30 January 2011
Zynga's new Groundhog Mission in FrontierVille allows two groundhogs to show up on your homestead at once. They're very hard to kill; it takes at least 20 clicks to clobber each one.
The Mission requires that you buy a trap for 1900 coins and then beg for screws and such to finish building it. You then have to beg for neighbors to join you so that you can upgrade the trap to expand its coverage area to a 4 by 4 crop square grid.
It is useless to buy more than one trap, hoping that groundhogs will blunder into the coverage area; only groundhogs who show up to harass you in the 4 by 4 area will be affected, and all the rest of your crops will still be vulnerable. Trapping groundhogs doesn't take them out of commission, it just counts them and sets them loose -- catch and release. Get just one trap and set aside a groundhog trapping area just for the mission. Then hope Zynga gets tired of this crap in a few weeks.
So, mark out a 4 by 4 square, maybe using paving stones, and put your trap in the center. It will occupy the center 4 crop squares (2 by 2). You can click on the trap for a menu that lets you check the coverage area. Line the outer margin of the square with ripe crops and arm the trap. There will be 12 squares of crops around the trap, and with the trap taking up 4 squares 1/3 of your planting area will be taken up by the trap, so that's why it's useless to sow multiple traps around your homestead in hopes that groundhogs will blunder into them – that and the fact that the ones you catch won't reduce the number that will still be on hand to plague you.
Slowly harvest two or three of the crops within the edges of the coverage area. You'll need to pick from one to a dozen units of crops to catch a groundhog. After a long delay the trap will fall and you'll see some eyes through the top of it for a few seconds – and then nothing will happen. Re-arm the trap and keep going on that way, and when you run out of crops within your coverage area next to the trap drag more ripe crops into the coverage area and keep going until you've caught as many groundhogs as you need for the mission; then move the trap out of the way and ignore it.
You can check your total of trapped groundhogs by looking at the last badge in the Jackalope Lodge. I think there's one badge for trapping 10 groundhogs and another for trapping 50, but I'm not sure yet. At some point you'll win a groundhog named Phil and be given the option of keeping him for a pet or putting him up for adoption. I suppose that if you keep Phil he'll be another exotic pet hanging around your homestead but, again, I'm not sure. More on that later.
Otherwise, the way to handle groundhogs is to work around them. When they show up just keep harvesting, and when you're done with that go back and move the affected crops to a clear area and harvest them there. I usually clobber groundhogs after I've done harvesting and before I plant more crops, but now I'll just leave the last two of the little buggers who've shown up wherever they are and plant around them.