Farmageddon 2nd Edition Dev Update

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Those of you who follow me on Twitter may have picked up on this by now, but Farmageddon 2nd Edition is in development for publication by Hyperbole Games in 2016. The European rights for the game were licensed to Trefl Krakow in 2015. It was incredibly thrilling to work with them on the development, largely due to their enthusiasm for the title, but also, to be working with these old friends again.

I cannot really explain it, but I just adore Farmageddon. I love the characters, the art, and I'm proud of the game. But, it was designed in 2011 and since then I've become a far superior designer. My craft is far more refined. I decided a short while ago that I wanted to publish a Farmageddon 2nd Edition for Hyperbole Games. I want to release the best version of the game.

This post is to discuss some of the proposed changes and where the game is currently at in development. However, at the outset, I'd love to define what you can expect from Farmageddon 2nd Edition at a high level.

  • Sturdy 2 piece box, 108 high quality linen cards, glossy folded rule sheet. The game's components will be almost identical to those of Hocus.
  • Improved gameplay, included a few rule tweaks and vastly improved cards, primarily in text quality and creating more interesting decisions.
  • Overhauled graphic design. The illustrations will be the same, but there will be new card backs, new box layout, new rules layout, icons to make cards more legible, and a revised, improved card layout. It'll look better than ever.
  • $15 MSRP
  • Some wooden bonus components for those customers and retailers who order directly from Hyperbole Games
  • No Kickstarter. This game will be entirely self-financed. We'll host a short pre-order once the game is on the boat, then it'll go into distribution. This is a risk for the company and I'm pretty excited to take a whack at it.

Now, let's get into some of the specific changes. Firstly, let's discuss modifications to the core rules.

  • Three Farmer Actions up from two Farmer Actions. This gives players more flexibility and combinations. However, players still only draw two Farmer cards (previously Action cards). Therefore, managing these is more important than ever.
  • Mixing FrankenCrops into the Crop deck. Previously there were 60 plain Crops, then 10 FrankenCrops -- one of each. Now, there are 40 plain Crops and 20 FrankenCrops. Still 10 unique cards, but there are 2 of each.
  • Making FrankenCrops cost an Action. This was tested and removed. It just didn't work with how the FrankenCrops were designed and it removed some of the fun of getting a FrankenCrop. This idea is dead.
  • I experimented with putting reminder icons on the Farmer cards. Little icons that would indicate key ideas like "this card is for theft," or "this card gives you more cards," or "this card protects cards." The issue is that it doesn't really help. It mostly just adds more junk to the card. Noble idea, but it doesn't quite work. This idea is dead.
  • No unique rules for 2 player games. I used to have a few custom rules for the 2 player game. These rules were implemented back when the game was on The Game Crafter, back when the cards were VERY different. The result was that 2 player games were incredibly tense...or absolute blow outs. The rules directly led to this by curtailing the number of Farmer cards drawn. Now, the game is the same and it allows for a simpler rule set and a superior experience.
  • Variable starting Crop cards. The player who goes first has a slight advantage in that they will have a higher probability of more Crop cards over the course of the game. To offset this, the first and 2nd player begin with fewer Crop cards.
  • Better key words. This is something that drives me batty about the original game. I was very inconsistent with my terminology. Now, I'm consistently using Destroy, Discard, and Harvest to guide players.
  • Switching the "must fertilize once" rule to "do one crop action rule." The idea was to simplify this. However, if players don't fertilize, it removes a key risk element from the game. The game immediately improved a full letter grade when I reverted this change. This idea is dead.
  • Crop, FrankenCrop, and Farmer cards have a simple icon on them to tell you "hey, this is a card of this type." It makes referencing cards in rules far simpler. This was a minor confusion for some players in the old version I sought to address.

Now, let's talk about how some of the specific Farmer cards are changing. This is the meat of the work before me.

Other than improving the wording, these Farmer cards haven't changed.

  • Bumper Crop
  • Crop Insurance
  • Crop Rotation
  • Dust Bowl
  • Pesticide
  • Rented Land
  • Thresher

The Farmer cards below haven't changed in end result, but the specifics of their execution has.

