A God contest is organized. Each participants starts with a human-free alternate Earth and a certain amount of god-credits to buy humans and supplies. Some Gods used a big part of their budget to acquire Legendary Artifacts such as a duplication machine or a magical sperm bank, and others preferred to do go with the number and buy a lot of humans.

Judges evaluate the participants every hundred years and give to each god grades based on a lot of (sometimes contradictory) criteria.
Examples of criteria : increase of population, surface colonized, technological advances, originality of Arts techniques, efficiency of governments, weirdness of religions, complexity of languages, diversity of cultures, number of bananas eaten per day, etc.

Most contestants specialize in a few specific domains.

Our Contestant

One god chose the "strength in number" approach and bought a huge bulk of randomly generated humans, with hunter-gatherer tech level, basic notions of agriculture and a few tools.

His goal is to create the most diverse possible cultures/civilizations in one thousand years. He is looking for a set of locations where hunter-gatherers would survive and multiply, and that are different and distant from each other.

He already selected a few areas to drop off his humans :

  • Manaus, Brasil : in the hearth of Amazonia, starting point for a Rain Forest civilization.

  • Thunder Bay, Canada : Great Lake area, the northernmost location of this list.

  • Haridwar, India : close to the source of the Ganges, where it's still close to the Indus, the settlers will then follow the river stream to colonize the rest of the subcontinent.

  • Palermo, Sicilia : fertile island in the middle of the Mediterranean sea.

  • Vanderbijlpark, South Africa : has a river, copper and iron ore in the general area (I wanted a settlement with access to both, but I'm not sure this is the best choice)

  • Pape'ete, Tahiti : good starting point for an Polynesian culture.

  • Launceston, Tasmania : safe starting place before colonizing Australia, has fresh water.

(ugly) Map of the settlements :

World distribution of settlers

My Question

I'm trying to extend this list but every good location I find seems too similar to a location I already selected. At this point I need only one new settlement area.

What is the best location to complete the list ?

It should allow hunter-gatherers to thrive, be reasonably close to other colonizable lands, and be situated in a biome not yet present in the list.

The objective here is to diversify the cultures, which are strongly influenced by their environment, so I'm looking for a place with unique flora, fauna, natural resources, climate or geologic features.

Note : If you propose a list of places sharing the exact same features, I'll accept it as one answer.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ "hunter-gatherer tech level, basic notions of agriculture" - this sounds incoherent. Agricultural revolution was THE threshold. There was nothing bigger than that. Any group stuck on pure hunter-gatherer tech level would be irrelevant in terms of "the game" - and they stuck if they have no immediately suitable plants (and later - big animals), even if they are VERY successful hunter-gatherers. The book which covers precisely your game is Guns, Germs, and Steel. Based on it, I'd say your Haridwar people would be uncontested winners. $\endgroup$
    – kubanczyk
    Sep 16, 2015 at 12:34
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Yes I understand what you say. The agricultural knowledge is an easier part. The hard part is to have many suitable plants and animals in the same area. You cannot move a domesticated plant from southern Australia to northern Australia just like that, it won't grow. You cannot domesticate just about any plant/animal because you have knowledge. And the book really goes deeply into this. $\endgroup$
    – kubanczyk
    Sep 16, 2015 at 12:48
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @kubanczyk Good point, thanks ! I'll move a bit the settlements to make them closer to suitable crops/animals. I think the Indian settlement will end up in the Indus valley instead of the Ganges valley. Wikipedia was pretty useful : en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_food_origins $\endgroup$ Sep 16, 2015 at 13:09
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Nice try, god. You conveniently forgot to specify that the rules of the tournament prohibit asking for support on the Internet. Go back and play fair, or you'll be disqualified. $\endgroup$
    – o0'.
    Sep 16, 2015 at 13:49
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ With only a thousand years of testing, you're going to have huge problems if you don't put part of your god-credits into domesticated animals - domestication took a long time, and you need animal power ASAP; breeding up horses to a useful size took thousands of years. In a quick list of importance: Dogs, horses (cultural reasons, donkeys are more functional; but don't get you cavalry), goats, cattle, sheep, donkeys, camels (if you want desert cultures), oxen. Pigs and chickens may be helpful, but not required. Cats domesticated themselves. $\endgroup$
    – user3082
    Sep 23, 2015 at 0:04

4 Answers 4


How about a Steppe environment? The Tibetan Plateau would be a good starting point if you wanted a nomadic society, though I'm unsure as to how many people it could reasonably support if they were just dumped there (the same is true of all the regions you've selected though)

The range of weather and temperature conditions throughout the year would breed a race of hardy yet adaptable people, and while the geological region gives a few options for expansion (see: all of Asia) it's also remote and inhospitable enough that their culture would be able to develop apart from the rest of the world for a while. If history repeats itself, then you could end up with a horde of men on horses causing trouble for a while.

While the flora and fauna might be quite similar to Thunder Bay, the harsh conditions and sheer altitude should breed a completely different race of people. Oh, and Yaks. Lots of Yaks.

