Today, I got organized in order to meet the goal of building a medieval style stone tower and moving most of my stuff to that location.

The first step was to establish a workable pattern for mining stone while looking for the relatively rare ores … in my case, all ore seems to be rare.  But I was not daunted by the low return rate.  I just decided that it was time to adopt a set technique.

I experimented briefly with shaft mining and building ladders to allow climbing and descent.  Ladders work great for climbing up, but my climbing down technique remains poor.  After a few attempts, I decided that staircase mining would suit me better, so I dove in and started down to bedrock.  It seemed like it would take forever (my cat enjoyed my lap for a while), but I finally hit bottom and started working a branching scheme.  Found some iron ore and a ton of rock (well, digitally speaking).

With this load in tow, I located a high hill roughly equidistant to water, sand (to make glass), caves (for exploring later), rock faces, and flocks of chickens and sheep.  Then, the fun started.  I managed to get a good start on the tower, with an interior staircase, only to find out that it attracted all the monsters in the vicinity.  And they had bows and arrows!!  I was beginning to feel like this experiment was going to teach me all sort of things … one in particular was the potential for an extended siege .

They did force me out of the tower more than once before I was done.  This taught me the importance of having food on hand and my own set of ranged weapons!  In the end, I’m enjoying laughing at the local baddies.  From my tower, I can open up shooting windows and fire from above – retreating to cover as needed.

The garden is still outside my secure perimeter, and that may have to be addressed before long (can anyone say medieval walled city?), and I’m not sure how a spider got in one night.  Oh, and the tower is still pretty squat and ugly, but I’m working on making enough glass windows to break up the solid walls of stone as I expand the walls and staircase (and little “rooms” on the landings) upwards.  Overall, it was a successful experiment that reinforced my appreciation for the game – and my continued sense that this could be really useful in educating middle school children.

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