The no mojo approach to leveling up

First of all, let me apologize to fans about the math in Friday’s special update. I intended to say 100,000 coins every four hours (approximate, of course, 112,000 if I really used my calculator or spreadsheet). Then once I typed it wrong, the wrong number got locked in my head and I somehow projected it to 400,000 for four hours.

Carol would have caught this in proofreading, but I post the special editions without proofreading because I want to get them up and hate to ask Carol for yet another favor.

It’s been fixed now. Thanks for all the comments trying to keep me honest.

I stand by my original statement that the black dragons are twice as big as the red and purple dragons. I did discover later, however, that black dragons exist in two states—the large, puffy state and the smaller wing flapping state. This could just be a bad entry in the code scaling the one graphic.

As the screenshots indicate, the black dragons are twice as big as the others, at least before they take off. Once they flap their wings, however, they seem to shrink. Not quite Shroedinger’s cat, but they do seem to exist in a similar dual state.

Click image to see full size

No mojo kingdoms

Two players have stepped up to the plate recently to prove you can build successful kingdoms without mojo. One, Fendora, commented this weekend that he is only a day or so away from level 50. Fishnships has been running a thread on the Mojo Farm to keep players abreast of their community approach to kingdom building.

Both reflect different approaches to overall kingdom design as well. Fendora has focused on increasing his experience through shops and groves. Fishnships has chosen to build a kingdom that reflects the communal vision of a real community.

I really want to point out that Fendora has chosen to focus on installing two types of high-yield shops. His main kingdom exclusively features chateau’s and Olympus mounts, with a commitment to double down on the chateaus. I know some players may be skeptical of this approach, fearing that customers will want a wider variety of shops, but his shops seem full.

Fendora’s kingdom was built with no mojo purchases. It took him awhile but he’s a step away from L50

Click image to see full size

I wouldn’t be surprised if he starts swapping these out with black dragons as he earns more coins.

His other strategy has been to stack groves within the published limits. You will notice the ruby stacks which are consistent from kingdom to kingdom. I haven’t counted them but I’m betting they’re very close to the 192 grove limit that has been bandied about by readers and fans at different sites.

This also limits his kingdom’s overall growth but it also demonstrates how players can move up in the standings with just groves and high-yield buildings.

Fishnships poses some grammatical problems when it comes to writing and editing this issue. The entity Fishnships is singular but since the activity behind it is collaborative, the reference could also be considered plural. So Carol and I had a long discussion on verb/noun agreement and whether or not the pronoun reference should be “it” or “they.”

Fishnships is a collaborative kingdom with a lot of fans. Fishnships’ emphasis is more on design, but they’ve still reach L50 with no mojo

Click image to see full size

The players in Fishnships keep track of just about every move and change on the players’ thread comment thread. Fishnships isn’t a single player, but a community effort to build a collaborative kingdom. Not only do they keep readers posted on their progress, they recommend the shops with the highest yield (although the black dragon has moved to the top of the list).1

Fishnships has also managed to build to L50 without stacking or even a heavy emphasis on groves, which is also pretty amazing.

Click image to see full size

Both kingdoms will probably forego upgrading to the regal castle to add a few black dragon lairs to their kingdoms first. This is something else to consider when building yours. Install the money making elements first, and the decorative elements next.

I know that many players want to avoid spending money for mojo, and these kingdoms prove it can be done. I try to keep players abreast of ways to play and spend as little money as possible. If you feel tempted to speed up your kingdom, but have an extremely tight budget, use these guys as your inspiration.

1By the way, did you notice how we dodged the plurality problems?back

Contact me at Email iPad Envy, or
Email The Hidden Grimoire.


36 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. confuzed1
    Jan 24, 2011 @ 09:15:40

    I have been playing since September.

    I am currently at level 43, and will be at 44 very soon.

    I have never purchased mojo.

    I didn’t learn until last month that groves actually produce coins and xp! I wondered why so many people were spending so much on what I thought were just trees!

    Right around the same time is when I learned about stacking.

    I have added both to my kingdom, and I think it’s coming along quite nicely, but I still have some big plans that will likely take months to work up to.

    I focus on high-yield businesses, butcsince the last update, I’ve decided to max out my groves asap, and work on design.

    Once my groves are maxed out I will save up for some of those black dragons.

    By the time I get to level 50, hopefully I’ll have the coins to add a few.

    My Plus Game ID is ‘confuzed1’.

    Check out my kingdom, and feel free to critique what I’ve done with it!

    I have also recently began posting at Mojo Farm, so you can catch me there, as well as here.


  2. confuzed1
    Jan 24, 2011 @ 09:18:05

    The cruel fact that there is no way to edit that typo is giving me fits of OCD! 😦


    • Totalthinker
      Jan 24, 2011 @ 22:25:45

      That’s odd. You should see an edit button in the comment window.


