When Stardew Valley fans take a break from giving presents to villagers, hunting monsters in the mines or scaring crows away from your farm digitally, they can enjoy a physical rendition of the game with Stardew Valley: The Board Game.
Similar to its digital counterpart, Stardew Valley: The Board Game allows players to go through all four seasons with up to four players. The standard experience consists of experiencing one full year of the game and can take approximately 45 minutes for each player. If participants want to play a shorter game, then this can be adjusted as well.
In a blog post, Eric “ConcernedApe” Barone–the person who acted as the board game’s publisher from start to finish–said there is a focus on letting players make the experience their own.
“I want to be really clear with everyone that this game was designed to have some depth and complexity,” ConcernedApe wrote. “It’s easy to play once you learn the rules, but it’s not a short, casual game.”
According to the rule book, there are three phases in Stardew Valley: The Board Game. The first phase involves drawing a card from the Season Deck. Information such as different events and the weather get revealed with these draws. Players must follow each card’s instructions from top to bottom.
Phase two is where the cooperative element comes in as players can trade resource tiles and item cards. During this phase, they can also have a conversation about what they plan to do for the turn. During each round, players must place their pawn on the location that they plan to focus on. For example, they can spend time in the mines, at the beach or even tending to crops and farm animals.
Once the tokens get placed, the third phase begins and allows players to move around the board and take action. There are different ways to carry out their moves. Two actions can be taken at one’s current location with no movement allowed unless otherwise activated by a special ability. Another option is to take one action, move and take one more action at a new location.
When moving about, players can forage for items on specific tiles. Like the digital Stardew Valley game, this can involve revealing artifacts via worm tiles or finding useful crops.
Together, players must coordinate and bring the town back to life. Much like the digital version of Stardew Valley, the board game makes it clear that the Joja Corporation is not the players’ friend.
In order to drive the Joja Corporation out of town, players must restore the Community Center and complete Grandpa’s Goals. These goals are randomized each game, which adds to its replayability.
As the game goes on, players get to upgrade their starting tools, gain profession skills, gather more resources and find items. To unlock unique gifts and reveal Community Center Bundles, players must become friends with others.
Penny, for example, is well-loved in the digital version of Stardew Valley. In the board game, players can also strengthen their friendship with her by using a specific item. When a character is gifted an item on their birthday, the player who gave it to them also gains a heart.
Stardew Valley: The Board Game can be as complex or as low difficulty as players want. There are three game modes ranging from Seedling, Honest Farmer and Artisan. More of Grandpa’s Goals and Community Center Bundles must be completed as the difficulty level increases. If Stardew Valley fans want an extra challenge, then they can try out the Artisan level and add more Joja Corporation cards into the Season Deck.