In Defense of KEM and Vehicle Farming – Kinda…The Results and Conclusion

As promised, I have now completed a week of KEM farming, doing my best to follow Safi’s system…which you can find here.  

I begin, by once again stating that I have never really been a donut farmer of any sort, whether it be KEMs or Vehicles (Rat Trap Trucks/Bloodmobiles). I just never thought it was worth the grind, when you consider the value of the time spent.  As I have written about in the past, Life Currency (time) is more valuable than almost anything, especially at my advancing age. And even in my current state of semi-semi-semi retirement (I would retire if I could, and didn’t have another wedding to pay for in February…but still find enough time to golf and tap), I find that I need to affix SOME monetary value on time spent grinding…whether it is for Bonuts (bonus donuts) or the “incredible prizes” offered during the latest TSTO events. (spoken with tongue planted firmly in cheek).

I have to admit…I was surprised by the results. I was equally surprised by how the “new normal” has changed my view on what the term “grinding” means.

In the end…there is a recent change in the game, that may make Donut Farming a thing of the past…or at least not as attractive.

And that thing is??

Railyard Farming (RF).

If…and I say if, (because there is no way to know at this point if the change is permanent), the Railyard has turned into a “Perpetual Donut Factory,” and,  it may very well rival Donut farming for ROTT (Return On Tapping Time).

STOP!!!!!!!  All of you hardcore donut farmers who are going to stop reading right here, to write some prolonged explanation of why “Donut Farming Rocks!!”…please don’t!  There are several qualifiers to this “maybe,” and in the end, I am likely going to still be a fan of “Team Safi” who uses DF in a practical, measured way.

I’ll break down the method…and the results…in as clinical (unemotional and unbiased) way as I can.

IMPORTANT….FIRST OF ALL…This article is meant for someone who is new, or relatively new to Donut Farming.   If you are already at “Level 939+” and have hundreds, if not thousands in Bonus % Multipliers… good for you. You are a TSTO God. Yay. We get it. You are obsessed…and have been obsessed for months, if not years. Whoop. Tee. Do! Strike up the band! Congrats!

This is about starting the process now…perhaps late in the game…and if it is worth the trouble and time to do so. Starting this process at level in the low 200s of level-dom,  I am a good Base-Line Test Case.

****When I started this experiment…
I had 232 donuts in reserve. 
My Bonus % was at 246%
I had 14,400,026 in game cash.

Breaking down the “best methods” for DF, you need to start with a reasonable amount of cash. As in a few million at the very least. I say this, because unless you are fine with a very measured, slow, and perpetual grinding reality, you will want to generate more than a couple of donuts every 4 hours (the minimum time it takes to run a full cycle of Kwik-E-Mart farming/planting/harvesting).

In my case…I actually started with a little over 14 million in cash.  This was reduced almost immediately to a little more than 10 million, because I had to buy some land, on which to farm, so I could keep the clutter on the periphery of my Springfield. You’ll want to do this for a couple of reasons. First, because DF is butt-ugly…but more important, managing KEMs (placing, harvesting) is best done in a controlled area, away from stuff you actually like.

Safi’s amazing charts lay out the return on investment…and the graduated cost of each KEM. But, for the purposes of time and space here, they start at 220 per KEM, and quickly move up to 14,400 a piece. So yes…placing 50-70 of them will cost you a ton of cash.

Using the XP Collider to Maximize Your Return is a must! However…as you will find out very quickly, it is also an immediate “Donut Deficit” in regards to your final Net Donut Profic (NDP).

In my case, I spent 20 donuts for a week’s worth of boosting. DD-20.

YOUR % MULTIPLIERS COUNT! But there is a cost…
It was clear right from the start, that at just 246% multiplier  factor, I wasn’t going to maximize my return.  But, the CATCH-22 to increase your multiplier, is that you need to SPEND DONUTS to buy things that earn multipliers.  Yes, there are a handful of hidden “freebies” (we’ll cover that in another post), but for the most part, only PREMIUM items give you enough bump, to be worthwhile. However, trying to boost your multiplier, while you are farming, is a fool’s game…(it costs you more donuts than you will earn).

HOWEVER…if you are like me, you may have a ton of Bonus hidden in storage.  I went through every item in my storage, and hit the little “Info” tab, where I was surprised to find a good number of items that earned Bonus %, that I had deemed too ugly or repetitive to put into my town. Satan’s Anvil…ugly…huge…but worth 5% bonus!  Who knew?  (Satan????)

After a half hour of digging and placing, I was able to increase my percentage all the way up to 276.5%. That actually made the difference between earning 4 donuts per cycle and 5 donuts per cycle.   And, the bonus is permanent. So…all is good. I’ll get back to “Buying Bonus” in the recap.

My Method…
In my first KEM Crop/Harvest, before I realized that I had more % hiding in the attic, I placed 60 KEMs, and got 4 donuts in return, upon harvest. Remember, part of the process is selling back the KEMs after you harvest the XP/Cash. The resale value of KEM is the same as all other items, 25% of the purchase price. So if you spend $100,000 on KEM farming, you’ll get $25,000 when you sell them all back. Even after selling back all 60, I ended up with a Net Cash Loss of around $275,000.

Here is Safi’s Chart for the Cost of KEMs

The key figure here, is that for the first 25, you are going to spend
$75, 770 in cash.
  However, the NEXT 25 will cost you, 360,000.  The same for every 25 after than.  So…in my case, in order to get at LEAST 5 donuts per cycle (one every 12 KEMs harvested), I needed to spend $579,770 in game cash. 

