I always enjoy playing games that I can get the whole family involved in. Since my family ranges in age from 7 through to older than some of us would like, it can sometimes be a challenge to find a game that we can all enjoy equally. In fact, the only game we’ve found that all four members of my family all readily agree to play is King of Tokyo. At least, that was the case until we discovered My Happy Farm!
5th Street Games’ My Happy Farm is one that was immediately attractive to my kids. You feed your farm animals and make them grow longer, and longer, and longer! It’s also got a surprising bit of strategy involved, enough so that I feel comfortable giving it the label “Euro-game like”.
All of the players are farmers. They not only have livestock that they must keep fed and happy, but they also grow crops. In fact, growing crops is the basis of keeping your farm up and running and your animals stretchy and smiling. Each turn, you’ll have the opportunity to perform several actions; key to your success are buying, planting and harvesting various crops (clover, carrots, beats, and wheat) which you can then store in your barn to purchase the stretchy bits of your animals, or sell for cash money to buy more crops.
As you feed your animals, they streeeeeeeeetch longer and longer. Each animal that you manage to stretch is worth more points. But you’ve got to be careful and not concentrate on one or two of your four animals. Neglect to feed an animal and it will cost you points at the end of the game.
The game can accommodate up to four players, and lasts around 45 minutes. Each player starts with two coins, a clover, and a wheat to plant, and a farm yard. Also, you start the game with four unfed animals, cow, pig, rabbit, and sheep.
During your turn you can take two actions. Actions include take 1 coin from the pot, plant seeds, harvest crops, buy feeding cards to stretch your animals, or spend up to 3 coins to purchase up to three new crops to plant.
In addition to your farms and animals, two decks are used in the game. The first, comprised of smaller sized cards, are your crops. At any time there will be six face-up crop cards, randomly shuffled to represent clover, carrots, beats, and wheat. As soon as one of these is purchased, it’s replaced with another card from the deck. There’s also the animal feeding cards, which consists of stretched-out animal mid-sections and icons to let you know how many harvested crops you’ll need to purchase that card. Each card has a point value as well, with the higher point cards costing more crops to purchase.
If you choose to plant some crops, they start off next to the Spring section of your farm. Here you can’t harvest anything. At the beginning of your turn, you automatically move any crops planted up to the next section (first Summer, and then Fall). In Summer you can harvest clover or carrots. In the Fall you can harvest all of your available crops. If you don’t harvest them, they go bad and are discarded.
Your barn also has just enough room to hold up to six harvested cards. Anything more than that spoils!
Thoughts on the game
That’s really all there is to it. At its core, it’s a simple game which is something I really enjoy. My kids love this game, they understand every aspect of it and can even at seven years old form longer-term strategies and play well. For me and the other adults who’ve played there’s an honest to gosh depth of strategy that I was not expecting. I’d have no problem bringing this game out on a game night with no kids around; it’s fun, quick, and has that Euro-style feel to it without being too mathy for some folks’ tastes.
The components, as I’m finding with all 5th Street Games’ products, are very good quality. The cards are a good, thick stock. The boards are just that, thick cardboard boards, not play mats (a direction 5th Street could have easily taken). Even the boxes are well-constructed. As evidenced by the pictures above; this is my copy of the game and has seen much play at the hands of several kids aged 10 or under.
Here’s another game I can easily recommend, if you have a family with kids in it or are looking for a fun, light game to bring to your table. Absolutely grab this little gem. At $20 it’s a steal.
I’ve gotten a number of games from 5th Street Games and I’ve played a bunch of those and am very pleased with them all. If you’re the type that likes Kickstarter, and supporting a smaller game company with a proven Kickstarter track record, check out Baldrick’s Tomb, a game currently on Kickstarter from 5th Street Games. It looks amazing and I hope to have more on this game (such as an actual review of the preview edition) before the Kickstarter ends.