The Stardew Valley board game almost fell into a fight
Fans of soft farming simulations are probably familiar with the indie delight, Valley of stars. It’s a decidedly laid back experience where you work on a farm in a small town. It has received several expansions and updates since its release, all based on this modest foundation. There was even a Valley of stars board game that did a great job translating every element of its source material … except combat.
In a Designer Diary article on Geek board game, Chief Designer Cole Medeiros unveiled the design challenges he faced with the Valley of stars board game. Medeiros explained all of the collaboration he’s had with video game creator Eric Barone and how they wanted to make sure this tabletop adaptation captures the same charm of the source material. To quote Medeiros, “We knew star dew had all the makings of a great board game experience: lots of resources and items, characters and locations. So many lore are just waiting to be written – but despite our enthusiasm for the idea, we still didn’t know how to capture all of the cool little bits and pieces that work so well as a video game. “
But one of the biggest absences was the fight. In the Valley of stars video game, there were dungeon exploration sections where you would explore underground passages and fight monsters for valuable resources. Considering how the game focuses so much on crop management, farm maintenance, and interacting with the townspeople, this is one of those elements that stands out. It’s such a minor element that Medeiros talked about the lengthy process of prototyping, integrating comments and iteration, it’s something that was ultimately scrapped altogether. Things like fishing, catching insects, changing the seasons, the various building upgrades that can be applied on the farm and in the community, all of this has been fleshed out and expanded.
But when it came to weaker or overly complex elements that just didn’t work with the overall design, Monster Fighting was one of the design darlings Medeiros had to kill. “I found a lot of things that didn’t work at all. Originally there was monster fighting involved in mining, chit pulling involved in fishing, foraging was not a problem. free action, and so on. Sometimes I came up with great ideas, but they were way too complicated. I condensed the strengths of those ideas and discarded the weaker parts to come up with what is currently in the game. “
The biggest surprise of this Designer Journal is that Medeiros was encouraged to design the Valley of stars board game this way by Barone himself. He told Medeiros not to worry about a target audience or ticking boxes on a must-have list, but just make a game you enjoy playing. The entire article is a fascinating look at the time and effort that went into designing a tabletop game, even one based on an officially licensed one. But above all, it can show that sometimes less is more.