To try and offset that…I started sending ALL of my Springfielders on a 4-hour task (with a handful at 8, because they don’t have 4-hour), and collecting the cash/XP when I cleared them all every 4 hours.  I was able to reduce my Net Cash Loss every cycle, to just a little over $234,000.  In other words…I was spending at a rate of around $47,000 PER DONUT. 

That’s OK if you have a ton of cash… Because, let’s be honest… Other than Land, there is almost NO OTHER USE FOR GAME CASH these days. EA has made it a “cashless society” except that you need cash to buy KEMs, to get donuts.

The NET RESULTS for One week of KEM Farming…

(Full disclosure…I actually missed 2 sessions of sending my peeps on 4-hour earning runs…so the cash outlay may have been reduced by a tad. But, I did farm/cycle every 4 hours, 4 times a day). 

HOLD ON…That Looks GREAT!!  That is a LOT of Donuts!! 
Except…now subtract the “Free Donuts” I received from EA… (15 daily task bonus, and Halloween award). Now subtract the 9 donuts I earned from “Where’s Maggie?” (3 earned with each 48 hour cycle), and most important…Remove the 35 Donuts I earned from the Rail Yard (and yes, I’ll follow up on that).

That is a Net/Net of 104 Donuts,
at a cost of 105, 799 in game cash per donut.

BUT, YOU CAN DO IT FOR “FREE!!!”  as some from Team Safi would argue? (and have). And yes…you can…as long as you figure out your Net Earnings for Sending your Sprinfieldians on 4-hour tasks, and collecting all of your building earnings.  But, in my case, and in the case of most average players, that is going to limit how may KEM’s you can buy, without causing a deficit in your cash. Safi uses the example of 36 per cycle…in my case that earns 2.75 donuts per cycle…and would result in taking more than two days, just to recoup the cost of the XP Collider charge…and as a result,  taking your Overall Net take down to between 60-72 total NET donuts earned for the week.

The Reality of Grinding…
At the top of the article, I made mention of the fact that the past few events have trained us to become 4-Hour Grinders. During an event, and even in some of the episode tie-ins, we “get it all” by doing simple tasks, every 4 hours, at least 4 times a day. Like dogs to Pavlov’s water dish, we have been trained to become semi-automatons, to set our alarms, tap, and go back to “Real Life.”

Ironically, many of us are complaining that the updates are too easy…that you only have to log in for a few seconds (30 seconds to a minute, tops) to perform the task required to earn the currency.  Maybe once a day, you need to cash in your currency, or craft something, or place the prize that you earn. VERY easy…and a VERY small investment of Life Currency.  It is in fact, and amazingly good ROTT. 

To that end, I have become lazy about clearing my town of all of the earned income. I might do it once a day…tops.  I rarely, if ever, send all of my Springfieldians to do 4-hour tasks…because it takes a lot more time to clear them all, and collect the reward.

What I heard time and time again from “Die Hard Donut Farmers” (most of whom have huge stashes of donuts, and Bonus Percentages exceeding 1.000%), is that it only takes them a couple of minutes, TOPS, to complete the harvest/sell/replace cycle…and they earn HUNDREDS of donuts a week…because they took the time to “Buy EVERYTHING” including multiples of every Premium Item that earns a % that they could…just to keep the cycle going.

I can’t even begin to calculate the time invested to get to that level...because it boggles the mind.  And, to all of them saying “it doesn’t take much time,” I say…BULLSHIRT!

Using even the most basic calculation of time…a Premium Item that gives you a 1%-2% bonus, costs somewhere between 75-100 donuts. If you are doing it through KEM farming…that is a week of work. A WEEK. So…someone who has 1,000% has either spent a TON of time…or a TON of REAL MONEY, to get there. Period.

The FASTEST that I could place and collect 60+ KEMS, sell them…and then replace them, was about 3 minutes.  However, that didn’t take into account having to clear all of my Springfieldians from the 4-hour task, as well as clear all of the earnings from the buildings.  Even using the “finder” on the top left, it took at least another 3-5 minutes to clear the characters, and do a full  search of my town to collect every dollar earned… and I was STILL in a deficit cash spending mode.

Instead, during a regular cycle, without KEM farming, I log on for a minute, every 2 hours…(which is far less than I check my phone for news updates these days), do my Rail Yard tasks, and move on. Every other time, I do the additional minute of doing the update/event tasks. And, I am done. No crazy math. No insane levels of land/KEM/XP management…just a lazy, fun way to play the game.

The Final Analysis…
95% of what is being offered by EA in these updates, just isn’t worth any more than a minimal investment of time. If I REALLY see something that I want…that is 100-150 donuts… I will gladly spend the $4.99 to round out what I need to have it, to offset the 40-50 donuts I earn in other ways easily.  That represents about 1/10th of a billable production hour in my REAL life. I’ll just take a pass on the drink after work…or not.

Be honest. What was the last game prize or item that you wanted SO BADLY…you were willing to give up hours of your life to earn?
So…while it may have “only” taken me an additional 20-30 minutes a day to do this…(which is a very lenient estimate), that’s almost 6 hours of time in a week. Six hours you won’t get back. What’s your time worth? I certainly hope it is worth more than a $1 an hour. Because that is what you are “saving/earning” in real currency for the cost of buying donuts.

Time. I can’t stress this enough…is simply worth more than grinding for a week…or even a couple of days. A week’s worth of additional grinding and management for $4,99? Nope. Sorry. I’m just not that TSTO obsessed…or bored.

Rat Trap/Blood Mobile Farming as Time Saver?? – Kinda!

The overarching beauty of Farming Rat Trap Trucks or Blood Mobiles (there is no difference as I’ll show you), is that it is WAY faster. Mostly…kinda.

