Materials: paper, dice. Players roll 1d6 onto the paper marking the spot where it lands. Number rolled is CREDIT. They draw a boundary around their spot, marking a SECTION which is PASTURE (SOIL 12). Draw a river (WATER 12) between opposite corners, winding around each spot. Players choose an IMPERATIVE and describe the backstory of their character: - VOLUME (extracting maximum output) - VITALITY (maintaining healthy ecosystem) Each TURN, players resolve an action, narrating in character and drawing landscape changes on the paper. STOCK Spend 1 CREDIT to add 1d6 (max 3d6) to HERD. YIELD Roll HERD dice. Add to CREDIT, subtract from SOIL and WATER (choose balance between stats). FIX Spend 1 CREDIT for: - Nitrates (SOIL +2, WATER -1) - Irrigation (YIELD +2, WATER -1) - Riparian planting (WATER +1) GROW SOIL +1/turn. - PASTURE -> WEEDS (1 TURN) - WEEDS -> SCRUB (3 TURNS) - SCRUB -> FOREST (9 TURNS) CLEAR - FOREST -> PASTURE (3 TURNS) - SCRUB -> PASTURE (2 TURNS) - WEEDS -> PASTURE (1 TURN) OUTCOMES If WATER reaches 0, SOIL-1/turn for SECTIONS touching the river. VOLUME forfeits if CREDIT or SOIL reaches 0. VITALITY claims victory if they GROW FOREST. Game ends with players concluding their narration of what happened and why.
This game is set in New Zealand where industrial dairy farming is a major political controversy and the volume vs vitality duality maps to the real spectrum of public opinion. It’s not always obvious that this style of farming is an extraction industry like mining (where soil and water are consumed). I thought it would be interesting to experiment with this as a game mechanic: profit can be yielded from farming immediately, but it takes much longer to restore the ecosystem to native forest. While imagined as NZ-specific, the 200 word constraint meant cutting out a lot of local detail, meaning it could be adapted to farming typologies and landscapes from other parts of the world too.