Game Review: Fill the Barn

FillTheBarnFill the Barn
Hoopcat Games, 2012

Fill the Barn is a lightweight simple game for ages 8 and up. Each player attempts to plant crops, keep them alive and harvest them to make a profit. At the end of the game, the player with the most money wins.

The game consists of a barn (board) that has 3 spots for 6 types of crops. Each spot has a monetary amount on it, which is the amount the market will pay for harvested crops. A deck of cards holds crops that vary in planting costs, harvest cards with varying costs,  irrigation cars, fertilizer cards, disaster cards,  action cards and junk which can be used to fill up the barn, taking away opportunities to harvest from the players. Each player starts and maintains a hand of 5 cards throughout the game. Each turn, players play one card, then draw a card. Play might be planting a crop, harvesting, tending crops with irrigation or fertilizer cards, or playing actions or disaster cards on other players. Endgame is reached when the cards are gone and no one can play any more from their hands, or when the barn is full, whichever comes first.

Our first play was a two-player game and was a fairly even, play was simple and direct, and the game went quickly. We played again with 5 players which changed the dynamic a little. We did have two “drought” disaster cards come out fairly quickly, which caused one player to lose most of their money, frustrating them for the rest of the game. The simple mechanics and quick play will be attractive to the 8-12 set, but the game doesn’t have a lot of strategic ability for older players. So if you are looking for something for your 7-12 year olds, this would be a good addition to their library, giving them some opportunity to learn simple strategy and basic economic principals. If they spend too much on planting and harvesting, then they won’t receive any profit on their crop. It may also give them a little glimpse on what a farmer goes through to get a crop to market, worrying about such disasters as drought and mice, and learning the value of insurance on a high cost crop.

Nice game with quality pieces and well written easy to learn rules. Recommended for younger players.