The math is way more simple…requires a ton less time…mostly…and the results are just about the same, if you are starting with the same amount of game cash.

I’ll do the same exact math, with the same exact cash and multipliers that I used for the KEM farming. The difference is, I can do this in less than an hour…as opposed to 7 days. LESS THAN AN HOUR…

Let’s start with the same 14,400,00o in game cash.
You don’t need a ton of land, because you can buy and sell the vehicles immediately…with no waiting.  So, pick a parcel that will hold 10-15 vehicles and start buying and placing them…selling them back…then doing it over and over again, until you run out of game cash, or hit a level of donuts you want.

In the case of Rat Trap Delivery Trucks…
My game cash would buy me,

CASH START 14,400,000
Rat Trap Delivery Trucks 128 @ $112,500
($150k less  buy back of $37,500)
XP earned 38,055,040
Donuts Earned 76 (@ 500K XP per donut)

And Bloodmobiles have different math…but the same outcome in rewards.

CASH START 14,400,000
Bloodmobiles 145 @$99,000
($132,000 less $33,000 Buy Back)
XP earned 38,054,545
Donuts Earned 76 (@ 500K XP per donut)

In both cases…subtract 5 donuts for the one-day XP Collider Charge…so 71 donuts Net, Net, Net…in an hour, max!

So Vehicle Farming is Waaaaaayyyyyy faster. Right?
Not so fast…
How long did it take to accumulate that game cash?? For me…unless I got into a pattern of sending/collecting/sending/collecting every 4 hours. It could take me weeks to earn another $14 Million.

So…if you don’t have a ton of game cash (less than $5 million) and want to take a longer, but less expensive route, perhaps even growing game cash while earning donuts, FIND YOUR DAILY EARNING LEVEL (Collecting your Rewards from buildings and characters) and don’t spend any more than that each day.  You will slowly, but surely grow your donuts…but, you will need to keep up the grind every 4 hours…for days, weeks, and months. Oh. Wait. Kinda like the rest of the game!

In the end, either method will pretty much force you to log on every 4 hours…forever.  But, that seems to be the way the game is going anyway, so maybe you’ll just bite the donut, and spend the extra time to earn and burn!

Or…you can just do the Rail Yard…gather your daily challenge rewards (which are more donut-centric in non-event times) and stop sweating the occasional $4.99 for something you think you want.

OK. Bring it on. Convince me I’m wrong. But, for me…I just value my time more than KEM farming…or grinding for game cash, so I can Vehicle Farm. ESPECIALLY if the Rail Yard Donut Factory is a permanent feature. After all…I’m all about the Monorail. Monorail…monorail…monorail! And more donuts…with more rails…keeps me coming back!

Let us know what you think.  We don’t all have to agree…to each his own. Right?


288 responses to “In Defense of KEM and Vehicle Farming – Kinda…The Results and Conclusion

  1. Milhouse in the Brown House

    I just learned about the xp donut farming technique. I was usually pretty strapped for donuts at only five a day from the railyard. And that’s checking in every hour, not every four. I decided to go hardcore and spend a month prepping my best returns from the collider. I only have 200% in bonuses, but my white house collection is up to 4000 units. I’m aware of how crazy that is, but a few months serious effort for a game I’ve been doodling with for years doesn’t seem a big deal. My KEM farming is earning me 30 donuts a day now, and my xp gains from the white houses more than make up for the cost of the collider. I’ll be wasting another few months boosting bonuses to double that. Serious grinding can pay off in a reasonable amount of time if you do the math. I figure three months before I’m up to 60 or seventy donuts per day, and I’ll only need to check in twice daily for a fifteen minute stretch. No more time spent bumbling with the slow returns of the railyard or feeling frustrated by being late for the Maggie quest. Imagine that– being able to send the prime characters on all the quests you never get to see because they have to be open for the railyard! Matt Greoning chasing Homer with a big pencil for 24 hours. I’ve only done it once!
    The news truck, at 40 dunuts, is good for saving space and each one gives 2% bonus. Buying one every other day will put me over the 1000% mark in half a year.
    There’s the real trick. 100 donuts a day for a few months and all the worries are gone. Buy anything that looks pretty and never give it a second thought.

    • For the love of Groening, don’t buy the news truck directly! Get the Mystery Boxes. Those give news trucks, billboards, and donuts back at a rate that gives you each 1% boost for somewhere around 7-8 donuts on average. You’re currently paying 20!

      FYI my experience: went from about 200% to over 2000% in about 9-10 months. Did 4-5 KEM crops per day. Then stopped bothering with % boost and just built up a rediculous donut stash (40k — yes that’s a “k”) with the plan to replace all my news trucks etc with wailing walls. And of course this Halloween event was the first one not to have wailing walls available! But at least I can now get everything in the game while only playing 1-2 times/day, or even every couple of days. I throw down donuts to get all the premiums and even speed up jobs when deadlines are approaching, then make it back w/ rat trap trucks. Money balance has still drifted up to over $1B.

  2. I have no idea what the hell most of this means… I just hit level 47 after almost 2 months of playing, and am relatively poor. I only make about 30,000 in a day, maybe more. What is the short answer for making money at my level?

    • Play regularly.

    • Buy houses, visit regularly to collect income. Up your bonus.

      • Level 50 on almost 2 months, I’d say I play pretty regularly.

        • A simple KEM farm ( I started with 7 on Day 4 ) will move you up the levels fast. Use those donuts to buy 6 donuts Mystery Boxes. I hit level 50 on Day 9 (KEM farm increased to 10).

          • I normally use them on the xp collided. I spend 25 for 10 days. I currently have 80 donuts. In the mystery box am I really only trying to get the Itchy and Scratchy signs? I have 2 of those, they do give you a big bonus for xp and money. Anything else I can do at my level that is practical?

