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on February 12, 2010
I understand that scriptural phrase now. I spend thousands on my fruit trees, you spend the same thousands on yours and when it comes to harvest, you do significantly better than me, or maybe you miss and get nothing at all. Better luck next year. But let not your heart be troubled, next year starts right away!.

The game board look s a lot like monopoly, except in this game you compete against the law of the harvest, and the proverbial boardwalk (fruit trees) is available to anyone who wants to and can afford to take on the risk of the orchards.

For those of you who hate Monopoly because you can't stand taking someone's last red cent or their properties in kind, or are frustrated by how long it takes to get that cent and their property, take heart, these problems don't exist in this game.

The board represents a calendar year with rentable grazing ranges for heads of cattle here and there. You go around the board like in monopoly and borrow tens of thousands of dollars at a time to purchase acres of planted crops, or heads of cattle or orchards, as well as farm machinery. Here's how it works:

Game Play

You kick the year off going through the buying season. When you land of harvest squares for the different type of good, if you've got some of that you roll to see the return on your investment and draw and expense card. Hopefully you don't go in the hole for the harvest. This is not devastating, but it is discouraging.

You continue doing this paying off debt and borrowing more till you build up enough income that you have some positive net value. Whoever gets to the net value of 250,000 first wins. You can set that bar wherever you like, I suppose.

I hate to tell you what to do because what do I know anyway?

It's a better Idea to have your debt paid off then to have tens of thousands in debt and tens of thousands on hand because sometimes you have to pay the piper, and he's pricey.

I'm partial to heads of cattle myself.

Theme

I do look forward to being able to harvest, and honestly, it has the same feel as harvesting in my own life, first come the strawberries, then the raspberries, then the apricots and so on down the line till the grapes. They don't all happen at the same time, but I'm telling you, while it's true I have off years with fruit trees, I'd never have an off year with the heads of cattle, but what do I know? I apparently get sucked in enough to have it rattle my chain.

Balance

It's curious that I like this game despite the luck element. Perhaps this is because While it's possible to miss a type of harvest by rolling by it, there are several harvest spaces that you can land on, so that mitigates the chance of missing. And when the die tells you how well your harvest is, that can be pretty frustrating when your neighbor is always rolling high and you are rolling low. It's also frustrating when no good buys are available to you, but there are plenty of opportunities for buys so that's mitigated some as well. All that to say, it might not be a very fair game, but it might be- maybe. The trick it to not invest your ego in a game of chance.

Interaction

Interaction is medium to low. Very little you do affects others, you can feign or sincerely express empathy when someone else's bills are bigger than the take. Or you can offer unsolicited advice- always a favorite of in-laws and parents alike. And then my personal favorite: audible musings such as, "Curious, it never would have occurred to me to make a play like that."

Learning Curve

Nil. It takes all of two minutes to explain and you are off and running.

Downtime

Present- you've got to take turns, and with the rare exception of someone buying something that you would have liked to buy- a ranch for cattle, As I said, there's very little that anyone does that affects you. It would be a curious thing though, to try to take turn simultaneously. If any of you try this, let me know how it goes. I guess you'd need several sets of dice.

What's not to Like?

The luck factor- but I get the impression there is a lot of luck involved with farming.

It would be nice if the tractor had a larger role in the game. You can easily go through the game without purchasing any. Wouldn't it be nice if it acted as a modifier for your harvest? Maybe you get to reroll for harvests if you get a 1 or something like that. Then you could make the same rule for rolling a 2 if you have a harvester, too. I think I've come up with some good house rules.

Collateral Endorsement

My 2, 4, and 6 year old love putting all the little puzzle pieces together. It's called "the cows game" We haven't done anything with the actual board yet.
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on January 29, 2016
We bought a ton of board games this Christmas because my 14-year-old nephew was in a cast and needed to be on the calmer side during his visit. My husband had grown up with this game and suggested we give it a try. The game is highly inventive and I found it to be a little difficult to grasp at the beginning, but you just have to keep plugging and it will begin to make sense to non-farming people. The game gets really fun once the players have begun to build some cash reserves--but this takes a while. The 14- and 11-year old lost interest after an hour, as did my 82-year-old mother (who won despite her complaints about how long the game takes and how poorly she was doing). Knowing from the outset that the game will take a couple of hours is important, as is having the right person be the banker (the banker's role is complex, fraught with constant interruptions, and requires a good grasp of basic math skills). The kids learned things in this game about life, the good and the bad, about money and planning, that they would never, ever have learned elsewhere, especially when their lives are ruled by gaming and other electronic distractions, and I guarantee that they will be begging to play it again next Christmas!
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on July 27, 2012
I've grown up playing the Farming Game and absolutely LOVE the game. However in this newer version they've changed some of the game pieces. I will say the cards are an improvement and seem to be more durable; the older ones had a construction paper feel to it. Also the board folds into an easier to store square shape rather than a long rectangle. My disappointment comes mostly from the "acre" pieces. In the older version they were a reusable static sticker that could be placed on the board an not interfere with game play. This version has "puzzle pieces" that just lay on the board and get knocked around when rolling dice. Still a fun, addicting game... I just wish they wouldn't have made that change.
5 helpful votes
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on January 3, 2016
This is an amazing board game for the family! I'd rank it better than Monopoly without a doubt. I come from an actual farming family and thought it would be a fun gift for my father. We all sat down to play and understood the reviews saying "make it around the board once before judging the game." It takes that first round to get into the swing of things, but then you all get hooked. We stayed up late into the night, and left the table with the promise of picking up where we left off the next day! A picture was even taken to ensure no cheating! That's how into the game we all were, and our ages ranged from 25-59 years old! This is a great game to encourage math skills with youngsters and has some realistic farming challenges. I'd recommend this game to anyone! My boyfriend and I are actually buying the game for ourselves as well!
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on January 4, 2011
Our family had one of the first versions of The Farming Game from way back when it was independently produced. GREAT game. I used to play it for hours by myself.

