If you’re a cannabis user but have never grown a plant yourself, you might not be aware of everything that goes into producing quality marijuana flower. From germinating seeds to harvesting buds at the end of the growing season, the process can be fraught with pitfalls such as pests, disease, thieves, and raids by the police. To navigate these obstacles and harvest a successful crop, it takes an attentive gardener with the skills and knowledge needed to produce healthy plants.
A new card game currently in development takes players through these trials and tribulations of growing pot without even getting their hands dirty. Known as Autofarmer, the game is the creation of a team of Czech professionals consisting of video game tester and creator of fiction worlds David Konár; Slavomír Krbyla, an artificial intelligence programmer for games; and illustrator and comics lover Slakinglizard.
The team created the game in response to grow shop raids that were taking place across the Czech Republic in 2013. Choosing to confront the situation with art, Konár and Krbyla created game studio Free Folk Industry and the first Autofarmer prototype, which was well-received despite low production quality. After five more prototypes to improve gameplay, Czech illustrator Slakinglizard joined the team, contributing original acrylic and ink art to a new version of Autofarmer.
The first production edition of Autofarmer, at 1,000 units, sold out completely through the company website and at cannabis and board game events. Free Folk Industry is currently funding the production of the next edition of the game on Kickstarter, with a campaign that ends at the end of the month.
How To Play Autofarmer
Autofarmer allows two to four players to tend their own virtual pot garden, with the goal being to produce the most grams of cannabis. To begin play, each player in turn rolls a pair of dice twice. The greater roll indicates the number of seed cards the player receives, while the lower total reveals how many of those seeds will successfully germinate for the player’s garden. Seed cards that fail to germinate are set aside in case later play allows them to sprout.
Once the players have established their gardens, play continues through three rounds—growth, blooming, and harvest. To play their turn, players begin by drawing three playing cards. After reviewing the cards, players have the option to replace one or more cards if they wish. Some cards represent obstacles to a healthy garden that can play against an opponent, such as pests that affect yield and can spread to other plants, or a burglar who comes to rip off the garden in the night. Other cards represent good practices to help your garden grow, such as feeding the plants or controlling pests. Some even allow you to germinate seeds late to increase the size of the garden, or harvest early to protect from loss or disease.
At the beginning of play, each plant has the potential to produce 40 grams of bud. As play progresses, the different playing cards can add or subtract grams to and from the crop, or even cause plants to change hands from one gardener to another. After all three rounds are played, gardeners harvest their crops and add up their total grams of harvest for that game. Play continues for as many games as there are players, with the highest yield for all games determining the victor.
Autofarmer is quick to learn and play progresses easily. Because of the strategy involved and all the different variables including the number of plants per garden and positive and negative external factors, the game is great to play over and over with different outcomes. To add even more complexity and strategy to the game, a Strains expansion deck of cards is also available. This add-on gives players the opportunity to grow named strains of cannabis, which can have special characteristics such as disease resistance or an above average yield to help the farmer succeed.
Krbyla of Free Folk Industry told High Times that Autofarmer is a new take on classic party games based on luck, with a special emphasis on members of the cannabis community.
“Our target audience is people that enjoy playing games while they are high,” he said in a virtual interview. “The game is casual, so it is best for groups that want to play something light and not that difficult, but super fun. It also requires a lot of player’s interaction,” making it a great social activity.
Kickstarter Campaign Winds Down Soon
The Kickstarter campaign to fund the production of the new edition of Autofarmer is currently underway, ending on October 1. Backers of the campaign are eligible for rewards with a contribution as low as $12 for the Strains expansion deck. Other rewards including complete versions of the classic game and reproductions of original game artwork by Slakinglizard are available at higher contribution levels.
Although playing Autofarmer won’t make you a real master pot grower, it can give players an idea of the successes and challenges cannabis growers can face producing a crop of dank buds, making it a great addition to your next sesh with a small group of friends. Check it out!