            • You get billboards, vans and Lard Lads plus some other items. In the long run it will cost 7.9 donuts per 1% bonus increase. LL produce cash.

    • Note that character jobs are generally the most lucrative. If you can play hourly, send them on 1-hr jobs through the day, then 8-hr overnight. Next-best timing is the 4-hour jobs, which also has the benefit of aligning with the KEM farming.

      As you accumulate donuts, re-invest as many as you can into %-boosters. The Mystery Box gives the best return there, on average.

  3. Well, I’m giving this KEM farming a chance. I have to say I do get the appeal. I’ve gone up about 100 levels in just 4 or 5 days. Still working on trying to find my break even point. Seems to be around 48 KEM 3 times a day.

  4. I loved every word of this article. It was genuine and well written with the math to back it up . I just started rail yard farming and it’s just way more chill and you can send the rest of your people on tasks to make cash or finish quests/event tasks so you can get those rewards to and build up the money to bloodmobile farm if you really need the donuts in a pinch or to simply buy more land. This game is meant to be fun and everyone has their own level of intensity with games and their own idea of what fun is, just don’t forget to enjoy yourself.

  5. I finally realised that I can use my crazy amount of In Game Cash to get some donuts. I had been considering KEM Farming, but it is awfully UGLY and I like my town looking nice. After I read your article I decided on Bloodmobile Farming. I bought 24 hrs of XP booster and got to work. It was great EXCEPT that on my 2nd run of buying the vehicles and collecting donuts I got the “Sorry, cannot connect to server” error message…End result lost all those donuts and out the cash, too 🙁

    • You lost the cash or the donuts, not both. Happened to me also, that is why I limit (under 10) the number of rat trap trucks I buy at the same time. On the other hand, while KEM farming I got twice the number of donuts when it happened (awarded, exited, return and awarded again). It helps not to have too many choice boxes waiting in the queue.

  6. Thanks for taking time to think it out! The increasing purchase price and decreasing sell values for KEM farming skew the value even more.
    I prefer the Bookmobile.
    Buy 4; earn XP; sell 4 back; paid for 3 or cost in dollars = 300,000
    Quick increase of XP and less my time spent.

    • I apologize: I doubled the purchases and sale prices of the burning book mobile but the result of pay for 3 and bought 4 still applies…

  7. I really liked your article Patric. I shared it with my wife, who is not a TSTO player. I like playing once a day and then bloodmobile-it when I hit 10-15 million.

  8. It looks like the 2nd KEM costs now $2500.

  9. Dumb question… how does one find out what one’s bonus multiplier % is?

  10. Very useful post, Patric. Interesting how the bloodmobiles and rat trap trucks cost exactly the same with the same payout. I am at level 936. I got bored with KEM farming after a few months. My bonus is around 780%, so I’ve been getting by on clearing my town and sending characters on jobs. Getting a little low though. With Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up, I may need to do more. It is amazing how cheap this event is. Absolutely nothing that increases bonus or income, and retread prizes like Wolf Flanders.

  11. Still trying to get my bonus level up over 200% and have read about all the bonus enhancements. Still confused do all the pieces of the Beach hideaway need to be in the water? Springfield height is very crowded. What buildings can be stored and which ones need to be out? Do all the attachments for the buildings need to be placed? And which resorts can be stored? Just spent 30 million in game cash to earn 100 donuts doing the bloodmobile/rat trap farming. Still have 14 million but don’t want to burn thru that also. Need to pace myself but only bought 24 hours on the collider. Please help with info on the Heights resorts and buildings

    • Building
      Hidden XP
      Bonus %


      Island (Levels 2-5)





      And yep. They have to be place.

    • With the exception of the beach hideaways, for which each piece adds to the bonus percentage, the “extra” pieces of the Springfield Heights buildings (like the awnings, classic and modern mansion garages, etc.) do not have to be out, just the “core” buildings.

      But keep in mind that the Springfield Heights buildings’ bonus multiplier is a *hidden* percentage – you will not see your visible bonus multiplier go up, because the hidden multiplier only applies to XP, while the visible one applies to both XP and cash. The beach hideaways, however, are an exception – they do add to your visible multiplier.

      • Thanks for your great help on this game. Would not be near as enjoyable without all this great info in your forum

  12. 4kidsandacatdog

    My argument.

    1) I’m patient

    2) I’m bored

    3) I’m logging on every 4 hours anyway

    4) I don’t just do it when I see something I want.

    Why not KEM farm?

  13. Man, no wonder you don’t like kem farming.
    As for me this is how I farm…

    I have 498%before the multiplier & hidden xp from the springfield heights buildings.

    I run the 10 day multiplier so I can get donughts just from clearing my town and jobs. I have the walking KEM that gives over 190 Springfielders a premium 4 hr rate.

    So every time I go to clear my game, all my people are only 1 click. Then I look to see if any buildings need clearing. Lastly, I go to the unemplyment and put them back in the 4 hr task. Thats a total of up to 8 clicks (including 6 to clear my town)

    Now about the KEM farming. I only do it once a day if that. I kill all my money when I do. So when I’m home watching tv, I place over a hundred down (about $1,440,000). I’m at level 939 so I need 100k xp to get donughts.

    This is how I can farm and not waste time. At least that is how I see it.

  14. as a meanium player i tend to truck farm when there is an event as well. There are so many ways to play the game its down to individual choice some friends have made a game of maxing out the % which has been fun to watch but not for me.

    If EA game play has a loophole then exploiting it is fine as has been said EA never thought the game would last this long so will look to close it one day by hiking up the cost of land etc have we had anything worthwhile buying with ingame cash recently?

