Equine-Ranch is the most realistic animal SIM that I have ever come across - and I've tried most of them. This is a game that I've been playing on and off for 10 years now, and it always manages to bring me back to playing. As the name suggests, you own and run your own ranch of horses. There are so many breeds available to choose from, that you can set your own goals for what you want to achieve (want to raise good Endurance horses? Try Arabians - they have a history of doing well in Endurance classes. Want to breed true to life colours - research what colours they naturally occur in and breed that way). The genetics are true to life - while dun is a singular gene, whether your horse is black, bay or chestnut based is due to a combination of 3 genes that work together, and they are inherited down the lines - if something suddenly crops up in a foal that you're unsure of (e.g. Sabino 2) you will be able to find it in the pedigree somewhere, even if you find it in their grand-dam or great grand sire. Also, now with the new training interface, you are in direct control of everything that you do with your horse. Do you want to get the horse used to the halter by rubbing it on them, or just go ahead and put it on? With the personalities that the horses have, it's no longer about clicking a button. If you jump the gun and try and lead them before they're haltered, depending on the personality of the horse, you will get a reaction that varies from fleeing in terror or physically lashing out at you.
This game is more than just a game - it's almost like having real life horses on a computer screen for you. As such, it's not a game that you can pick up and put down and expect to do well with it - it requires dedication to your ranch, to be able to progress sufficiently for your own personal goals. The community is friendly, and they're always happy to help out a new player, and direct them in the way that they need to be looking - answers aren't handed to you, you have to work to figure it out yourself. Again, as this is as close to real life as you can get without going out to the stables yourself, information that you can google about horses applies. All genetics and genetic testing are exactly the same as they are in the real world, so if something doesn't make sense and you need it worded a bit differently to how it's worded on the game, google can be a real help. The commons (forum board) has so much information and players willing to help that it's like a giant guide all on its own.
In conclusion, this is a game based on reality. You have to work hard to get what you want, and it doesn't happen straight away. This is more than a game - it has a habit on twining itself into your life, and becomes a part of your life.
Please note that players are limited to 1 account per player.
Equine-Ranch is not only an amazing game filled with realism, but it's also a second life (no reference to the game intended). I'm a long-time sufferer of depression, and my lack of enjoyment in things I used to hits hard, and hits often. I use E-R (I prefer Advanced to keep me busy) as a way to keep myself accountable and to have a daily routine. I would go crazy if I couldn't play this game! I find a HUGE sense of accomplishment when I play as well, because I'm completely in charge of the future of my herd. I pick which horses to breed, when to breed them, when to train and HOW to train them, and after playing with my virtual ponies and herds for just about a year now, I am EXTREMELY proud at how far I've gotten.
I would seriously recommend this game to everyone. It is fun, beautiful, and it also teaches you a lot of life lessons. You learn about genetics and time management and how to deal with other horse owners to get horse lessons, etc. My favorite part is how the community helps each other and cares that we all do well with our horse herds.
I absolutely love this site - it takes so much of my time. It is hands down the most realistic and complex SIM game that I've ever played. Nikki does everything in her power to make it as much of an experience as possible instead of just a game.
The site is well-organized and easy to navigate. There is a variety of layout color options to choose from, giving a more personalized experience (and more eye-friendly depending on your tastes). The horse images are absolutely fantastic - mimicking true to life colors and not just in the most stereotypical shades; it's almost impossible to find two horses who, even if they are genetically "the same", look exactly the same.
One real life day is equal to one game month, with twelve game months equal to one game year. Members are paid a Salary each month that they can choose based on the amount of training sessions they want available (from $15,000 per game month with 0 time left over for training to $0 per game month with 60 sessions per day available for working with horses). The game is not monthly subscription based - players can upgrade and customize their upgrades to suit their play style; someone who isn't interested in breeding might decide they don't need a breeding license but instead would like to upgrade their barn to be able to have more space available to train other people's horses which a breeder will probably want to buy a breeding license; phantom mount for AI and extra storage tanks (which are rented 6 real life months at a time). This type of play style really appeals to me because I never know if life is going to be hectic and I'm going to lose out on subscription time because of a lack of real life time.
Breeding is season based (breeding possible from beginning Spring until the end of Summer) similar to real life and gestation is variable based on real life gestation times (with the average being 11 months, but 9 to 13 months not impossible or unheard of).
The training system allows for so much learning on how to truly interact with horses. The horses, like real life, will get bored of constant repetition of the same tasks and need variety in training/sessioning. Since it is expected that not everyone is good at training (like in real life!) you can lease out your horses to other members for training, or even just to do starting and you can finish up training on your own or send them out to another training specifically for that discipline. You can also train and show your horses in more than one discipline - your Three Day Eventer can participate in Dressage, Jumping and Endurance/Cross Country separately - without needing to start at the very beginning each time you want to compete in a new event. BUT if your horse is NOT trained for a certain event, chances are they will become Disqualified for refusing to complete the requested exercises.
The community is fantastic - I wish that more members would become involved on the Forums and in the chat room. The overall feel is welcoming and helpful - there's never been a time when I've felt unwelcome or like it's not somewhere I wanted to be. From exchanging in game currency for real life currency in the form of gift cards to free money for new players to help with start up or free or discounted breeding for member-run breed or disciple organizations and clubs..
I recommend this game to people who want a true-to-life experience; this isn't a click a single "train" button and everything is done for you. Not everyone has the time or dedication or knowledge to be a great trainers, and not everyone has the patience, eye or knowledge to be a great breeder - it's a community effort. If you're looking for a game where you're more guided (pick a disciple and get a list of things to train in where order doesn't matter; breed whenever you want to, etc) I recommend Equine-Ranch: Vintage instead.
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