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"Your 'reality', sir, is lies and balderdash and I'm delighted to say that I have no grasp of it whatsoever."
— Karl Friedrich Hieronymus, Freiherr von M√ľnchhausen

Third World Farmer Redux

I have played another very successful round of Third World Farmer, making it through 360 rounds of play before being monumentally bored with the repetitiveness of it all and giving up. I was able to formulate a strategy that seems to keep you afloat indefinitely, in part based on the analysis that I detailed in my previous post. I call the strategy "Pigs and Peanuts".

The yearly events are what really determine your successfulness in the game, and so the stratgey is built around mitigating the detrimental effects of these events.

  • Since most events target only one kind of resource, diversification is essential to staying afloat.
  • Since many events cause you to lose all of your money, prefer redundant structures to cash.
  • Livestock are cheaper than crops in the long run, but if you don't plant crops, then people get mad and destroy your farm, so plant a small amount of crops every year while trying to maintain your livestock.
The strategy only works once you have enough money to start building livestock, so the beginning of the game is simply luck. A few bad events and you will never recover. So the key is to start new games until you have a good start. A good start is being able to have enough money to have a well, a shed and about $100 all at once. From there, this is how to spend your money:
  1. Make sure to plant crops every year. That's where your money goes first. Focus on peanuts first since it has the most stable price range and seems to give a decent return. From there, plant cotton if the price is low (around $15) or wheat if cotton is too expensive. Corn just doesn't seem to be worth it.
  2. Don't bother to plant more than about four or five fields. Optimally, plant three peanuts and two cotton. The cap on income (which I think is $247) makes it so that planting more just means spending money wastefully.

  3. Pigs seem to give the best bang for the buck in terms of long-term return on investment, but if you have too many, there are events that kick in and take them all away. Always try to have three pigs and one chicken (or a cow, if you happen to have a barn). You will lose them sooner or later, but if you have more than four animals and the game takes them right away. Having three pigs gives a nice return every year, and unlike crops, you don't have to keep paying for it.
  4. Never have more than about $100-$200 in reserve, because the risk of losing it all is too great. Instead, build extra sheds. If you need cash, you can sell them off, and you will likely still be able to replenish your livestock after a Civil War or Guerilla Raids if they take one or two of them from you.
  5. Once you have a well, it stays around for the rest of the game unless you sell it, so there is no point in buying redundant wells.
  6. Tools are optional, but try to have a shovel and/or a scythe. Don't bother with the more expensive tools; they get taken too quickly to make it worthwhile.
  7. Barns should only be bought if you need to keep your money down and you don't have much land left for sheds. You lose them quickly, and cows are not as cost-effective as pigs.
  8. Whenever an event can give you money, it's worth taking the opportunity. Children come back quickly, and the downside to these events is usually minimal compared to the need for cash.
Remember, the game isn't fair. Its focus isn't bringing you deep and engaging gameplay; it's making a political point, and making it well. You are fighting an uphill battle you are destined to lose. Only with a healthy dose of luck can you survive long enough to even have a chance. But with this strategy, my virtual family lived for three and a half centuries with eight children and had survived many catastrophes along the way. Not bad for a third world farmer.

Comments on Third World Farmer Redux
  Comment from Blogger gnome at Thursday, July 06, 2006 1:47:00 PM
A great find... May i suggest having a look at the Molleindustria website?


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The Red Bull Diary is the personal pulpit and intellectual dumping-ground for its author, an amateur game designer, professional programmer, political centrist and incurable skeptic. The Red Bull Diary is gaming, game design, politics, development, geek culture, and other such nonsense.