With COVID-19 social distancing firmly in place, schools, events, sports, and social activities are all cancelled, spawning much more free time with family. For the most part, the hectic parts of our lives have been taken away which raises the question of “what are we supposed to do?” It’s like taking a trip back into the 1950s where families regularly ate and did activities together. One way to pass the time and do some great family bonding is to play board games. At RealAgriculture we wouldn’t recommend just any board games — our list is agricultural themed games that can be enjoyed by any family.
The Farming Game: Of all agriculture based board games, The Farming Game might be the most legendary. According to its Wikipedia page:
The Farming Game is a board game simulating the economics of a small farm. Published in 1979, it was designed by George Rohrbacher, a rancher in Washington State. The Farming Game painfully reflects the real-life difficulties of running a farm. Also, the names and places in the game are the names of families farming for generations in Yakima Valley and other parts of Central Washington. When Rohrbacher invented the game, it was a desperate time for his failing farm and small family, which is reflected in the difficulty of the game, and the multitude of points taken into consideration in farming that are often left up to chance. It is considered a board game which has educational value.
The game’s objective is to raise money by harvesting crops and selling livestock, including hay, fruit, grain, and cattle. This is done by moving around the board using one die. Each trip around the board represents a year of farming, and players can increase their chances of earning more money by planting more crops or raising more livestock, which can be purchased by exercising the option given from an Option to Buy (O.T.B.) card a player has drawn during the course of the game.
Elements of the game are intended to reflect aspects of real-life farming. For example, players sometimes encounter Farmer’s Fate cards that are either good or bad, similar to the Chance cards found in Monopoly. One such card allows a player to collect $2,000 from every player who has no harvester, if you own one. Another card informs that due to the IRS garnishing your income, you may not collect on any of your harvests for the rest of the year. These cards are intended to reflect the element of chance or luck that is involved in farming, which is the aim of the game.
You can most likely buy the game at your local games store or on Amazon.
Super Farmer: A favourite game of RealAg’s Lyndsey Smith, Super Farmer was developed in Europe as a way to pass the time during war. Boardgame Geek describes the game as follows:
In Super Farmer, each player takes a role of the owner of the animal farm. The main goal is to breed, exchange and gather different animals (rabbit, sheep, pig, cow, horse and two kinds of dogs) and the winner is a person who can gather at least one of each kind (except the dogs). But be careful there are foxes around trying to snatch your rabbits and wolves which can eat all your other animals (that is why you need dogs to protect your herd).
The turn of each player consists of two actions: first you have a possibility to exchange your animals according to the special table (e.g for six rabbits you get one sheep, three pigs for a cow) and then you roll two special 12-sided dice with the pictures of animals on the sides. You count the number of pairs of the animals on rolled dice (together with the ones on the farm) and this is how many new animals you get, divided by two. The trick is that there is a fox on one dice and the wolf which are eating your animals.
Realag Review: “We love this game because anyone can play it, even kids before they can read! Plus there’s a good chance you’ll get wiped out with a roll of the dice, and you can make trades. Plus, the rabbits really do breed like rabbits.” — Lyndsey Smith
Pit: This card game is inspired by the open-outcry buying and selling commodities, like at the Chicago Board of Trade back in the day. A fast-paced game for three to eight players, the game was developed for Parker Brothers and first sold in 1904. The first versions have seven crop types: flax, hay, oats, rye, corn, barley, and wheat, with newer versions featuring coffee, oranges, sugar, and soybeans in addition to the cereals. Players trade cards trying to collect each commodity. There’s also a bull and a bear in the mix!
Farm-opoly: The company who makes the games says, “It’s life down on the farm where players increase their profits by collecting acres and trading them in for Big Red Barns.” Things that might happen while you play: You may find yourself in a hog waller; you may need to stand and call the hogs; or you may find yourself cleanin’ stalls.
It’s all fun and games until you’re sent to DROUGHT and out of the game for three turns. Whatever happens, it’s gonna be like life on the farm – unpredictable, and best with a good dose of humour. Gather family and friends and advance to GROW!
Ticket to Ride: Is there anything western Canadian farmers love more than the railways? We kid! But if you’re looking for a fun game for the whole family, Ticket to Ride is a blast. Ticket to Ride is a cross-country train adventure where players collect various types of train cars that enable them to claim railway routes connecting cities in various countries around the world.