  • Foreclosure: This used to have a weird amount of math - pay crop cards equal to half the crop's fertilizer value rounded down. It was just over balanced and complex. Now, you always pay 2 Crop cards. This means you pay the most with Wary Squash or Grumpy Melon, and you overpay a little on Sassy Wheat and Sluggo Corn. It's simpler and just much better.
  • Foul Manure: This used to be really complex. You could only get rid of it with Dust Bowl, and no actions could target it, and you couldn't harvest or fertilize, but anyone could discard 2 cards to get rid of it...wow. Now, it makes you card immune to Farmer cards. That's the key goal. But, the fertilizer cost of your crop goes up by 2. So, you can protect your crop...but it costs more. Or, you can slow down an opponent. Exact same end result, but MUCH simpler.
  • Genetic Superworm: This used to be just like Foreclosure in that you had to halve the fertilizer amount. Yuck. Now, it simply reduces the fertilizer amount by 2. Sassy Wheat and Sluggo are free then, Melon and Squash cost 1 and 2 to harvest. Same result, much simpler.

Now, the Farmer cards below here still have the same intent, but their functionality has changed a little bit.

  • Darn Gophers: This used to be "steal 1 Fertilizer from any planted Crop." Now, it's "steal 1 card from any planted Crop." Want to steal a Fertilizer? Take it. Want to get that Bumper Crop or Pesticide off of there? Take that instead. It makes it a much more interesting card.
  • Farm Futures: This used to be "draw 2 crop cards or steal a random card from an opponent." Stealing a card, like skip a turn, is a take-that cliche. Needs to go. It also is weird as the cards have distinct back, so "steal random" isn't that random and it leads to questions. Now, you can draw 2 or put the card in your harvest pile. If you do this, it foregoes immediate benefit, but you'll get $1 for every Crop in your pile. I know this will need balance testing, but the idea is that the card incents you to harvest more lower value crops instead of simply high value ones. Curious to see how this changes things!

I've modified the distribution of some cards. I made it so that Darn Gophers and Farm Futures have 4 cards in the deck instead of 5. This is to curtail their new power. I increased the number of Pesticides and Rented Land from 3 to 4. Rented Land is a great card that eases the frustration of not being able to plant. Having more Pesticides hinders the potency of Farm Futures and combos nicely with Darn Gophers' new power.

Finally, let's talk about FrankenCrops. Many of these cards were zany and wonky. By and large they worked really well, but they caused a lot of strange edge cases and could be confusing. I really wanted to scrub these and really improve them.

Some of these cards didn't need to change at all, including:

  • Bodacious Broccoli
  • Zippy Carrot
  • Riled Rice
  • Jazzy Coffee Bean
  • Flame Fruit
  • Communal Pumpkin

However, a few of the others ones really needed a face lift.

  • Zombo-Weed: This card used to clear all the fertilizer off fields in the game. It rarely triggered in a meaningful way. Now, it can kill any Crop. However, you give the Zombo-Weed to the victim. I think it's more zombie like now as well!
  • Stinky Truffle: This card used to let you sort through the Crop discard pile and, yuck. I hate cards that do that. Now, you simply get the top card. If you're really paying attention, you can time this to get a really sweet card on top. Simpler with a similar result.
  • Helpful Tater: Previously, this gave you $4 if you used it as Fertilizer. So...obviously everyone did that. It was an obvious play, and obvious plays are boring. Now, if you use it to Fertilize someone else's crop, it gives you cards. That's a nice simple choice.
  • Mirror Bean: I hate this old card. I hate it so much. Previously, it was immune to all Farmer cards, like Foul Manure. But, unlike Foul Manure, it didn't have a counter. It also led to strange issues with how it interfaced with FrankenCrops. And finally, because it wasn't worth much, players would just place it to occupy a field to screw others. I hate this card. Such a terrible, bad card. This one has gone through a few iterations. Currently, it's similar to Stinky Truffle. It's worth more, and now, when you harvest it, you get the top Farmer card of the discard pile. If you time this well, you can get a really good card.

So, that's the gist of the changes so far. I'm eagerly testing and tweaking cards, layout, and more. I'll be sending RFQs to a few graphic designers to see who is interested in working on Farmageddon 2nd Edition. I cannot wait to see it on shelves with the Hyperbole Games logo!

If you're interested in testing Farmageddon 2nd Edition or even just reading the rules, email me at grant at hyperbolegames dot com!