Feeding Frenzy – A Kickstarter Quick-look at My Happy Farm
When I first joined the ranks of the hardcore gamers lo so many years ago, if someone had asked me what the most prolific theme in gaming would be in 20 years my answer would not have been farming. War, maybe. Space travel, most certainly. But raising pigs, picking radishes/squash/bok choy, and figuring out the best price I could get out of my bundle of hay at the county market would not have been the first things that popped to mind. And, yet, here we are, in the future, and farming is everywhere. I can’t fully explain the allure, and robots do most of the harvesting these days, but we all flock to farm-themed games like a murder of crows to a cornfield.
At least, Phil Kilcrease certainly does. Phil is the founder of 5th Street Games, publisher of the fun titles Castle Dash, The Crow & The Pitcher and the recently-Kickstarted Farmageddon. See? Farming! And now Phil has a new farming project up on Kickstarter – My Happy Farm. This one’s a bit different, though; My Happy Farm is a Ukrainan import and has a distinctly Euro bent lurking about the barn.
In My Happy Farm, players do their best to manage their personal farms by doing the usual farm-y things like plant carrots and beets, harvest when the time is just right, and sell those harvested crops for cash. However, these farms also contain an assortment of critters that need to be fed – rabbits, pigs, cows and sheep – and they all have one thing in common: They’re just a little bit sad. The overall goal of My Happy Farm lies not in the planting and harvesting, but in the feeding; feed your cadre of critters the right mix of food and you can soon turn that frown upside down.
Not only do your rabbits and such start grinning like mad hares once their bellies are filled, a strange occurrence also takes place – they grow. Not bigger, necessarily, just… longer. And the more you feed them, the longer they get! And the longer they get, the happier they are, and the happier you’ll be at the end of the game from scoring so many points from long, happy animals. If all that sounds bizarre, it truly is, but in an incredibly endearing way. Trust me, there will come a time during your first game when you look down and all but one of your animals is long and happy and that one frowning furball will absolutely break your heart. It influences gameplay, I kid you not.
Speaking of gameplay, the game offers several choices each turn, but players are only able to choose two actions, which keeps the pace lively. There’s very little downtime in the game which is always a plus, and most of the decisions are fairly straightforward, eliminating analysis paralysis. Some hardcore Euro gamers may find My Happy Farm a little too streamlined for their liking, but the relaxed, friendly atmosphere will keep most casual gamers entertained through multiple feedings. My Happy Farm is also incredibly easy to teach, which makes introducing it to new gamers a cinch.
Each game of My Happy Farm has been fast and fun, and I look forward to introducing it to my family. This is a perfect game for family gatherings or just to pass the time between those gargantuan games of Agricola at your next farm-themed party. 5th Street Games needs your help for funding on Kickstarter, so head on over to the project page and pledge your support. C’mon, get happy!
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