The Contents of the Strategic Primer World Map: A Statistical Summary

As players of Strategic Primer wait for the results of their thirteenth turn strategies, I thought they, and perhaps any other interested readers, might find some statistics about the current campaign’s game-world map interesting—and perhaps might have some ideas about anything significant that it’s missing or comments as to how some proportions seem off.

I derived the following statistics by sorting a copy of the map XML file, stripping out fields irrelevant to my analysis, and using the standard tool uniq to count. I’ve rounded the numbers of everything except tile types.

And I discovered some discrepancies while creating these statistics, which I will correct when I can find the time, so a player’s explorer may later find something that these don’t include. If you have any thoughts about anything in the data below, please let me know.

In tabulating these results, even I who wrote three years ago that the “worldwide encounter table” model which I used to naively generate the map contents produces “essentially random” results with a “signal-to-noise ratio … far too low” was surprised at how egregiously odd many of the proportions were. So I’m now even more looking forward to the time in the future when, beginning a new campaign, I can create a populated map with the benefit of hindsight, deciding on proportions beforehand based on what works in the real world rather than just making them up essentially at random.

The map consists of 24,288 tiles. Of these,

  • 11,022 are “plains” tiles (which includes both those that are “temperate forest” and those that are “mountain” because in the current version of the map format forests and mountains are something that’s on a tile rather than the tile type)
  • 5,668 are “ocean” tiles (which really just means “large body of water”, not that it is or isn’t salt water)
  • 4,440 are “steppe” (formerly “boreal forest”)
  • 1,800 are “tundra”
  • 1,262 are “desert”
  • 96 are “jungle”

There are about 27,000 forest tiles. (The precise number isn’t trivial to determine, because many tiles contain more than one “forest” fixture, with different kinds of trees or both with and without the trees in rows.) They include areas of the following kinds of trees: (as mentioned, numbers are approximate)

  • 6,200 elm
  • 1,150 hemlock
  • 2,475 maple
  • 5,150 oak
  • 6150 pine
  • 100 redwood
  • 2,850 spruce
  • 3,000 willow

There are also about 9,050 tiles with hills, 1,525 mountainous tiles, 3,975 sandbars, 2,275 oases, and 15 lakes. I didn’t count rivers—because rivers are implemented with at least two segments per tile, showing the directions the river flows into and out of the tile (but not which is which), I felt it too complicated to get an accurate and non-misleading count.

Each tile includes at least one “ground” fixture, representing a dominant rock beneath the tile. These include about

  • 75 marble
  • 400 sand
  • 850 dolomite
  • 1,000 granite
  • 1,300 salt
  • 1,600 soapstone
  • 3,775 chalk
  • 6,500 basalt
  • 6,575 limestone
  • 20,650 gneiss

That last is a very odd result, which I suspect is a mistake that ought to be fixed. And those counts may be of “ground” plus “stone deposits,” which I thought I’d counted separately but now find I lumped in with something else.

In the map (so far) there are about 150 places where there are signs of long-ago battles (which players can have workers search for more information), about 75 places where I know there are caves underground, and about 3900 undiscovered caches:

  • 725 of treasure
  • 1450 of gemstones
  • 1700 of vegetables of various kinds (which will be fresh when discovered)

There are about 475 places where I have a note to add an “adventure hook”—something that, if a player comes across it, allows that player to send some explorers on a unique quest or adventure of some kind, which I imagine we would run with the player taking the role of the explorers for the duration. Unfortunately, I’ve only come up with what a handful of these are more specifically than I’ve just told you.

