FrontierVille and other Facebook games

I’ve been having problems with my arm lately (friends will remember I went through this last fall…it’s a recurring RSI/pinched nerve/something thing that hits my left shoulder every so often) which means traditional gaming was more or less off the table this weekend. A bit of Deathspanking but that was about it.

So I’m mindlessly clicking around the internet (my mouse arm is fine) and I find myself on Facebook and decide to try Frontierville again. And this time I got hooked. I’ve been playing it off and on all weekend; I feel like I ought to be ashamed of that fact but the truth is, I was having fun.

The best way I can find to describe Frontierville is that it’s like Harvest Moon turned into a social game. You still have the real time energy accumulation of social gaming so you can only play in fits and starts, but otherwise it’s very Harvest Moon-like. Clearing land, planting crops, raising animals, and meeting goals to progress the storyline (such that it is…to a great extent the storyline happens in your own head). For instance right now I’m working on the requirements to get my bride-to-be to move out West with me. It isn’t as in-depth as Harvest Moon; you’re not choosing a townsperson to woo or anything. But it’s still pretty fun.

On the other hand, figuring out how to play as much as possible adds a kind of meta-game layer to the real game. I’d accumulated tons of gift offers (turns out I have a lot of Facebook friends who’re playing) and that carried me through most of the weekend. Eating meals gets you energy and lots of people had sent me meals. You can also get an energy boost by visiting friends’ homesteads.

You do have to do some trading with friends, or spend money, in order to play. I’ve been doing the former. And there are goals built around visiting your friends’ lands, so playing solo would strip out a good chunk of activities.

I used to hate how these games spammed my Facebook wall, but since I don’t use Facebook (except now, for playing games), and since Facebook now stacks the spam (so you see one event with a “see 40 other Frontierville notifications” link below it), and allows you to block notifications from a given app, I decided not to worry about it anymore. If people who don’t game on Facebook unfriended me, I probably wouldn’t even notice.

Swept up in the moment, I tried a bunch of other games but only two sorta stuck: My Empire (which reminds me a tiny bit of the old Ceasar games, if Ceasar had no military component and was just city building) and My Tribes, which is a Facebook-ized version of the Virtual Villagers casual game. Neither of these really grabbed me powerfully yet but we’ll see.

I must be mellowing in my old age or something. Playing Facebook games. What’s next? Sunday afternoons at the Bingo parlor? I even *almost* spent money on Frontierville, too! There’s an item you can buy that increases the amount of Energy you can store up. It would’ve cost me $5.00 to buy enough “Horseshoes” to buy it. I came damned close…

Anyone else have a good Facebook game to recommend? Something that feels like a real game? I prefer some kind of map/gameboard… stuff like Mafia Wars or Castle Age that are more or less text-based don’t really grab me. And I don’t want anything that I have to log into every 2 hours. Any suggestions?