A Hungarian Reddit user has shared a self-designed and hand-crafted board game based on popular farming simulation video game Stardew Valley.
The impressive construction was a Christmas gift for the partner of user namretsbol, who is an avid fan. Unfortunately, a non-serious but disrupting ear infection caused extreme vertigo while looking at screens, turning video games into an unpleasant experience.
“Sometime mid november my girlfriend was telling me how much she was missing Stardew Valley, and that's when the idea started,” namretsbol said. “Once it formed into a semi reasonable form, I started working on it at my workplace so she didn't notice.”
They secretly plugged away at the design, ordering supplies such as meeples, cardboard and plastic cubes on the sly. After about two weeks of construction, they nestled the complete-with-box gift under the tree. According to namretsbol, their partner loved the gift and the pair have played several games over the holidays.
So, how did the first-time designer do? They stayed humble when describing their efforts.
“First impressions were decent. I expected it to not work at all, but it did sort of,” namretsbol told Dicebreaker. “Right now it’s a bit slow, and there's a lot of busywork with the farm, ticking down dice and harvesting stuff, but that's how the computer game is, so i guess it's accidentally true to the source.”
The homemade game takes inspiration from some obvious tabletop sources, including Agricola and Viticulture, along with other of the couple’s favourite worker-placement games. namretsbol pored through Stardew Valley’s online wiki for the best method of translating the digital experience, recalling the hours spent watching their partner tend livestock, grow crops and develop relationships in the beachside agrarian Pelican Town.
The final version tasks players with completing a series of requests posted to the town’s community center by its various residents. The player-farmers must fulfill these by growing crops, raising animals and building the necessary infrastructure on their turns. The key to garnering enough victory points lies in clever use of limited actions on each “day” and planning ahead; amassing enough money or becoming a beloved member of the town are both viable options.
The Stardew Valley Reddit community loved the execution, with dozens asking namretsbol about plans to sell their tabletop version of the game. At this point, they don’t see that happening - unless developer Eric Barone wants to get in touch and approve the adaptation. They’re content with the labour of love sitting on their own game shelf, for now.
“I'm happy how it turned out. You always have something to do, there's no real downtime, even if it's a lot of busywork, we enjoyed playing with it, even if she beat me every time we played.”