The map includes many communities of various sizes:

  • 7 fortresses (if any more players join the campaign, this number will rise)
  • 35 small towns
  • About 6200 villages, including (and note these proportions are not adjusted in light of the longstanding item on my to-do list to ensure all villages in ocean tiles are of aquatic races)

In addition to these communities, there are at last count 132 units in the map, which include (just from the players’ units!) 610 workers, of whom

  • About 30 are Danani
  • About 30 are gnomes
  • About 20 are dwarves
  • About 20 are elves
  • About 15 are half-elves

And beyond these, there are individuals and communities of what I call immortals. (The map talks about them as individuals, since an explorer is more likely to run across an individual than into the whole group, but most ought to be seen as communities.) :

  • About 425 centaur herds, including about 25 “mountain centaur” and about 50 “caribou centaur”
  • About 50 djinni
  • About 250 dragons, including about 75 “ice dragons”
  • About 725 fairies, including about 300 water fairies, about 60 snow fairies, and about 50 Great Fairies
  • About 80 giants, a little over half of which are frost giants.
  • About 250 trolls
  • About 250 minotaurs
  • About 275 ogres
  • About 75 griffin nests
  • About 50 phoenixes or phoenix colonies
  • About 75 simurghs
  • About 75 sphinxes

Some creatures that probably ought to go in that list are also listed in the “animals” section below.

In addition to still-extant communities, there are also the remains of some that players can explore. There are

  • About 20 large and about 40 medium-size ruined cities
  • About 25 large and about 50 medium-size ruined fortifications
  • About 75 abandoned and about 65 burned-out small fortifications
  • About 65 abandoned and about 75 burned-out small towns

Beyond the “ground” types mentioned above, there are many deposits of various kinds of stone, minerals, and gems:

  • Together, about 35 of kinds (mostly gems) that each occur no more than five times
  • About 75 each of flint, lignite, platinum, uranium, peat, gypsum, and magnesium.
  • About 100 each of natural gas, mithril, salt, oil, nickel, adamantium, and gold.
  • About 150 each of zinc and titanium
  • About 200 each of malachite, coal, sodalite, iron (including the few meteoric iron), silver, and copper
  • About 250 phosphorus
  • About 450 each dolomite and aluminum
  • About 750 cement
  • About 1,100 mercury
  • About 2,100 lead
  • About 2,900 tin

There are also a number of abandoned mines (which may or may not actually be played out):

  • About 200 sand
  • About 400 dolomite
  • About 500 granite
  • About 600 salt
  • About 700 soapstone
  • About 1500 lead
  • About 1800 chalk
  • About 2000 tin
  • About 2100 gneiss
  • About 2200 each basalt and limestone

All that remains to list is flora and fauna. First, the numbers of fields, meadows, groves, and orchards in the map (note that players’ fields are not listed in the map yet):

  • About 850 groves of dwarf trees of various varieties
  • Less than 50 each of morning glory, sweet pea, honeysuckle, wisteria, periwinkle, ivy, cucumber, kudzu, Virginia creeper, and leeks.
  • About 100 each of 19 different kinds of berries, moss, melon, yardlong bean, bok choy, arugula, tomato, sorrel, chicory, artichoke, and broccoli
  • About 150 each of radish, hemp, potato, turnip, squash, gourds, eggplant, peppers, taro, cassava, bean, sweet potato, winged bean, coffee, soybeans, mushrooms, runner beans, cabbage, celery, pumpkin, beet, carrot, tea, lettuce, kale, and cedar.
  • About 200 each of buffalograss, ebony, larch, and teak
  • About 250 each of alder, cypress, fir, eucalyptus, bamboo, cottonwood, maple (including sugar maple), spruce, willow, poplar, gum, balsa, groundnut (peanut), mallorn, basswood, hemlock, hickory, birch, ironwood, redwood, yew, ash, beech, rubber, and juniper
  • About 300 each of aspen, pine (including pitch pine), elm, and oak
  • About 400 each of maygrass, papyrus, cactus (of various kinds), bluegrass, camomile, and alfalfa
  • About 450 clover
  • About 700 blueberry
  • About 800 each of fig, chestnut, cherry, mango, walnut, banana, lemon, olive, peach, pear, and pecan
  • About 850 each of orange, almond, coconut, millet, apricot, and breadfruit
  • About 900 each of fonio, rapeseed (canola), oats, einkorn, barley, rice, sorghum, buckwheat, wheat, and teff
  • About 950 each of rye, spelt, quinoa, cotton, and papaya
  • About 1000 each of amaranth, apple or quince, and corn (maize)
  • About 1100 plum
  • About 1600 of grape (including wild grape) and each of six kinds of kelp
  • About 2200 sedge
  • About 2400 each of thyme, flax, and mangrove
  • About 2900 “hay” (“ordinary” grass)

