I want to be a farmer?

edited March 2012 in Story Games
So this is a completely random thought that I have been kicking around for years now. I want to play a game where we manage the estates of our kingdom. I essentially want a slow RP driven version of Agricola (or other similar board games). So how horrible of an idea is this?

Comments

  • It doesn't sound that bad to me-- I've been mulling over the same kinda thing for a while now, I'd really like to try a big-picture kind of game as opposed to the usual "one character looking out for his interests and maybe those of his immediate friends and family".

    My two big stumbling blocks are the level of detail to go into (I'm more of a Burning Wheel Resources kinda guy than the sort of quartermastering you see in most flavors of D&D or gear-heavy games like Shadowrun) and, of course, what game to even use. Reign's Company rules look to hit my sweet spot, but I'm not sure how much I like the rest of Reign.

    Houses of the Blooded pretty much says it does this level of gaming right on the tin, and I love its basic mechanic, but the domain management was a little much for me (you basically play a round of Settlers of Catan every couple sessions), and I actually sort of hated all the advanced mechanics. Still, you should definitely take a look at it if you haven't already.
  • This would make a great solo game.
  • SAGAS OF THE ICELANDERS
  • It's a great idea, and one that have been had by lots of people before you. But for some weird reason the FRPG (Farmers Role-playing Game) has not yet been published ... LOL
  • Posted By: TomasHVMIt's a great idea, and one that have been had by lots of people before you. But for some weird reason the FRPG (Farmers Role-playing Game) has not yet been published ... LOL
    It sooo should be called "Swords into Ploughshares"
  • Harn Manor.

    http://www.lythia.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=8726

    It makes a good premise for controlling a keep or castle, and can make a good mix between a Pendragon style game of character development and the resource management of controlling crops and workers.

    The forum Lythia has a few cool links and resources if you go to the main page.

    If you google "Harn Manor" you will find a lot of web pages that use it in their campaigns.

    http://www222.pair.com/sjohn/fief.htm

    Fief & Town by Lisa J. Steele; is a great resource.

    They would be the three source-books I would personally recommend.

    :) Snake_Eyes
  • D&D is the only game I can think of where the core gameplay is running a small business. (The business is adventuring.) Houses of the Blooded might be a good thing - Blood and Honor has a similar but simpler system.
  • Posted By: Jason MorningstarSAGAS OF THE ICELANDERS
    I'm going to shamelessly agree. Parts of Sagas can most certainly support the "Agricola RPG" idea. Zac even talked about how you could play it solo in that mode: thread

    Another possibility would be Burning Wheel only village/peasant lifepaths, lots of Ditchdigging skills, Beliefs all revolving around the harvest festival and feeding your family and stuff like that.

    But a dedicated Agricola RPG would still be pretty cool (and a Spice and the Wolf one).
  • Interesting! The game Ryuutama does have a "Farmer" class as one of the seven core classes, but the game itself doesn't have farming. It does however have animal management and handling for gear and travel, though.
  • Posted By: Jason MorningstarSAGAS OF THE ICELANDERS
    yes.
    Posted By: TeataineAnother possibility would be Burning Wheel only village/peasant lifepaths, lots of Ditchdigging skills, Beliefs all revolving around the harvest festival and feeding your family and stuff like that.
    neat!

    this also coincides with my quest to make an RPG using Settlers.
  • edited March 2012
    Posted By: Zac in Virginiathis also coincides with my quest to make an RPG using Settlers.
    We've done that! A group of us played a "Settlers of The stone Age" game, with a white map for exploration, to make a tribal fantasy-world. All of us started out at the same place, as sons of the same old pair, leading a group of settlers. When the game started all of us set forth to discover different parts ot the surrounding world. We played this as a board-game.

    We designed fantasy-races based on what tech-level the various tribes had achieved, and what terrain they ended up living in. Their world and history (including the settlers-exodus) were described with subjective point-of-view, and maps were drawn in styles to mirror their particular understanding of the world.

    It made for a very well thought of setting, a diverse world of many cultures, with high player investment. We made use of the mechanics from my game Fabula, but invented a different set of dialogue-techniques for the new game. All in all the method was well balanced, and fully geared towards representing the various races/tribes, on their various tech-levels. The game was called Creatia, and it made for some very strong game-play.

    The group splitting up socially made the game die, but I am still in love with the whole thing. It's a beautiful world to play in.
  • edited March 2012
    Posted By: JDCorleyD&D is the only game I can think of where the core gameplay is running a small business.
    I don't know, JD; I can think of quite a few off the top of my head:

    Ghostbusters and/or Inspectres

    • Merchant-mode, free-trader Traveller (how you gonna meet the mortgage payment on your ship, this month, Han?)

