddy leaves.
    6) Cover the leaf layers in branches, so the wind doesn't blow them away.

    The triangle formed by the wood against the object should now provide a reasonably dry cover. If it was built in the right direction, the wind should not be able to enter it. If it's exposed to the wind, try to cover up one side of the triangle. A cover of leaves can be added to the ground for comfort.

    Note that fire should not be kept inside or right next to a shelter to prevent smoke formation or the shelter from catching fire. If there are not enough shelters for everyone, let those without jumpsuits or with heavily damaged jumpsuits to spend more time inside, as they are most vulnerable.

  14. #14
    Backer Eberict's Avatar
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    To mitigate jumpsuit distribution issues, the Friendly Aliens suggest the following technology to nascent colony. It is hoped that this will help with gift of shelter-craft from Knowing Gods.

    Invention: Basketweaving

    This should be very similar to the cordage used on your spears.

    1) Find long narrow leaves, such as on ferns. Collect. Stockpile.
    2) Using the longest leaves, create grid pattern on ground. Space between leaves in this pattern must be square and no more than half an inch large. Ensure leaves are roughly parallel. At this stage, arrangement should create a + shape.
    3) 'Weave' leaves so all points of intersection with perpendicular leaves are alternate: up-under-up-under-up-under-up-under. This will hold the pattern together sturdily.
    3) Take wings of + shape and fold so they point upwards, leaving only the woven square touching the ground.
    4)Using new leaf, 'weave' again to alternate at intersections: in-out-in-out-in-out. Continue until long leaf has made a full circle, or ring.
    5) Push ring down to the bottom. Keep repeating Step 4 and 5 until container is of the desired depth.

    Congratulations! If you have followed our instructions properly, this will herald your first basket! Return the jumpsuits to their proper owners so nobody will be cold. You may also use baskets to store foraged berries and nuts. It is highly recommended that you begin stockpiling food in your shelters before the next season.

    Augmentation Tip: Weaving can also be used to make improvements to shelters. The weaving pattern will ensure greater strength of construction. We recommend it be used on the roofs to prevent collapse.

    If desired, the use of resin glue to reinforce the basket could allow it to carry heavier weights. Applying resin glue to the interior of a completed basket could also allow the basket to carry and store water and other liquids (like sap).

    Education Challenge: Discover what other useful items you can create with weaving! Perhaps it might help with damaged jumpsuits as well if combined with resin tech...

    Friendly Aliens out.
    Last edited by Eberict; 05-21-2012 at 07:15 AM. Reason: Resin Glue Augmentations

  15. #15
    Backer Eberict's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by McFly View Post
    Is it wise to give these guys weapons just yet? At this point they seem more likely to hurt themselves.
    It is the opinion of the Friendly Aliens that granting colonists weapons or driving them to slaughter is unwise. We are amazed they have not yet taken spears to one another like barbarians.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by McFly View Post
    Method:
    Is it wise to give these guys weapons just yet? At this point they seem more likely to hurt themselves.
    Quote Originally Posted by Eberict View Post
    It is the opinion of the Friendly Aliens that granting colonists weapons or driving them to slaughter is unwise. We are amazed they have not yet taken spears to one another like barbarians.
    I suspect conflicts within a group are possible but not as deadly as slaughtering each other given the first chance, i assumed average colonist consciousness is slightly more developed than that. Anyhow you may count me as some sort of not too wise, chaotic, expansionism god.

    Kind of hesitating on introducing first killing method, but i imagine it's not too healthy to eat berries for a month.

    Method: Fish trapping

    Fish baskets - mainly suitable for freshwater fishing.
    1) Lash several sticks together with vines into a funnel shape.
    2) Close the top, leaving a hole large enough for the fish to swim through.

    Stone wall- used to trap fish that approach the shore with the incoming tide.
    1) Pick a location at high tide and build the trap at low tide. On rocky shores, use natural rock pools. On sandy shores, use sandbars and the ditches they enclose.
    2) Build the trap as a low stone wall extending outward into the water and forming an angle with the shore.

