Friday, June 25, 2010

Fantasy Kingdoms on Facebook

Facebook is a virtual global community that allows you to network with your friends, friends of friends and the world at large, whether by posting your CV, photographs of your family, friends or artwork, or by playing games.

The games offered on Facebook generally are free and require little skill or knowledge, at least at the beginning. How well you succeed in the goals in a specific game depends partly on your interest, perseverance and often in the number of 'friends' that you are able to involve. Very few of the games on Facebook are intended to be played alone. They facilitate social interactions between members of Facebook.

Some games like Farmville are enormously popular and have been in existence for some time. I should imagine that it is difficult for a new game to compete with a game that has worked out most of its issues over the course of time. Farmville is celebrating its 1st Anniversary. Fantasy Kingdoms on the other hand is relatively new.

Fantasy Kingdoms is a farming simulation game on Facebook. As with any of the games on Facebook, its primary goal, apart from entertaining users and sustaining their interest is to encourage social networking. It is a free game and definitely is worth exploring if you appreciate farming, fantasy, folk magic and folk myth.

As a player, your primary goal is to expand and improve your Kingdom by growing Crops, Trees, adding buildings and other structures as well as Creatures, Pets and landscaping in the form of artifacts and decorations. To do any of this, you need Mana. Mana is a concept familiar to most players of traditional RPGs and can be translated loosely as 'Energy'. Unlike combat games like Castle Age, however, Mana is currency as well as the energy needed to cast spells. Any sort of Farming in Fantasy Kingdoms is a form of Spellcasting. Whenever you till the soil, plant seeds, you use Mana. When you harvest grown Crops or 'Fruits' from Trees or tend your buildings and artifacts, you gain Mana.

Crop Seeds in the form of Magic Potions are very beautiful and creative, combining traditional Northern European folk magic and medicine with wit. Seeds available in the very early stages of the game include Cattails, Fresia, Sunflowers, Foxgloves and Chickens and Hens.

The Foxgloves and Fresias resemble the actual medicinal flowers in the real world, but Sunflowers are exquisite sun lamps that grow and 'blossom' into full suns when ready to be harvested. Spider Flowers are crops that grow spider webs. Fantasy Crops that do not exist in the real world include Eye of Newt with blossoms in the form of eyes.

Neighbours can visit your Kingdom to perform small tasks for you and to enchant your Crops so that they grow larger and have more potential to yield special items when harvested. You can succeed in your game without a large number of neighbours, however. In this respect, the game differs from other Facebook games such as Castle Age or Yoville, where the number of individuals you persuade to join the game affects your earnings and success.

Although there are some strategy considerations in playing Fantasy Kingdoms to maximise your income and use of your land, the real nature of this game in my view is to participate and shape an incredible work of art in the creation of a world based on traditional fairytale and myth. For players who are drawn to fantasy and legend, the game is sheer delight. The fact that there are no limits on the number of gifts that can be exchanged between friends and neighbours on Facebook makes it easy to derive significant pleasure in the ability to landscape the Kingdom you are given even at the very start of the game and at low Levels of experience.

Fantasy Kingdoms is made by Sneaky Games in Austin, Texas. The makers obviously invest energy in updating and improving the gaming experience of players involved in Fantasy Kingdoms. So far, new items have been added every few days in every Category, including Free Gifts. A Screenshot Competition has been held and the winners received monetary awards.

Note on 23 August: The Sunflowers were part of the Summer Solstice Collection and no longer are available.

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