Playdemic Goes Farming with Gourmet Ranch on Facebook

Gourmet RanchAs the name suggests, Playdemic‘s growing Facebook title, Gourmet Ranch, is a combination farming and restaurant simulation game.

With over 143,000 monthly active users and climbing, it’s doing well as it attempts to hybridize concepts from the farming genre and a Zynga title, Café World. While the game is technically sound and well made, it doesn’t bring anything particularly new to the game play directly. However, it does score bonus points in the forms of convenience and social elements.

The basic idea is to create a successful organic food restaurant. To that end, players create an indoor/outdoor space in which to serve customers. Using specific ingredients, dishes are cooked up (with more valuable ones taking longer) and placed on a counter, where a waitress comes to serves it to the paying patrons. Each dish has a set number of servings, and only one dish can be cooked per stove and served per counter-top.

NPC VendorAs far as the restaurant half of the game goes, there is also a popularity rating for the business. As customers come and eat, they give varying amounts of praise that increase this number, and the larger it gets, the more patrons there are to fork out money. Unfortunately, the popularity element seems almost arbitrary, as we’ve yet to see anyone get upset and lower that rating (it does seem to decay passively), nor has it exceeded 130. Whether or not this changes at higher levels is yet to be determined.

Cooking up food is only half the game. The other half comes from the farming realm as each ingredient needed for the large quantity of potential dishes can be grown. Like in FarmVille, this consists of crops, trees, and animals, with the better ones taking longer to grow. It’s the typical plow, harvest, rinse and repeat concept with the only differences being that one doesn’t have to replow after a harvest and animals must be placed in pens.

One of the nice things about Gourmet Ranch is that one never has to take part in both aspects. There are convenient ways to work around both of them. If someone is only interested in the restaurant stuff, they can always purchase ingredients from a random non-player character (though this is a bit pricey). If they just want to farm, they can put their crops up for trade.

TradeFarming, however, is a bit more difficult to make an income off of, as it’s where the major social features of this app comes into play. After each harvest or finished dish, players can choose to either keep it for themselves or put it in their Trade Store. From here, friends that play can purchase the item at a cheap price. Obviously, this means that if one doesn’t have many friends that play, it’s not a reliable revenue source, but it’s a nice addition all the same.

Regarding other social elements, they are all fairly basic to the farming niche, consisting of visiting each others’ farms and fertilizing crops. However, there is a minor addition to wall posting that allows them to include a specific Gourmet Ranch emoticon representing a sultry, happy, or sneering look. Additionally, if friends do click on a post, the player gets little bonuses to things like the serving size of a dish.

On the negative side, Gourmet Ranch is mostly two games stuck together with minimal innovation. Other than improved social features and some greater convenience, there’s not a whole lot to write home about. Moreover, the combination of popular game premises is something that’s been occurring in increasing frequency. Already, this exact combination of Café World and FarmVille mechanics was done with Wonder Island from Gamenaughts. Though it uses different games, FrontierVille is yet another app to mix and match features (such as FarmVille and Treasure Isle).

High PricesUnfortunately, such a complaint is no easy fix. One that is (though minor by comparison), is the extraordinarily high price of decorative items in Gourmet Ranch. Plants, flowers, and rocks are affordable enough, but some things are just absurd. In the game, players earn small amounts of money per paying customer, yet a simple Wagon Wheel costs $150,000 while a Welcome Sign costs $96,000.

In the end, Gourmet Ranch is a technically sound good that plays well. At least for a time, it will do well and attract some new players too. Nevertheless, it is still made up of two concepts that have been seen time and time again, thus the longevity of the title and its potential will likely be a bit stunted. FarmVille’s continual decline is proof enough that people are getting bored with the farming concept, thus challenging developers, new and old, to be more innovative with social games.

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Leave a Reply

35 Responses to “Playdemic Goes Farming with Gourmet Ranch on Facebook”

  1. Bart says:

    Another farm/cafe game by a company with play name. Add that to the other dozen that sprung up last month. When are we going to see something innovative and different rather than improved imitations?

