Skip to Content

Tracking Countdowns

5 replies [Last post]
Joined: 08/31/2017

I'm designing a farming game in which players plant seeds by placing a tile. The tile tracks the type of seed planted and gives a number for how long until that seed ripens and can be reaped. My current thought is to have the tile be a color representing the type of seed with a number representing how long until you can gain profit from the crop. Every round if certain conditions are met the player either flips the tile or replaces the tile to reveal the next lower number, ie a brown token for potatoes with a 2 on one side and a 1 on the other. It's placed with the 2 and is flipped to the 1 the following round and then can be picked the round after.

The problem is I don't want a ton of tokens, if a player is planting 16 different plants in a turn (unlikely in the current design, but possible) and some plants take 4 weeks to ripen, that's at least 32 different tokens, not to mention tokens for any seeds they didn't plant.

So, I'm looking for an alternate to my countdown conundrum. Thanks in advance!

let-off studios
let-off studios's picture
Joined: 02/07/2011
North-Facing, Earth Markers, etc.

Just chatted with a few other designers about this issue. A few options to consider.

- If you have a "north" facing on your playmat, then rotate tiles instead of stacking them. Each edge of the tile has a number, and rotate each tile every turn. After the "1" is passed, the plant can be harvested.
- Generic dirt tiles can be placed on any seed, and one is removed each turn. When no dirt tiles remain, the plant has sprouted and can be harvested.
- Games such as Carson City and Macao were cited, indicating tracks or rondels that are rotated or slid to advance the growth of plants. If plants aren't fixed to a location, then a track would work.

Keep at it. :)

MAR's picture
Joined: 04/23/2017
Tracking Countdowns

A custom political and war themed game based in the 1930s that we play uses a system where you need to countdown tactics that you want to do, such as making a peace treaty, planning a special operation, using propaganda, etc. We do this by putting the desired action into a small envelope and placing it under the side of the board. There is a section with a 3, 2, or 1. Every time it is a player's turn, they can move the envelope with the orders down a step until it reaches "0", then you can do whatever it is.

I like that suggestion about rotating the token, or by flipping it over possibly. Maybe you could just have small counter tokens that are 1-4 and you can put them on top of the plants until they are ripe. Let us know what you come up with, I will keep thinking.


Joined: 01/27/2017
How about counting up?

An alternative would be to have spaces on the tile that indicate what's needed to bring a seed to maturity, with a rule that only one of each type can be placed per turn.

For most plants, this would be "water" slots. Four water slots means four turns/weeks to mature. Some might have fertilizer slots or pruning slots or whatever it is farmers to do their crops between planting and harvesting.

If you'd like a way to rush a crop, a slot might be marked to take either of two tokens. For example: three water slots, a fertilizer slot, a water/fertilizer slot, and a water/pruning slot. This would nominally take five weeks, but could be finished in as little as three.

Of course, there is no free lunch: this system would require a bunch of tokens. They can be little 1cm square punch-outs, but it's still something.

Joined: 09/06/2017
Time field grid

A possible solution is to represent this farm as a grid with time as x axis and fields as the y axis.  There would be a token that would advance along the x axis each round.  The current location of the token would represent the current day. Then crops would become rectangles. The long side would represent time.  While the short side would represent the number of fields this crop takes up. The left side of the rectangle would represent the day the crop was planted. Somewhere probably in the right half there would be an indicator that the crop is ready to harvest.The right edge would represent that crop is no longer productive. These crop rectangles could then be planted (placed) into your farm grid following certian rules.  They would have to be placed such that the long side is parallel to the x (time) axis. Additionally the left edge would have to placed in the left border of the current day. After the field is planted the time token will eventually reach the area were the crop harvested. When this happens the crop can be harvested.  After all the fields have been planted and harvested and other actions are taken then the time token would move forward.

To make this more feasible you may want to compress the x axis compared to the y axis.  In fact you would probably want to shrink the x axis to the minimum size that can still be used easily. I  not really sure what this is but I'm sure that others here that could way in if you decide to use this scheme.

Joined: 09/06/2017
squash/zucchini can also be harvested for flowers

Squash and zucchini flowers can be harvested and consumed. I thought I would share this since it could make for an interesting dynamic to have a crop with two harvest periods. More info here:

Syndicate content

forum | by Dr. Radut