17 Stardew Valley Challenge Runs You Need to Try in 2023


Melizza Jane Tacang

Writer and Storywriter

Melizza is a part-time writer for PlayerAssist and a full-time mom. When she's not fussing over her kids, she writes game guides on cozy simulation games like Stardew Valley and The Sims 4. She's mostly seen playing cute indie games on her laptop and Nintendo Switch. Melizza also likes revisiting her childhood survival horror games and classic RPGs because she's a sucker for nostalgia. Aside from video games, Melizza is also into anime, philosophy, true crime, and Pedro Pascal.


Here are 17 Stardew Valley challenge runs you need to try in 2023!

17 Stardew Valley Challenge Runs You Need to Try in 2023

Stardew Valley is a pixelated role-playing, farming sim game that revolutionized the indie gaming industry, selling millions of copies across multiple platforms and becoming the standard farming sim for newer pixelated indie games. Even seven years after its release, Stardew Valley continues to captivate its players with its charming animations and endless gameplay filled to the brim with content.

One such way to enjoy games that never end is to do challenges. Many veteran players make self-imposed challenges based on their preferences. Over the years, people have done various challenge runs that became all the rage in the Stardew Valley gaming community.

For those starting a new save and wanting to do things differently, here are some of the best Stardew Valley challenge runs for seasoned players.

Min/Max Run

The Min/Max Run is where players attempt to maximize profit while spending as little as possible. You must be knowledgeable in Stardew Valley’s game mechanics and will have to rely on your luck to succeed in this route. The Min/Max run is not recommended for those who want to enjoy the game at a relaxed pace, as you can’t cheat through the game with glitches or mods.

Learning to optimize your gameplay strategies is the best way you can achieve the best possible results in this playthrough. Most beginners aren’t aware that daily luck is generated based on how many steps they took the previous day.

Some Min/Max challengers try to take short, half-steps as they explore the valley to cancel the walking animation and minimize their total daily steps. Aside from luck, there’s also a high chance of getting rainy weather the following day if you abstain from walking around too much.

Anti-Capitalist Run

CR anticapitalist

In the Anti-Capitalist Run, you can’t buy any seeds or items from Pierre’s General Store or JojaMart. Instead, you must spend hours cutting weeds, digging the ground, or chopping trees to collect mixed seeds. Mixed Seeds grow random seasonal crops, but they remain unknown as you plant them on tilled soil. You can only identify what kind of crops they are when they begin to sprout leaves or mature.

Not allowing yourself to purchase from Pierre’s store can be difficult, considering you’ll need backpack upgrades to expand your inventory. But those who dislike characters like Pierre or Joja and their corporate and capitalistic ways will feel satisfied doing this playthrough.

20 Million in 1 Year Run

CR 20mil

This one is self-explanatory. You must earn around 20,000,000g in a year. It’s a simple rule but a daunting one to accomplish.

To become 20 million richer in a year, try to complete the Vault Bundle in Spring to unlock the Bus that can take you to Calico Desert. You can then access the Skull Cavern to farm Iridium Ores.

Turn your ores into Iridium Sprinklers and plant hundreds of Starfruit at the start of Summer. Process all your Starfruit into wine and age them in casks. You can profit off of mass-producing aged Starfruit wine and selling them before Year 1 Winter ends.

Even seasoned players can fail this challenge on their first try, so if you think 20 million is too big, you can lessen the amount of gold you are obliged to earn to 5 million or 1 million.

Sell Items Once per Season

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This is the perfect challenge for players who like hoarding items and selling them all in one go. You can only ship out all your items at the end of every season, so you must conserve money on this playthrough.

You may think that the first spring is where you will struggle to make ends meet since you’ll only have a few hundred golds until the end of the season. But what you can do during this time is to accept NPC quests to earn more money.

Most quests are fetching ores, fish, and foraged items. You will not only acquire gold, but you’ll also gain experience from fulfilling all sorts of simple quests. Therefore, your Foraging, Mining, and Fishing skills can max out early in this playthrough.

Pizza Parlor Farm

CR pizzarun

Turn your farm into a haven for pizza lovers in the Pizza Parlor challenge run. This may be one of the most unique Stardew Valley playthroughs to date.

Right off the bat, you can save money for a Barn and gather Wood and Stones. This farm building is where you house Cows and Goats that produce milk. During Spring, you can spend a lot of time in the Mines and farm for materials needed to build machines for pizza production. 

Make pizza by tossing in your Tomatoes and wheat Flour in the kitchen, and start living off them for this playthrough—craft tons of Cheese Press Machines to make cheese, an essential ingredient in making pizza. Make Wheat Flour by processing wheat in Mills. Grow tomatoes in the summer and store them in your chest until you upgrade your house. Upgrading your home will unlock the kitchen, where the magic happens.