  2. Lisa says:

    I really like gourmet ranch as I am sooo thankful to be one step closer at getting away from ALL zynga games.

  3. This Week’s Headlines on Inside Social Games says:

    [...] Playdemic Goes Farming with Gourmet Range on Facebook [...]

  4. sharmaine says:

    if you want to add me 2 facebook so we can share items for gourmet ranch add me @

  5. mssr says:

    I like this game. Started at FV, then to CW, then way too many others. This game does not pull the stunt “ON SALE for this week only!” every other time you click a button. Same sale as last week wanting you to pay by credit card. Not yet, anyway. I also do not have to build a stable or save a wedding or cater a birthday party with the help of overworked friends every time I turn the game on. Zynga has really gone greedy and I dare say overboard in its quest to bring something “new” for revenue. I left FV long ago, and CW will be gone soon with its antics, I fear, which is a shame. If you like either, GR is a refreshing change from hard sales lines. One person’s opinion. Take it or leave it. :)

  6. C says:

    I absolutely agree with you mssr! I’m so sick of Farmville. I want to play at my own pace. Not hassle my friends to send me things so that I can complete a stupid useless beehive. Not to mention that I can’t even play. Every time I click on something I get a half dozen pop ups about something. It’s so annoying!

  7. Sue says:

    why can’t I get passed “Global Passing” It just stops Getting upset PLEASE Fix.. It’s been down ALL DAY Sept.10.2010


  8. hunten says:

    this has not been working for 3 days now

  9. jullie phillpot says:

    after spending loadsa money on this game it crashes and goes down on facebook……it says maintenance come back in an hr but has been down 2 full days now~~?~?????? please help me ty

  10. patrice fernandez says:

    what the heck is going on with this game it’s been down for 3 days? you should keep us informed. we are loosing our crops and food, its not right

  11. Michelle says:

    You’ve got to be kidding me! This game has had more issues than FarmVille! At least the ones with Farmville didn’t start until the really high levels. This one has been ridiculous over the past month. What gives? Ugh!

  12. Margaret Lynch says:

    I used 3 of my keys this morning to buy the werepig and i cant plant them or the spider nests, a tad annoyed as i had to use my keys for nothing…is there any chance that the devs will replace my keys? Thank you

  13. Margaret Lynch says:

    My apoligies guy’s i have been doing a bit of reading and i now know i was doing the wrong thing…really so very sorry!! Thank you

  14. kristin shaw says:

    love the game but i don’t recieve my grcash for leveling up i’m on level 31 but have only recieved 15 ranch cash what is up????

  15. brenda Emerick says:

    Can not get gourmet ranch on my website

  16. Stephanie says:

    I need neighbors!!! please add me, I have looked for the page on FB but can’t find anything….I play daily!

  17. Stephanie says:

    oh and u can find me by Stephanie Golde

  18. Eliza says:

    Gourmet Ranch is a game that is evolving rapidly: the innovations and refinements have been coming in thick and fast the past few days, weeks and months. Many of the old problems have been fixed and the adjustment of the application as a whole has been quite speedy and very much in touch with the players and Developers communicating well.

    Players have submitted things they would like about the game to be developed, and others they wish never to occur!, for example the issue of “gifting” so prevalent and off-putting in games like FarmVille, YoVille, CountryLife, etc. (with all their attendant woes and feelings of frustration! lol). Rather, the players feel quite confident that the Developers are trying to make a game that is perfect for them, as much as possible.

    So we certainly expected great things when Seasonal Ingredients and Recipes made an appearance at Halloween, leading to confident expectations for Thanksgiving, and we were not disappointed!

    Christmas is now eagerly awaited!

    What is interesting about these developments is how they may impact on the community economy, in a positive way. Making larger profits more readily with fast-cooking, high-revenue dishes creates opportunities for both optimal trade of dishes and ingredients, and one can intentionally boost beginner- and intermediate-level players through the levels, encouraging trade and co-operative farming – especially now that an important high-revenue generator, 3-day growing time, new crop has just been introduced. It is notoriously illusive and more rare than gold dust ~ it is … **Garlic** You can grow it and either sell it or use it to multiply steeply in value in the form of cooked dishes. Presently this item is so rare that to actually obtain even one is almost the stuff of legend for many. So it is in the interests of higher-level players to help other players level up enough to participate in the Garlic Economy : )

    This game is really quite good indeed and is constantly evolving in response to players preferences.

