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     Basics (How to Play)


WHAT IS Builder Buddies? Answer: A simplified Minecraft clone (most similar to Survival Mode - Peaceful), but with a single world and server so everyone can play together. It uses a clever system of town mayors and leased land plots to solve the griefer problem. Because the game relies on online chat, it is not recommended for young children. (Though blatant swear words are filtered, there's still the possibility of trash talking, boyfriend/girlfriend situations, suggestive talk, etc. The official Terms of Service require the user to be at least 13 years old.). Otherwise, it's tons of fun, and it consistently gets 4.5 out of 5 star reviews.

WHY play a Minecraft clone? Answer: No doubt Minecraft PE is still the best video game ever. However, it is also a victim of its own success. So many features are being dumped into the game (potions, enchancements, beacons, etc.) it is starting to get away from its original simplicity. Plus Mojang is so focused on features that they aren't properly fixing bugs. Minecraft PE 0.16.x has so many bugs, and I can't open my favorite world, so right now (Dec. 2016) I'm taking a temporary break from Minecraft PE to try a new game.

Builder Buddies: Mystic Falls Dec. 2016: FBI Building with Lighthouse Style Tower Builder Buddies: Mystic Falls Nov. 2016: San Antonio Style River Walk Builder Buddies: Mystic Falls Nov. 2016: Sample Building Interior Wall and Floor Patterns

There is something to be said for simplicity! There's nothing like entering a world and literally making something out of nothing, like beautiful houses out of just dirt and wood blocks. Builder Buddies only has a small number of blocks, but those blocks are being utilized to the absolute extreme to make really cool things. THAT is creativity worth seeing! And with Builder Buddies, you can share your creations, interactively, with many others.

Note that Minecraft PE also has online multiplayer options. However, servers are hard to find, are usually limited to flat-mode creative, and worlds get reset often. Builder Buddies has a single world and a single, reliable server, beautifully optimized for online play of hundreds of users simultaneously. Also so far I haven't found a single bug.

Builder Buddies as seen in the iOS app store, Nov. 2016

The game is available from your mobile device's application store. It is available for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices. Consult the table below to decide which version to download.

WHY so many versions? Even though the game is extremely well designed, the developer is not good at marketing and has decided to release minor upgrades (such as new player skins) as separate apps. This means that all the Builder Buddies players in the world are now split up amongst the 6 apps, with each app having its own virtual world. Also the name keeps changing, making it really hard for the developer to establish a recognizable "brand." That's OK, let's continue to support the game, and eventually things should stabilize. For now, I recommend either the version with the highest popularity (for most players to be with) OR the most recent version (for latest skins), whichever you think you prefer. OR, try more than one... AMAZINGLY, the game is extremely small and won't take up much space! (That's the simple but powerful beauty of the Minecraft block concept!)

App Name Platform Cost Rank*/Launch Date
Builder Buddies (RECOMMENDED) iPhone / iPad Free 113
Builder Buddies 2 iPhone / iPad Free 150
Builder Buddies 4 iPhone / iPad Free 406
Block Buddies iPhone / iPad Free 417
Adventure With Companions Android 99 cents 2013-04
Fortress Friends Android 99 cents 2014-11
*iOS App rank is from AppAnnie.com, Role Playing Category, 2016-11-19. Adventure with Companions is 168 in the Game Simulation category and Fortress Friends is 99 in the Strategy category so it's not possible to directly compare these.

Once you start the game, type in a character name, and select a character appearance (skin), you will see the "Top Towns" screen:

Builder Buddies Top Towns Screen

Click on a town that looks interesting, and you will teleport there. (You can always teleport to a different city later.) I recommend you pick a smaller town farther down on the list, because it will be a shorter distance to walk from the center of town to the wilderness.

Next, you will find yourself wandering in a Minecraft-style 3D block world. All players currently online are in the same world, though they may be spread out. You will see grass and trees as well as player-created structures. Here is a "bird's eye view" of a section of the world that shows these things:

Builder Buddies Bird's Eye View showing wilderness and a town

Controls: The controls are very similar to Minecraft Pocket Edition's controls. Swipe the screen to change your view. Swipe in the gray box in the lower-left to move forward, backwards, left, or right. On the right side of the screen click on the button with a person on it to jump. To mine a block, press and hold your finger on it (for a while). To place a block from your inventory, tap the screen where you want to put it.

