You can bet I was excited when I heard that ConcernedApe, creator of Stardew Valley, was making a board game based off of their hit indie game. For those that are unaware, Stardew Valley is a farming role simulation game that puts players in the role of the newest resident to the town of Stardew Valley. Players then spend a year in game, separated by the four distinct seasons, doing various tasks such as farming, mining, and crafting to build the ultimate farm and form relationships in the town, all the while trying to surpass a corporation from taking over the town. Stardew Valley is by far one of the most successful indie games in recent years, so I was pleasantly surprised when the board game version of this video game was announced.
The basis of this 1-4 player game is actually quite simple: complete the random tasks assigned on the cards, complete the bundles, and save the town from the evil Joja Mart. When my wife and I first opened the game, we were intimidated by the rules and the number of pieces (all of which are well-produced and far greater in number than I had originally thought there would be). After watching a how-to-play Stardew tutorial video online and reading over the rules carefully, this game was pretty easy to learn. It clicks even quicker if you understand the basic gameplay of the video game. I would highly recommend you check out the video game prior to playing the board game to fully understand the world of Stardew Valley.
The board game is really good at capturing the elements of the video game, and I was quite surprised that even some of the smaller things (like petting animals and museum donations) were included in the board game.
Another awesome part of the game were the friendship cards that allowed you to gift an item to one of the several Stardew residents in exchange for hearts (which are used to open bundles in the community center). Though not as in-depth as the game, you only need a few pieces of wood or stone to build animal pens.
The pieces itself are okay in quality but not exactly what you would expect in a $55 board game. The game contains standard cardboard and cardstock game pieces as well as plastic meeples that represent your character. The map is huge and took up a good part of our table. The game has a ton of small pieces so set up does take quite a bit of time. I was actually quite impressed by how well the pieces were organized inside the box. The mining and fishing pieces came in two different nylon bags and the crops and some of the other cards had trays that fit the pieces. This kept the game very organized.
I love games that are cooperative and this game is no exception. I originally played this game with my wife and daughter and we had to strategize our roles within the game to make sure we could win. As I stated earlier, you are racing the clock and have to work together and complete all the the task cards or the Joja Mart takes over the valley. The game is stated to take about 45 mins per player to complete, so make sure that you have plenty of time set aside to play.
We actually managed to beat the game fairly easily, but there are different ways to adjust that and give the game a scaling difficulty. I was also surprised that the rulebook included a way to play the game solo. So if you have no available people to play, you can still have fun with the game.
Overall, I am very happy with this game and impressed of how well this game translated from video game to board game. I rated this game 6 out of 6 Infinity Stones as it was very well produced and I honestly had a great time playing it. I get extremely frustrated with your typical strategy games, but this one was just plain fun from start to finish. I enjoyed the cooperation, but I'm glad the developers included a single player option so that everyone could enjoy the game.
If you are interested in the game but not sure that if it's for you, be sure to check out the rule book for the game. It's free to download on their website. You can also purchase the game for yourself at the link below.
Thanks for reading and be sure you enjoy your time in Stardew Valley!
Kaleb Ardoin is a great friend of the Infinity Bros and an avid gamer, both board and video. You can find him streaming on his podcast's Twitch channel, and you can check out more of his entertainment reviews right here on the Daily Snap!