      • confuzed1
        Jan 26, 2011 @ 05:02:33

        Not on iPhone.

      • Totalthinker
        Jan 27, 2011 @ 06:47:54

        I’ve lost track of the threads. Sorry. What can’t be done on an iPhone? I haven’t had any problems except for crashing and the smaller screen.

      • confuzed1
        Jan 29, 2011 @ 16:38:36

        I’m unable to edit comments on iPhone.

      • Totalthinker
        Jan 31, 2011 @ 23:07:53

        I didn’t realize this, but, sadly, you’re correct. But surely you have access to a desktop or laptop. You should be able to edit fine with standard browsers even if you want to edit a previous post.

  3. rob88249
    Jan 24, 2011 @ 10:21:31

    I have bought 800 mojo still have 200 which I will save now. I was given a iTunes gift card so figured I might as well use it on this game since I play so much. And it was 20% off so seemed to be not such a bad deal.

    Before this week I had only used mojo given on level up and for downloading recommended games. I started playing at the start of October and have reached level 41.

    I must admit that level 40 to 41 went very quick after having mojo over Xmas so I can see why it’s so popular. It’s also very easy to see how you could spend a heap on this game. My $50 voucher bought a few cash buildings an the 800 mojo an I could have spent it all in a day very quickly!

    Getting to level 40 was a big hurdle and took almost 2 weeks. I find my kingdom now generates about $140,000 a day with crops and buildings.

    I’ve been wondering how many Xp points you get by buying the castles?
    Does it help you level up quicker? I’ve still got the blue castle and have been investing in large buildings rather than paying for the new castles.

    But if you get high Xp points for upgrading castles maybe I will invest in those for a change.

    Any tips on improving my kingdom would be much appreciated. I have every building available as thought it good for quests and a bit of a trophy which maybe has been wrong?

    I’m currently re doing my main an north realm after using some mojo so
    they are in a bit of a mess. But you should still get an idea for what I’m going for.

    Cheers for you great blog.



    • Totalthinker
      Jan 24, 2011 @ 22:20:52

      The castles are a wash for experience (I think I saw someone else say the same thing in one of the other comments). That’s why today’s blog recommends getting some of the best shops at your level in place before splurging on the castle.

      I don’t know why ngmoco): won’t give experience, but they don’t for the main structure in any of their games. If you play adventure bay, where you have to upgrade your main structure with spice (island mojo), many players don’t bother. I’ve seen some high level players with basic shacks at the center of their islands.


  4. SirCake
    Jan 24, 2011 @ 13:46:24

    I’ve never bought any mojo. I am at level 50, and currently in 3rd place worldwide in orders placed. I got to that point mostly by accident, as I was following famous tech people (Leo Laporte, Jason Calacanis, etc.), and they never ever ordered from me. So, I just placed lots of orders.

    There isn’t a coherent strategy to my kingdom. I used to have three realms of unstacked ruby groves, and I bought stuff that appealed to me aesthetically. You’ll notice that i have never upgraded my castle. That’s because I have always tried to give the illusion of a bigger castle with watch towers. My Eastern realm is called “Wet & Wild” for obvious reasons. It also sends a patriotic message. 🙂

    My Southern realm is a maze. The object is to travel on the road from the golden flags in the south to the gold at the University.

    I save money. Ok, ok, I hoard it. So when diamond groves went back on sale for coins, I was able to buy a hundred of them. The buildings were mostly chosen to fulfill quests. I thought they would be popular, but they’re not very.

    The black dragons are definitely smaller when flapping their wings and bigger when stationary. I agree – it’s probably a design flaw. But I like it.



  5. Lycopodium
    Jan 24, 2011 @ 13:51:41

    I really am looking forward each week to your blog and am now becoming very impatient to pass from level 49 to 50, but several million XP points are long to get.

    I just wanted to mention that following one of your last posts I left a $5 donation to We Rule Friend Finders just by curiosity. 5 days after I still do not see my name on the list. Do you know if he is still updating?

    Thanks again for your insight.



    • Totalthinker
      Jan 24, 2011 @ 22:16:11

      He wrote me about a week ago, so I’m assuming he is. You might want to email him directly. Sometimes I drop the ball and miss stuff, it goes with the game.

      As I recall, the donation is paypal, so they will return your money if he still doesn’t post your name.


  6. Kendrickhphoto
    Jan 24, 2011 @ 15:00:41

    @rob88249 I wouldn’t recommend buying the castles as a way to gain xp, they’re pretty much aesthetics only. They do give you a small amount of xp for each castle but with the amount of money that you spend on all the upgrades you could buy around 300 ruby groves. If you harvested them every 6 hours you could be earning 102,000 xp and 120,000 coins per day. With the castles you would just be spending money and not making it back. My suggestion is to wait on the castles to where you’re at a point where money is coming in steady and you want to upgrade them for looks.


