It’s time for a quick visit to the farm for a board game review of Superfarmer.
But if you’re expecting to farm fields of grain, you’re in for a surprise. Because Superfarmer is all about animals.
So we guess you could call it an Animal Farm.
Although it’s not an Orwellian Animal Farm where pigs will rule the world.
The interesting tidbit however is that the game Superfarmer was actually created in 1943 – the same year George Orwell wrote Animal Farm.
But that’s where the similarities end.
Now it’s time to see the farm…
The Objective of Superfarmer
Superfarmer is a kids board game where up to 4 players compete to become the Super Farmer by multiplying their animals.
Players roll dice, breed animals, and exchange those animals for other animals until they reach the winning conditions of being the first to have an animal herd consisting of at least 1 horse, 1 cow, 1 pig, 1 sheep, and 1 rabbit.
At the outset that sounds very easy to just get at least one of each animal.
However, the game revolves around how the animals are bred and exchanged. And the best laid plans can be thwarted by the wolf and the fox that are also roaming around the farm.
How to Play Superfarmer
Each player gets their own player board (representing their farm) which has spaces to hold their rabbits, sheep, pigs, cows, and horses. Each player also starts with one rabbit token in their farm.
On a player’s turn, he/she rolls the 2 12-sided dice (orange and blue). Which animals he breeds will depend on the results of the dice plus what he already has on his farm.
If both of the dice show the same animal, he gets a token of that animal from the main heard (pile of animal tokens in the center of the table).
If the animal shown on the dice match animals the player already has on his farm, he gets as many new animal tokens from the herd as he has full pairs on this species.
Here are 3 examples:
- If a player has 4 rabbits and 1 pig on his farm and rolls a rabbit on one die and a pig on the other, he would receive 2 rabbits and 1 pig from the herd. (The total rabbits would be his existing 4 + 1 on the die for 2 full pairs of rabbits (1 remainder). And the total pigs would be his existing 1 + 1 from the pig showing on the die for 1 full pig pair.)
- If a player has 4 rabbits and 1 pig on his farm and rolls a sheep on one die and a pig on the other, he would receive just 1 pig from the herd. The rolled sheep doesn’t make a pair and the 1 pig on the die will make a full pair when paired with the pig he already has on his farm.
- If a players has 4 rabbits and 1 pig on his farm and rolls a cow and a sheep, he gets nothing.
While the dice bring the luck into the game, the animal exchange introduces some strategy.
Before a player rolls the dice on his turn, he may choose to make an exchange – either with the main herd or with another player (if that player agrees). The rate of exchange is detailed on each player’s farm board.
They are as follows:
- 6 Rabbits = 1 Sheep
- 2 Sheep = 1 Pig
- 3 Pigs = 1 Cow
- 2 Cows = 1 Horse
As you can see, figuring out when and how many of your animals to exchange will require some thinking.
Players may exchange in either direction – several animals for 1 animal (eg. exchange 6 rabbits to get 1 sheep) or 1 animal for several animals (eg. exchange 1 cow to get 3 pigs). Players can also exchange multiple animals as long as the rates are met. As an example, a player with 6 rabbits, 1 sheep, and 2 pigs may choose to exchange them all for 1 cow (since 6 rabbits = 1 sheep, 2 sheep = 1 pig, and 3 pigs = 1 cow).
But that’s not all to think about…
Beware of the Wolf and Fox:
There are dangerous, ravenous animals lurking around the farms as well.
If a player rolls a Fox on one of the die, he will lose all of his rabbits except 1.
If a player rolls a Wolf on one of the die, he will lose all of his animals except his horses and rabbits.
However, players can protect themselves from these mischievous animals. A Small Dog will protect a player’s rabbits from the Fox. And a Big Dog will protect a player’s animals from a Wolf.
How do players get Dogs?
Through animal exchanges of course.
- 1 Sheep = 1 Small Dog
- 1 Cow = 1 Big Dog
So if players want to protect their animals, it will cost them some animals to buy that protection. And they’re just a one time use. When a player with a small dog rolls a fox, the dog will do his duty and protect the rabbits, but also ends up chasing the fox away and disappears.
As such, players will have to buy more protection or run the risk of losing animals. It’s an interesting dilemma.
Once a player has at least 1 horse, 1 cow, 1 pig, 1 sheep, and 1 rabbit in their herd (at the same time of course), he/she wins the game and is declared the Super Farmer.
Can the whole family enjoy Superfarmer?
Superfarmer is a great kids board game that can also be enjoyed by the rest of the family. In fact, Caleb and I have had some animals runs in 2-player, head-to-head matches that were a hoot.
In one game, Caleb tried to go with what he called his Sheep strategy. He traded up to sheep as soon as he could and then just went for rolling and breeding sheep. He wouldn’t exchange up to pigs or anything until he hoarded almost the whole herd of sheep – leaving me sheepless. Then he simply exchanged them away on his next turns to run away with the victory.
Another time he tried more of a living off the interest strategy. He’d get up to 8 sheep, then at the start of each turn would exchange away for a pig, then roll more sheep to resupply his sheep. After a couple pigs, he’d exchange those couple sheep plus the now few pigs for a cow, and roll sheep again to restock. It was a nice little engine he had going.
And what I loved to see was that he was figuring out different configurations all on his own.
Where to get Superfarmer?
Currently you can find Superfarmer at Barnes & Noble in the US. And we anticipate it becoming available in additional retail outlets as well.
Thanks Granna for a fun kids board game.