I am still actively playing Minecraft, especially on the MaMinecraft server, official server of AAGH. I like custom challenges, so I decided to set myself one tonight. My goal: survive off the land in a random, limited-sized world. I call it my 256-Block Challenge.

Here’s the set up. I create a random world, and – using a local Bukkit server and the World Borders plugin set to ‘square’ borders – limit myself to the 256 block area that I spawn in. That is the same size as one in-game map (zoomed out once) so I spot myself one of those to start. I’m playing with one life: once I die, I’ll tally my successes, count my losses and rate myself. No cheats, no hacks, no funny business, just 100% survival until I die.

Minecraft 256 Block Challenge

Here we are! My new world, full of opportunity, potential, and…

Minecraft 256 Block Challenge

Well, this is interesting

… mushrooms. I spawned in a mushroom biome. So often I would kill to find one of these damned things, and now that I can’t escape it, I get a big one. Well, this could be a positive. I don’t believe monsters spawn in mushroom biomes, so that’s one less thing to worry about. However, trees don’t spawn here, either, so wood is going to be an immediate issue.

Minecraft 256 Block Challenge

There is a small sliver of non-fungus ground to the north edge of my map, but there are no trees there. So, no wood. That means no pickaxes, no swords, no shovels, no iron, no coal, no workbench, no furnace, no nothing. This is going to be harder than I thought. I explore my map to its fullest, and come across another immediate problem: I’m hungry. Normally I could milk these mooshrooms for mushroom soup but again, I don’t have any wood, so bowls are out of the question. That means I’m going to have to do things a little more primatively.

Minecraft 256 Block Challenge


Consuming raw beef is really not ideal but when you’re starving you eat whatever you can. While contemplating my lack of options, another problems dawns on me.

Minecraft 256 Block Challenge

Or set on me. Whatever.

I don’t think monsters spawn in these biomes at night, but I’m not positive of that. I skulk around until I find a nearly enclosed water-filled cave, finish closing it in, and stay there for the night.

Minecraft 256 Block Challenge

Yes this is a dark pic. It was dark in the game. Sue me.

It is incredibly boring, sitting in a dark hole for seven minutes, which is how long night lasts. I start to dig into the nearby dirt to kill time, but again I’m not positive I won’t come back up to my cave being filled with things that want to kill me so I sit, doing nothing, until the morning sunlight peaks under the dirt walls.

Minecraft 256 Block Challenge

Once on the surface again, I decide that my only hope is if there is an abandoned mineshaft somewhere under the ground. I can’t really breaks stone, at least not easily, so I walk around my map some more, hoping to find some tunnel from the surface down into the bowels of the earth.

Minecraft 256 Block Challenge

My possible salvation?

Seeing this opening behind the fungus infested dirt was a sign of hope to me. Perhaps, if I was lucky, it would lead to an abandoned mineshaft, with its wooden platforms that I could tear down and repurpose for my own uses. I head across the bay and start down into the darkness, but after just a few minutes I realize that it ultimately goes nowhere. It’s just a cave, and even the offshoots are short and lead to nothing of use. I decide I have two options: try and dig through the stone with my bare hands and hope I find something, anything down there, or I could wait until night and try my luck on zombies in the off chance one of them is carrying a pick. After much self-deliberation (which probably sounded like insane rambling to anyone who heard me), I opt to chance it against the terrors of the night.

Minecraft 256 Block Challenge

That’s… a lot of mobs

Well, one thing is confirmed: mobs do not spawn in mushroom biomes. However, they spawn like rabbits on the nearby grasslands. I don’t want to draw too many, so I lean in, grab a zombie’s attention and quickly backpedal, kiting him and his friends around the map.

Despite drawing the ire of three at once, I manage to kill them all with relative ease using my map. Dangerous, those paper cuts are. I head back to the pack and kill a baby zombie before the party stopper arrives.

Minecraft 256 Block Challenge

Here’s where it gets interesting. Killing the zombies was a really long, back-and-forth affair, so I try to leverage the creeper’s blast to kill this one for me. My goal: set the creeper off and quickly get out of range so I don’t get caught in the blast. This shouldn’t be too difficult so long as I don’t get stuck on the terrain while back peddling.

Minecraft 256 Block Challenge

I got stuck on the terrain

Damn it. Well, it’s time to rate this run overall.

Time lived: Two days

Builds: None

Kills: Three zombies at once with a map

Died: Stupidly

Final Notes: Mushroom biomes suck

Score: D

If you like this, share it with your friends and let me know in the comments. I’ll do another if there’s an audience for them. Otherwise, hang around AAGH for more gaming news and reviews.