There are also a number of shrubs (which, like the “immortals” category above, usually means an explorer encountered a single one but should be taken to mean a population in a tile) and aquatic plants that are represented using the same XML tag:

  • About 200 miniature mangrove
  • About 450 each of quince, wintersweet, leatherleaf, boxtree, rose bush, mountain mahogany, butterfly bush, bittersweet, bottlebrush, aloe, sagebrush, and sweetshrub
  • About 500 each of angel’s trumpets, kelp, and heather
  • About 600 algae
  • About 650 each of watercress, algaria, water lily, hornwort, wild rice, duckweed, water caltrop, seagrass, water chestnut, carola, seaweed, nori, and caulerpa
  • About 700 each of water spinach, cattail, taro, and water lettuce
  • About 1000 all together of various kinds of cactus

And lastly, the map includes various kinds of animals. These counts include both those in players’ herds, which represent individuals, and those out in the world, which represent populations.

  • About 750 talking animals of various kinds
  • Less than 50 each of manticore, ahool, sloth, tapir, howler monkey, leopard, okapi, capybara, spider monkey, and parrot
  • About 100 snowbird
  • About 150 octopus, “sea hippo” (which I’m not sure what I meant when I put it in the list), thunderbird, whale, mesosaur, squid, and plesiosaur
  • About 200 platypus, dugong, sea turtle, sardine, cormorant, sturgeon, albatross, bass, haddock, sea urchin, eel, and grayling
  • About 250 mackerel, grouper, carp, lion, mussel, silkworm, sea snake, lungfish, elephant, cheetah, whiting, kangaroo, flounder, and lobster
  • About 300 tern, unicorn, coypu, sea cucumber, oyster, kraken, dodo, and wyvern
  • About 350 each pheasant, butterfly, achaeopteryx, and hydra
  • About 400 each elk, finch, and zebu
  • About 450 each guinea pigs, mountain lion, mzebra, and wild dog
  • About 500 each pegasus, shark, ape, warthog, silver fox, manatee, great auk, penguin, ferret, and sea lion
  • About 550 each saber-tooth tiger, walrus, polar bear, turtle, rhinoceros, wolverine, mastodon, and mongoose
  • About 600 each lizard, game hen, hippopotamus, and mink
  • About 650 each prairie dog, lark, quail, dinosaur of various kinds all together, seal, tuna, tuna, impala, blackbird, and magpie
  • About 700 each catfish, badger, alpaca, petrel, robin, sheep, frog, herring, dingo, gull, crab, trout, bison, and salmon
  • About 750 each squirrel, shad, krill, wren, and tiger
  • About 800 each turkey, salamander (the amphibian, not the mythological creature), armadillo, horse, muskrat, beaver, cod, halibut, and pelican
  • About 850 each wildebeest, chipmunk, weasel, camel, raccoon, shrimp, and swan
  • About 900 each opossum, toad, cat, anteater, and bees,
  • About 950 each pigeon and swallow
  • About 1000 each aardvark, donkey, mouse, owl, and water buffalo
  • About 1100 each buzzard, musk ox, geese, deer, snail, goats, and ducks
  • About 1200 each thrush, wolf, chickens, and skunk
  • About 1300 each yak, rabbit, hedgehog, llama, and snake
  • About 1400 each caribou, otter, and gopher
  • About 1500 each alligator, porpoise, dolphin, and crocodile
  • About 1600 each fox, bat (including fruit bat), and boar
  • About 1700 rats
  • About 1900 crows
  • About 2100 cattle
  • About 2300 reindeer
  • About 2400 moose
  • About 2500 antelope
  • About 2600 eagles
  • About 2800 bears
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