Urban Planet Weird Wednesday: Civilization in the year 3991 AD


Weird Wednesdays on Urban Planet takes a look at obscure, absurd, and curious things about cities around the world.

A decade-long computer simulation has come out with a look at how the world will look in the year 3991: where three massive superpowers have been engaged in a 1,700-year-long war for the scant resources left in a world crippled by melting ice caps and nuclear fallout — this week Weird Wednesday takes a little break from city-building and turns our focus towards empire-building.

Yesterday, Reddit user Lycerius posted a summary of the Civilization II session that he’s been playing on-and-off for the past ten years, spanning the in-game Stone Age through to the year 3991 A.D., and we couldn’t resist sharing his glimpse into the future:

The world itself is an apocalyptic wasteland. Near-eternal war and pollution has caused havoc to the climate — the polar ice caps melt roughly every century. All airable land has either become swampland or has been destroyed by nuclear fallout.

Three superpowers have either assimilated or destroyed almost every other civilazation on the planet, only small pockets of other once-contending nations remain.

Lycerius is playing as the Celts, whose democratic ways were cast aside a millenia ago because of internal politics which restricted military operations. Now a communist state, the Celtic nation has forgone all civil services to maintain its military — necessary to keep the theocratic nations of Vikings and Americans at bay, as well as quelling numerous guerilla rebellions that Lycerius’s civilization is plagued with.

The three nations have been at near-perputal war for the past 1,700 years. When cease-fires have been established, the Vikings (true to their stereotype) forego the peace and attack again on their next turn.

The world’s population has dropped by 90% over the past 2,000 years. All settlements (as there are no longer any cities) have become military factories, constantly pumping out tanks to maintain their borders. This keeps the nations from being able to provide any services to keep the population happy or maintain enough of an agricultural surplus for expansion. Lycerius says the front lines have hardly changed over the past millenium, as one army starts to make a little headway they are quickly destroyed in a nuclear blast.

Lycerius went to Reddit looking for advice on how he could end the eternal war and save both the planet and humanity. It has since been gaining attention across the internet, spawning it’s own subreddit and featured on the Huffington Post and Forbes.

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