Update: Sorry, Stardew fans, but just one day after it was revealed, the first printing of Stardew Valley: The Board Game is already sold out. Stardew Valley creator Eric Barone said the makers are now working on a second run.
The first printing of the board game is now sold out. We've been blown away by the excitement and response! We're working on getting a second printing started, and I'll let you know when there are updates.February 24, 2021
In March of 2020, we learned about a pair of students in the Netherlands who made their own board game based on Stardew Valley. Now, fans of the tranquil farming sim can get their hands on a fully official version. Creator Eric Barone announced today that after more than two years of work, Stardew Valley: The Board Game is a thing that actually exists, and is available for purchase.
"For more than two and a half years I've been working together with board game designer Cole Medeiros to make a board game that captures the essence of Stardew Valley," Barone said. "It has pretty much everything from the video game: villagers, crops, animals, fishing, foraging, mining and more. We worked hard to make a board game we think is really fun to play and to look at. I hope you enjoy it!"
The game is designed for 1-4 players, and requires about 45 minutes per player to get through a full year, although that can be adjusted if you'd like to roll through it a little more quickly. The goal for players is to work together to protect the Valley and ultimately chase the Joja Corporation from town by completing Grandpa's Goals and restoring the local Community Center. The specific goals are randomized from game to game, and rules can be tweaked to make it tougher or easier to get things done.
Time, weather, and events are managed through a deck of cards, and players will advance their starting tool, gain new skills, find items, and gather resources as the game progress. Appropriately, making friends will also unlock unique gifts and reveal Community Center bundles, which you'll need if you want to throw off the corporate yoke.
"Completing the goals may at first seem very difficult, but as your abilities grow your farm will become more and more capable," Barone wrote. "Don’t give up!"
The Stardew Valley shop page says Barone and Medeiros began working on the game all the way back in 2018. The first year of development was spent iterating prototypes and figuring out how to adapt the videogame, "which in essence is a relaxing, on-going experience intentionally left without a strict ending," into a beginning-to-end board game, while the second was focused on playtesting and refining the design, and ensuring the art style "felt just right."
"Eric invested a lot of time into this project, whatever he could spare while still developing new content for the video game," the page says. "Cole put in countless nights and weekends, as that was the only time he had available. And now the game is ready! We truly hope you enjoy it."
Barone emphasized in the announcement that while the game may look light-hearted and breezy—the sort of thing you might put in front of young children to keep them busy for awhile—it's actually a pretty serious board game.
"I want to be really clear with everyone that this game was designed to have some depth and complexity. It's easy to play once you learn the rules, but it’s not a short, casual game," he explained. "Please check out the rulebook to make sure it’s a good fit for you and those you like to play board games with!"
Here's a sample of what you'll find in the rules:
The store page pointedly reiterates that caution about the game's complexity, going as far as to wave off some potential customers—although to be honest I doubt that's going to dissuade many serious Stardew fans.
"It's really important to us that as a buyer you understand Stardew Valley: The Board Game is not a casual quick game," it says. "While it is easy to play once you know the rules, its meant to be challenging. We wanted an experience with depth and replayability. If your game group or family prefers short playtimes (less than 45 minutes) with a small number of rules and components, this game might not be a good fit."
Stardew Valley: The Board Game sells for $55, but unfortunately right now only ships within the US. The store page says they're working to make overseas shipping happen, "but because of the complexity involved at the moment we're still figuring out the details." You can keep track of how that's progressing and other related matters on the new Stardew Valley Board Game discussion forum.