Hard Choices

To give some insight into the choices you will be faced when using our mod, I’ll tell a little bit about my singleplayer game. I’ve been using it for play testing throughout the development.

Moving snow

It is now winter, and I’m soon starting year 3. Playing on hard and with no cheats which means small scale. Got two arable fields and two grass fields, in addition to a dairy operation with now 39 cows. Arable is a nice income, but the fields are not that big. An important side product from the arable fields are straw which I need for bedding. I use a season length of 9 days and the game speed is at 5x constant. I never go to 1x to give myself more time. In most cases sleep through the night using the ‘skip-night’ feature.

My main focus in the game has been to maximise productivity of the cows, as this can give me more income than arable. A fundamental challenge using the Seasons mod is that grass does not grow in winter so you need to stockpile. Last winter I had 30 cows and luckily I had enough animal feed. I am wondering how things will work out this winter as I have 30% more animals, but the same amount of hay and silage bales. So I’m facing two challenges: 1) Do I have enough straw for bedding, and 2) enough hay and silage? Even if I pull it through this winter, I won’t be able to cut grass until late spring, and a fresh supply of straw won’t be before I harvest the arable crops in late summer at earliest. Buying animal feed is quite expensive and my animals will die if I don’t feed them.

Planning the future

In the even longer term I’m wondering in what to invest. Next summer, my cows will give birth and my livestock increase in numbers. If I increase the dairy operation further I probably need to have another grass field. With more animals I also need more straw, which means I need another arable field also. Or I could invest all my money only in arable, keeping the dairy operation at the limit of what my grass fields can sustain.

Next is investments in machinery. I am mainly running a MF 5613 that is picking up hours very quickly. This means more expensive maintenance and if I expand into arable I really need a bigger tractor. I should buy a manure spreader and slurry tank this spring, both to reduce fertilizer cost, but also to get rid of manure. If I buy machinery that fits the small MF, now I might need to trade it in a year or two. So that might not be wise considering I really want a bigger tractor. Hmm. Maybe just rent for another year then as I rarely use that equipment?

Doing forestry

As you see from the picture above, I have now started to cut down timber as I really need more money. I am not sure how much I will manage to cut during this winter as I can’t afford to hire a large Ponsse harvester. So I’m using a chain saw and a small winch on the tractor. This night there was a heavy snow fall so I had to spend time clearing the yard. Was nearly finished, when even more snow came.

This is exactly what I wanted from this mod. It gives the gameplay the depth I’m looking for. It is not always given what is the best way of spending the money and my actions will have consequences and open new opportunites. The mod gives a large variability as every season is different. Now in winter I am looking forward to the spring, with longer days, better weather, seeing trees and crops sprout. Working in the forest in the dark hours of winter is hard labour.