Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Farm Phresh: A Non-digital Edutainment Game

Mmmm, antioxidants...
Image URL: http://images.mudfooted.com/fruit-and-vegetables.jpg

Where do you buy your fresh produce? Do you get it from the grocery store, or do you hit up the local farmer's market? How do you know what foods to choose for this week and the next? This week's non-digital game task was to create a fun experience which would teach local residents when specific fruits and vegetables are in season. How exactly does one make a game based on the availability of produce? For hours, we asked ourselves this very question. After intently studying Ontario's food availability guide we decided to divide the months up  into their respective seasons, and distribute the produce accordingly. 

Our game board. The 4 seasons are represented by the quadrants of the image, and the years by the numbers.

We created 4 decks of produce cards corresponding to each season. It was then decided that the game would take place over the span of 5 "years", with players collecting seasonal, and all season produce (seasonal produce being worth more money than all season). In the interest of adding depth and player interaction, we added the ability to trade produce, and gave players the option of purchasing farms. When a player owns a farm that produces a certain fruit or vegetable, they are able to profit from the goods of other players. This and the rest of the game's quirks are explained in the rules section below.

Players: 4 or more

Dominate the market in this all-out battle for farm produce domination! Compete to win the most money by growing and selling a variety of fruits and vegetables - or even trading for what you think could be the produce that rockets you to the top!


- Each Season Deck must be shuffled separately and placed next to their respective Season on the board.
- Each player receives $25 (each money piece is worth $5).
- The spinner is then set to “Spring.”
- Players can decide who goes first however they please.

At the start of a players turn, the player has the option to purchase a Farm Card by flipping over a Farm Card – your first purchase costs $10 and each subsequent purchase costs $5 more (2nd is $15, 3rd is $20, etc.)
Players may also trade any Farm or Produce cards with other players before beginning their turn.
The player then flips over a card from the current Season.
The player collects the money the card states – the rarer the card, the more money its worth. PLAYERS KEEP THE PRODUCE CARDS.
If another player has a Farm that produces the turned over card, the player who flipped the card must pay the Farm owner half of what they would’ve received.
After one whole round (e.g., when the first player begins their next turn), the Season changes to the next one in a clock-wise fashion.
After all four seasons have been played through, a new year begins.
Play ends after the end of the 5th year.
Players tally up all their Produce Card values and whoever has the highest value wins.
Players must also consider the End-Game Bonuses before confirming who wins:
o   Most Vegetables: $20
o   Most Fruit: $20
o   Rock a P (2 Peaches, Pears and Plums): $25
o   Garden Salad (1 Lettuce, 1 Carrot, 1 Cucumber, 1 Onion, 1 Mushroom and 1 Tomato): $35


While a game about produce isn't exactly the most compelling thing I've ever played, the resource management and acquisition based game-play makes for an almost monopoly like experience. The best edutainment games are the ones that make you forget you're supposed to be learning something, and I think we've accomplished just that.