    Anyway good no great post Patric a lot of work going in to it and great talking points.

  15. MydadlookslikeFlanders

    Within a few days I’ve almost earned enough to get Raven + Bad Dream House using 25 KEM’s every four hours four or five times a day and the normal methods of earning donuts. I usually get two donuts each time I buy and farm the 25 KEM’s and don’t end up with much cash leftover. My bonus percentage is around 140%. Farming is definitely adding to my enjoyment of the game and is easier than I had anticipated. (Helps to have a high bonus percentage and a bunch of playable characters) I am grinding on the Monorail pretty often, visit 100 neighborinos daily (earning me two donuts most days from the visits) and play the Find Maggie game, but no longer buy extra tries if I don’t win three donuts the first time. I’m very much looking forward to getting to level 939 for the extra donut earnings potential it affords. I am at level 340 now and was at level 139 not very long ago

  16. ELLA – Are we neighbors? (Apologies if we are and I’ve forgotten…my memory for things like that isn’t great and I don’t see a name like yours in my neighbor list.) If we’re not, and you’d like to be, I’d love it if you’d send me an invite! Just let me know if you do, so I can look out for it…I have over 70 other pending invites right now and they fluctuate a bit, so it’s hard for me to notice new ones.

  17. Really good post here, Patric! This should be required reading for any prospective Donut Farmers — and I say this as a member of the “die-hard, just want to see my f’ing bonus % get really high so I don’t have to worry ’bout donuts no more” club.

    It really is slow going when the bonus % is “only” in the few-hundreds range. And the benefit is not in the near-term at all, because to make the time spent on it worth anything, you have to be investing most of these donuts in raising the bonus multiplier, with efficient purchases such as the Rocket Bikes or (non-event) Mystery Boxes. Still have to be very choosy, and engage in a lot of self-denial for other Premium purchases.

    But it’s a fun trip when it really gets going — you’re riding an exponential wave of rising bonus %, and it’s thrilling to be able to blow through 1000 donuts on a long string of Mystery Boxes, and rise your bonus by 100%, all in one sitting.

    It’s also about looking past the horizon to that dream of the future where you have the multiplier so high that everything comes easy — you’re earning $10M+ each day without much effort, and can throw down Rat Trap trucks to get a quick few-hundred donuts when you want to buy something. I’ve gotten there, and it’s really nice — your point about grinding “forever” is actually a little off the mark. I am in fact “done” with farming: after I saved up those 40k donuts for my crazy Wailing Wall plan, and then another 2k donuts as a buffer, I’m now only playing once or twice a day, for a brief time each, and still be able to get all the premium purchases that come up, and even advance in the event in a timely manner. My KEM field sits empty, and I last bothered with a Rat Trap Truck harvest maybe a week ago.

    But, yes, as enticing as this goal sounds, it’s a huge slog through a rough mountain pass to get there, and so it’s certainly not going to be for everyone. Unless you just love the journey itself, or are really salivating about reaching that end goal, then, yes, you’re almost certainly better off paying real money to buy donuts just for those premium items you actually want.

  18. I think donut farming a complete waste of time. What are you gaining in your life by doing it?

    • To tell the truth — and I say this as an ardent farmer:

      Nothing! It’s stupid!

      Just like all video games.


    • Actually it saves time. A lot quicker than visiting friends, monorail, or any other task that generates donuts or premium items. Combined with the compounding bonus % of Mystery Boxes (6 donuts), it allows you to generate donuts and cash faster. Eventually you can get rid of house farms that are used to generate cash and XP, making your town cleaner. With enough donuts you can buy the premium items that allow you advance quicker through the events. No need to follow the 4 hour clock many complain about in earlier events to finish the events. With the extra cash you can buy land when it comes available. Or play Road to Riches. I get those items the cost in the millions. Side note: with huge %, those items produce XP to generate plenty of donuts.

    • I’ve gained time and reduced stress. Now that I’m “donut comfortable,” and have been able to buy premium characters and buildings that earn event currency, I don’t stress as much about having to check in at least four times a day to be able to finish the event prize track. If I want to go out for the day, I don’t sweat missing the midday collection, etc.

      I’ve also gained the ability to buy what I want in the game, without having to grind through QuickThoughts surveys to earn gift cards to spend on buying donuts. (Sending cash is not an option, since I’m the sole support of TWO households.) I don’t buy stuff just because I can…if I don’t like something, or it didn’t fit into my town’s aesthetic, I don’t get it. But it’s fun to be able to get stuff that I do like, without having to sweat it.

      Does that help?

    • You are gaining nothing in your life. This game is pointless. Most of us are agreed on this and yet we still play it. That’s why we are called Addicts. However, if you enjoy the game and don’t want to spend real money to get the premium items then some form of donut farming is essential.

  19. I am KEM farming, but not in a huge amount. I build like 23 KEMs every 4-hour cycle, and at 510% bonus currently (not including the extra 150% bonus XP from the Springfield Height buildings and the XP Collider). I level up 2 1/2 times every 4 hours, which I’ll only spend the $50k if I roll one donut. If I roll 2, I accept the results.

    With this method I make about $2 million per day give or take even with this amount of farming, and have about $120 in reserve. On average, it’s 5 donuts every 4 hours, and about 20-30 donuts per day. That comes up to slightly over 100 per week, which is not a huge amount, but at the same time, I’m not out to buy every premium item, and I don’t want to get into a habit of splurging on items I don’t particularly want just because they’re premium.