    Just a few thoughts, lots more to discuss if anyone is interested! There are alot of people who are enthusiastic about the playing, trading, farming, cooking and community aspects of Gourmet Ranch. It’s quite an interesting beast : )

  19. RockYou Buys Playdemic, Aims for More Social Gaming Expansion says:

    [...] crop of smaller but successful games that have emerged on Facebook over the past year (check out our review of it in August for game-play details). Today, the developer’s lone Facebook title has 540,000 monthly active users and around [...]

  20. Barbe says:

    Is there a discussion forum or a help section somewhere? I have some problems and don’t know where to go for help.

  21. Julie says:

    I use to love playing Gourmet ranch, I finally narrowed it down to bingo blitz and gourmet ranch but now they are both acting up. I was at level 90 and had it all decorated and everything. The bingo blitz won’t let me into the store to buy things or get into my profile, or send gifts, I’m about to quit all games, and probably my facebook account.

  22. Sharon says:

    I just discovered this game and I really love it. I don’t know if the game has changed a lot since it started but I think the article makes it seem like it’s not a worthy game to play. I disagree.

    For those who enjoy Cafe World (which I liked a lot but got tired of and finally blocked) and farming games it is a game that is so much fun.

    It has several extra elements which Cafe World doesn’t have (or didn’t at the time I stopped playing it a few months ago). It doesn’t constantly give you popups or try to force you to publish on people’s walls. I’m stopping playing and blocking all Zynga games because of the excessive number of posts and mostly because of it allowing others to post game posts on my personal wall.

    Anyhow, I find this game very unintrusive and the developers seem to really care what people think. One of them responds to posts on the Gourmet Ranch page in the discussion area.

  23. jennifer says:

    great game but it’s been down for a bit here. some high speed ppl, some dial-up ppl. lets get this fixed please!!!!! i’ve sent plenty of emails!!!

  24. Nigel Moore says:

    What a load of crap, many times have connection problems, saying it my connection, get real ppl, it your bloody program. a very boring app, no different to Farmville etc type games. Nothing to keep you motivated. If you have no life and so bored you have to do something, then look for an alternative to this game. Would be better even if you could go fishing, or cook the meals. sorry folks I’ll give it a 2 out of 10. They need to make it more interesting, well, better go back to watching paint dry, its more interesting

  25. Betty Johnson says:

    I have not been able to get into the game Gourmet Ranch for about 36 hours or so….I am just wanting to know if there is a problem the game? How soon will it be up and running again?

  26. Fredo says:

    @Nigel Moore

    if the game is so boring, why are you so upset that you can’t stay connected to it + taking the time to seek out a blog post about the app?

  27. Nathalie says:

    I LOVE this game!! I send so much requests but no one plays. I just wish I had someone to play with and trade ingredients a dishes with…

    Either way great game! I reccomend it. :D

  28. peg says:

    i am on level 60 and never received any ranch cash at all am i supposed to receive this or do i just have to purchase it

  29. Rhonda says:

    please help,it won’t let me serve or trade my food,so consequently I can’t play :(

  30. Beth says:

    I upgraded my freshwater boathouse as high as i could. Had to refreash and it went back the level before. It’s hard enough to get people to help let alone have to ask them twice. This is ridiculous.

  31. Trey says:

    My popularity score is 220!!!!!!!

  32. Blake says:

    Nathalie, add me, I play daily, looking for more neighbors. Anyone play much? Add me please!

