Ok... I will totally own up to having Cabin Fever due to having kids home for 2.5 snow days, being completely snowed in, minus -18 outside (not counting the wind chill), and we've had a sick kid for 5 days now. So I may be a touch, well, crabby.
So yesterday I played two rounds of the John Deere Family Farm game and was annoyed to the point of shouting at the game.
**Note- my children are blessed beyond belief with doting grandparents, aunts and uncles who lavish them with very cool gifts. So that gratitude aside, I'm giving a game review from my perspective**
Being called 'Family Farm', you would think there would be some reference to family or farm legacy. No. The point is to buy and sell seed (you can't save seed or fuel or buy from a neighbor). No collaboration among players. No animals allowed on the farms. Objective is simply put as: "Be the player with the most assets (Land and Money)." Yeah- that's what inspires me to farm.
This game should be called "Industrial Farm." When I pulled the "Land Speculator" card (sell your land at speculative prices!!!) I yelled for my husband and threatened to throw the game away.
Now don't get me wrong-- we're a brand loyal, Green Tractor family. There is one Oliver from the 40's or 50's and a Cockshutt tractor from before that. But the only tractors that rumble and move on this farm are John Deere.
As it happens, I'm spending a chunk of today writing about farms in Minnesota. 81,000 of them. Of those, only 2.4% are larger than 2,000 acres. Fastest growing segment is 99 acres or less. Our own farm is among the "Ag in the Middle" group in that 320 acre range. Granted, the number of farms our size is decreasing (from 47% of total farms in 1997 to 42.6% in 2007) but still makes up the single largest segment of farm size in Minnesota.
So come on Big Green-- give us a fun game that let's us have a real family farm, with connections to our neighbors and communities, that allows that a farm might actually have some animals like chickens, pigs, cows, and hell yes even a turkey or two. Playing John Deere's Family Farm makes me not even want to farm.
If you want a fun farm game. I suggest Farm Monopoly. Even though the original Monopoly was conceived as a slap in the face to the banksters responsible for the Great Depression, Farm Monopoly actually makes a person want to farm.
I am so putting this game in the trash (or maybe burning it to be sure it doesn't fall into someone else's hands), assuming the weather lets up and the kids actually go back to school. Bah!