Day 8, Spring 8: Mining & Crafting

It’s Monday, which means it’s now the start of my second week at Joensuu Farm! It’s also time for another installment of “Livin’ Off The Land”.

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I made some wood fences to experiment with their placement. Looks like they can go anywhere there’s flat ground on the farm, and if you put one in the wrong spot, you can easily get it back by hitting it with the pick.

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I made a small fence around my tiny flower garden area – it has room for 2 more flowers for now.

New Harvest

Two new crops are ready for picking today: kale and potato.

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Kale is harvested with the scythe

I put one of each into the shipping box (gotta collect ’em all) and then took the remaining kale into town to sell.

More Gift Giving

I found a Joja Cola in the trash again. Not wanting to hold onto it any longer than necessary, I gave it to the first person who walked by (Sam).

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He actually liked it!

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In the general store, Leah had a question instead of the usual small talk. I chose the last option, “I wanted to escape my old life.” Found out Karl and Leah have that in common:

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Wanting to continue my streak of successful gifts, I handed her a maple seed to solidify their friendship.

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Didn’t go so well this time…

Whoops – I thought she liked foraging!

At this point I should probably start a page of notes on people’s likes and dislikes for easy reference, to avoid making the same mistake twice.

Economic Analysis

At Pierre’s I sold 3 kale (kales? heads of kale?) for a whopping 110 gold each. At the end of the day I’ll see that my one potato sold for 80 g. I’m mentioning it now because I’m going to take some time to think about numbers.

Disclaimer: I can’t resist the urge to start making spreadsheets and doing calculations when it comes to the economics and efficiency aspects of games, so I’ll be sharing some of that from time to time. If that’s not your thing, feel free to skip ahead to the next section!

Now, this doesn’t mean I’m going to always try to make the 100% most rational and efficient decisions, because by that point you might as well just substitute a spreadsheet for the entire game. I’m here for the overall experience, and while I won’t try to min-max everything, I like to experiment with the game mechanics to at least stay informed and learn how it all works. Since I now have pricing data for 3 different crops, here’s a little table I made for comparison:

Crop Seed Price Days to Grow Yield Sell Price Profit per Plant Profit per Day ROI Daily Rate of Return
Parsnip 20 4 1 35 15 3.75 75% 18.75%
Potato 50 6 1* 80 30 5.00 60% 10.00%
Kale 70 6 1 110 40 6.67 57% 9.52%

*Potatoes can yield multiples per plant. I’ve only picked one so far, so I don’t know what the average yield is. Actual earnings will likely be higher than what is shown.

You can see that after subtracting the purchase price, a potato earns twice as much as a parsnip, and kale earns almost three times as much. That makes sense because of their higher upfront cost and longer growing time.

So which one is best? Intuition might say to just plant kale to earn a ton of money at each harvest. However, unless you already have more money than you can spend, you’d be much better off with parsnips.

Why? It’s because when you look at the return on investment, parsnips actually have a higher sell price relative to their purchase price than potatoes or kale.

And it’s even better than that. If you divide each crop’s ROI by the number of days it takes to grow, you get the last column, “Daily rate of return”. This is one of the most important calculations because it also takes into account the amount of time each crop takes to grow. This stat basically says “If I have X amount of gold in my pocket and I’m going to spend all of it on seeds, parsnips will turn that X into 2X almost twice as fast as kale will.”

So should you never plant potatoes or kale? Well, it’s not quite that simple. You also need to consider that both farmable land and the time to cultivate it are finite resources. Parsnips require at least twice as much land area to produce the same value as the other two. That’s twice as much time and energy spent tilling, fertilizing, and watering. If you get to the point where you only have a certain size area in which to plant, and you want to maximize the amount that each tile produces, that’s when the higher profit-per-plant crops really shine. They’re also a better option when you have a good amount of money saved up so you can afford to have more of your assets buried in the ground for a while.

Summing Up

To summarize all this in a few words (and again, this is speaking purely economically and doesn’t take into account aesthetics or personal preference):

  • If you have lots of space and little cash, look for a higher daily rate of return.
  • If you want to plant more densely and can afford to invest more up front, high profit per plant is probably what you want.

Decision: Monoculture

At this early stage in the game, I obviously fall under the first of those categories. So the natural choice, if I want to get a nice steady income flowing, is to plant lots of parsnips.

If I’m planting a lot of one crop, I might as well take it to the extreme and go for the achievement, right? It’ll be a fun challenge for me, a good chance to look at crop yields in depth, and I should unlock a cool hat! (Hopefully)

I’ve come up with a plan that should allow me to plant my 300th parsnip on Spring 23, which means it’ll ship on Spring 27 and give me one whole day of wiggle room. But I’ve rambled on more than enough for one post, so more on this next time! Let’s get on with today’s activities.

Field Science Addendum

In the last post I learned that you can find tree seeds in the ground and dig them up using the hoe. Here’s another related discovery:

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It turns out, you can also shake trees by right-clicking them, and if you’re lucky, seeds can fall out. This is great news as it means you don’t have to chop down the tree (which costs lots of energy with my low skill level).

Spelunking for Quests

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Karl never planned on an adventuring life, but it suits him well

I returned to the mine in the afternoon to look for more copper and try to reach the 5th level down. I brought two field snacks with me to prevent exhaustion.

By depth 3 I had already found enough copper to craft the forge, which I did right then and there. The quest had no reward, but fed right into the next quest: smelt a copper bar.

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I soon made it down to level 5 to complete another quest, which again led to a follow-up quest:

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Yikes, how many levels does this place have

Interesting, so when you reach an elevator floor, it serves as a sort of checkpoint so you can instantly return to that level next time you return to the mine.

I was happy with this progress so I returned home to leave enough time to place the forge and start smelting. Another quest completed! This one also simply disappeared from the journal and had no reward or follow-up. Well, it served its purpose of teaching me how to smelt ores and that’s reward enough!

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I had enough coal for two copper bars, so I placed one in the shipping box and saved the other for future upgrades.

I went to sleep at 12:30, so my energy will be a little drained tomorrow. I still have two uneaten field snacks though so no big deal.

Wrap-Up

20160406_221147.pngAdding in the kale sold to Pierre amounts to a pretty solid profit for the day.

Total Earned: 580 g

New Items Sold:

Item Sell Price
Kale 110 g
Potato 80 g
Copper Bar 60 g

Journal Progress:

  • Quest Completed: Forging Ahead (craft a forge)
  • Quest Completed: Explore the Mine (reach depth 5 of the mine)
  • Quest Completed: Smelting (craft a copper bar)

Tomorrow’s Weather: Sunny

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