Movement: The game is most similar to Minecraft Survival Mode - Peaceful. So you have to collect your own blocks (WILDERNESS only - you can't alter town plots), and you can't fly. However, you also can't die, so you can safely jump from any height. To go up, you CAN face down, jump, then immediately place a block beneath you. It is hard to get the timing just right, but with practice you can stand on tall stacks of blocks to get a bird's eye view of an area.

World Coordinates: Displayed just above the inventory squares in the middle of the bottom of the screen. If you find something important, like a town you might like to join someday, write down the X and Z coordinates so you can get back there again. Also, sometimes people advertise new towns in the chat window using coordinates. Your own coordinates update as you move. The "Y" coordinate is the up/down (elevation) which ranges from 0 to 127.

Inventory: You get 6 "hot" slots at the bottom of the screen, plus 16 more that appear when you press the "..." button (press that button again to make the 16 disappear). As with Minecraft, each slot can only hold one type of block, but you can have up to 64 of that kind of block in that slot.

Chat/Command Window: When other players type messages, you see the most recent two at the top of the screen. Tap on it to open the full chat window, where you can even swipe to scroll back through dozens of messages, or type your own message or command at the bottom.

Gold Indicator and Button: Shows how much gold you have. If you click this button, you can purchase gold using real dollars. There are two other ways to get gold, to be discussed shortly.

Free Gold Button: Press this button NOW to instantly claim 20 gold. A timer also starts, and after one hour you can collect 20 more gold. You can even exit the game and come back later and the timer keeps running.

Shop Button: Press this button to use your gold to purchase blocks instead of collecting them. Usually you will purchase special blocks that could not be collected from the wilderness. If you are just starting the game, it is suggested to NOT spend your gold, except for, perhaps, a couple of torches if you need light to see while mining. Save your gold so you will have enough to purchase a plot of land in a town.

Pause Button: Press this to bring up the "Game Menu", where you can access the help manual or return to the title screen. If you return to the "Title Screen", you can continue the game, sign out, or go back to the "Top Towns" screen.

MORE COMING SOON

TODO: Teleport trick(s)


Phase One: The Wilderness

Starting the game, you won't have enough money to buy a plot, so, after you've enjoyed a tour of a town, head to the adjacent undeveloped lands. Here, you can freely collect all the blocks you want that you can find, for free, and you can even start building stuff.

PLEASE NOTE that wilderness does a full RESET every 24 hours (between 6am and 9am Eastern - exact time varies). Just be aware of that when you are building. In light of that, WHY would you want to build in this area? There are lots of reasons.

In the screenshot below, several players are enjoying a collaborative building project in the wilderness:

Builder Buddies - Players working together to build something

If you build right next to a busy town, there will be lots of people who will enjoy your creation(s) before the next wilderness reset. You can also take a screenshot of your creation so you'll always have it.

Plan to spend a day or two in the wilderness. It is good for practice. Set a goal of saving at least 333 gold before moving on to the next phase. Be patient. If you REALLY don't want to wait, you can purchase 1000 gold for $5.00 in real dollars.

The easiest way to collect gold is to sign in every hour. You can sign in, collect your gold, then sign out if need be. (While you are signed in, you can also look around to see if there are new players to talk to, new buildings, or new town plots up for sale.)

You can also dig down to rock and start mining for gold. Gold is easy to find, but it takes 8 seconds to collect a stone block and 15 seconds to collect a gold block, so it's fun for a while but it can be a bit tedious. (Most people opt to build stuff instead, then collect 20 free gold after an hour.)

Builder Buddies - Mining for Gold

If you do some serious mining, feel free to spend 4 gold to buy 2 torches so you can see better underground. You can pick up one torch and move it if need be, and even collect your torches when you are done so others won't take them. Otherwise, save your gold. You don't want to buy any premium blocks just yet as they will be easily "poached" by other players.


