Best Ever Charm Farm Guide – um, well, maybe
by Stan Faryna
Note: This is a guide for Nevosoft’s Facebook game, Charm Farm. This is not a WOW (World of Warcraft) guide for farming charms.
Charm Farm follows in the Castleville genre of Facebook games – clicks beyond counting, casino-like sounds, and cute. Charm Farm does not compare with Casteville but it is one of the better Russian makes of a would-be social game. Nonetheless, Charm Farm is trending as a Facebook game now because the the recent collapse of the Facebook game, New Rock City and the diaspora of NRC players looking for the next time-killing cutesy-ware. Beyond the people (some of them are wonderful), my interest in Charm Farm is about developing insights about social game market segments, social game design (or failure) and business strategy. None of which may be interesting to you if you searched for a guide.
Lucky for you, this blog post is mostly about how to play Charm Farm and dominate the noobs.
Like all Castleville-ish Facebook games, you fill a graphic-based map (or maps) with stuff – decorations and production units. You do quests, build or put stuff on your map, make coin (to expand your map and buy stuff to put on your map), visit neighbors (other gamers who you befriend via Facebook) and “connect” with your neighbors in the various Facebook groups related to the game. Sometimes, the latter gets a little scary with all that drama.
Regarding Facebook game group drama, my advice is simple and, perhaps, biblical.
Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
Matthew 7:6 NIV
Here’s my map at level 36 with some imaginative edits that I’ve made with the help of Maddy. Click it to see it bigger.
How to play Charm Farm
Charm Farm is a free-to-play game. It’s also a pay-to-win game. This is not a game for the casual player who only has four to eight hours/week to play a game. To “build” (or fill) your map, you need gold, mana, shmoos, neighbors, magic points, experience points and a Charm Farm Facebook group. Knowing where the Charm Farm wiki is and how to search it for quest, build and object information is also important.
Gold is collected from buildings, harvested from animals or collected on the visits you make to neighbors’ farms. You need lots of gold. That’s an understatement. It’s not easy to make gold. You’ll spend countless hours every day trying to make gold. Or you will spend real world cash on rubies.
Mana is produced by mana resources (crystals) and crops. You need lots of mana to power buildings and feed animals. You’ll spend countless hours harvesting mana from crops and visits to neighbors’ farms. Some will spend real world cash on rubies to speed up crops.
Shmoos are the fuzzy blue workers that you will exploit in your pursuit of your Charm Farm ambitions. They just want cookies. As of yet, there are no cookies in the game. [sigh] Shmoos are added as you add places where Shmoos live (houses, huts, shacks and cabins). Unfortunately, there are limits to the number of Shmoo lodgings you can add.
Magic points build Magic level. You need to increase your Magic level in order to expand your map. You get magic points for items you buy with coins and rubies. You also get magic points by creating spells, using spells (enchanting buildings), and grooming animals.
Experience points build Experience level. It’s mostly a bogus status symbol since Experience level can be indirectly bought with real world cash, but you do need Experience level to “upgrade” the Tree of Peace which is related to the quest line by the same name.
There’s too much to say about friends/neighbors to keep it in a sub-listing like this. You need friends to exchange gifts and visits. You needs lots of neighbors. 400 would be nice. You need lots of good neighbors – people who you communicate with by group forum, group chat or PM for specific requests of help. 50 or more is recommended.
Charm Farm Group
The first rule of social game design is that you don’t allow players to buy their level with real world cash. The second rule of social game design is that you don’t let players buy their level or obvious success with real world cash, period. Because, if you do, you have created injustice and empty vanity. Maybe, these Russians don’t know things. Maybe, they don’t know better.
On the other hand, you’d think that they’d know a thing or two about corruption – being Russians. And that they would hate corruption with all of their heart, mind and soul.
There’s also just a whole lot of bad mojo built into the game play. Neighbors are squabbling. Some are rage quitting. But the problem is not the players. Your neighbors are not the problem – unless they use all CAPS. Nevosoft didn’t think things through. They just dreamed about a fictitious success as a game company and they could care less about the human beings that play their poorly designed games. The proof is in the pudding.
Another problem is the lack of decorations, the large size of available decorations and buildings, and the lack of alternate perspective of decorations and buildings. It’s as if the project manager had no clue about the award-winning Social City and the industry/design lessons learned from that game.
I’m reminded of my Ninja blender/food processor. The spout lid broke off in the second month – just out of reach of the warranty. When I use it, there’s always the possibility of a huge mess shooting out the top. Sometimes, it hits the ceiling too.
Those who don’t know shizzle about business, technology, games, social, life, the human condition, etc. will say I’m being rude. I say, I don’t like gangsta-style, drive-by business strategy and that old fashioned snake-oil kind of transaction. They want to get rich off a third-rate knock-off that limps. Where’s integrity, vision and value? Where’s the respect for the dignity of the human person?
So I also say, get back to me after you have finished reading and deeply understanding the following little books:
Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica
Fyodor Doestoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov
Tom Peter’s The Little Big Things
Jon Katzenbach’s The Wisdom of Teams
Derek Prince’s Called To Conquer
Then – we can talk. Ok? [grin]
As soon as possible:
Have 24 pigflies penned, feed them every five minutes, and immediately harvest them at adulthood. Rinse and repeat. That will generate sufficient gold to pay for buildings and expansions.
Always be growing mana crop with no less than half of your Shmoos. There’s “timed” exceptions but we can talk about it in PM.Build mana storage via the “crystals or whatever” of concentration. First shoot for 1000 mana storage. Then 2000. There hasn’t really been a need or use for storage beyond 2000 mana in the 30s.