    This way, I have a reasonable amount of donuts to buy what I really want, and I have a healthy reserve of cash for when I need a quick boost of donuts without having to put too much commitment into the game. I’ve already been playing for over 3 years now, and I’m already pretty happy with where I am, considering that I’m purely freemium and had never spent a single cent on the game.

    • I previously ran through the calcs of which “bonut-round tapping pattern” is most efficient, In terms of “donuts per money”. I got these results:

      – If it takes more than 13.7 KEMs to get a bonut round, the “Must get 3” approach (always tap until you get three) is the best.

      – If it takes between 6.17 and 13.7 KEMs per bonut round, “Accept 2” (if you see 2, accept it; i.e. only tap again if you got 1 donut) is best.

      – If it takes less than 6.17 KEMs per bonut round, “Accept 1” (always accept initial bonut result) is best.

      So you’ve actually moved to “Accept 2” a little prematurely — it works out to a 580% visible threshold*, below which you should stick with “must get 3”.
      You’re only at 510%, so you can do slightly better with that, on average, until you rise by another 70%. Of course, you’re really close, so it won’t make a lot of difference.

      * Showing my calcs:
      1,000,000 xp / 13.7 KEMs / 2000 xp-per-KEM / 5 (multiplier) * 100 = 730%
      730% – 150% for SH = 580%

      • Thanks for doing the math, I didn’t think very much about it as I wanted to balance having a significant daily income and a reasonable amount of donuts per day.

        I went with the ‘Accept 2’ idea because if I levelled up twice, and needed to roll 100K for each, it gets pretty expensive, though I’d still be making money. Not that I need the cash desperately, but there’s still two strips of land I’ve not yet bought, and I’ve also spent a ton of it doing Cecil’s tasks just to get them out of the way (even if admittedly they’re not worth that much money). I figure once I’ve stockpiled like $200 million, I can just keep throwing the surplus on Bloodmobiles.

        I don’t splurge on Mystery boxes to increase my bonus % even when I can afford to because I already have a glut of billboards, Lard Lads and news vans, and honestly don’t want more. I gain my % bonus by buying premium decorations I like, and the ones that are too good to pass up.

  20. I went back to my records on my “D” game. Since 9/19 when I spent 25 donuts on the collider to this morning (11/3), I earned 353 donuts by leveling up minus the donuts spent on the collider and 105 donuts by the monorail (includes the week of double). I level up every 500K XP. I started at 156%, currently 229.5%. Level 309 to 876, using a 24 KEM farm. Once efficiently set up, farming takes less than 2 minutes. That is based on 24 clicks to collect rent, 2-3 donuts claims, 1 select to sell, and 1 search for KEM to buy, 24 clicks to place KEMS and 1 click to end.

    • I put a stopwatch on my 27 KEM farm on my “A” game, 2710.66%. I get donuts about every 4 KEMs. If I selected one donut, I went til I got 3. It took me 1:57.44 from start to finish. I did not “rush”.

      • What device do you and Sandra play on? I ask because I’ve now hear from both you and Sandra that you do it in under 2 or 3 minutes. It takes me a good 5 or 6 minutes. Granted, I’m doing it bright and early at 5am when my mind is not fully awake or at 10pm when I’m exhausted after a long day of work. But still.

        • an ipad – 3 years old

          • Twinsies! 😉 Mine is about the same age, too.

            But I now have a brand new one my comment just sent me (because my current one can’t be upgraded to iOS 11, which my company is requiring that we do) still sitting in the FedEx box waiting for me to take the time to get it set up. It should be great, though…my current ipad has 16GB of storage – the new one, 256GB! And, while the total size is roughly the same, the screen is pretty much edge to edge, so the display should be a fair bit bigger.

            Okay…now I’m thinking maybe I’ll spend my last few hours of vacation today setting it up! (Or not….haven’t been feeling well yesterday or today, so I have to decide whether I’m up to it…)

            Question for you (or anyone else who uses iPad’s)….have you ever gone through an upgrade and, if so, do you know an easy way to transfer stuff from one to another? I know I can upload my photos and such to the cloud (they’re already there, I think), but I can’t help but think there’s other stuff on my current ipad that I’ll need moved over…

            • On iPad upgrade. If you have a computer you can backup your current one using iTunes. Then use that backup on the new one. If you don’t it should still be fairly easy. If you have more than 5 Gig to share, set up iCloud to share one area at a time, like photos. Once the transfer is done, turn off photos and then go to next area, repeat. Otherwise just go to your app store and download the apps you have already bought.

              Personally, if you don’t have a GMail account get one. Open google drive and transfer all your photos there. They give you 15 Gigs between mail and drive. You can also transfer files there.

              • Thanks, Charles! 🙂

              • Did you transfer your iPad?

              • Yes, I did….was gonna post about it in my update in the Open Thread tomorrow! 🙂

              • One more question for you guys… Will I need to go through and individually re-add each app that I currently have installed? Or will it automatically do that for me?

              • If you backup to a computer it will add all your apps. It been a couple of years, but then you had to download each one. But that is also a good way to “clean up”, skipping apps you don’t use.

              • All your current apps, data, photos and contacts will be exactly like your current pad, as long as you back up to the cloud before you start-up your new pad. When it asks for your apple id and password, it will load your new pad directly from the cloud. It takes a few minutes, just like an ios update, and when it opens your new pad will look (and be) identical to your old pad except that you will have the new operating system.

        • IPad (not mini).

          Just to be clear, the 2-3 minutes I quoted was for the farming only…it doesn’t include clearing my tasks and buildings (or any other non-farming activities), because, to me, that’s a whole separate thing, which I can do independent of whether I’m farming or not.