Phase Two: Leasing a Town Plot

If you lease a 16x16 plot of land from a town, that land will be protected so that only you (or the town's mayor) can alter it, and it will be immune from the daily Wilderness wipe. Note that you have to join a town before you can lease a plot, and you can only join one town. (It does not cost anything to join a town.)

In actual game terminology, you are "buying a plot." However, I prefer the term "lease" because you may not have that land forever. If you un-claim a plot, or leave a town to join another one, your land and anything on it is forfeited without refund. You can also lose your plot if the mayor doesn't log in for 31 days, or if the mayor has an issue with you and takes your plot back. Again, there is no refund. So it is in your best interest to check out several towns to find a good one. Find another player, and in the chat window see if you can find out who the mayor is and if there are any plots for sale. If you get good answers, chances are you are in a stable town that will last a long time.

Builder Buddies - Typical Plot For Sale in a Town

Use the chat/command window to navigate towns and plots. When you enter a town, you will see something like this in your chat window:

Left channel: Wilderness
Joined channel: Mystic Falls
Most towns have their own "channel", which means you see conversations only from people physically present in the town (at that moment), rather than every single online player. From the channel name, we now know we are in a town called "Mystic Falls".

As you move around the town, you will see messages with a tilde (~) in front of them like this:

 ~ Torrapicus Termite
 ~ Unowned - [For Sale $333]
This is how you know who owns each plot, or if a plot is for sale.

In the previous section I recommended saving 333 in gold for a plot. This is because it costs the mayor 333 to make a new plot, so often plots are sold for that amount. (Then the mayor will break even and be able to make another plot.) If you can find a slot for less, like 200, then you can use the extra gold you've already saved to buy the premium blocks you need, like glass.

To join a town and lease a plot, you type in commands in the chat/command window. If you put a forward slash (/) in front of what you type, it will be a command and not something that gets broadcasted to everyone in town. Here are the commands to join a town and lease (buy) a plot:

/town join mystic_falls
/plot claim
When typing the town name, it is not case sensitive, but you have to use an underscore in place of a space if there is a space in the town's name. You have to be in the town to join it (so it's kind of odd that you have to use the town's name in the first place because you are already there). When claiming a plot, you have to be standing on the plot AND you have to have sufficient gold coins (withdrawl will happen immediately). You will get a confirmation after each command so you know that the command worked.

Little Paige: PLOT FOR SALE AT OLD LYME FOR 100 x2237 z-1232
Some brand-new mayors will advertise in the Wilderness chat that there are cheap plots for sale, like 100 gold. Be careful that you are not leasing land in a fly-by-night town. You usually get what you pay for. If you pay 400 for a plot, you are probably getting a plot in a more favorable location in a well-established town with a lot of residents and exciting activity. Be patient and save your gold.

UPDATE! The latest scam is that mayors will give you a free plot if you donate to the town. DO NOT go for this! If you get a plot for free instead of paying for it normally, the mayor can take back your plot at any time for a mere 50 gold. (Otherwise, they can't take your plot back without your getting a FULL refund.)

If the town you want doesn't have a plot for sale, be patient, keep saving your money for a few days, and you'll have even more gold and even more options and can get something really good. Note that mayors get really busy. They like to keep their towns neat, and sometimes the only reason they are not selling new plots is because they haven't had time to clear a plot of trees, flatten it, and mark its boundaries (usually with leaf blocks). If you do this work FOR them, then all the mayor has to do is walk over, claim the plot, and put it up for sale. Plus you will get on the mayor's good side.

Too many players try to go too quickly through the game. They join, then want to lease a plot on the same day, then pester the mayor to sell a plot for some ridiculously low amount like 40 gold. A little patience and cooperation with the mayor will go a long way. To that end, it may be good to pick a medium-sized town, as in one of the mega cities the mayor will be too busy and plots will be expensive. Try a smaller one but one that has some good momentum going.



This page last updated 08/15/2017. Web site content (C) 2016,17 Kevin Jay North. Free for personal use; do not copy to other websites without permission.
The Minecraft Pocket Edition game itself is owned, sold and distributed by Mojang. Builder Buddies is owned, sold and distributed by Robledo Software, LLC. This web site is not affiliated with Mojang or Robledo.