Monday, November 23, 2009

LIFE ON THE FARM board game~ Christmas Shopping????

Are you a fan of games like Life, Monopoly, and Payday? Wish there was a game that was a little more "down to earth", based in reality?

Enter "Life on the Farm"(for ages 8-108), a board game invented by a real dairy farmer as a result of trying to explain the ups and downs of farm life to his city cousins. Members of the TOS Crew received this game to play and review.

The premise is fairly simple, build a herd of 60 cows and retire with at least as much money as you started with. If one follows the "Long game" rules, and starts with no cows, and only seed money.... well, it can take a LONG time to get rolling. You see, there are "Farm Income" spaces/cards, and "Farm Expense" spaces/cards. If you keep landing on the expense cards, and have no cows to create income... well... it can be a very long start to the game.... (Ask me how *I* know... ;) )

We decided that the best tactic for our family is to use a version of the "Short game" rules, and allow everyone at least 5 cows to start with. This means that everyone should be able to collect "milk checks" from the beginning.

My older kids have thoroughly enjoyed playing this game, and ask for it on a regular basis. It has been interesting to see how they have developed tactics (or "business" sense) in order to have a chance to build their farm and win the game. That, in and of itself, makes this game a winner in my book. My daughter said that this game makes her appreciate farmers more, because it helped her understand how much effort can go into the food that ends up in our kitchen.

I value that the game is less about putting your neighbors out of business than it is about running your own farm and doing the best that you can with what you have.

Final analysis:
If you are looking for a fun and educational game about the realities of farm life (How does buying a cow for $500 and then selling it for $300 translate into "income"?... Well.. if you have bills that need to be paid, then you sell that cash cow, and while you lost money in the long run, you have made some cash income to help keep your farm afloat. ), this might be a good choice for a CHRISTMAS GIFT for the family.... It is a fun choice to help to while away a few of those vacation hours around the house, or snowy winter days by the fire later on.

This one gets 4 thumbs up from our family. The 2 year old was the only one that didn't agree... he would like something on his level....and guess what? While our family didn't receive it for review, other TOS Crew members were sent the "Pre Life on the Farm Puzzle Game" for ages 3-7, so be sure to check out their reviews if you have "youngers" in the house.

This board game can be purchased directly from We R Fun (check out their page of "Farm jokes" while you're visiting), the TOS Store (where shipping is always free), and The base price is $25, but currently Kmart is offering it for $19.99, and there are some "Toy purchase" specials running that you may wish to check out... one ends Nov 25 (5% off) and the other ends December 17 (Free shipping of orders of $49 or more).

As always, I hope that this review was helpful to you as you make choices about what purchases will best suit your family. Blessings~

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