• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Designing a card game

 
Jason Machin
Pie
Posts: 82
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Long story short I'm in the midst of sketching out a permaculture/homesteading based card game. Similar to Magic the Gathering
To simplify things because it is a card game I've needed to standardise some things.
I'm thinking each "round" should be worth a month, nice and easy.
So here's the thing...
How much ground does a chicken tractor clear in a month?

I'm hoping 1/8 of an acre. It seems like a decent size for a bunch of trees, a small garden, a house or even a pond.
So is 1/8th of an acre a decent standardised size of land?
-that's what... 2 to 3 sheep?


dear admin, sorry if this is the wrong place, it did say this was for questions
 
Marco Banks
Pie
Posts: 346
Location: Los Angeles, CA
25
books chicken food preservation forest garden hugelkultur trees urban woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It all depends on how big your chicken tractor is.

And 8th of an acre is about 5400 sq. feet. If you had a 10 x 10 chicken tractor (100 sq. ft), and you moved it once a week to new ground, you'd almost cover that 1/8th of an acre in a year. 52 weeks x 100 sq. ft = 5200 sq. feet. 5200/12 = 433 sq. ft./month.

10 x 10 the size of Joel Salatin's chicken tractors—I believe he runs 60 birds per. He only puts his chicken tractors across a piece of land once a year because the nitrogen the birds poop out is so strong. It takes a year for the soil to use all that N. I suppose that if your stocking density was lighter, you wouldn't have to move them so often.

An 1/8th of an acre isn't much. The average size of a new suburban lot in 2013 in the US was about a third of an acre.

Are you thinking broilers or layers? Broilers, you don't put out in a chicken tractor until they are old enough to handle the cold at night and are smart enough to stay out of the rain. Usually about 2 or 3 weeks. In industrial animal husbandry where the birds never leave the barn, they grow those chickens to full weight in 6 to 8 weeks. Grass fed, tractor'ed broiler chickens take 9 to 10 weeks, generally. So if you want to get real technical, they'd only be on the land in the tractor for 6 or 7 weeks.

Layers --- that's a whole different story. They don't start laying for 5 to 6 months, and then are productive for a year or two. Stocking density of an egg mobile is much less dense than a broiler tractor. I think that the rule of thumb is 10 sq. feet per bird. Most people try to free-range their layers, and just use the egg mobile as a place where they birds come back to sit on a nest.

So the question: how technical is your game going to be? Will you account for weather and location? I can grow chickens outdoors year-round where I live, but you can't do that in Montana where wheaton labs is. If you've got snow on the ground 4 months of the year, you won't be tractoring many birds.


TOO MUCH DETAIL! Sorry. That's what you get when you ask Permie nerds a simple question.

 
Kyrt Ryder
Pie
Posts: 694
Location: Graham, Washington [Zone 7b, 47.041 Latitude] 41inches average annual rainfall, cool summer drought
11
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Just for clarity, is this game primarily intended to be successful in profit, or in education?

Both focuses can be made fun, but there are different tweaks I'd make for either focal path.
 
Jason Machin
Pie
Posts: 82
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Kyrt Ryder wrote:Just for clarity, is this game primarily intended to be successful in profit, or in education?

Both focuses can be made fun, but there are different tweaks I'd make for either focal path.


...currently looking at mechanics. But I'm thinking profit/fun that's firmly based in truth.
Figured educating a lot of people a little bit if more productive.
 
Jason Machin
Pie
Posts: 82
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Marco Banks wrote:
TOO MUCH DETAIL!


Hey detail is kinda what I'm after.
You're talking about those enclosed thingies aren't you?
I was thinking one of those electric fence with a portable coop doo-hickies.
-how big are those.
 
Kyrt Ryder
Pie
Posts: 694
Location: Graham, Washington [Zone 7b, 47.041 Latitude] 41inches average annual rainfall, cool summer drought
11
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jason Machin wrote:
Marco Banks wrote:
TOO MUCH DETAIL!


Hey detail is kinda what I'm after.
You're talking about those enclosed thingies aren't you?
I was thinking one of those electric fence with a portable coop doo-hickies.
-how big are those.

That's not called a chicken tractor [despite filling the same function.] The difference between a mobile chicken run like what Lawton uses [which appears to be what you're discussing, not 100% sure the appropriate name for this system] and a chicken tractor is that one pretty much is the coop, while the other system incorporates a mobile coop and mobile fencing.

Admittedly this is somewhat complicated by Geoff's 'chicken tractor on steroids' system which uses the mobile runs to generate compost whilst feeding huge piles of scraps to the chickens.
 
Jason Machin
Pie
Posts: 82
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
so a standard electric fence is 125 ft or 38m.
Stupid imperial system -.-
That's about 40m. that's 10X10m that's 100m^2
1/8 of an acre is 505m^2
Move the tractor every 6 days
BAM! Free range chicken tractor.
 
