Monday, May 10, 2010

Farmville Tips: Week Two

This week (05/10/10) I continue to focus on the layout of my farm, and I think I've settled on a basic design. I've also been very interested in expanding my farm. I've been using the ribbons to guide some of my goal setting, and I've been using the crop mastery feature to guide my choices on which crops to plant.

As mentioned before, the starting grid is 50 squares by 50 squares. This is enough space to plow 144 plots (12x12) and still have a remainder of 100 squares. If you place all of your plots side by side starting in the southern most corner of the map, then the 100 remaining squares will form a narrow strip along the northeast and northwest edges of your farm. This is the perfect place to plant trees.

I finally decided to organize my crops in areas measuring four plots by four plots. I decided this because the plots measure four squares by four squares and that kind of symmetry appeals to me. It turns out that the beginning farm will accommodate exactly nine of these areas. I planted nine different crops, and I was very pleased with the quilted effect this achieved.

Trees work best along the northeast and northwest edge of the farm because they are tall, and they will block your view of plots that you might plow behind them. Some Farmville farmers do without trees or they only use them as decoration. It is very true that most trees earn fewer coin per day per square than most crops, but I really like trees in the real world, and I want to earn all my ribbons, and I've got this narrow strip of land, so I decided to fill it with trees. I set a goal for myself to plant sixteen trees of each variety. This was pretty easy to do with the market trees, but most trees are only available as gifts, so those trees are more difficult to collect.

It didn't take long before I started feeling crowded. After I bought all trees available in the market, I found that I was ending my day of play with money in my bank, so what could I spend it on next. My neighbors all had buildings, and I wanted to earn the architect ribbon, but my farm was so small, so I finally noticed that spot in the market with expansions.

Expansions are available for FarmBucks or FarmCoins + neighbors. The first expansion requires 8 neighbors. I had that, so all I needed were the coins. I had that too, so I purchased the expansion. It added and area 8 squares by 58 squares to the south east edge and the south west edge of the farm, so I now had space for 196 plots (14x14). I planted them in such as way as to complement the existing quilted pattern.

After harvesting the crops in the center corner of the farm, I deleted the fallow land instead of plowing it. This turned it back into grass. Then, I fenced it in and filled it with the various animals I had collected, and I bought a chicken coop. I placed the chicken coop in the easternmost corner of this new fenced area so as not block my view of the crops around it. (This may or may not turn out to be the best place for this building.)

Fences measure 1 square by 5 squares, but they can be made to overlap one another in which case they will occupy 1 square by 4 squares. To fence in an area previous occupied by 16 plots I needed exactly 12 fences (3x4). I had to be careful that they did not overlap.

I chose to fence in the centermost area of my farm in order to prevent my avatar (the animated version of me) from walking all around the farm every time I planted or plowed something. I noticed other Farmville players achieved a similar result using bales of hay, but I was planning to fence in my animals anyway, so this seemed more efficient. The effect is identical; you can plow and plant a lot faster if you are not waiting for the little farmer to walk to each area.

Final Layout:
This leaves me enough space to plant 11 different kinds of crops in 180 plots as compared to 9 different kinds of crops in 144 plots. I now have space for 228 trees as compared to 196. The future looks bright.

Next Expansion:
I will not be ready for my next expansion until I have 10 neighbors or 20 FarmBucks. At some point I think I will have to buy an expansion. The final expansion requires 30 neighbors. But, FarmBucks are hard to come by. You only earn 1 FarmBuck each time you level up, so I'm going to keep trying to expand with neighbors until I'm just sure that I can't.

The next time I expand, I'm planning to turn over another area to fences, animals and buildings. It will probably be the northernmost corner of the farm and I will probably buy a dairy barn. I plan to do this again each time I expand. I'm planning to buy a horse stable after my third expansion. Those are harder to build because you need a lot of help from your friends.

Reference Table
Starter Farm12x12 
Homestead14x1410,000 FarmCoins and 8 neighbors
Family Farm16x1625,000 FarmCoins and 10 neighbors
Big Family Farm18x1850,000 FarmCoins and 13 neighbors
or 20 FarmBucks
Plantation20x2075,000 FarmCoins and 16 neighbors
or 20 FarmBucks
Big Ole Plantation22x22 
Mighty Plantation24x24500,00 FarmCoins and 30 neighbors
or 20 FarmBucks

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