Stardew Valley Review - Time To Sell The Farm?


My brother-in-law got this. It’s a cute game, but I cannot argue against anything Quinns said in criticizing it.


Yeah, it’s like they just ignored the whole “what kind of game is (the video game) Stardew Valley?” question when designing the game.

“Let’s make a game that’s hectic and randomly difficult and target it towards people who play a laid-back casual game”.

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I haven’t had a chance to watch the review yet, but I’m not surprised to hear it’s laden with criticisms. When it hit the BGG hotlist I took a look immediately since my partner (especially) and I enjoyed the video game. Honestly, even at a glance it looked “off”. Like one of those really neat looking games you only find in one of those independent “kids boutiques” that sell Brio and mind games, and board games way outside of the hobby AND department store sphere.

Looking deeper just gave me more of that sinking feeling. I came away thinking: a light, fiddly, long-playing game with a massive luck element and weird cadence? Easy pass. And I own and enjoy Trogdor!


Stripping off the theme and tie-in for a moment, it sounds as if it’s falling between the high-intensity Euro optimisation stool and the random stuff happens live with it stool. Like On Mars meets Arabian Nights. But that’s a very long bridge over a very deep chasm.

(What was that “disposing of the body” music starting at about 12:22?)


Whatever it was, it brought back memories of the Chemical Brothers, the Timesplitters Planet X soundtrack, and the epic sofa chase scene in episode 1 of 15 Storeys High.

This is what made the game sounds so rubbish. Rosenberg’s been doing this thing for a long while now.


I watched that episode again the other day! Vince meeting the Wombles is one of my favourite things in all of television.

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Such a great series.

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The random difficulty feels like it could easily be solved through having deckbacks which state the difficulty. Them not doing that is either lazy or they don’t trust the people playing this game can be arsed to split decks.

Grandpa’s letters consists of 10 cards, I think. There are 4-6 cards in each section of the community center. So there is not much to split. You are stuck with the letters you get, but as was mentioned in the video, you can change the card in a given section of the community center, but it costs one heart per player, I think, which is crazy, as you need that much just to reveal the card in the first place and you have to do that 6 times in 16 turns, plus accomplish whatever is on the card.

Let’s give a friendly average that a player gets 2 hearts when they befriend a Villager (meaning you had an item they loved or it was their birthday season). So in a full 4 player game, you need 24 hearts just to reveal all the cards, so 12 actions under our generous scenario here. It takes turns to obtain the resources the Villagers want, and if you reveal a Villager and do not have a resource they want, your turn is just a waste. So someone needs to have taken an action to obtain crops, fish or traveled to forage. You basically need to have one player loaded up with goods before they try to befriend to give them the best chance of being successful, which takes up valuable turns and resources.

Overall, the game is too restricted. Everything needs to go right, or you are just screwed. Even if you manually choose things that are easier, you can still easily lose to bad luck, and there is no mitigation.