Stone Age Online Game: Greenland

From Terra Nova:

A main goal of the synthetic worlds initiative at Indiana University is to develop large games as research environments. To test some ideas, we have prepared a browser-based game of kingdoms, trade, diplomacy, and warfare in the stone age. The world is called Greenland and it enters open beta today. We invite those interested in such things to help us by testing the environment and contributing reactions and criticism to the forums.

To enter Greenland, go to http://greenlandgame.com/ and choose the Mercator server (the other two servers are closed for internal testing).You will need a code to register for the server; it is GLOPENACCESS.

If you have questions or problems, please contact our community manager Matt Falk at mfalk@umail.iu.edu.

They say ‘stone age’, but I doubt they mean an archaeologically-informed rendering of the Neolithic in code. But I could be wrong:

Greenland is a game of late neolithic society. Tribes of hunter-gatherers have begun to settle into farming communities. Players are leaders of these tribes, claiming spaces on a browser-based hexagonal map that contains rivers, woods, mountains, and grassland. They can assign the populations of these spaces as a labor force to extract resources from the various types of terrain. With good management, players can grow their populations and lay claim to more hexes. In so doing, players will come into conflict with other players over space and resources.

Contact: Edward Castronova (castro@indiana.edu)

From their website, it appears a bit more Civilization-ish:

The goal of Greenland is to gain the highest rank possible and expand your kingdom, accumulating territory, resources, and the respect (or fear!) of the other budding nations you’ll come into contact with. Greenland is a turn-based game, and you can input one turn per day. You can place commands and update or change your commands until 3am (US Eastern) server time, but the turn locks and all players’ orders are finalized at 3am (US Eastern).

How to survive your first turns:

1) You cannot expand your clan unless you are an active leader. Thus, MAKE SURE YOU SUBMIT ACTIONS EVERY DAY. Moreover, make sure you do this BEFORE 3am (US Eastern).

2) In particular, Folk DIE if they are not fed. And when the population of a given hex dwindles below 100 Folk, the hex is lost. Every turn, there will be two actions automatically added to all of your hexes. These actions will automatically allocate some of your current resources towards the creation of Bread in order to sustain your current population level. If you decide that you want to grow your Folk rather than merely sustain your current population level, you can submit additional Bread and Folk Build commands. In this manner your Folk will not die if you forget to feed them, and you can grow your population if you desire! As your population grows or dwindles, adjust the number of Folk allocated to Bread production accordingly to keep your population stable.

3) To produce Bread, click or hover over the CLAN menu (at the top of the page, just above the game area). Select BAKE, from the drop-down menu. On the right hand side of the screen, adjust the amount of folk you wish to allocate to baking bread. When you’re sure of your decision, click on the SUBMIT button to perform the action. It will then be added to your Actions Log at the bottom of the screen.

4) In addition to Folk, Tools and Water can also each be applied towards Bread production in order to increase the amount produced. You start off with 500 Tools, so why not allocate them to Bread production for now? To do this, follow the instructions above mentioned for producing Bread, and then also allocate Tools before clicking the SUBMIT button. And remember, unlike most other resources, Tools are not lost when used, so you can re-allocate them again on the next turn.

IMPORTANT!!! Once you have created Bread, you must actually feed it to your Folk! Remember that the automatic actions will feed enough of it to your population to sustain it, but you want to grow more folk, you must do it manually. To do this, once again open the CLAN menu. From the menu, select FEED and then allocate the desired amount of Bread to keep your population alive. After you input the desired amount of Bread, look below the submit button. There you will see a report of your population change based on the number of Bread you have entered.

5) Once you get a feel for the share of Folk you must allocate for maintaining your population, start experimenting with the Folk that are left over. Extract resources, Build more Folk or Tools. Your population will be easier to maintain and expand if they have Houses to rest in at night. Once you get a big enough population, you may even try to take the first step in empire-building: Settling into an adjacent hex. All of these actions are available through the drop-down menus at the top of the game screen.

There, now you’ll be ruling like a pro! May your folk be prosperous and your empire strong! And remember, if you have any concerns not addressed here, feel free to visit the Greenland Forums (http://forum.swiprojects.com) to post your questions.

Your First turns: You will start with 500 Folk, 500 Houses, and 500 Tools. Click on any hex that you currently occupy or any hex adjacent to an occupied hex and select available actions from the drop-down menu. TIP: Folk with Houses require less Bread, as Houses are built your population will grow and you will be able to allocate your Folk to harvesting resources surrounding your hex or to building Houses.

Settling: When settling you should send at least 300 Folk in order to colonize a new hex. Be careful, if your hex falls below 100 Folk, it will be abandoned. There is also a 1000 Folk limit, as well as a limit of 1000 of each resource per hex; overflow will be discarded.TIP: It is important to bring bread and, if possible, materials with you when you settle a new hex. Settling a new hex is dangerous and difficult, so you do not want to waste time and Folk harvesting what you already have in surplus.

Resources: Different terrain hexes yield different resources. To extract a resource, click on the resource hex and select “Harvest Resources” from the Production drop-down menu. While not always necessary, Resources increase productivity when creating Refined Resources or extracting other Resources. Water is used in making Bread. Wood is used for nearly everything (including Houses, Tools, Paths, and combat forces). Stone is used for making Paths, Ditches and Tools. Ore is used for making weapons and can also make Tools.

TIP: The only required resource when extracting and creating in your first few turns are Folk. The other optional resources increase the amount yielded from the extraction or allow you to create more efficiently. For a complete list of required and optional ingredients please consult the “Resources” section of the game manual.

Player-to-Player Interaction: It is up to you how you choose to interact with the other prospective nations being forged in Greenland. Resources are finite: forests die, mines dry up. Resources replenish if managed properly, but you will need to cooperate or compete against nearby players in order to share resources, if you want to avoid a skirmish that is… When violent conflicts arise, it is important to have an army built up to guard your kingdom or to invade those of other players.

Not all players will prefer the bloody route of war, however. The market will allow you to buy and sell resources to other players, an important way to acquire goods and resources that you may not have access to in your territory. Without proper pathways connecting your kingdom and the seller’s kingdom the carting cost will increase. Such a cost increases the price to buy the desired goods, while also decreasing the amount that will safely get to your hex. A healthy balance between trade and martial strength will ensure the brightest future for your burgeoning kingdom!

My lord, please consult the Game Manual for further information about all the advanced aspects of Greenland!

So, archaeologists: run, don’t walk, to Greenland and sign up now!

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