Capture the Glowstone in Minecraft

by admin

So here’s a cool thing a friend had set up: team-based capture the hill in Minecraft.

The premise is simple: each team is placed on top of a tall mountain and given a glowstone to protect. Glowstones cannot be moved: if you destroy it using a pickaxe, it doesn’t yield a glowstone but some soulsand. It’s a good way to make sure the stone is kept in the same place.

So the winning team is the one who can destroy the other team’s glowstone. This is a lot harder than it sounds, and oh my goodness is it fun. We played for about five rounds. We played this mode in two different classrooms. Each team (red and blue) had its own room. I played in red, we had four members while blue had five. There were also two “referees” with admin powers, who made sure people were following the rules (no cheats!) and teleported them to the right locations. During the game, we were constantly shouting back and forth tactics and suggestions. It was very hard to keep track of what everybody was doing, because most of the time you didn’t really know what you were doing either either. The team was fortifying the front of the base to ridiculous levels, but you tend to forget the back. Twice, we lost because we failed to notice a player simple walking around the mountain, digging through it and digging up.

If you look veeeeery closely, you can see the glowstone at the other end of the canyon

When you begin, you start to frantically look around. What do we need? We need wood. Go go go, punch some trees! Good, now we need a crafting table. And one of the most important items in this form of play: the chests. They contain all the stuff your team collects. Because, oh yes, you will need to work together. Wooden pickaxes are quickly replaced with stone pickaxes and a fortification begins to arise around the glowstone.

But then, after the initial scramble, something strange happens. One of the players will take a few stone pickaxes and start digging straight down. As any experienced Minecraft will tell you: oh my god that’s a terrible idea. And it’s true: you could fall into a cave and get jumped on by a horde of zombies *instantly*. You could fall straight into lava and lose everything. This is all true, and it’s a risk.

The unfortunate truth is that digging straight down is pretty much the only way to get iron. Because you are so high up on a naturally raised platform, there’s almost no way to get down without falling to your death. If you’re lucky you’ll find a safe way down, but then you still have to find a cave to explore. And keep in mind: the other team wants to *kill your glowstone*. You’re not really concerned with safety, you want an advantage over the other guys.

I can tell you: being that lone digger sucks. You’re digging straight down for what seems like miles, hoping you won’t find a quick death. You’re in pitch-black because torches haven’t been made yet. But if you’re lucky, you will have done an awesome thing for your team: you’ll have given them a means to make buckets (which can be used to extract lava and water) and maybe you’ll even find a diamond or three.

But then you have a new problem: how are you going to get the goods up to the rest of the team? You dug straight down, for hundreds of meters. You’re boned. There is no way to build any kind of contraption to propel the ore up to the rest of the team. That’s where this gameplay mode really excels: working together for the greater good. The whole team benefits from having buckets, so they’ll happily assign a guy to you whose only job it is to make ladders. As a last resort you can also keep building blocks below you, but obviously that means you can’t go back to your mining location.

What we ended up with in one of our matches is that both teams started building bridges towards each other. This is pretty much the “the only good defense is a good offense” tactic. It turned into a trench war, with both teams building bridges, swashbuckling over precarious heights. And not really gaining any ground. It wasn’t until the other team sneak attacked from behind that they actually won the round. They later told us that they didn’t really understand why we kept going at them with crappy stone swords, while they had iron swords. We had to keep going at it, because otherwise they would have overwhelmed us. At one point, my job was nothing but making pickaxes, shovels and swords. And we were running out as fast I could make them.

Overall, I had a blast. It’s definitely something I want to do again. However, it’s unfortunate that a lot of things don’t really work. You wouldn’t think iron would be so rare, but when the pressure is on it becomes a choking point. It’s tough to get iron fast enough for it to tip the scales. When I started, I thought we would coat the entire glowstone in obsidian, but that’s just no feasible. It takes forever to get a bucket, and then forever to retrieve lava, and then forever to coat it.

For next time, I would want the teams to start every life with a diamond pickaxe and shovel. It’s really bothersome how much time was spent just gathering resources for tools. I’d like to see some mods, like a block that spawns bonemeal. The stuff is brilliant in Capture the Glowstone. You can instantly remove your wood problem. And you could equip your team with bread when they go to the trenches. Wheat grows so slowly that the idea of a farm was abandoned fairly quickly.

You can download the maps here: CTGS_Maps.zip (11.2 MB)