Do not pass Go and collect $200 until you have worked on your magic points. Huh? What I meant to say is that you should not level up in experience without keeping your Magic level close behind. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself in a situation which can only be easily corrected by whipping out the credit card.
Join a group (see above) and tell them that Stan sent you. If you don’t tell them I sent you to them, I’ll never answer your add request or PMs. That’s just a tease. In fact, I welcome all good and friendly communications. [laughing]
Once you have joined, go ahead and add 100s of neighbors. Be friendly and nice. Leave your baggage and demons at home. Be a good neighbor.
WHY DOES THIS REMIND ME OF JAMI? (CFG inside joke)
Tips and tricks
Make one (or more) spells every harvest or two of mana crop. Enchant the Magic Tower to get two spells per production cycle. It’s better to incorporate spell production into your harvest cycle than wait to make all your spells in a single, long and boring sitting.
Make one production at the Tree of Peace at least once per day. This will help you level up because the Tree of Peace gives the most experience points in a production than any other “building” in the game.
It’s best to dedicate time and attention to pigfly farming in one hour and twenty minute blocks. It’s not fun but it is a productive process. In a farming-time, you’ll feed pigflies every five minutes (or so) and harvest (sell) adult pigflies after 10 feedings. Again, this is the best method to generate coin and experience points in the game.
It’s best to start with the basic animals: pigfly and bully. After you have at least 24 penned pigflies or bully, go wild and do the zoo. But not before – if you want to get all the territories in your map unlocked. Because the exotic animals will slow you down. They cost a lot more mana in feedings and they take a lot longer to mature and produce.
You’ll save a lot of coin and make a better profit if you can restock your pigfly and bully from animals you collected from your neighbors’ nurseries. Restocking a large pen with 8 pigflies costs 800 gold (100 gold per animal). Restocking a large pen from your neighbors’ nurseries is obviously the better option.
The most helpful actions you can do on a neighbor’s farm is as follows:
1. Unwither crops
2. Feed exotic animals (rabbits, flamingos, llamasa, etc.)
3. Collect from buildings or objects requiring action according to your neighbors’ current quests (such buildings are often indicated by a “Help required” sign.
4. Feed ordinary animals (pigflies and bully)
5. Selling things in a neighbor’s marketplace (helpful to the under level 12 crowd)
6. Collecting from mana resources
7. Not doing havoc – if you collect from a building with a costly production (large library, green house, tavern, etc), make it the first action you do so your neighbor can decline your visit activity.
New players will find it helpful if they place their marketplace, crops, mana resources, animals and quest buildings together in the center of their playable map. This will allow your neighbors to find them quickly and easily. And perform the required actions.
Like any other social game, you’ll exchange gifts with your neighbors to fulfill quest and production requirements. That’s why you need 100s of neighbors. So you can get stuff done and not wait around. Most of your neighbors will only be helpful in this regard. It’s the good neighbors that will really help you (if you communicate with them), but it can be challenging to communicate with (or assist) more than 50 people on an ongoing basis.
Once you’ve got momentum and rhythm in your game, request large quantities of needed and constantly needed items. For example, say you need 50 magic dust today, ask 200 people for magic dust. That way you’ll have some magic dust left over. Also, use stuff up (make stuff in the lab) so that you can request items for the next gift schedule reset.
You don’t need two marketplaces. Don’t store your one and only marketplace. You need it for quests and so do your neighbors.
You don’t need more than four laboratories.
You don’t need to get upset when a neighbor digs up weeds, chops down trees and breaks stone on your farm. For better and worse, Nevosoft designed it to happen like that. Try not to rely on the freeware to create your decorative masterpiece.
You don’t need to be asked to do something nice for a neighbor.
Don’t ask for a paid gift unless you are ready to return the favor.
There doesn’t seem to be any good reason to keep or raise groundhogs in your pens after the quest was completed. The weather station does not provide worthwhile rewards.
Don’t get upset. :P
Be a good neighbor
I’ll end on a scriptural note.
Love your neighbor as yourself.
You want to find things you need for your quests at your neighbor’s farm. Offer the same productions on your farm and make them perma-ready if you don’t need their productions for yourself at that moment. People always can use pigflies, bullies, planks and knowledge. In other words, make sure you have nurseries, saw mills and large libraries ready to be clicked by your visitor. This also means that you refrain from collecting from all of your own buildings as much as possible.
You want your neighbor not to make havoc on their visit to your farm. Communicate with them and be thoughtful on your visits. What I mean by havoc is that you don’t know whether their visit will help you with a specific quest or general helpful click (feeding animals for example) or whether they are collecting a production that cost you a lot to produce in terms of mana, shmoo time or otherwise.
If the latter, you will want to decline their visit so that you don’t have to restart the production. Of course, it also sucks to have to manually decline 400 visitors. That’s a horrible way to spend an hour of your life. And what if they do a little of both kinds of clicking – it’s hard to tell. Sadly, this is a huge game design failure that is causing much drama, anger, rage quitting and alienation. But you can always message someone and let them know you collected knowledge from their library, for example, and that way they can decline your visit.
You want your good neighbors to help you with the important things: completing quests related to what a neighbor does on your farm, feeding your exotic animals, and unwithering your crops. Communicate clearly with your good neighbors. Tell them what you need and be ever-ready to run to their farm and help them out. Save up extra premium energy for that!
Obviously, your neighbors are human beings. Some of us have to be reminded about that from time to time. Discover them. Or, at least, discover your good neighbors. Check out their Facebook wall. Like, comment and share the stuff there that is cool. Maybe, you’ll discover someone who has common interests. Maybe, you’ll discover a life long friend.
Good luck and check out my facebook fan page for more tips, tricks and cheats for Charm Farm: http://www.facebook.com/Faryna.FanPage
24 February 2015