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Minecraft Block Types

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Minecraft features randomly generated worlds consisting entirely of blocks. Since your character's continued existence depends on crafting things with said blocks -- at least in the game's monster-filled survival mode -- it's important to know which types are worth gathering and which should stay put. What follows is a list of the various block types you'll encounter in your Minecraft travels and what you can do with them.

 

1. Dirt

Yes, dirt actually comes in blocks, not clumps or piles, so you don't need a backhoe or bulldozer to shape the world in Minecraft -- a shovel will do just fine. You can either transform the land by digging out dirt blocks or simply use the soil to plant things. You can also use blocks to create a makeshift shelter, but only if you're desperate -- dirt's neither durable nor particularly attractive.

Primary use: farming.

2. Wood

Wood is quite easy to come by in Minecraft, as the blocks will spring forth from trees once you've started bashing (with your fists) or chopping (with an axe). Wood is the most important building block early in the game, as you'll use it to create charcoal and planks. Charcoal is a fuel type and a key component in creating torches.

Planks are not only a favorite among punitive pirates, but they also make serviceable structures in Minecraft. Yet the most important use of planks is for making crafting tables. A crafting table is essential in Minecraft since it allows you to make advanced items like tools. Planks can also be converted into sticks for crafting torches, arrows, swords and bows.

Primary uses: building, crafting.

3. Stone

Another plentiful block type, stone is a versatile building block that can be used to create just about anything you can think of, from walls and roads to statues and fences. Stone blocks can also be used to make buttons and pressure plates for more elaborate (re: evil genius) designs.

Primary uses: building, crafting.

4. Sand

Sand is one of the few block types that actually follows the laws of gravity, making it difficult to use for building things. It does, however, have several other interesting functions in Minecraft. Sand is the principle ingredient used in creating glass for windows and TNT for blowing things to smithereens. You can also make a sturdier block type, sandstone, with four blocks of sand

Primary use: crafting.

5. Gravel

Another block type affected by gravity, gravel can be used for converting pools of water into land, sealing off caves, creating makeshift stairways, and for other building projects that don't require the strength or durability of stone. You can break gravel blocks to obtain flint, a key component in making arrows and for crafting the fire-starting flint and steel tool.

Primary use: building.

6. Clay

While clay looks similar to stone blocks, it has a smoother texture and often appears near bodies of water and sand. Clay by itself can be used for building, but it's more useful to break the blocks into clay pieces for making bricks.

Primary use: crafting.

7. Ice

Useful if you've always wanted to build your very own Fortress of Solitude. Just make sure you keep it away from fire or you'll be left with a Fortress of Slopitude.

Primary use: building.

8. Snow

Snow blocks can also be used to create forts, but a more comical use of the white blocks is for creating snowballs. Snowballs can only be thrown and don't cause any damage, but they can knock back creatures with a well-timed hit.

Primary use: recreation.

9. Cobblestone

Commonly found in Minecraft's underground dungeons, cobblestone is easily recognized by its surface, which looks like multiple stones stuck together. It otherwise has the same general uses as normal stone. One key difference is that cobblestone is needed to build furnaces, which gives you the power to smelt items to create new objects.

Primary uses: building, crafting.

10. Sandstone

Featuring the look of sand but the durability of stone, sandstone is a fantastic choice for building structures that look like something from Ancient Egypt. Pyramids, anyone?

Primary use: building.

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