Weeds Social Club is Facebook game tie-in created to promote Showtime television dark comedy series, Weeds. The game puts the player in the shoes of Nancy Botwin, the main character of the show who becomes a marijuana dealer to support her white upper-middle class family after her husband suddenly passes.
The development and publishing of this game is a bit complex. The actual game was developed by casual games outfit Mytopia, which has some experience with card and tile games on Facebook. Publishing, meanwhile, is handled as a collaboration between Ecko|Code — serial entrepreneur Marc Ecko’s games label — and Lionsgate Entertainment, which produces the TV show on CBS Corporation’s premium cable network, Showtime.
The premise of the game follows the plot of the TV series, where the main character’s objective is to earn money through selling weed to save the home from financial woes. The actual gameplay is a farming simulation where the purchase of seeds and pots is combined with a light-tweaking mechanic substituting for traditional plant-watering. Once grown, players harvest the weed and then sell it on the streets or open a market with a dealer. Players can also buy furniture to decorate their house and to stash bags of weed.
Weeds Social Club is mission-based, though players can also just grow weed to sell as a free-play experience. A character progression system unlocks better seeds and nets the player points to assign to skills, like the ability to sell more bags of weed per hour or reduce the risk of being caught. Risk adds a strategic element to gameplay as the player works to balance each plant’s odor rating with planters and weed storage options that reduce the odor. The higher the odor, the higher the risk of being busted. When busted, players lose a percentage of cash and bags currently in their inventory. Completing a quest for a corrupt law enforcement agent gets your record wiped clean.
As the game is currently in closed beta, monetization features are not currently live. Social features are also not in place yet, though there is a toll that cycles through your friends’ profiles and recommends them as neighbors. Game balancing and quest text are also still in development.
While farming sims and TV show tie-in games are nothing new for Facebook, marijuana-themed social games haven’t enjoyed the same growth of genre. Pot Farm currently has fewer than 1 million monthly active users and a Cheech & Chong marijuana-themed game launched to a slow start in the middle of June. It may be that Weeds Social Club enjoys an edge over these titles due to its TV tie-in status, but it’s not how clear how dependent the game is on its Showtime connection.
Interested readers can follow the progress of Weeds Social Club with AppData, our traffic tracking application for social games and developers.