Marco Banks
Pie
Posts: 346
Location: Los Angeles, CA
25
books chicken food preservation forest garden hugelkultur trees urban woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I said above that Salatan moves his chicken tractors (broilers) weekly. Actually, he moves them daily.

So that's 60 birds in a 10 x 10 space, being moved daily. Or 700 sq. ft. per week. Sixty birds in 100 sq. feet isn't much space: less than 2 sq. ft. per bird. They go through the grass therein in a hurry, and put a lot of concentrated nitrogen down in that small space. He doesn't want the birds to take it down to bare soil, but to leave a living plant to recover as he moves the cage along.

If you haven't seen Joel's system, you've got to watch a few of his videos.

This first one is a guy (not Salatan) talking about what their pens look like and how they build them. You can see all the cages lined up in sequence.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wd16odGPix0&list=PLz7m6Pw0K6N83I8XQFNxprnTzf-gki7YQ&index=41


Here are a few of Joel himself talking about their system.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOpAjKE0cLk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LouBCOgvftM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbsm2uxUC6s&index=75&list=PLz7m6Pw0K6N83I8XQFNxprnTzf-gki7YQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Arynr8M_PtA&list=PLz7m6Pw0K6N83I8XQFNxprnTzf-gki7YQ&index=47





 
Jason Machin
Pie
Posts: 82
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Kyrt Ryder wrote:

Admittedly this is somewhat complicated by Geoff's 'chicken tractor on steroids' system which uses the mobile runs to generate compost whilst feeding huge piles of scraps to the chickens.


Oh I'm all up in Lawton's stuff. I know how it all works, but the dimensions and times have eluded me.
But with some vague research I've decided 1/8th of an acre works for a standard measurement.
Average plot in suburban Australia is 1/4 acre. Which is enough for a house and a decent garden.

So far each player gets 4 acres. Divided up into 1/8 acre fields. Giving a total 32 fields.
Being a card game.... that kinda works.

OR should it be 1/6 acre fields giving 24 fields.... eep
 
Jason Machin
Pie
Posts: 82
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
OR OR OR.... make a field a field and let people scale to their hearts content?
 
Kyrt Ryder
Pie
Posts: 694
Location: Graham, Washington [Zone 7b, 47.041 Latitude] 41inches average annual rainfall, cool summer drought
11
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The first question you have to ask yourself- before working on details like turns and resources- is this:

How does one win the game?

The conditions you select for victory will help guide and shape the rest of the game's design.
 
Jason Machin
Pie
Posts: 82
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
just got a deck of cards. 32 cards/fields is WAY too many.
18 cards/fields per player however works QUITE well.
So that's 3 acres with 1/6 acre fields.

...can a family make a profit on 3 acres of land?

So we've got 18 fields. How big are they?
 
Kyrt Ryder
Pie
Posts: 694
Location: Graham, Washington [Zone 7b, 47.041 Latitude] 41inches average annual rainfall, cool summer drought
11
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jason Machin wrote:...can a family make a profit on 3 acres of land?

Yes, BUT, that depends on which sort of profit you're looking for. The easiest profit to be had is the profit of not needing to purchase food/medicine, though there are options for making an income off of 3 acres.

So what are your winning conditions Jason? I wouldn't imagine it was purely profit based, or is it?
 
Jason Machin
Pie
Posts: 82
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
another option is 4 acres with 1/4 acre fields. making 16 fields
-takes up the same space on the table

winning conditions...
friendly
-after XX amount of years the most profits
-or who makes XX amount of profit first
-or or who HAS the most valuable farm after XX years
...actually that last one. hmmm

Competitive
-buy out the other farm and build a farming empire... MWAHAHAHA

I wanted it to be from single player to 10+
 
Kyrt Ryder
Pie
Posts: 694
Location: Graham, Washington [Zone 7b, 47.041 Latitude] 41inches average annual rainfall, cool summer drought
11
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
A single player cardgame huh. Got to say this is outside my realm of expertise.

That being said, mechanics-wise one thing that vastly appeals to me is *not* incorporating a flat land quantity.

Instead each player is gifted a certain 'resource pool' [which recharges either annually or quarterly] of finances and time/effort that can be applied in various ways. Larger parcels are inherently less efficient in terms of yield per area, but can obtain a greater overall yield. It becomes a balancing act of which type of system the player wants to establish.

This does create a challenge when basing the victory on profit though, because profit can become extractionary unless the game includes explicit penalties [financial or yield-based] or outright prohibits such behavior on the premise that it's a permaculture game.
 
Jason Machin
Pie
Posts: 82
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Kyrt Ryder wrote:A single player cardgame huh. Got to say this is outside my realm of expertise.

That being said, mechanics-wise one thing that vastly appeals to me is *not* incorporating a flat land quantity.