    It's also strongly suggested to further explore the area. I assume that the colonists already know sources of fresh water. Try looking for a cavern, sea cave or rocky shelters.
    Last edited by belamoor; 05-21-2012 at 11:12 AM.

  17. #17
    After conferring with my fellow Overseers about the dangers of weaponry and fire, I have decided to bestow upon you the gift of law.

    All 30 of you must gather in a circle. Discuss amongst you who has the best memory. After a period of discussion, you should vote on who you think has the best memory; each person may cast a vote for one other person, and whichever person has the most votes wins the election. This person shall be your lawspeaker. It is his or her task to remember all the laws and all the decisions in legal disputes, and when the lawspeaker gets old or sick, he or she must teach all this to the new lawspeaker.

    Gathering in a circle like you did for electing the lawspeaker, you are allowed to make laws. For small decisions, like what you will do today, whatever idea gets the most votes shall be law. For big decisions, like whether you should move somewhere else, 2/3rds (20 out of 30) of the group must agree with each other. Anyone at the gathering may propose an idea or make arguments in favor or against an idea, but no one may speak empty words; if a person is not debating or making proposals but simply taking up time, they must stop speaking.

    The Gathering may decide on any law on any subject, so long as they do not violate any of these Five Divine Laws:

    1) It is forbidden for any human to intentionally bring harm to another, except as punishment for breaking the law of.
    2) All humans are fundamentally equal.
    3) No one shall stop another from voicing their opinion.
    4) No punishment shall cripple, exile, or kill a criminal.
    5) The many shall not prey upon the few; laws must favor the group as a whole or everyone individually.
    Last edited by Kimberly; 05-21-2012 at 01:41 PM.

  18. #18
    Backer Eberict's Avatar
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    It is our hope that the contribution of weaving will make the endeavour of fish-catching a much easier task. We also appreciate greatly the beginnings of a social contract forged for the tribe.

    As the Chaos One is so bent on exploration, we provide this new gift.

    Invention: Cartography
    1) Search for fallen logs. If they are old enough, the bark should be easy to tear off. Retrieve as large a piece as you are able, preferably a square with sides as long as your arm. Make several such pieces and return to camp.
    2) Use the campfire to blacken several long pieces of wet or green wood (not dry wood). These are now writing utensils. Use them to mark the centre of each bark page. This represents the current settlement.
    3) Mark the edge of the page that represents where the sun rises. That shall be East. Opposite to that will be West. The edge below East and West is South, and the opposite of South is North.
    4) Find out how far and in what direction the beach and crash-site are. Mark its location in relation to the current camp. Your lost shuttle and its technologies may one day be recovered, so long as you remember where it was.
    5) Mark all major locations you have already discovered which have made exploration easy for you.
    6) Use the resin on the current marks to seal and waterproof the information.
    7) Distribute copies of these maps to the explorers. Give them the writing utensils as well.
    8) Explore and discover what the Chaotic God has tasked you to discover. Mark those on the map together with anything interesting. Return to camp and share information. Keep a master map at camp.

    May you find something useful, little brothers.

  19. #19
    Status report 4
    Season: It is the middle of autumn.
    Location: We are camped out on a small cliff overlooking the shore, under makeshift shelters.
    Problems: The shelter we have is limited. Between the fire, the spears and the shelters, we are running out of easily accessible wood. We have jumpsuits, but they won't last long, although some are now fashionably dyed with squished berries.
    Technology: Fire, spears, resin glue, foraging, shelter, fish baskets, basketweaving, law, cartography.
    Current events: We tried stacking up stones for a fish trap but they fell down. The basket traps worked; we have fish, but don't know how to prepare them. We have begun dividing into groups of fishermen, foragers/explorers and builders. One of our explorers found a dead large furry animal, partially eaten.

  20. #20
    Hm, our subjects' level of technology is growing quite quickly. However, they've not adapted many of the technological advances into newer ones, and that is surely the quickest route to progress. Might I suggest we work on providing the colonists with a basic technology or two that can improve most of the others?

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