Strategic Primer: New Crop category for advances, and conversion

Early in the current campaign of Strategic Primer, I considered how to represent farming, farms, and crops in the system of scientific and technological advances I use to present each player’s visible courses of action. At the time, I decided to make “Farmer” one Job (think “class”) but provide a different Farm “Implement” (pseudo-“Building”) for each crop. But after further consideration recently, I’ve come to a different conclusion.

The main reason I chose the model we’ve been using, I think, was that I had only very recently added two entirely new categories of advances, “Suggested Unit Configuration” and domesticated animals. I wanted to avoid multiplying categories unnecessarily.

But over the past few turns, especially, I’ve had to add dozens of new advances that are essentially identical except for a few identifying words. This has reached the level of annoyance, but I’m quite sure that it’s only going to get worse—there are many crops that none of the players have come across yet (or that I lumped together under the “herb garden” advance).

So over the next few weeks, I’ll be converting all the various farm, orchard, grove, and garden advances that specify particular crops to a new category, “Crop” (abbreviated C at the end of each advance). I’ll give each player an updated list of advances with his or her results for the turn, or earlier if requested. I hope to replace the “boilerplate” text with more details about each crop that I left out because it didn’t fit the “farm” model, but we’ll see—finding statistics like yield per acre in earlier eras has proved quite difficult.

I’m not (yet) going to start fiddling with notions of “knowledge” as it relates to farming, like losing an advance if the crop goes too long without being planted or requiring players to go to great lengths to domesticate a crop. (Domestication of animals is somewhat involved, but is still far simpler than would generally be realistic; by contrast, all that’s needed to “discover” a crop is for an explorer to bring home a sample.) I’m not even (yet) working on my eventual plan for “a superior model of agriculture,” let alone these changes I contemplated two years ago. This is just a matter of nomenclature and categorization.

Any questions or comments?


One thought on “Strategic Primer: New Crop category for advances, and conversion

  1. I intended, but forgot, to mention in this post that the story provides an in-universe explanation for why crops need no effort to domesticate, and animals need so little: crops are all formerly-domesticated varieties that have long since gone to seed, and similarly for the animals. Perhaps it’ll be different on other worlds … I’ll have to think about that.

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