  • $\begingroup$ You have to have the horses first, or you die on the plains... unless you have buffalo: blind, stupid, and near deaf. American plains would be better. God really needs domesticated animals, or the ability to move some animals around. Could by with domestication skills, dogs are very useful too. $\endgroup$
    – user3082
    Sep 22, 2015 at 23:46
  • $\begingroup$ Not really. A hunter gatherer society could live on the existing wildlife (Yak are basically high altitude bison), and/or catch and tame the indigenous species (which includes horses). I agree that adding domesticated animals to this god's toolbox would make initial implantation of these people much, much, much more successful though. $\endgroup$
    – Joe Bloggs
    Sep 23, 2015 at 11:00

OK, lets start with the basic rule that all initial civilizations should begin around freshwater sources (rivers or lakes that is). In a world teeming with wildlife, hunting should not be such a big problem. Finding drinking quality water is the biggest problem your hunter-gatherer pioneers are going to face.

I have attached a map of where to place the 8 initial pioneers. Here is some detail. The points are numbered from right to left.

1- Darling River, Australia.

Plains terrain. Unique fauna and flora of Australia. Excellent for initial kangaroo and moa hunting and later shift to agriculture.

2- Okinawa, Japan

This island gets Kokuba, Nakama and Nakara rivers. A series of islands will ensure that this would quickly turn into a fishing civilization once the pioneers have hunted the island's edible fauna to extinction. A unique seafaring civilization, I must say.

3- Borneo, Indonesia

Once again, an island civilization. But unlike the Okinawan pioneers, Borneo pioneers have a much better go at agriculture and the large Borneo Island can sustain hunter gatherer culture for longer. Furthermore, the region has a distinct (warm and wet) climate than the Okinawan region which results in tropical rainforests and an array of breathtaking beaches. Freshwater source is Kapuas River.

4- Indus River, Indian subcontinent

I prefer this over Ganges as the Indus Delta has more terrain variation than the Ganges Delta. Here you get forest, semi desert and completely desert environments at far lesser travel than you would, in the Ganges Delta. Furthermore, it is closer to the Himalayas series of mountains so that adds yet more diversity. No wonder Indus Valley civilizations predate Egyptian or Ganges.

5- Nile River, Egypt/Sudan

This would be the best place to place your African civilization. The Nile has vast areas of forest and desert terrains and game is plentiful. Excellent place to begin spreading in the African continent.

6- Danube River, Bulgaria

Great place for the Polynesian culture and spreading into Europe.

7- Amazon River, Brazil

This is the textbook-perfect place to begin the rainforest civilization. People in this region will probably never give up hunting permanently, considering the vast amount of game they find here.

8- Missouri River, America

The best place to begin the great plains civilization. Like the Indus Valley, this is a heaven upon Earth for the early settlers.

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ I think I prefer keeping one settlement next to the Great Lakes and one on Tahiti, to have several civilizations that don't start from the banks of a great river. Plus don't forget that in a thousand years they won't be able to fully colonize whole continents, and it's a short time to build a culture. The important thing here is that they start the "differenciation process" from the very beginning. I want them to survive and reproduce but I don't care if they don't maximise their population increase. $\endgroup$ Sep 16, 2015 at 17:46
  • $\begingroup$ And thanks for the Australia location! I'll move the Tasmania one to it. $\endgroup$ Sep 16, 2015 at 17:47
  • $\begingroup$ Don't just stick to the "culture" aspect. Also consider the variation in physical build, color, lifestyle and religion which would result due to the variation in climate and the activity of natural forces (which would be different in all regions I have specified). If you must (and must it be) have one settlement in Tahiti, then remove the Borneo settlement from my map and replace it with Tahiti. $\endgroup$ Sep 16, 2015 at 19:10
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe China instead of Japan? More room to expand, and less likely for the initial colony to be wiped out by a freak storm/tsunami $\endgroup$
    – nzaman
    Jul 28, 2016 at 9:39
  • $\begingroup$ @nzaman: The dude asked for as much geographic and cultural variation as possible. There's already a civilization in north India. That has all the potential to expand in all 4 directions. $\endgroup$ Jul 28, 2016 at 16:23

As soon as you want your society become farmers, i recommend you any place with very fertile soil.

Chernozem is one of the high ferile soil,a nd quoting wikipedia:

There are two "Chernozem belts" in the world: from eastern Croatia (Slavonia), along the Danube (northern Serbia, northern Bulgaria (Danubian Plain), southern Romania (Wallachian Plain) and Moldova) to northeast Ukraine across the Black Earth Region and southern Russia into Siberia, and the other in the Canadian Prairies in Manitoba. Similar soil types occur in Texas and Hungary. Chernozem layer thickness may vary widely, from several inches up to 60 inches (1.5 metres) in Ukraine.

Which and places marked as red on map, might be best for that kind of society. enter image description here


If it is full reboot, and we have similar circumstances when our civilization was created, i think it is worth to mention about places where sivilisation emerged in our world.

  • Fertile Crescent : Egiptians and Sumerians
  • Indus river : Harappans
  • Yellow River : Ancient China (Xia Dynasty)
  • Central Andes : Norte Chico
  • Mesoamerica : Olmecs

The Andes in Peru and Bolivia.

The climate is more diversified and generally more clement than in Tibet. It's close to the equator, therefore the region experience only small variations in temperatures over the year. And it has good rainfalls except on the western slopes.

It's in the mountains. That means a wide range of different climates, crops and cultures. This diversity might favor commerce as each pockets of settlements will have different crops, the incentive to trade is greater.


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