Gather round kids and let me tell you a story of civilizations, branch mines, betrayal and game theory.
Not long ago, in a country far away - actually it might be near you for all I know - a young gamer - though not so young anymore, which made him somewhat self-conscious - decided to play Minecraft on the CivilizationCraft server. That gamer joined and set out to start his empire in the wide world and compete with his peers to ensure victory in the game of thrones - no, not that one. But founding a civilization is the product of hard work in that particular mod. First our intrepid gamer needed to gather many resources to craft a civ founding flag, as it was known.
He set up camp on top of a mountain near a savanna biome and named in Plainsview because of its nice view of the... plains. Look, he wasn't the most creative namegiver. As he needed, among other things, 4 blocks of diamonds and 27 blocks of gold to craft the flag, he began mining a branch mine stretching in the depths below. After a day's work he logged out and returned the next day. Yet someone else had set their camp near Plainsview as well. They were not online, so our gamer left them a message that they might join forces.
Later that day the mystery neighbor logged in and promptly wrote back, they indeed would band together to conquer the world. After a few exchanges of near-term strategy for resource gathering, they continued work in the mines. Our gamer agreed that the neighbor - let us call him the angel, for he was named after a fallen archangel - would be the founder of the civ, while our gamer would be the viceroy. As it was late in the day for the gamer, but early for the angel, the gamer gave his materials to the angel, so that he might craft the flag and begin the foundations of the civ.
The next day our gamer logged in to find a chest and a message in front of his camp. The chest contained the materials he had given the angel the day before. The message read that the angel had accepted a position as mayor in an existing civ and our gamer was welcome to join as well. The gamer was a bit surprised, but figured that being a mayer, or even a citizen, in a winning civ was still better than being the viceroy or even king of a crumbling kingdom. Since the angel was not online, the gamer continued to mine for more resources while waiting for the return of the angel.
At the closing of the same day, the angel still had not come online, but his contemporaries in the civ were. So the gamer disbanded the camp, put the most valuable resources in the enderchest and set out to trek to the civ with the remaining resources in his backpack. Once he was there, he announced himself to the players present and approached without armor, without weapon and with a friendly greeting. The players he first met did not answer. One of them slashed our gamer with a sword once. The gamer backed off a few steps, but did not retaliate. The other players still were not answering. After a few seconds the players rushed our gamer with drawn swords and began hacking him to pieces. He did not manage to escape and was slain on the spot, spilling the contents of his backpack.
Resurrected at spawn, our gamer was uneasy. Was this a simple misunderstanding? He messaged the victors of that brief battle, asking for an explanation and reassuring, that he was invited to the civ by the angel. Yet, no response came. So it was that our gamer acknowledged that he had been had. While it was possible that the angel had not betrayed him, he could not possibly join a civ that rejected him violently at the doorstep. So he set out to craft another camp and pursue the civ founding flag on his own.
He set up not too far from his first camp and began the hunt for resources anew. There were struggles and the realization that more resources were required than he first thought. Indeed, gathering a flag was usually done by a group, rather than a single person. But our gamer was not deterred. More mining followed, as well as planting seeds for sugar cane - indeed, building a farm with hundreds of reeds - which all took more time. Another day and a half passed.
On the day before the gamer expected to be finished with his flag, there was a big outrage in the global chat of the server. One rogue had stolen money from his civ, left them and went out to start his own rivalling civ. To do that, he was looking to buy a flag from whoever could provide one. Sadly our gamer had his flag not ready yet, so the rogue bought in from someone else for 100k coins. However it set the gamer in the mindset, that it might be most worthwhile to sell his flag and join a friendly civ, living off the money he got for the flag. He already was approached by another player, inviting him to their civ.
Finally, the time came when the gamer could craft the flag. Proud of himself, he announced an auction in the global chat. The starting bid for the flag was to be 90k and interested parties should message him with their starting bid and the highest bid they were willing to go, in case of competing bids. Yet, not a single bid came in. By this time, our gamer had grown very tired and disillusioned of the entire affair. So he decided instead of relying on arbitrary guesses about the market value of a civ flag, he would employ game theory. There were about 150 people online, which represented a good portion of the population, so surely the law of big numbers was on his side.
The gamer announded in the global chat, that he would remove the minimum bid for the auction. This, in his mind, would prove the true value of a civ flag. You see, even when you are already in a civ, there would be some use for a civ flag. You could build a vassal state or deny your enemy territory or you might use it for war purposes or extra processing capabilities or as a spawn point or countless other uses. Therefore everyone would like a civ flag if only they could get it cheap enough. Therefore people would try to evaluate how much they want the flag, assume that their enemies might do the same and try to find a balance by how much they want the flag and by how much they don't want their enemies to get the flag.
To the disbelief of the gamer, the seemingly impossible happened. No one was making a bid. Not the few players without a civ were bidding and no one from the existing civs. It couldn't have been that they thought the auction was a scam, the gamer argued to himself. Even if the players assumed the auction was a scam, it would still make sense to place a bid of a single coin, just in case it wasn't a scam. Yet no one did. This enraged our gamer a bit. Could they not see the marginal value an extra civ flag provided? Were they not creative enough to think of a use? Were they so sure of the falseness of the auction that they would not even bid a lonesome coin?
That was the moment our gamer decided he would leave this uncreative, irrational bunch to themselves and leave the server. To add some extra spite, he would use the flag to create a useless civ somewhere no one would bother to conquer it. So he set out to place it far in the air - not possible - or on the ocean floor - also not possible - and finally decided to just place it an extreme hills biome. He called the civ GryphonEmpire and the capitol Gryphonstone in the vaguest hope someone would recognize the reference and be enraged by it, yet nobody did him this small favor. Our gamer realised it was not even possible to troll properly with this flag.
With the useless civ placed down, he gave his remaining resources away for free - albeit even then nobody wanted the iron, despite it being literally free money - and left the server for good. And that concludes this tale of wasted time.