          • Sandra, I have a new iPad pro that I got about 6 months ago…it is upgraded to ios11. As long as your current pad is backing up to the apple cloud (or manually do a backup to the cloud in “settings”), when you go thru the startup for your new pad (you will enter your Apple ID and password), your new device should mirror your old one. It will probably load ios11 while you are setting up. I never had a single problem with the upgrade and the game, so no worries there. I have my old pad, an iPhone and my new pad… no matter which I pick up, they all mirror and back up to the cloud daily. Pretty easy.

            • Thanks!! Not sure whether it is backing up to the cloud, but I’ll be sure to do that before I begin. (I’m thinking that’ll be on Sunday now…I have to do a little work on Sunday anyway to catch up on something for Monday that I didn’t do before taking my vacation this week, so maybe I’ll do that right after, as a reward (and while I’m still in “productive mode”).)

        • On an iPad Pro I cycle my 30 house KEM farm in under 1 minute. I have 500% multiplier and that yields 6-9 donuts per 4 hours. I think the key to my speed is that I constrain my farm inside unsaleable walls so that I can plant houses in quick succession without having to manually line them up. When they are farmed, I can select the whole farm in one go and sell it without affecting the walls.

    • Again I put a stop watch to my “B” game, 2127.21%, 32 KEM Farm. 1:59.65 to complete, not rushing. Again, if I selected one donut, continued til I got 3.

      • What device do you and Sandra play on? I ask because I’ve now hear from both you and Sandra that you do it in under 2 or 3 minutes. It takes me a good 5 or 6 minutes. Granted, I’m doing it bright and early at 5am when my mind is not fully awake or at 10pm when I’m exhausted after a long day of work. But still.

    • “C” game, 36 KEM farm, 1695.46%, 2:03.84, start to end.

      • What device do you and Sandra play on? I ask because I’ve now hear from both you and Sandra that you do it in under 2 or 3 minutes. It takes me a good 5 or 6 minutes. Granted, I’m doing it bright and early at 5am when my mind is not fully awake or at 10pm when I’m exhausted after a long day of work. But still.

        • I can do a 90 KEM farm in about three minutes, on a 9.7” iPad Pro.

          My strategy is to hold on 2 or 3 donuts, *unless* the first pick only gave 1, in which case if the second pick gives 2 I’ll pay the $50k to get the third donut. By my calculations this is only marginally more expensive than always holding on 2 or 3.

  21. Kwik E Marts

  22. I’m strictly a Freemium player. I haven’t spent any real cash on the game, although I have been tempted on a couple of occasions. However after just over 3 years of playing (Hallowe’en 2014) was the first event I played from the start, I’ve built up a nice collection of Premium items simply from donuts earned during normal game play.

    About a year a ago I was interested to see just how many donuts I was earning, and logged everything for a 3 month period. And discovered that for a normal 4 hour cycle playing 4 or 5 times a day I was able to average 5 donuts a day just through normal game play.

    That does mean playing all the mini games that earn you donuts (Where’s Maggie, Railyard and Sideshow You) and those that have % multipliers as prizes (Insanity Cauldron, Space Rocket, The Eliminator).

    Also visiting all 101 (including Other Springfield) of your neighbours every day, and remembering to put out any Space Debris you collect and getting Homer and Lisa to clean it up.

    On top of that you need to maximise your daily task rewards by dismissing jobs until they reveal a Donut payout. Although it looks as though you can only change a job once, waiting 24 hours allows to to change it again and normally this will reveal a Donut prize.

    It might not sound a lot to the KEM Farmers, but I’ve managed a accumulate a nice collection of Premium Items helped by a carefully buying strategy or mainly getting things when they are on offer. The other thing I’ve found is that if I have to pick and choose which Premium items I’m going to get because I can’t afford them all it makes the game play a bit more interesting.

    • “Also visiting all 101 (including Other Springfield) of your neighbours every day…”

      To me, visiting the neighbors is the most “grindy” of the grinding tasks —
      far more work than farming. Visiting 100 neighbors, you get maybe 2 or 3 donuts (and sometimes 1 or none!), and for each neighbor very often you have to spend quite a bit of time hunting for stuff to tap: during events, if they have a lot of roads spread over a wide area, it can take forever to find the NPCs you need to tap; outside of events, if they play either too much or too little, most buildings won’t be available to tap. Also, the time you can visit shifts slightly later each day, so if you had a period of time (several 10s of minutes) to visit all the neighbors one day, that period will have to be at least few minutes later the next day, and eventually you effectively have to miss a day. Planting/harvesting 130 KEMs 4 or 5 times a day was a lot more time-effective than that.

      “On top of that you need to maximise your daily task rewards by dismissing jobs until they reveal a Donut payout. ”

      My problem there is that, quite often, the task involves sending a category of characters onto a particular tasks, and this makes all the characters in that category unavailable for jobs via the Unemployment Office. So you either have to send them on the task (and earn the lame non-donut prize), or spend the time to send them off individually (quite a grind if you have 100+ characters affected), or go without their income until the next day, when you can dismiss that task. The latter two options can really disrupt my pattern, so I just complete any task that doesn’t grab a lot of characters, and “save up” my dismissals for those that do.

  23. From what I read and wrote here so far, it looks like there are a few distinct groups, but since neither will be swayed by the arguments of the others, there is really no use in trying. 😉
    There are the ones who see it as a free source of unlimited donuts and just bite the bullet; there is another group who actually like it, and for whom the strategizing and math involved actually adds to the fun; and a third group who see it as a waste of time and rather do something else with their game, even if that means paying money to do it.
    I would guess the first group mostly consists of people who can’t afford to spend money on this game, and/or have a lot of free time on their hands – can’t really argue with that. Buying actual food is definitely more important than buying virtual donuts.
    As for the second group – I envy you! Earning (virtual) money for something you have fun doing, it can’t get better than that!
    I belong to the third group; I have a good job that pays very well, so money is no issue, but also swallows up most of my time. In the little spare time that is left, I do things that are fun for me, and I don’t have fun farming for donuts. Nothing is going to convince me to do it. The grinding for most major events is already borderline ‘work’ but I do it anyway to continue playing, and for the addicts’ community I like to be a part of.

