A Review of Farmerama: The Board Game

Farmerama

Not often does an online game make its way to the masses via board game. However, after experiencing success around the world and especially in Europe, Farmerama: The Board Game has been brought to life by Ravensburger Games and given players of the free-to-play browser game the chance to play with friends and family in board game form.

The idea itself is quite interesting: take a beloved farm simulation game and give it the chance to become a family pastime. Admittedly, I don’t have too much experience with these kinds of games but hailing from the online gaming industry, I figured it would be a great, new way to experience a “classic” from the free-to-play gaming branch.

Gameplay

The gameplay of Farmerama: The Board Game is essentially the same as what players have to do in the browser-based version. The goal is for 1 to 4 players to get crops, feed animals, and produce goods. By producing these goods, stars are awarded and the player with the most stars at the end wins!

After opening the box and gathering up your friends to play, players will find that the game consists of a number of various, sometimes small, items. There are small tokens for crops (hay, carrots, wheat, corn and water), four different animal markers, a scorecard for each player with cubes to mark points, action cards, a farm card for each player and a central playing field.

Each round is divided up into four different phases – Phase 1: Select Action Cards, Phase 2: Crop Token Distribution, Phase 3: Performing Actions, Phase 4: “Cleanup”. These phases represent the similar steps that must be performed in the browser game as well. Every time all four phases are completed, the round ends and starts over.

Review

We, the editors of browsergamez.com, have a lot of experience with the farm hijinks of the Farmerama Online Game, so when sitting down together to test out Farmerama: The Board Game, there was plenty of excitement in the air. We figured it would be similar to the gameplay of the browser-based game and while we were somewhat right, the end result was truly a board game experience.

Getting started was definitely tricky. The instructions, although clear, were quite long and drawn out. We were unsure of what the next step would be and had there not been very helpful pictures along the way, we would have been completely lost! However, after doing a trial run of the first round, we soon found ourselves hardily working on our farms and trying to get more points than everyone else.

Choosing the right actions is vital to getting the most points and thereby winning. For example, if two of the same action cards are placed on the table at once from two different players, then new crop tokens will be given out. However, if all action cards that have been played are different, then the competition for the limited tokens begins.

Here is where the parts of the game we didn’t like started to come out – the person with the least amount of crop tokens receives them automatically. If there are players with the same number of tokens, then the player with a scarecrow still visible on the player’s card receives the new token. If there are no visible scarecrows and players' number of tokens are the same, then the player with the least amount of “edible” crops in the shed receives the tokens. Whew.

One of the more interesting things we found is that there are actually two “versions” of Farmerama: The Board Game. For those players who have mastered the basic game, they can test their skills and have even more challenging harvests with the professional version which has special starting rules and changes to the phases.

Overall, we found that the crossover from browser game to board game was done fairly well, albeit a little complicated in the beginning. The basic elements of the game provide players with a chance to play against each other with a light-hearted and often wacky feeling about the game. There is also the chance to make it more challenging and although we may not be ready to take on that challenge, it lends the board game replayability factor that some other board games don’t have.