Let's say that I'm creating a world game that lasts for 1000 years (or more). The game involves players obtaining talented leaders, e.g. George Washington (military), Albert Einstein (science), etc. The problem is, they have only a "normal" life span of say, 80 years, even though the world lasts from say, 1000 to 2000 A.D.

In "real life," George Washington was born in 1732 and won the American Revolution in 1783 (aged 51). In my world, he only has 29 more years to live. I want to save those 29 years for the next military crisis and not have him die by 1812.

I've thought of using a "cryogenic" solution, putting him in "deep freeze" in 1783 until the next crisis, (which will hopefully last less than 29 years). Does this work? Are there any other "mechanics" that will produce a similar result?

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    $\begingroup$ You have to wonder how useful his talents will be in the completely different world he wakes up in. I'm not sure how useful it would even be to try and preserve such an (at the time of awakening) ancient mind. $\endgroup$
    – Erik
    Commented Feb 16, 2015 at 17:16
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    $\begingroup$ @Erik: If you've played Civilization or similar games by Sid Meier, historical figures have no problems transporting their talents from one era to another. The question was for that kind of a world. $\endgroup$
    – Tom Au
    Commented Feb 16, 2015 at 18:38
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    $\begingroup$ Note that in Civilization, (at least Civ4) historical figures are not bound by their historical timelines, and no explanation is given for this but it is accepted. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 16, 2015 at 18:49
  • $\begingroup$ I vote for any of these en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… $\endgroup$
    – SJuan76
    Commented Feb 17, 2015 at 9:21
  • $\begingroup$ I suggest using them as a source of protein. Ultimately, most world leaders are only good at making little guy's life more and more miserable. The least the can do to make up for that is letting themselves get eaten. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 17, 2015 at 20:08

4 Answers 4


How important is explaining your mechanic of using a leader out of his normal lifespan? This doesn't seem to affect the play of your game itself - you already know how you'd like it to work.

I think you should just hand-wave it. Games are meant to be fun. You don't always need to explain the possibility of a mechanic.

If you still want to use his lifespan for keeping track how long you can use him, put Washington in "Storage", or whatever you want to call it, and don't worry about explaining how it happens.

You can also consider the following though:

  • There is a limited resource (the leader, who can only be used so much).

  • We want to be able to use the leader out not just once, but several times in specific situations - something that is not represented well by lifespans.

In my opinion, once you receive the leader, have him give you a certain number of points. Then, you can spend "Washington's Knowledge points" now, or later. You could still provide the leader for use and give him special bonuses during his lifespan.

Also, regarding cryogenically freezing, I had this question asked on the Biology site some time ago.

  • $\begingroup$ I tried to improve your question on the biology site. $\endgroup$
    – Tom Au
    Commented Feb 16, 2015 at 22:19
  • $\begingroup$ @TomAu Thanks, but I think the question you attempted to add would go better as a separate question, maybe with a link to the closed question. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 16, 2015 at 22:28

There currently IS a civilization which claims it does exactly that: recycling their leaders to use their skills in new situations, generation after generation.

It is Tibetan Buddhism, with their belief in reincarnation. Tulku "is a custodian of a specific lineage of teachings in Tibetan Buddhism who is given empowerments and trained from a young age by students of his predecessor."

There are about 500 such lineages in Tibet.

Wikipedia article does not mention how young tulku has to prove (many times) that he retained knowledge about objects from his previous life (and many are rejected if they fail to do that).

Trick is, the whole culture is focused on preserving those lineages, that is the most important thing in such culture.

  • $\begingroup$ Similar to a reincarnation concept, you could use the idea of "protegees" and create lineages via tutelage. $\endgroup$
    – Preston
    Commented Feb 16, 2015 at 18:53
  • $\begingroup$ Protege is not the same think. Idea of Tulku is that some advanced being, after obtaining Enlightenment and possible nirvana for himself and being able to avoid reincarnation, he (out of compassion to his students - because wants to help them to attain enlightenment, even if they could not do it in a single life) decides to reincarnate, and guide students also in his next life. And says where and into whom he will reincarnate, so students can find and identify him and his old consciousness in new body. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 16, 2015 at 19:01

Philip Jose Farmer in his Riverworld series employed a "wathan-catcher" built by aliens. It can catch souls after death, scan an imprint of their DNA from the soul, build a physical body from the plan, and inject the soul with all its memories into the body.

Another approach is time travel. A person can visit many epochs in history, but they have a life clock. They can only participate in as many events as their original lifespan permits. Each event uses up some of their time.

A third approach involves reverence and dedication to the principles and ideals of the person you want to become. The Bible has the story of Elisha who asked for a double-portion of the spirit of Elijah. Because of his perseverance and faithfulness to Elijah, Elisha received what he asked for when Elijah died. He was able to perform even greater miracles than Elijah.

A fourth approach is raiding parallel universes. You kidnap the desired person from an alternate reality that is time-shifted from ours. They will be almost the same as the desired personage, but may have a few randomly generated flaws or quirks. Could be fun, especially if they get kidnapped back when you need them most.


Perhaps cloning. Let's say you can preserve enough generic material from each leader to clone three replacements, and your cloning procedure produces imperfect copies which have a lifespan of only (say) five years. The nice thing about this solution is that the numbers like 3 clones and five years can be tuned to optimize gameplay, and you might give out bonus clones, extended clone lives, etcetera.


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