  7. SirCake
    Jan 24, 2011 @ 15:03:59

    When I say there isn’t a strategy, I don’t mean there isn’t a plan. My main realm has a large castle area. I saw it as surrounded by woods, and growing in a barely controlled fashion as the king’s family and the kingdom’s inhabitants grew. The houses came first, built around the schoolhouse. Then the farm to the west, which had to be fenced in. There is a bit of wildness still in the industrial district in the northwest, but the shopping center to the east is quite tame. There are various dragons keeping watch over the approach to the castle from the south, where the king and queen sun themselves on pleasant days.

    So there’s no strategy to make money – just a story that pleases my limited imagination.

    Sorry for the hijack,
    Love the site,


  8. Badgerteegra
    Jan 25, 2011 @ 04:37:18

    I am another player that has never spent money for mojo. Getting to level 50 did take consistent persistence. Since I am waiting for the new iPad, I have done all my realm building from my iTouch.
    Thank you for your blog. I always look forward to your updates.
    My 2 rescue cats – Badger, a Norwegian Forest Cat and Otter, a very active munchkin always like to hear what Jennymanytoes is doing.

    Thanks from AK


  9. rob88249
    Jan 26, 2011 @ 02:16:39

    Thanks for the tips guys I’ll stick with my old blue castle for awhile.
    And keep investing in groves 🙂


  10. Superknight98
    Jan 26, 2011 @ 21:18:27

    Is it really worth it to buy mojo?


  11. Judy Jameson
    Jan 26, 2011 @ 22:20:09

    Superknight98, the simple answer to your question is NO. But this really begs the question. I, we buy mojo for a variety of reason. Some items are mojo only and if you want it buy mojo. Some times it seem worthwhile to buy a “building” above your level to gain the income from it; or speed a build to start earning faster.
    Bottom line: how much are you as a player willing to spend on this game?
    I justify my purchases as a price I am willing to pay to increase my enjoyment. Good players can and do play well with no mojo. Whatever floats your boat. Play for fun! JJ


  12. Tiator
    Jan 26, 2011 @ 23:39:07

    I started in September and am currently reaching level 49. I’ve never purchased mojo (and really regret my early stumbling steps when I actually spend mojo on crop excelleration – and probably just for wheat).

    When I started to understand the game (level20?), I’ve saved to buy the most expensive item in the level and, if I leveled up while saving, going for the big stuff. Also, I tend to purchase in multiples because the eye is drawn to pattern.

    I know that I’d do better if I sold the main realm lower level items (but they still bring in coin!) and moved the more attractive items from the west realm.


  13. Tiator
    Jan 27, 2011 @ 00:00:36

    In contrast to your article, I’m very curious about how much real money people have spent on building their kingdoms.


    • Totalthinker
      Jan 27, 2011 @ 02:43:07

      There is no way to know unless someone fesses up. There have been complaints on other sites about people who spent thousands, a number about which I find myself skeptical but not completely unconvinced. Think of this. If you buy ten casks of mojo that’s a thousand dollars. It’s still cheaper than buying that much mojo in smaller quantities.

      I do know that at the rate some players return orders when they’re trying to move up they easily must be burning through several hundred mojo in a day. And I have watched players climb several hundred places on the leaderboard quickly, only to suddenly fall back. Probably when they got their credit card statement.

      Most players would probably be reluctant to admit how much they have spent. If anyone does wish to post an article, “Confessions of a mojo addict” on this site, please email it to me and I will be glad to post.

      Until then we can only speculate and recognize that our conjecture is nothing more than speculation.


  14. Moontown
    Jan 27, 2011 @ 07:52:49

    Ok this might be a silly question, but whats the lo down on the red or black purchase amounts for the properties and decorations. Some are marked red some are black. What does it mean? Are the red one sale prices? It must have some meaning. I have been playing this game for close to a year, and until I found your site, I didnt realize how badly I had been playing this game. Thanks for the help and advice.
    I can post how much I have spent. 23.00. 20.00. for mojo and 3.00 cash for light and dark castles.I thought spending cash was a waste. But I think Ive gotten addictedd to this game. Im sure I’ll spend a little from time to time.


  15. Judy Jameson
    Jan 27, 2011 @ 09:59:21

    Red purchase amount means you do not have enough coin to buy that item.


  16. weirdlu
    Jan 30, 2011 @ 16:37:27

    Like many posters before me I somehow felt compelled to say (although I’ve never posted on this blog before) that I’ve never bought Mojo either. I’m level 48. I think if you’re patient (and being broke also helps), it’s possible to do well in this game without Mojo.