If you haven't played The Farming Game before:

* This is a great game that involves a limited amount of competition, a fair amount of luck, and a lot of strategy.
* The choices you're given vary each time you play and you have to make strategy decisions based on those choices - you can't play it the same way every time.
- Do you go in debt or not?
- Do you buy a lot of Cows? (low start-up cost, high ongoing expense, high reward)
- Should you put your money into Fruit? (high cost, high risk, high reward)
- Is it even worth buying Hay? (low risk, low reward)
Because your opportunities vary based on the cards you draw the answers to those questions may be different each game.
* The game can take a long time and is more fun with at least three players or at least three farms in operation (see previous statement about playing by myself)
* If you're playing it with kids for the first time I recommend playing it individually with them, one on one, first so that they understand the rules without a lot of competition.
* As regards the competition aspect - in this game you are trying to run a successful farm - you are competing with others for options to purchase limited resources but other than that you are playing pretty independently of the others who are playing with you. The one with the most money at the end wins but that is a small part of the game. You can allow trading for resources so that each person specializes or you can make it more competitive by prohibiting trades. If you play with four or more players it will naturally be more competitive because the available acreage (the Option to Buy cards) will be spread over a larger number of farms.

If you have played The Farming Game before:

* This updated version is almost exactly the same as the original version, with the following differences:
- Instead of the colorform type of vinyl acreage this game has puzzle pieces
- Instead of uniform acreage this has 1 x and 3 x units (10/30 acres of hay or grain, 5/15 acres of fruit, 10/30 cows) that are not well marked so you have to pay more attention to the actual pieces
- The OTB, Farmer's Fate, and Op Exp cards are now like playing cards not business cards (imo this is an improvement)
- gameboard folds in four like more and more games today so the box takes up less space
- you now buy "pregnant cows" instead of just cows. This is endlessly entertaining to the ten year old.
* Other than those changes the options on the cards and spaces are all the same as they used to be, the board is the same, the play is the same, the grid is the same.

This is by far my favorite game ever. If you haven't played it before it is really worth trying. If you are looking to play an old favorite this is essentially the same as the original especially when it comes to the actual game play.
6 helpful votes
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on March 14, 2015
This is one of my favorite games from my childhood. My siblings and I loved this game so much that I felt the need to buy it just to have it on hand just in case we want to play it again. I highly recommend it. The farm locations in the game are based on actual locations in Washington State. As a farmer, you start each year by either purchasing more Fruit, Cattle, Grain, or Hay, etc. and then seeing each season what kind of harvest you can bring in from your investments. The player that reaches a certain amount of wealth from their efforts first is the winner. The game is long enough to keep you entertained but short enough so that you don't lose interest and give up (I don't know if I've ever completed a full Monopoly game). My siblings and I used to extend the amount of wealth needed to win in order to keep playing the game longer. Overall I would deem it a "diamond in the rough" type of game. You wouldn't expect it to be as much fun as it is.
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on July 18, 2017
What a fun game. A great way to learn about the ups and downs of real farming. I grew up in a farm so I appreciate and understand the game. Very well done.
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on May 3, 2016
The Farming Game has been in our family for decades. It's a monopoly type game that doesn't pit one player against the others. Every strives to become a full time farmer. Over the years we've added some "house rules" to keep the game interesting. If you find the game starts slowly, increase the amount of money for each player at the start, reduce the amount of debt or start each player with more property. Lots of other enhancements make this an interesting game. We play it annually at Thanksgiving as part of our Harvest Celebration.
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on March 5, 2014
You should know going in that this game is a little hokey. Don't buy this game if you're looking for something with a lot of gadgets and gizmos. Much like the life of a farmer, this game can be slow and tedious and sometimes filled with frustrating luck, but the game more than makes up for it when it comes to harvest season.

The Farming Game is a fun, slow-paced game where you compete against your neighbors to see who can grow and diversity their farm while dealing with issues only farmers worry about (planting, harvesting, pests, and Uncle Sam). The game is still very enjoyable. I've played this game for more than a dozen years and finally had to buy a new one after the old set (which had vinyl stickers) finally lost too many pieces to be of use.

I love this game, it is a great addition to my family's collection of board games and makes for a great conversation starter with friends when I pull it out.
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on March 18, 2014
I grew up on this game; it came out every Thanksgiving at Grandma & Grandpa's in Iowa (yup-they were farmers). So, I had to have one at home! This is all my niece and nephew (10 & 8) want to play when they come over :)

The game has a easy flow to it once you know what you are doing. And while it's entertaining, you are also able to play and carry a conversation while playing. This is a never-ending game, so we always set a time limit for when we will quit and when time is up, everyone can finish playing around the board until their "year" is up.

There is not really any big strategy to the game, except keep buying as long as you have the credit and if you play long enough the dividends will come back! Also, buy "fruit" as soon as you can afford some, it pays off big!

This game is good clean fun and I'm sure my family will continue to play this forever!
1 helpful vote
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