    Shadowrun (in certain modes of play)

    Fiasco (with certain playsets)

    • Ars Magica (we must have more Vis!)

    • Pendragon (a true "family business")

    C&S and HarnMaster:Manor (already mentioned) provide explicit support for manorial management

    Reign provides explicit support for manorial/fiefdom/mercenary-company, etc, management

    • Some "Domain" level OSR games, especially ACKS or LL with the An Echo Resounding book

    • After-the-end type games, if you're willing to think of "we have to figure out a way to eat this month without looking hungrily at the children" as "small business": Apocalypse World with a hardholder PC involved, Aftermath, Morrow Project
  • All great, er, at least the ones I know about. Pendragon's a bigger stretch than the rest.
  • Posted By: JDCorleyAll great, er, at least the ones I know about. Pendragon's a bigger stretch than the rest.
    I agree on the basis that Pendragon is pretty explicitly about players managing (a) their characters' own glory, and (b) the fortunes of their characters' own family lines, where (c) the characters do not share the same family. So it's more like a game about n small businesses. Which is not the same vibe as all PCs bound together into one economic enterprise.

    And, of course, my list alarmingly neglects two games recently published:

    • Leverage. That's explicitly about running a small business, although it may or may not descend into the intricacies of small business economics.

    Ashen Stars; again, explicitly about running a small business where PC activity explicitly has an economic impact on the business -- how PCs conduct themselves in their service offerings affects their "reputation" within the economic sphere that can furnish them with future service contracts...
  • This is kind of an aside, but it's a strongly related tangent.

    I would say that, in general, economics are not a thing that tabletop games tend to do well. Mostly because they do not have enough participants for economics to work well.

    With small participant numbers, economics are often best accomplished by abstracting currencies up to a pretty high level, where the you're working with numbers of widgets capping around 5 or 10 or so. So each thing you're handling represents a very meaningful chunk of trade that can accomplish quite a bit on it's own.

    And even then, it's hard to translate currency into meaning, given the way modern money numbers escalate so much. In US dollars, $100 is a big chunk of change - more than most people use for day to day transactions. But a vehicle costs, what, $20,000? And a home at least $100,000 (5 times that in some places). So within a game setting, it's hard to represent economics in a meaningful and tangible way that relates well to what we are familiar with.

    Some larp games do a good job with economics (not very many, but some). In my experience, you need a minimum player base of around 50 people, as well as a well designed economics system, in order for a subset of those players to have an interesting time playing the economics game. Many players won't be interested in focusing on that, which is fine. If the system is well designed, they'll still be interacting with it in an ancillary way and helping provide the fun for those who are focusing on the economic game elements.

    And for those who are interested - probably the biggest key to designing a good economic system for a medium-to-large live combat larp is to introduce raw materials (which are then accumulated through looting/gathering/trading by "crafters" who turn them into meaningful goods) into the game, rather than introducing lots of cash. In other words, when fighters loot corpses, they should find leather or ore instead of coin. Then they sell the leather and ore to the crafters, who then turn it into armor, which the fighters then buy back from the crafters. Having 2 levels of interaction with the crafters, instead of "collect coins then buy armor upgrade" makes the game economy way way way more fun, even if it feels less intuitively natural that the fighters would be acting as gatherers for the crafters. But it makes sense, because it's really hard to make a pure gathering element super fun and engaging. And for goodness sake, don't have monsters dropping quality weapons and armor and other goods directly, or you'll have no crafting economy at all - just loot gathering and a tiny bit of swapping.
  • It has always struck me that DnD (well, mainly 4e) is a board game that you can tell a story with. So why not tell a story with a board game. I mean we ran a very successful role playing game with with a card game (magic the gathering).
  • I find myself wondering if Burning Empires could be hacked such that the Vaylen become, say, potato blight, or phylloxera, or cutworms, or some such.

    (Note: I haven't played Burning Empires, so this is totally idle speculation.)
  • Posted By: thadrineSo how horrible of an idea is this?
    Pretty bad at face value, but at face value I don't find much interesting in farming. Then I think about it.

    I see two big modes of storytelling:

    Personal conflicts with farming and farmers as the primary characters and background. Easier to play because just about any game with a flexible system that supports conflicts of a broader category than combat would work. PTA, FATE, Fiasco (with the right playset), Smallville, off the top of my head.

    But I'd be more interested in a game that's got farming written into the rules. Nothing overly crunchy necessary, but having some subset of the ramifications of scarcity, weather, wild animals, neighbors, politics, accidents, planting, harvests, social/community events, market prices, social order, ownership, rentership, and so on and so on seems like a fantastic idea. Those things could be primary (like combat in D&D) or secondary (like Magic in Dresden), or act as a systemic lever to control, guide, or control how scenes play out or shake up story direction.
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