    I did spend money on this game though. That was when I donated to the We Rule Friend Finder site.


  17. Ravenpuff
    Jan 31, 2011 @ 04:03:56

    They are pulling Egyptian/desert themed buildings! Is this because of the unrest in Egypt? Or is it a pressure move for us to buy mojo?

    Could they be getting ready to issue new themed buildings for Chinese New Year? Like a pagoda, fireworks factory, Forbidden palace, silk merchant and such? And to make room for the Chinese items they’re dumping Egypt?


    • confuzed1
      Jan 31, 2011 @ 17:48:56

      My guess is that it’s because of the uprising in Egypt.

      Otherwise, 99 cents for the Sphynx wouldn’t have been a “special introductory price.”


  18. Fendora
    Jan 31, 2011 @ 11:35:47

    Ahaha thank you very much for putting my kingdom on your website, I really appreciate! ^^

    I began in september to, and it was hard before i could plant blackberries… I only had a lot of tailor’s shop on my main realm, my followers (mostly the high level’s ones) were not really happy… They preferred high-earning buildings…
    So when there were mojo reduction on buildings i purchased two Chateaux, (for 17 mojos one), and one more by paying for it. Then, when I had two of my realms full with ruby groves, i began to earn enough money to pay for several buildings.
    I prefer to put all my buildings on my main realm, i know it’s a pain sometimes to have to switch to another realm to order…
    I try not to overload my realms with unecessary things (like roads) coz i know on some phones in some places it’s really annoying to have serious lags when there is to much roads, trees….
    But i still want my kingdom to look beautiful, so i tried to do some “scenes” behind my castle with quest’s items, for example santa claus’s bag…

    And you were right about the Black dragon’s lair, the moment I was level 50 i purchased two, with the black citadel (I had saved some money)…

    I’m also really surprised to see the cooperative kingdom, that’s such a great idea, but i wonder how they managed to do it… If everyone has the password, someone can change it, or worse, everyone can delete all if they want…
    They must do it differently but i would be happy to learn how. =)

    Keep up the good work, Totalthinker!


  19. Fendora
    Jan 31, 2011 @ 11:45:12

    (And I’m a girl. =p You said “his”. ^^)
    (Yep, still no “edit” button, although i’m on a pc with firefox).


  20. Fendora
    Jan 31, 2011 @ 12:03:00

    Btw, sorry for a third post, but i found this :
    There’s an interesting poll to the right :

    “If You Play We Rule, We Farm Or We City, Do You Buy Mojo, Gro or Zap?”
    * No Way! (63%, 165 Votes)
    * I have bought some but would not do it all the time. (31%, 82 Votes)
    * Yes, regularly, it is the only way to get ahead. (4%, 11 Votes)
    * I don’t play those games (2%, 6 Votes)

    Total Voters: 264

    Not extremely relevant, but it could give an idea on the player’s propensity to buy mojo’s…


    • Totalthinker
      Jan 31, 2011 @ 23:29:14

      Here’s the thing about polls. They’re biased by the targeted audience. Let’s consider a poll with the question: “Did you lose your virginity before you graduated from high school?” If you conducted it at a private Christian school, more students would say “no” than students who were still virgins (perhaps they really believe they are). If you asked it at many public high schools a number of virgins would say they had lost their virginity (probably from wishful thinking). It’s called denial.

      In addition, players can vote more than once, which also skews the results.

      If only four percent of players regularly purchased mojo, the game designers wouldn’t be pushing it so hard and they would be looking for other ways to soak in money. Some items can only be purchased with mojo, and others are only accessible at lower levels with mojo. Gamers thrive on immediate gratification. Mojo (farmbucks, gems) is so entrenched in social network games, it have to be pretty successful. I suspect the number of players who use mojo is more than fifty percent. That’s not too far off from the poll, but it paints a different picture.


  21. Thor26
    Jan 31, 2011 @ 15:07:15

    I kinda expected a blog entry about the Egyptian stuff. Would love to read your thoughts before they pull the items.


    • Totalthinker
      Jan 31, 2011 @ 22:43:26

      I analyzed their performance in the shops analysis update Thursday. I just joke about them in Monday’s blog.


  22. Etgohomes
    Feb 05, 2011 @ 01:24:51

    Please add etgohomes


    • Totalthinker
      Feb 07, 2011 @ 21:22:13

      I added you as a friend to totalthinker 2 a while back when you started ordering from totalthinker. Unfotunately there are so many different players who order from me now it’s almost impossible to keep track anymore.


  23. Nixon Lin
    May 03, 2011 @ 20:26:35

    How can buid overlap , this very interested!

    who can tell me the method , Thanks!

    ID: NixonLin


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