Instead each player is gifted a certain 'resource pool' [which recharges either annually or quarterly] of finances and time/effort that can be applied in various ways. Larger parcels are inherently less efficient in terms of yield per area, but can obtain a greater overall yield. It becomes a balancing act of which type of system the player wants to establish.

This does create a challenge when basing the victory on profit though, because profit can become extractionary unless the game includes explicit penalties [financial or yield-based] or outright prohibits such behavior on the premise that it's a permaculture game.


I've decided on 1/4 acre. It's a card game with a lay out. Although I'd love to make it scalable. At this point its just not feasible.
I've got two resources:
money - 1 coin = $100
effort - 1 clock = 10 (12?) man hours

The card games needs to be competitive to catch on. how about at the end of the game the land is sold off. the better the land the more profit. lol who has the best retirement?
 
Steven Kovacs
Posts: 157
Location: Western Massachusetts (USDA zone 5a, heating zone 5, 40"+)
7
urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jason Machin wrote:
The card games needs to be competitive to catch on. how about at the end of the game the land is sold off. the better the land the more profit. lol who has the best retirement?


Not necessarily. There is a whole class of games that are called "collaborative games."

Check BoardGameGeeks.com for info on those, and on game design and mechanisms more generally. The site is a bit of a mess but there is good content.

Also check out Costikyan & Davidson's game design guide - there should be at least an overview of it free online.

Permaculture seems like a great topic for a collaborative game. All of the players could be trying to make sure all of them establish sustainable or regenerative systems. Game goals could include eliminating outside inputs (especially non-renewable ones), repurposing waste streams as inputs, building soil, storing carbon, etc. You could also have "people care" objectives, though they seem trickier to model than "earth care" ones.
 
Marco Banks
Pie
Posts: 346
Location: Los Angeles, CA
25
books chicken food preservation forest garden hugelkultur trees urban woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
In a collaborative game, the players would have to work together to diversify the product their various enterprises create. If one player, for example, were to start growing mushrooms and earning a significant profit from them, if four other players decided to get in on that action and all grow mushrooms themselves, the price for mushrooms would fall and the market could collapse. Same with, for example, lambs or turkeys or apples or pickles or cheese. So collaboration is necessary for the success of everyone.

Thus, you'd want to reward people for collaboration, not make it a zero-sum Darwinian survival of the most cut-throat.

If I milk my cows or goats and sell you the milk in order for you to make cheese and yogurt, we should both be rewarded for that. If you grow a late season cover crop on your wheat field and then let me graze my cows on that field in exchange for putting my bee hives in your orchard and a third of the honey that comes off those hives, we all win. You get cow poop, a field prepped for planting, honey and pollination, and I get fodder for the beasts, pollen for the bees, honey and your eternal gratitude.

I could imagine a stack of "enterprise" cards -- perhaps a hundred of them. Things like a tree nursery, a seed bank, permaculture design consultation, bees/honey, eggs, ducks, puppies, pigs, butchering and processing meat products (ham, sausage, steaks, broilers, lamb chops, whatever), a commercial compost operation, a saw mill, mushrooms, a dairy, a still, carpentry, wool and weaving, heirloom turkeys and other birds . . . the possibilities are endless. Some would cost more to establish, but over the long haul, would earn you much more money (like a dairy). Other enterprises would reward you if you partnered with another player --- you grow and shear the sheep, someone else spins the wool, and a third person has a loom and weaves it into cloth. Bigger risks (brewing your own alcohol) would reward you with bigger returns, but also the potential to lose it all when the man comes in and shuts you down.

Shrewd players will expand their operation, but they understand that their best move is often to collaborate with other players in order to stack functions and build economies.

Also, there should be a disincentive for over-developing (too many chickens on a piece of land, over grazing, over saturating the market with any one product). Scale, pace and space are important permaculture concepts. Any action that denudes the land should have adverse consequences for the player.
 
Jason Machin
Pie
Posts: 82
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks for the inputs.
This game isn't going to be necessarily marketed as permaculture. I want to give players a choice.
They can go permaculture. They can go monsanto. They can sell car parts for all I care.
Nope, the whole point is "you have land, retirement is in 20-50 years. What are you going to do about it?"

-keep the ideas coming. So far I'm working on mechanics. Hoping to have a card lay out in a week.

To re-cap...

RESOURCES:
1 shift - 10 work hours
1 coin - $100

LAND:
3 acres of flat land
1 acre of sloped land
Each card is a plot.
Each plot is 1/4 acre
16 plots (12 flat plots / 4 sloped plots)

GAME RULES:
Each round is worth a month.
Seasons and timing affect certain cards.
Each player starts with 10 shifts a month.
Employees can be paid for additional shifts.
Play for XX years, sell the farm, retire.
The better the farm the higher the price.
Best retirement fund wins.


So..... does this make sense so far?
 
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic