How To Get Started In a Farming Sim

I love farming sims, if that wasn’t obvious from my numerous articles about them. To me, they’re fun and relaxing. But, they also provide a challenge and some strategy to them. Most importantly, they are optimal games for someone with less than stellar hand-eye coordination.

There are a lot to choose from and that can be overwhelming. But after that, staring at this new valley, town, farm (insert scenario here) that you’ve been entrusted with, you can feel overwhelmed.

Using my 20 years of experience in the genre, I’ve made a quick start guide to your first few days in game. Hopefully this helps you dive into one of my favorite genres!

Examine Your Farm

This varies from game to game, but usually your initial glance at your new farm shows you that you have a lot of work to do. The farmland is covered in weeds, trees, rocks, boulders, logs and, in the case of Coral Island, trash.

From these, you can gain substantial resources to use in later projects (such as your barn and chicken coop). You also use this space to plant your crops.

A word of warning though, be careful how much you do day to day. You do have an energy bar and at this early stage are limited on ways to refill it. Do not run out.

But, take a look around. There may be other features (some may still be locked – waiting for later). This is your space, to create a farm how you choose.

Explore The Town

After getting the lay of the land of your land, make sure you head into town to explore it. Not only will you meet the villagers (see the next point for more on this), but this is also where you will do your primary shopping.

All towns have some form of a Town Hall. They also have a Doctor’s Office (the Doctor tends to be a character you can date), a tavern of some sort, a blacksmith, a carpenter, as well as homes.

Near the town you will also find where you can purchase your animals.

You’ll be spending a lot of time here so it’s good to get to know it in the early days. While you do have a map (usually accessible by hitting the M key on PC), there’s

Meet Villagers

Every good farming sim has a cast of townspeople that enhance the game. You have a Mayor, a Doctor, the Inn Keeper, and various other residents who are all living their lives in the town by your farm.

These are your neighbors, your new friends, your potential future spouse is somewhere here. In addition, in some games, befriending villagers can lead to additional benefits. Often they will give you gifts once you reach a certain level of friendship.

Some characters have backstories that you get to see during cut scenes once you reach a certain level of friendship. Those add so much to the game and to the world it is set in.

Forage where possible

You have several options at the start of the game and even more will open up as you getting going in the game. Often there is a beach open to explore, a forest or mountainside, and of course the town itself.

While walking around, keep an eye out for items you can pick up. What those are can vary game to game. Often there are some plants, mushrooms, shells, and other things just chilling on the ground.

Some of these items are popular gift items which will be great to help you build early friendships (and can be useful in a pinch if someone has an early birthday). Others are good to sell for some quick early cash.

Make a Priority List

There is a lot to do in a farming sim and it can seem overwhelming. My suggestion is making a list. And I mean a literal list.

My mom played the early Harvest Moon games almost as much as I did and she had a memo pad for her save files. But, it kept her organized and it is not a bad approach. I love to-do lists and this is one for your game.

Do you start with the barn or the chicken coop? If so, how much gold will it cost and what resources will you need? You will also need to account for the cost of the chickens themselves.

How big do you want your farming plot to be? Make plans to clear that space (and for that coop or barn). How much will you need for those seeds?

This also comes in handy as you get introduced to the story and have to figure out how you want to approach it.

Let me give you one for Stardew Valley. One option you have is to repair the bridge leading to the tide pools on the beach. For me, this is a priority because it pays for itself quickly by being a good spot to forage.

These are my tips for when you’re just starting out in a farming sim! Hope they help!

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