This is the first draft of my version of one of the first video games I ever played. Variously called Kingdom or Hammurabi, it is a simple economic game. I first played it in the Impressions 5 Science Center in Lansing, Michigan. I must have been about eleven years old.

You are the ruler of a kingdom. Your duty is to acquire land and peasants. You do this by planting crops, feeding your peasants, and indulging in simple land speculation (buy low, sell high). Chaos enters the system in the form of rats eating your grain, peasants dying of plague, and variation in the price and fertility of your land. The “bushel of grain” is the standard unit of currency.

Right now the balance of values is as follows:

-Each peasant eats 20 bushels of grain a year
-It takes 2 bushels of grain to plant an acre of land
-Each acre of planted land will grow between 2 and 5 bushels of grain
-If you under-feed your peasants, they will starve to death.

If you try to spend more grain than you have, the game will simply do nothing when you click the button. And this leads me into the “to do” list for the game

-alerts which tell you when you are spending too much.
-adding logic so that each peasant can farm no more than 10 acres of land
-allowing a set number of years so the game does not continue forever
-if too many peasants die, the survivors revolt and cast you from power

I like this kind of game. It packs a nice amount of complexity into a very small package. I imagine that the idea for Warcraft grew out of something very like this.

Click here to play my version of The Kingdom of Hamurabi.

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