Agriculture Sans Sissies: Pyg Farmer

I know you won't believe it, but I chopped this header into its current form in FORTY SECONDS!

The other day (okay, it was really sometime back in December), I had the opportunity to sit down with Rich Nelson, the owner, lead designer, and all-around hot topic of Giant Goblin Games, not to mention the proprietor of last year’s successful Kickstarter campaign for Storm the Castle! In the midst of a bustling board game store, we met up to give his newest prototype a whirl. Which now that it’s mid-April, is up on Kickstarter.

*All components are prototypes. Hm, maybe I should put that in the actual body of the preview, hm?

Cared-for, played-with, and protected pygs are happy pygs.

Pyg Farmer is all about raising pigs — sorry, pygs, however those are distinct from their i-spelt brethren — and upon first hearing that, I could not have been less enthused. Mostly because I think board games are at their best when they contain warring monsters or friendship-ending cruelty, and at their soul-crushing worst when they’re about farming or trains. I mean, when I’m not writing Space-Biff!, I moonlight as an alfalfa husker on a Medicago sativa plantation, so give me a break, guys. This is my work, not my play.

However, it turns out that Pyg Farmer is more about my beloved war, monsters, and cruelty than any actual farming. See, it casts its players as orcish farmers doing everything in their power to raise a healthy drove of pygs, which, naturally, includes lots of breeding, seasonal competitions and opportunities, market manipulation, sniper towers, invading farmers with hordes of mutated pygs at their backs, and probably more sausage jokes than you’ve heard since the fifth grade.

Also some pyg farming, pyg breeding, and pyg mutating, but those go with the territory.

Plenty of pyg farming going on here.

There were two things that stood out to me about Pyg Famer during the short time I spent with it.

First, it’s a lot meaner than it looks. There are loads of ways to nettle your opponents, whether murdering their pygs, bullying the market, trashing the victory cards they’re after, or just being a jerk and invading their farm outright. The placeholder art and components make it look almost cutesy, but in practice, it’s cutthroat.

Second, the entire thing struck me as a sort of Chvátil-esque experience, and not only because Vlaada Chvátil did the monster-farming thing a couple years back. Rather, this is a game with a whole lot going on. Between the pyg mutations, farm upgrades, board positioning, and market bullying, there were a lot of intersecting parts to keep track of. After only playing the game a couple times, I wasn’t entirely sure whether everything meshed well, and Rich and one of his playtesters mentioned they were still ironing out some details — but even with that in mind, my intern and I had a great time battling our pygs, expanding our farms, and telling dumb jokes.

oh, pardon me: PYG PILE!

Pig pile!

Here’s an interview we did with Rich to give you some sense of what he’s going for with his latest project:

Pyg Farmer is on Kickstarter as of today, so if it sounds like your pail of slop, take a look!

Posted on April 19, 2014, in Board Game, Impressions and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. OK. We get it. You have train games. But I like them, so stop criticizing train games all the time.

  2. hate, not have.

  3. Never stop hating train games!

    Also, sounds fun, especially if it’s as mean as you say. I’ll take a look at the Kickstarter. 😀

  4. Boo train games. Yes Pygs!

  5. gee i hooe this game turns out better than his Mimic Miniatures disaster

  6. We have waited months and months. The figures do not match the ones in the promo photos and used a different process for the modeling. There has been delay after delay. The few that have shipped are the wrong scale. The painting process costs four times what was advertised. Rich refuses to give refunds and keeps just making the same vague posts about how they are printing figures and fails to address legitimate concerns. Too late to seek refunds from Amazon. Several people are trying to get their money refunded now through their credit cards.

  7. I was burned as well by Rich and Mimic Miniatures. Working with my CC company to get my money back. Not willing to ever support any of his projects anymore

  1. Pingback: Today in Board Games Issue # 162 - Mix! - Today in Board Games

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