This article is sponsored by Hempire. Hempire, the world’s first comprehensive marijuana growing game, gives players the opportunity to build their empire, bud by bud. By producing a hundred strains, baked goodies, and cannabis extracts, players will build their empire, restore their city, battle local politics and pests, and compete against friends and foes for the greatest Hempire.
Have you ever considered building the most legendary canna-business in the world?
If you’re already working hard to get that going, perhaps some of Leafly’s Industry resources would be a good bet. But if you’d rather skip the exorbitant price tag, heavy lifting, and overall legwork and stake your claim to fame from the comfort of your own couch after a few good hits of your favorite strain, good news—that’s what Hempire is here for.
What is ‘Hempire’ All About?
The new mobile game, which launched worldwide on 4/20 and is free to download, was designed by British Columbia-based LBC Studios with the goal of celebrating the cannabis community with a true-to-life plot that mirrors some of the industry’s unique challenges and opportunities.
“We wanted to make a real game for the marijuana community. Something adventurous. Something great,” says Dennis Molloy, President of LBC Studios. “We’re really familiar with the industry … for many years prior to this we watched it develop and witnessed the public opinion shifting, which is when we realized that this audience deserves an outstanding game.” The team sought to fill the gap of worthy cannabis-themed mobile games with something that brought together cannabis enthusiasts and the cannabis-curious in a way that was relevant, meaningful, and most importantly, fun.
According to the game’s description, “By producing hundreds of strains, baked goodies, and extracts, you will provide for people in need, restore your crumbling neighborhood, battle political corruption, and compete against real-world friends and foes to see who can grow the most legendary canna-business.” How exactly might you do that? Hempire is story-driven, so opportunities include:
- Using the lab to breed and discover new strains;
- Extracting THC from your plants to craft concentrates such as shatter;
- Customizing your grow op;
- Selling your product through a dispensary or striking deals with other characters;
- Investing your cash in local businesses and real estate;
- Helping little old ladies bake brownies;
- Competing for glory in the Hempire Cup;
- Taking back control of your entire home city in order to be victorious.
To get a sense of what exactly game players can expect, we signed up three Leafly volunteers to give Hempire a whirl. And since they would be surrounded by plants, buds, edibles, and concentrates of all kinds in the online world of Hempire, it seemed only fitting that we should outfit them with some cannabis to aid them in their professional journey. Unsurprisingly, the volunteers were doubly eager to participate after they found out they’d be provided with “supplies” from nearby dispensary Have a Heart.
Meet the Panelists
- Name and position: Jeremiah, strain researcher
- Name and position: Marika, e-commerce developer
- Name and position: Fermin, software engineer
After divvying up the array of products and pre-rolls they would consume while playing, the testing team went their separate ways to get into the game. For a picture of what gameplay is like, check out their observations and highdeas below, shared after several hours each spent building their Hempires.
- You know it’s going to be good when Snoop kicks things off. “Opening Hempire, I immediately noticed two things: The loading bar states, ‘Rolling a joint…,’ and it is underpinned by a quote from the magnanimous Snoop Dogg: ‘I wake up early in the morning and it feels so good. Smoking on some shit that you wish you could.’” —Fermin
- Your character is a bit of a troublemaker. “The setup is innocent enough if you disregard the fact that your first few missions include bribing the Mayor’s Aid for a growing license with your illegally grown cannabis, getting extorted by your parole officer and his lackey, and setting up an illegal interstate drug distribution scheme. But other than that, it’s business as usual.” —Jeremiah
- Get ready to see some familiar faces. “Among the characters I met are some familiar faces—a bespeckled old science teacher who lives in an RV, a dealer who resembles a famous gonzo journalist—along with the usual suspects: the fuzz (an attractive, no-nonsense female cop just waiting for you to slip up), the government (via the mayor’s aid), and the incumbent competition (who warn you not to get too big for your britches).” —Fermin
- Best part while high? “The most fun while high was the grow process, from watering and using soil to trimming the bud itself—I was a growing machine! I also enjoyed selling to people, it was interesting to see what kind of bud was requested and I imagined what it would be like to sell cannabis IRL.” —Marika
- There’s something subliminally satisfying about digital gardening. “I’m given a batch of Afghani seeds and a pot of soil. Amazingly, the buds grow in mere seconds. I wag my finger over the plant and the clippers make a deeply satisfying sound as the colas tumble into my inventory. I feel a deep and yearning need to hear that sound again, and again, and again.” —Fermin
- You’re going to have to do some thinking. “Hempire challenges a cannabis consumer’s perception and management of time as they water, harvest, refine, and sell their cannabis and cannabis-infused wares throughout the city.” —Jeremiah
- You might actually learn something about growing… “Over the next hour I grow more plants. I get another two pots, learn to water regularly to increase my yield, and also install lights. I breed a new strain and diversify my offerings. The Flo I smoked is coursing through my body, into my thoughts, driving me to create a flow of digital buds to expand my Hempire.” —Fermin
- …or about strains. “One educational feature is the small descriptions on the strain information card that can be accessed after planting. This one to two sentence description elucidates some practical uses for the strain which players can use to inform future cannabis purchases.” —Jeremiah
- Don’t spend your gems all in one place. “I accomplished having a good time, growing some dank plants, and also spending all my gems on something I didn’t actually want … lol.” —Marika
- The right cannabis truly kicks it up a notch. “Flo OG…so good. I wish I still had some. It made me really good at that game.” —Fermin
We played Hempire. Should you play Hempire, too?
Let’s put it this way: One panelist became a Level 10 grower in the space of three days, reached a net worth of $10,000, and dipped out after becoming one of the three top-ranked players on their friends-list leaderboard.
The other two panelists? They’re still playing.
Want to check out Hempire? Download it through the App Store or Google Play here.