  33. dasellam says:

    please help me..i always see this when i open gourmet rClientVersion: 0 (r421) Error: [FaultEvent fault=[RPC Fault faultString="An item with the same key has already been added." faultCode="Server.Processing" faultDetail="null"] messageId=”c08b0c7e-ca3b-4077-8d74-da2633ddab7d” type=”fault” bubbles=false cancelable=true eventPhase=2]
    [{"worldId":"","userId":"100000234243345","sessionId":"360375426140|2.AQBA9_c8uXK14fo0.3600.1311310800.1-100000234243345|SEeSCXP3SCyR_ZtsOcqDRSfASSw|20110722032259","body":{"capabilities":{"hasAudioEncoder":true,"hasMP3":true,"hasPrinting":true,"hasScreenBroadcast":false,"hasIME":true,"hasScreenPlayback":false,"hasTLS":true,"hasStreamingAudio":true,"maxLevelIDC":"5.1","hasStreamingVideo":true,"supports32BitProcesses":true,"hasVideoEncoder":true,"supports64BitProcesses":true,"isDebugger":false,"localFileReadDisable":false,"language":"en","manufacturer":"Adobe Windows","os":"Windows 7","cpuArchitecture":"x86","playerType":"ActiveX","version":"WIN 10,3,181,26","screenColor":"color","isEmbeddedInAcrobat":false,"pixelAspectRatio":1,"hasEmbeddedVideo":true,"screenDPI":72,"hasAudio":true,"screenResolutionX":1366,"avHardwareDisable":false,"screenResolutionY":768,"hasAccessibility":true}},"gameVersion":"r421"}]
    [0] (Object)#1
    body = (Object)#2
    capabilities = (Object)#3
    avHardwareDisable = false
    cpuArchitecture = “x86″
    hasAccessibility = true
    hasAudio = true
    hasAudioEncoder = true
    hasEmbeddedVideo = true
    hasIME = true
    hasMP3 = true
    hasPrinting = true
    hasScreenBroadcast = false
    hasScreenPlayback = false
    hasStreamingAudio = true
    hasStreamingVideo = true
    hasTLS = true
    hasVideoEncoder = true
    isDebugger = false
    isEmbeddedInAcrobat = false
    language = “en”
    localFileReadDisable = false
    manufacturer = “Adobe Windows”
    maxLevelIDC = “5.1”
    os = “Windows 7″
    pixelAspectRatio = 1
    playerType = “ActiveX”
    screenColor = “color”
    screenDPI = 72
    screenResolutionX = 1366
    screenResolutionY = 768
    supports32BitProcesses = true
    supports64BitProcesses = true
    version = “WIN 10,3,181,26″
    gameVersion = “r421″
    sessionId = “360375426140|2.AQBA9_c8uXK14fo0.3600.1311310800.1-100000234243345|SEeSCXP3SCyR_ZtsOcqDRSfASSw|20110722032259″
    userId = “100000234243345”
    worldId = “”anch..

  34. Bernadette says:

    Please help me I am getting an error every time I open my gourmet ranch today. This is the error …

    ClientVersion: 0 (r1278) Error: [FaultEvent fault=[RPC Fault faultString="A network-related or instance-specific error occurred while establishing a connection to SQL Server. The server was not found or was not accessible. Verify that the instance name is correct and that SQL Server is configured to allow remote connections. (provider: Named Pipes Provider, error: 40 - Could not open a connection to SQL Server)" faultCode="Server.Processing" faultDetail="null"] messageId=”7406aee7-0e79-4bf8-9d1a-64aaf644676c” type=”fault” bubbles=false cancelable=true eventPhase=2]
    [0] (Object)#1
    body = (Object)#2
    featureId = 2
    gameVersion = “r1278″
    sessionId = “AAAAAUZBgMnFwBALLaRdQGzLDugZBlHSZCDmcyOYsjzp8E8B8OlcwPKKRjHvZCyWZAWOzG5VihgmNvDlqZB9p4SO1ObBPG0pvt9yC0owU31SWoUGFnqQUmk|20111118033449″
    userId = “1090518598”
    worldId = “47c2905c”

    Also I need neighbors feel free to add me to facebook.

  35. Bernadette says:

    Att: Stephanie Golde I was going to add you for gourmet ranch but their are several Stephanie Golde’s and I am not sure which one is you. So you can add me instead. (Bernadette Murray).

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