Weedcraft Inc grow your own!

Weedcraft Inc sees you on the shady side of the law running a drug empire, is it a good game? Read on to find out.

Weedcraft Inc Cover image

Weedcraft Inc may be a controversial title to some, to others it’s a management game about selling Marijuana.

I happen to fall into the first category, Weedcraft Inc is a management sim, a pretty complicated one too. In the first instance you will be playing with a limited set of variables but as the game progresses you will have to experiment with different combination settings of temperature and humidity not to mention the nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium levels within the soil. On top of that you will need to keep things under wraps so that the ‘PoPo’ keep away. Look after your electricity usage or you will be bribing the officials looking to send you to the big house.

As you unlock new strains everything starts to get even more complicated as each new strain needs different settings to maximise yields and allow you to charge and therefore earn top dollar for your supply.

Weedcraft Inc Strain growing in a pot

Initially you have to do everything yourself, and to be honest, I found this part of the game quite tedious, essentially boiling down growing plants to a mini-game of clicking a mouse for a set amount of time but thankfully it wasn’t long before I was able to hire some stooges who could complete certain tasks for me. Each employee has a skill, it could be in growing, selling or interpersonal skills which means you can have them front businesses to keep 5’o guessing.

Every employee is also a complete pain in the arse, they are either moaning about gangs threatening them, asking for more money or getting arrested. Every interaction feels like a test and if you slip up they will lose motivation but if you save their bacon, literally lie and stop them going to jail, they will reward you by asking for more money a few days later.

This is an area of the game I felt could have been done better. Every interaction feels like it is the first. What I mean is that, if you save someone three or four times, the minute you do something they don’t like, all the good is wasted, its like it never happened and their loyalty is lost.

I would like to have seen more of the interactions, not just them coming to you with problems but me managing the entire operation in a Godfather-esque way.  I am the Boss, I hire an underboss and then each business is run by a Caporegime who has his Soldiers working for him selling and growing the plants.

That said the mainstay of the Weedcraft Inc is management, be it people or property there is always something to deal with and as you progress through Weedcraft Inc you can unlock perks from your Decent or Shady side which benefit your business in certain ways such as employee relationships or bribing the police.   

Weedcraft Inc city view

I started to get the hang of dealing with my rivals, finding out information about them was key to success, for example, Giselle from the toughest sounding gang ever, Furious Angels, was happy to talk about business and cannabis but lost her shit when I spoke about education. Conversely, Big Bad John from the equally toughsounding Valhallas Rejects was happy to speak about school.

I felt there were many missed opportunities with rivals but my biggest issue by far was that I was trying to compete on all fronts with all competition.

When I decided to focus on one location, undercutting everyone else by a dollar, I was able to eradicate my competition in that spot with ease. I would like to have seen a map overview with areas I controlled and have been able to assign dealers to locations but it was very difficult to achieve this with only three employees per location.

There are numerous places to unlock too and these come with new challenges, the least of which is finding new staff. You will pay significantly more per month than you did in Flint, your starting city and that’s before the new ungrateful bastards start asking for more money.

With 5 variables for each strain finding the right growing conditions is painfully slow and I have to admit that I searched online for the optimum levels for growing as research was taking forever, even so, Weedcraft Inc is a serious game and it’s fairly difficult to succeed.

The lack of automation is, for me at least, an issue. I would like to be able to manage and having spent 22 years of my life managing other people in the real world, I can say for certain that 1 man doing is less than 20 men being managed to do, instead, with your limited staff, you have to pretty much manage everything, all the time.

Every conversation, every bribe, every new strain, money, property, rent, bills, the competition, selling, sale pricing, managing the prices of your strains compared to the new competition who just rocked up and is trying to oust you from your spot the list is exhaustive but I cannot think of every aspect right now. Things are thrown at you out of left field all the time and you really feel the pressure of not having enough time.

When you expand further into the game, an area that should make things better often resulted in a game over situation for me. Selling huge orders to the elite classes. They naturally don’t want to be seen at your little dispensary but will order 800g of weed in a single pop so, you set up an operation, manage it yourself because you need only the premium quality goods, play the irritating mini game of holding the mouse for just the right amount of time, gather the weed you need, then they buy it at the going rate and in the meantime the rest of your business has collapsed because for some arbitrary reason you can only hire three people at once.

I don’t feel as if I got to grips with the game, I feel like an outsider and the implications of my actions are so far off in the future that it’s hard to prepare for the changing eventualities that the competition brings.

New scenario in Weedcraft Inc

There are two additional scenarios that are considered advanced but in truth, the first scenario is just a long tutorial. The first advanced scenario is Highs and Laws, where you start as an ex-con and set up a legal business selling weed. There are more costs involved and you pay 15% tax on sales so the game is slowerpaced but the challenges are the same as before.

The final scenario is called and the other is  Heat Wave, you are Celia Hernandez and you will be dealing with much larger supplies of weed than the other modes. For example on starting the scenario, one of the first orders you can take is to provide 1375g of Grandaddy Purple to a strangelooking farmer. You also need to smuggle 2000g of weed out of the county.

Conversation in the drug game

In each scenario you need to set the grows up from scratch and then expand your business. This is the gameplay loop and you continue until you go bankrupt or get arrested but the advanced scenarios, while more interesting are infinitely harder. I was taking loans and doing all I could to speed up my supply but ultimately I went bankrupt in short order.

Despite the additional level of the assignment I was disappointed to see that I could still only higher 3 employees and this is a real sticking point for me. Why would such a constraint be added if not to frustrate the player or to give you ‘more to do’.

I am disappointed with Weedcraft Inc, I felt there could be a lot more done to make the game interesting instead of just juggling everything that isn’t selling weed.

Graphically I really liked the look and the audio is superb. I do not know what the style of music is called but its pretty chilled hip hop type music and I liked it.

The characters ingame also feel a bit to stereotypical, the meth head, the stoner, the tough black dealer, the motorcycle tough guy, the Hispanic gang member are all a bit cliched in my eye but I did think that perhaps if you are producing a game that could be controversial maybe going down the stereotype cartoonish route would not be a bad thing.

Weedcraft Inc image with differnt plants in a lab

I have seen talk about the insensitivity of depicting cancer patients, those with PTSD and Epilepsy in a poor light and I have to say that I do not think there is anything remotely wrong with depicting a cancer patient doubled over in pain, cancer is painful, however, given that the game is using caricatures of stereotypes I do not think there is any representation of a cancer patient that wouldn’t trigger someone somewhere.

One thing I really did like was creating my own strains, combining things in the lab was a great and I wish this had been something that was in the early game and the simple scenario at the start, it would have kept things interesting for longer.

The politics in game

In Summary

Weedcraft Inc is a management sim with great music and art style and it does a good job of being a management sim, however, I cannot say I have enjoyed my time with it.

It has too many down sides like the mini game that is growing the plants or the dull conversations with other dealers that repeats the same responses to each dull question. The never ending pestering by your own staff and the fact that you can only hire three people to work for you so can only automate some of the necessary tasks just make the game dull.

It’s a shame, I wanted to like Weedcraft Inc but there is not enough of what I like and too much of what I don’t.

Could have been so much more
  • 44%
    Gameplay - 44%
  • 81%
    Graphics - 81%
  • 90%
    Sound - 90%
  • 40%
    Longevity - 40%
  • 40%
    Value - 40%
59%

Summary

Coulda’ shoulda’ woulda’ is the motto for this title that could have been so much more.

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