    • I completely agree, I’m group one!😂

    • Agreed!!

      What is weirdly sad to me, is that it seems to be a failing of the human condition, that we are drawn to be part of communities…and then turn aspects of those communities into rigid tribes. We see it in religion, politics, favorite sports teams, and things as silly as “my way is the best way to play TSTO!!!”

      Can’t we all just Tap Along???????

      • I’ve already said my peace — which was just derailing my thoughts and not meant to sway anyone — so I won’t write another kinda-sorta mini-rant 😄

        Just wanted to say I agree with Patric; we should just all “tap along” and understand we all have different ways of playing. Freemium, premium, full-time farmers, part-time farmers, multi-town players, those that play fully naked…ok, that group is a little weird, but hey, let your freak flag fly!

        We’re playing, we’re (mostly) enjoying the game, we’ve got a friendly little community going here…let’s just all tap along together! 🤘😄🤘

    • I’m somewhere between Group 1 and Group 2. And yet I have the money to spend if I really let myself think about it rationally — I’m just someone who has really dug his heels in and refuses to spend more than a few dollars on a phone game. I spent probably $5 on this game (on Golden Scratchers when I was really desperate for donuts) before I started farming — and I think I’ve given EA my share.

  24. Very good post Patric & I can see this must have taken you a fair amount of time to compile.
    For me, I just enjoy playing the game at my pace & do not wish to KEM farm. If you have mountains of donuts, the game becomes far too easy & frankly boring. The events are spread out over 6 weeks or so to help the majority of players achieve their targets with relative ease . Those that are donut rich buy up all the premium stuff, finish the events in lightening speed & then have nothing to do but pick up more donuts ? Where is the fun in that.
    Good luck to the farmers but I like to play the old fashioned way I suppose.

  25. A couple of things to be aware of that may sway the balance. First let me state where I started. I decided to KEM farm last april, I did the 4 hour cycle thru the end of may, when I started my summer job, I work at a scout camp and have no internet or cell phone signal for 6 of the 7 days in a week. My brother kindly logged on to do events for me and did a kem farm about 1 time a day on average. After august I picked up KEM farming again on the same 4 hour cycle that nicely coincides with event tasks.

    The big change I made is I buy any premium event stuff I REALLY want, and every other donut was put into golden mystery box. The box averages about 11.5% bonus percentage for every 100 donuts spent, way better bonus % return than anything else I have found, in addition every other full cycle of the mystery box rewards a lard lad that earns good cash, yet again on a 4 hour cycle.(the mystery box cycles thru the same items sometimes dropping one, but it cycles in the same pattern)

    After farming in my method to todays date I currently have 2038% bonus, I can easily remain cash neutral “planting” 216 KEM on a 4 hour cycle, sending my free characters on 4 hour tasks during the day, I finish the night by sending them on a 12 hour task, which I usually rush for free in the morning so it actually ends up being a 10.8 hour task.

    Another thing to note is that when you are getting the pick 3 box after reaching 939 each try costs 50K cash, whereas the bonuts from over earning event currency, and find maggie each cost 150K per try.

    I think the conclusion I reach is KEM farming comes into its own when you reach level 939, and make the reinvestment thru the golden mystery box.

    As to time to clear, it takes me 10-15 minutes every 4 hours to do all the tasks, take it for what you will, it works for me, and I can now easily KEM farm any item I ever want, and that feels nice, I like to get all the characters, and some of the other fun stuff, I used to have to make hard choices, or spend Real cash, that is no longer a problem for me.

    Hope this information helps someone else, as I first learned about the wonders of the golden mystery box from someone comment that they were experimenting with it.

  26. I know Patric’s big gripe rests squarely on in-game time spent, particularly KEM farming, but couldn’t the same be said for designing. For those that design (during events or outside them), it’s easy to sink 6 hours in a week working on, thinking about, and building our towns.

    I appreciate this experiment and knowing that Patric’s still not convinced. I really think the ease of this large event, along with the railyard changes, are meant to advance and retain 1-2 year players, not the veterans.
    Who really needs the donuts? Not the farmers. Here’s a way to get them tapping inside that magical 4-hour window (and often). Please do. Let EA the need to step it up.

    • Uhm…….I think you are misreading what I wrote. “Patric’s still not convinced” is incorrect. If you actually read what I wrote in the post, I admit to coming over to “Team Safi” and Donut Farming when I actually need/want something Premium. Just not 24/7/365.

      And no….I do not really see Railyard Farming as a replacement to Donut Farming. I see it as a regular thing (because it doesn’t deplete cash) added to the occasional Donut Farm or Vehicle Harvest.

      I just ran a 24-hour test…using Safi’s “only place as many KEMs as you can afford, without depleting your cash, method. I will end up Netting about 9 donuts.

      I was able to add 10 more donuts in that same time period from the Rail Yard. So…unless I have a ton of cash, and dedicate at least a week to the DF…It is hard to justify the added brain damage. But, hey…again…this is is where I am in the game…not everyone is in the same place. And when I hit level 939+ I will likely switch to a more regular DF format.

      Bottom line…I am not wild about handing EA cash, until they start making the event Premium prizes worth caring about.

Leave a Reply