Tavern Tycoon – Episode 06: Garden of Zen

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Feeling emboldened from my successful attempt at opening a hipster dungeon bar, I marched on to the next stage Tavern Tycoon. Then I immediately ran into a brick wall.

Let’s Play Tavern Tycoon – Episode 06: Garden of Zen

This level should be called the “Garden of Rage”. It took me 3 attempts to finally tackle this beast. I actually ended up rage quitting in the middle of my first attempt once it became clear that my debt ridden bar was not coming out of the hole it was in. I decided to take a bit more of a measured approach during my second attempt(which was not recorded), but ultimately ended up the same place. However, on my third attempt I was able to put together a strategy that finally worked.

Lesson Learned: Avoiding Bottlenecks

The big problem I kept running into during all of my attempts was certain services getting log-jammed. If you aren’t careful, you’ll have entire classes of patrons getting backed up at a single service, which essentially results in a large portion of your stream grinding to a halt. For example if there is a lot of pent up demand at the gym, then essentially your warrior class patrons will stop spending money the moment they hit the backlog at the gym.

The service that was giving me the most trouble in the garden of zen was the gamblers den. This is because the gamblers den is one of those services that is fairly class agnostic when it comes to patron types, so it is often in very high demand. The solution to this problem was to pack the den full of smoking chairs since they are the most space efficient way to pack more people into the den. While there may be better ways to optimize the gamblers den from an internal revenue generation stand-point, my goal was to simply prevent the den from becoming a bottleneck. This allows for higher throughput, and ultimately results in patrons spending more money per time spent throughout the tavern as a whole.

Lesson Learned: Don’t Touch The Prices

Once I had solved the log-jam issue, I was able to cross the revenue to expense generation break-point, and over time win the level. The bad news is, my conservative approach resulted in me taking over 5 years in game to complete the level. Fortunately, by the time I got to the “fast-forward” stage of the level, most of my staff was being paid a fair wage.

However, upon further investigation I eventually discovered that I made one major mistake that probably added a good 10-15 minutes to the time it took to complete the level. I was searching for ways to squeeze more money out of my existing customers, so I decided to start upping the prices on all of the services. While this seemed to work fine for a number of services, one service that eventually ground to a halt was the bar itself.

Now if I had slowed things down a bit and done some more due diligence on incoming customers, I would have likely avoided this issue. There were in-game signals showing that the prices were too high, and had I adjusted them down I would have been able to re-engage that revenue stream. The main reason it went un-noticed is because technically the patrons were being served, they just refused the service and moved on because the price was too high. As a result there was no pooling of patrons, so the problem went un-diagnosed for the remainder of the level.

Final Thoughts

This ended up being a really fun level in the end! Yeah I would have liked to ace it on the first try, but making the player to focus on extreme revenue growth forces them to learn more about nuances of the game.

Although if I’m being honest I wouldn’t mind pulling the next one off on the first try…

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