Weedcraft Inc. is an economic game from the Polish studio Vile Monarch, in which we try to make a fortune on marijuana. Of course, it will not be that easy – when dealing with illegal business, you have to worry about many more things than if, for example, we were selling mushrooms. And it is the police who smells in our basement, and the competition, without picking up on the means, tries to bite us, and the helpers end up in prison. We also have to take care of finances all the time: customers are picky and complain about the quality of the goods and the price, and buying upgrades, equipment and acquiring new skills is quite expensive. We also need more and more space where we could grow and sell the herb, and yet it is not enough to occupy another building, you still have to regularly pay bills for rent, electricity … It turns out that collecting the property will take much more time than you might think.
The game offers two scenarios. In the first, we play the role of a former MBA student, whose father just died, leaving his sons in financial trouble. However, there is no situation without a solution: our brother’s brother proposes to start trading in marijuana and shows his small crop in the basement of his family home. Here we will learn exactly the mechanics of the game. In the second scenario – the more difficult one, in which we use everything we have learned before – we jump into the shoes of a man who was imprisoned for illegal cultivation and smuggling. After years of imprisonment, he was released, but that does not mean that he can forget about his criminal past. Now he wants to return to his former occupation and is contacting his former partner, Matty, who is currently running a legal herb sales company.
Playing the role of a former student, we can master the mechanics of fun step by step. At the beginning we have one variety of marijuana that vagabonds are interested in (from them, as you can easily guess, many will not squeeze, but they also have small requirements, so you do not have to worry about quality). Shortly after completing the first tasks, the second type is unlocked, which is reached by a slightly more interesting clientele – the so-called normals and bakers. Over time, we will be able to try to reach the hipster, epilepsy, cancer and many other groups, ready to pay more, but having specific requirements for the quality of the goods and tastes. Step by step we are developing and investing in more and more interesting varieties of herbs.
In the first moments you get the impression that we’re dealing with a Facebook click. We spend most of our time in the basement at the beginning, watering the pots and pruning the plants to grow faster. Pruning plants is a mini-game, which involves holding the mouse button – not too short, not too long. By the way, we experiment with fertilizing. Each plant has its own preferences regarding the amount of potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen, likes a different temperature and humidity, but it is not known exactly what. For this reason, growing a variety of varieties in one room is not the best idea. At first, we will check the optimal conditions by trial and error, only at a much later stage of the game we can build a laboratory that regularly generates research points, which will allow you to simply learn everything about the optimal conditions for a given plant.
After all, herb production starts at full speed. We discover how to get better quality, so customers are beginning to appreciate it. The price can be raised, but you have to consider how much the grouping is ready to pay and whether the competition does not offer the same (or even something better) cheaper. From time to time there will be new rivals who will want to get a piece of the market to themselves, so even if we get rid of someone, it does not mean that we will ensure peace forever.
We are further expanding the basement in the family home, but – unfortunately – the whole space for pots cannot be allocated. Each bulb generates temperature, so you need to take care of the windmill so that it is not too hot, the plants smell and attract the attention of law enforcement officers, so investing in an air filter will avoid trouble (at least at the beginning), each device consumes electricity, and the unusual energy demand also I’m interested in the police, so you should finally think about allocating a lot of space for a tea-house or pizzeria cover.
Having secured a relatively stable situation and income, you can think about buying another place. The problem is that jumping between several cellars to prune and water the plants, and at the same time move to the market to sell what has been produced and deal with the service of covers quickly turns out to be too much of a duty for one man. That is why we employ employees. However, employees are not just a number indicating how many responsibilities they can do to us and how much they will have to pay them monthly. Individuals have different approaches to marijuana, motivation and personality, so what matters is not what they can do and how much they would like to earn – some are not willing to take illegal activities. Everyone has talents related to sales, herb growing and interpersonal skills at the beginning. As progress progresses, he gains experience and can be used to develop skills, for example, to water and prune plants more efficiently, thus ensuring better quality of goods. However, the more qualified the employee, the more it costs – after investing a point in its development we can be sure that it will promptly ask for a raise.
Earned money melts as quickly as we earn it and there is still something missing. Expanding as soon as possible and buying new locations in other cities to have even more herbs for sale will not necessarily be the best tactic. Money can be invested in a variety of ways: unlocking upgrades, unlocking new varieties of herbs, unlocking skills, hiring employees, taking care of the right cover so that no one will discover the business. Sometimes you will need to get someone out of prison, bribe the police, set up a legal business, pay the employee to harm competition, e.g. by stealing their herb or prepare that the people we employ will want to escape to our rivals if they don’t get more money – it can always happen unexpected expense, and being in minus for a long time will not end up interesting for us.
In the game, we can talk to many people to win their sympathy: with representatives of the police, with competitors, with each of the employees individually. Initially, it seems that getting to know their personalities, interests or looking for hooks on them will be interesting, but soon it turns out that many of them repeat the same, insignificant issues over and over again. So quick chatting comes down to clicking on more options. However, you have to spend time on it, because people who sympathize with us will be more willing to do a favor for us even for free (unless, for example, they do not agree to anything illegal).
Unfortunately, it happens that employees bother us over and over again with the same folly. One of my subordinates at some stage of the game kept whining about being afraid of the police, even if the suspicion of officers was at a very low level. Unfortunately, independent characters often start a conversation in the middle of the activity, which is a bit annoying. I also didn’t like the idea of guessing what to talk to a person about (sometimes offended by asking her to say something about herself, you never know how much to offer if an employee wants to earn more).
Weedcraft Inc. as a management simulator works great, is full of details, extensive options and detailed information. While playing, you need to pay attention to a lot of elements: what to sell and to whom, at what price, how to bite the competition, how to improve the quality of the herb, which places to buy and how to arrange them, who to employ, what skills to choose, how not to get caught, which special tasks to perform. At some point, you can even change the law and legalize the herb. In turn, maintaining proper relationships with other people is not so good, because talking about nonsense quickly turns out to be less exciting – the characters repeat over and over again the same things and it is rarely possible to use the acquired knowledge. To have perks, you have to “drumm” and unfortunately these conversations, maintaining good relations with the police and employees will not always save us from unexpected troubles. The music also falls out pale, the same sounds are looped over and over again, which admittedly did not irritate me, but quickly got bored. Despite the drawbacks, the game is very addictive and as an economic simulator is great.