If you've noticed that I haven't been blogging properly for the past three weeks, it's because I've succumbed to a new addiction: Farm Town on Facebook. It was one of the games by Playfish that I mentioned in a past blog about social gaming, and now I'm officially addicted to it. So much so, that I've decided to write down the most important things I've learned about navigating this game as a list of top tips.
For those already playing the game and consider themselves experts, see how many from the list below you already know and are already doing. You might find a new thing or two. For those who are clueless about the game, read on. You might find it interesting enough to start playing.
So, here we go:
1. Add neighbors and visit them regularly: As early as possible in the game, collect your neighbors, especially those already on the top levels. Neighbors need to be your real Facebook friends so if you don't have friends on Facebook, it's tough getting neighbors on Farm Town. You need to visit your neighbors around twice a day and do the odd jobs for them (watering, pulling weeds, raking). This gets you some initial coins and ongoing experience points: +6 exp for each completed task. Don't overdo it because at a certain point the exp goes down to 1.
2. Plant raspberries & grapes to level up quickly: When you have the time to spare, plant these to take advantage of the short growing cycles so you can plow, plant & harvest several times in a day. It doesn't give you as much return in coins, but it's a fast way to earn experience points to level up. A word of warning: as quickly as the crops grow, they will also quickly go to waste so mind your garden!
3. Mind your options: Make sure you familiarize yourself with the wrench icon at the upper right corner of your game screen. There are several options there that are very very useful:
Remove space between fields: this allows you to plow plots closer together to maximize spaceShow trees: turn this off when harvesting plots, especially on poorly planned farmsShow flowers: same with trees, flowers can be a bother when harvesting so turn this off when you need toFreeze animals: the animals in the game are useless and just slow it down so turn this off especially in farms that resemble Noah's Ark.Follow avatar while walking: Turn this off because you'll be able to pan the landscape better
4. Plow & harvest from the top: If you start at the top of each crop area and work your way in rows, your avatar doesn't walk too much and you'll be able to do you job faster and more efficiently.
5. Buy a small house early on to level up: As soon as you already have the coins and the level to buy a small house, buy it! The experience points you get will bring you automatically up one level.
6. Buy more land as soon as you can: Expanding your farm land as early as you can gives you more space for plots to plant. It's your best investment to earn more coins and experience points. The Realtor Office is meant for that.
7. Peppers and cabbages give you the most coins fast: During days when you can't be glued to Farm Town all-day (i.e. workdays), plant cabbages for daily growing cycles, and peppers for 2-day cycles. Especially during higher levels, don't be tempted to plant pineapples, blueberries & pumpkins. They yield higher in terms of coins per crop, but take longer to grow so you waste days and chances to gain experience points. If you're going on a weeklong trip and you can't be online, by all means plant 4-day crops. But if you're online everyday, you're better off with peppers & cabbages.
8. Always hire for help: Aside from not doing the work yourself, hiring for help always means more coins or saving coins. You get 25% more coins for harvested crops, and 25-50% discount on plowing depending on whether you hire a stranger or a neighbor. Note that you need at least 10 neighbors to start hiring for plowing. When you hire to plow, you still get the experience points so don't worry about leveling up. Plus you can use your work requirements to leverage some sort of a work trade at the marketplace.
9. Hang out at the Marketplace: The marketplace in Farm Town is just that: a noisy place for trade. You see all of these people begging for work and it can get annoying. But it's also where people go to get their farm jobs done. Don't add to the noise. Just find a good spot to park your avatar (I usually go near the tent or on top of the wheelbarrow with barrels), where no one is covering you. If someone offers work, politely raise your hand. It helps to both mention the hiring person's name and walk nearer to him. But if you're on park mode, you'd be surprised to see how many time you can get hired just by hanging out there.
10. Use your gifts wisely: Your neighbors can give you gifts daily so make sure you use them wisely. Plant your trees immediately because they're a steady source of coins even if you forget about them. Planting the flowers you get will help your neighbors, and make your farm look much nicer. Unless you find the animals irrresisibly cute, just sell them. They're really just bothersome. It won't hurt to regularly give gifts also because it encourages your neighbors to return the favor. Some people are also knows for requesting specific gifts they want to get.
11. Mind where you plant trees, flowers & fences: Trees, flowers and fences all make your farm look good, but they are a hassle for growing crops. When you plant trees and flowers, make sure they do not cover any plot so that it won't hamper plowing, planting or harvesting. Fences (including hedges) are the worst because there is no way to hide these from view. They make harvesting and plowing a big chore.
12. Don't be scared of the bulldozer: As your farm grows, you will definitely need to plan and re-plan your space, either to make it look nice or to make it more efficient. Plants & structures you can easily move, but plots you can't without clearing them. Use the bulldozer for this, and do not be afraid. The worst that could happen is that you delete something of value which usually isn't much to begin with. Making your farm look nicer or more space efficient will earn you either praise or more coins anyway in the near future.
13. When desperate for coins, water flowers: A little known fact on Farm Town is that if you water your neighbors' flowers when they are almost halfway dry you earn coins. You'd be surprised how much you can get with a flower-filled neighbors' garden (i.e. Gwyn's). If you water your own flowers you pay coins, so get your neighbors to water each others' flowers for a win-win situation.
14. Plant flowers in rows and squares: It's easier to water flowers within a 6x6 square area which is the span of the area watered by the watering can in one click. But don't worry, in Farm Town you don't pay for wasted water.
15. Use Facebook chat to find your neighbors: When you are raring to get your harvest done, it's much easier to find your FarmTown neighbors using Facebook's chat function rather than looking for who's online on Farm Town (I think this part of the game is still buggy). And your neighbors who are online will usually be happy to go to FarmTown for a good harvest.
I hope you become an expert farmer with these tips above. Or at the very least, get curious about Farm Town and start playing. Happy farming!
Here are some extra tricks for expert farmers, a.k.a. Farm Town addicts, like me:
1. Sometimes you can plow plots under buildings and other structures, my friend told me but up to last night I couldn't figure out how to do it. But just this morning, I suddenly was able to plow extra plots where I knew my houses and my trees were standing but I had them hidden from view. I guess it's a bug but it's cool to have as many plots to plant within your limited land area.
2. Make your name attractive when in the Marketplace to get more jobs. I've heard that some of my friends change their avatar names to those of popular personalities when trying to get jobs at the marketplace. It gets people's attentions without having to add to the noise of beggars.
3. Cure those problematic plots that look like they've been left behind unplowed by hired plowers, or that don't seem to want to be planted or plowed. These are bugs in the game. Use your bulldozer to clear them. Sometimes a harvested field will reveal a plotted field suddenly. And if it just clears up and becomes grass, just plow over it again.
4. When choosing jobs, go with plowing jobs over harvesting raspberries & trees. Raspberries only give you a few coins which you can earn thru other ways. Trees are a chore to harvest especially when the farm owner doesn't put ample space between them. At least with plow jobs, you get experience points aside from the small token of coins.
If you have more tips & tricks to share, please write them down here in the comments section. I'd love to hear from you.