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CountryLife starts you with an isometric view of large areas of grass where the player can plow and sow and harvest or can plant trees or place gear and animals. An icon allows you to use your full screen so as to see nearly all of your farm at once, but that hides the very top menu. Reclick the icon, or hit ESC, or switch to another window, to return to normal view. Plus and minus buttons change the scale. The scale and the show/hide setting for trees survive a switch to another window.
Hover the cursor anywhere within the ranch or over the icons to see an informative popup about what you see or what you may do there.
Below the "view" icons is a toolbox with icons for the barn and the store and other places you need to visit frequently.
Coins and Ranch Cash for purchases
You have coins to buy seeds with, and various activities earn coins and/or experience points to take you to the next level, unlocking more types of activity. You can earn more coins by working on your neighbors' farms: farms belonging to Facebook Friends who have agreed to be your neighbors. You get a few more coins at each level and in the daily lottery.
Ranch Cash is a rarer kind of currency, optional or even essential for some purchases, and gained sparingly as a reward for advancing to another level.
Unlike some games of its type, CountryLife starts beginners off with a productive ranch:
- Two crops, wheat and clover, several fields of each, ready to harvest.
- One Holstein cow, who produces milk very soon after being fed a batch of clover. She takes 60 seconds to munch through a batch of clover and produce a can of milk, and you can put three batches at a time into her manger, which gives you 3 minutes to go off and harvest, sell, or plant on your ranch or check your e-mail.
You can sell the clover, for a profit of 5 coins per batch, but it earns another 5 coins if you feed it to the cow, and the resulting milk can be further processed eventually, into cheese, for example, which sells at 32.
Similarly, wheat can be sold, but eventually you will be able to buy a baker (a machine, not a person) to add more value.
Spend spare coins on plowing new fields (at 15 coins each), but study future options so as to leave appropriate amounts of grass for adding trees and other things that have varying space requirements. Plow spare grass for production unless you expect something else in the next day or two. Fields can be restored to grass (with no compensation) with the "Sell Tool".
You can enlarge your farm by spending many coins or a smaller amount of Ranch Cash. The enlargement adds two extra field-widths at the bottom edges.