Zynga introduces The County Fair to FarmVille 2 this week

One of the most-played games on Facebook, FarmVille 2, is receiving its biggest new feature since launch: The County Fair.

Speaking to Polygon, FarmVille 2's director of design, Wright Bagwell said The County Fair has long been in the works and will add another element of strategy and competition to the farming game, and also make the experience more meaningful to players.

"Sometimes when a game gets to be too repetitive, you might enjoy playing it, but at a certain point you just have to ask yourself, 'Wait, what am I trying to accomplish in this game?' So I'm really pushing hard with the development team to make sure we always have the answer to 'why' for everything," Bagwell told Polygon. "'Why am I trying to get prize crops? Why am I getting prize animals? Why am I trying to level-up? Why do my friends' farms matter to me?'

"I think The County Fair ties all those things together."

"On the surface, it feels like it's really simple, but we're trying to build it so that there's a lot of depth and strategy behind it."

In the current game, players manage their resources to grow crops, raise animals and customize their farms. Using the crops they grow they can craft items, which can then be sold for coins. While some players enjoy the design and decorating elements of the game, others can opt for a more strategic approach by carefully choosing what to grow, what to craft and plan the best way to level-up and expand their farm. Players can help out on their friends' farms, but at the moment what one player does on their farm is largely irrelevant to other players. When The County Fair is introduced later this week, Bagwell said it will allow players over level 20 to compare their prize crops and give them another way to engage with each other.

"Maybe you want to compete with your friends to grow the biggest pumpkin, or maybe you see that your friend is growing pumpkins, so you decide to grow corn or eggplants instead because you can get a bonus for doing something different," he said. "On the surface, it feels like it's really simple, but we're trying to build it so that there's a lot of depth and strategy behind it. There's skill, there's a little bit of luck, and most importantly it's something you can do with your friends in a way that makes your friends a lot more meaningful in the game."

According to Bagwell, the addition of The County Fair introduces a "mastery phase," which gives players a reason to "master" their crops so they can grow bigger and better ones to take to The County Fair to compete with their friends. Once a week, The County Fair culminates in a ceremony where players bring all their prized crops grown during the week for a weigh-in. Players and their friends will be able to see who scored highest, and players can pick up points, medals and fame. They can also congratulate each other on the leaderboard.

The County Fair is the first of many features Zynga plans to roll out for FarmVille 2. When Polygon spoke to Bagwell, he said The County Fair will eventually extend to prized animals, and at some point player-crafted objects could also be involved.

The County Fair is scheduled to go live later this week.

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