Maxis Sim Farm Revisit – Farming animal profits

Posted by on July 6, 2017 in Gaming | 0 comments

Maxis Sim Farm Revisit – Farming animal profits

I used to play Maxis Sim Farm way back in the day when I was running Windows 3.1.  Boy is there a difference playing it now on a newer computer.  There’s a number of places you can play it online for free.  I remember watching the cursor blink slowly even on the fastest speed and the game “ticking” away.  It’s super fast now and it’s hard to keep track of some things playing it on ultra.

My basic strategy was always to basically cheat and grow oranges.  They would spike at $33,000 a crop.  When that happened, you bought futures in all your current fields and sold off any fields you had saved up in the silo.  However that’s kind of not playing the game in the spirit of the game.  So I decided I’d try and give animal farming a try.

The table below shows you the cost and some specs on the animals.  The life is how long they’ll survive, although I’ve never lasted long enough to see what happens when they die.  the Eats column is how many bales of hay they will eat in a month.  A month is considered 4 weeks in the game.  The rep column is how long you have to wait before an animal starts reproducing in months.  The Gest column or gestation is how long the animal is pregnant before the new little guy pops out.  Cost is the initial cost, and the value of a newborn when it is born.  Lastly the Rise column is the amount the animal gains in value each week.

Animal Life Eats Rep Gest Cost Rise
Sheep 10 0.06 3 6 180 2
cow 20 0.25 20 10 480 5
Horse 20 0.25 48 12 880 3
Pig 15 0.13 8 11 380 3

I have a spreadsheet set up for the next part, but I assumed the minimal taxes and I didn’t even factor in the approximate 10% income tax they put on for selling animals.  I also assumed that you start with 50 animals.

The Bales Eat column is the total amount of bales that all the animals will eat over the time it takes for 1 breeding period.   A breeding period is simply the reproductive months plus the gestational months.  There is a tiny bit of randomness in the length, but not enough to make a difference in this experiment.   The end Val column is the value each animal will have after the first newborn is born.  The new ans column is the total value of all the newborns.  I was generous in this estimate because I put the birthrate at 1 newborn for every 2 animals.  However, after running some tests, it seems more like 1 for every 3 animals, which decreases the profits even more.   The bale cost is simply the total number of hay bales eaten times 100 per bale. The taxes is the base tax rate times the number of years involved in getting 1 offspring.  This is also generous because if you sell anything your taxes go up.  The total val column is the new value of all 50 of the original animals.  The profit is the difference in what you paid and the new value of the animals and the value of the newborns, minus your taxes.  The profit/year is just normalized to a 12 month period.

Animal bales Eat end Val new ans Bale Cost Taxes Total Val Profit Profit/year
Sheep 28.125 252 4500 2812.5 675 12600 9112.5 12150
cow 375 1080 12000 37500 2250 54000 14250 5700
Horse 750 1600 22000 75000 4500 80000 500 100
Pig 118.75 608 9500 11875 1425 30400 17100 10800

So you can see that sheep are the best bet followed by pigs.  I read somewhere that the best way to make money when you start out is to buy horses and feed them for a little, have the value go up and then sell them.  However I also saw that they thought that the increase in value was 7/week, not the 3 that I saw it to be.  Horses I could never get to make any money at all because they eat so much more food than any other animal.

This all being said, I didn’t spend that much time on this.  These are rough numbers, but I did run a few years on sheep.  The result honestly was really boring to me.  You buy the 50 animals, put the bales around, and then sell off the 15-25 babies that pop up.  The resulting money isn’t that good but it does go in the positive.  Unlike my horse attempts which never broke even.    And yes I had barns for the horses to hide in if they wanted.  If someone knows the secret of horses, post a comment, I’d love to hear it.

I stopped the animal experiment started a new game and farmed 4 fields of strawberries.  Made 35,000 in the first year net profit, over 4 times my profit from sheep farming.  However the fields are boring in their own sense too because you just click all the chemicals all year round and you wind up with grade A strawberries.    Made a killing in subsequent years when the price went up a little and I sold my stores.

Sim Farm was a great game for the time when it came out.  Granted I was about 12 when I was playing it back then, so I’m sure it seemed so much harder, and so much more entertaining.  It was still an amusing throw back to go back and play it a little.  I’ll probably look for Sim Ant next.

If anyone has any incites or tips they’d like to share about this classic Maxis game, then post a comment below, I’d like to hear your thoughts.

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