Rip Van Winkle Run


Another fun challenge you can do in the game is called The Rip Van Winkle. Players must sleep through the first two years and start at the beginning of year 3. Sure, doing nothing but sleep for two years may earn you a negative remark from your grandfather, but this can crank up the difficulty of your gameplay nonetheless.

At first, navigating the farm can be tough, especially with overgrown trees and, sometimes, meteorites blocking your path. This challenge requires you to chop through the thicket of trees and clear all the debris that will surround your farm after years of being abandoned. You’ll get worn out quickly and may pass out a lot, but you’ll get plenty of resources like wood and fiber that will benefit you in the long run.

Co-op Competition Farm

CR Coop

The co-op mode is for players who want to experience living off the land with their friends. Farming as a team is all about teamwork and strategy, but you and your friends can have a friendly competition to see who’ll become the most efficient farmer at the end of your playthrough.

You can get points every time you individually reach a milestone. For instance, you can earn 1 point if you are the first to upgrade your farmhouse. Players can also split their income if they want to know the fastest way to reach a certain amount of gold.

Chicken Farm

CR Chicken

A Chicken Farm is dedicated to raising chickens and selling their produce, meaning you can only ship chicken eggs in this challenge run. Of course, if you decide to profit from chicken eggs, you must level up your farming skills until you can choose the Rancher profession. This profession makes animal products 20% more valuable. You can then sell an iridium-quality egg for 228g each. With the Coopmaster profession, you’ll also be able to befriend chickens faster and get more quality eggs.

Doing a large-scale egg production business can be intimidating initially, but there are ways to automate your farm buildings. You can update all your Coops until they get the auto-feeder feature. Marnie sells Auto-grabbers that can collect eggs from the ground on your behalf. You can also get Auto-petters from random treasure chests in Skull Cavern. These objects can help you pet chickens so they can be more affectionate towards you and give you eggs of better quality.

Since chickens are not the only animal you can raise on your farm, you can choose another money-making livestock to focus solely on. You can make a Pig farm to acquire hundreds of truffles daily, which are significantly more valuable than chicken eggs.

Truffle Oil Farm

CR Truffles

If you decide on making a Pig farm, you can take it up a notch and sell only Truffle Oil. These are Artisan Goods made after being refined in machines. You must probably make hundreds of Oil Makers to run a Truffle Oil empire.

Aside from Truffle Oil, you can produce plenty of other Artisan Goods. You can fill your farm with Bee Houses and make a living from Honey, or you can create a farm that houses only Dinosaurs for their Eggs.


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A Winery is in the same vein as the Artisan Goods farm. It’s a farm specializing in producing wine. However, making wine is a long process, which makes this challenge difficult. 

To start making a wine farm, you must grow fruit crops and trees. Make a vineyard by planting many crops on trellises, such as hops or grape starters. Using Kegs, you can process any fruit into a beverage. Most players turn to aged wine because it’s an effective way to rack up gold, even in normal gameplay. But you can make things more challenging by switching to selling only aged wine once you can access Casks in the basement.

Botanist/Flower Only Run

CR Flowers

Wouldn’t it be great if you could fill your farm with flowers? If you agree, the Botanist or Flower Only Run could be right up your alley.

There are three to four kinds of flowers you can grow and sell for each season. Flowers may look pretty, but they are certainly not that profitable. The most lucrative flower is Fairy Rose, but it can only be planted in the Fall. Botanists can earn from occupying the whole farm with flowers, but sprinklers must be placed amidst them so you won’t get drained from tending them.

Foraging Only Run

CR Foraging

This challenge is also known as the Linus Lifestyle playthrough. And as the title suggests, you can only use foraged items like berries to make a living and survive. This also means you can’t eat other food besides forageables to replenish your health and energy.

Thriving on the foraging skill alone means you can also utilize trees to make a living. You can place tappers on trees so they can produce tree syrups for you. Another option is to grow mushroom trees that can give you the profitable purple mushroom. You can also go to the desert and look for coconut trees and cactus plants to sell.

No Farming

Fishpond Design3

If the previous challenge requires you to use only one skill, the No Farming run will have you ignoring one skill completely. 

You can’t grow crops or trees or raise animals in this playthrough, and your only allies for financial success are your mining, fishing, and foraging skills. You can focus on maxing them out early in the game to succeed in this challenge.

If you stick to the rules of this playthrough, going for the Community Center restoration project might be impossible. You might want to opt for the Joja route instead. However, you can make an exception and grow crops that are only needed for the bundles. The Traveling Merchant also sells various fruits and vegetables that you can offer to the Junimos to restore the Community Center.

Pickaxe Only Run

Another self-explanatory challenge you can try is the Pickaxe Only Run. You might think using only one tool in the game will get you nowhere. The good thing is that your pickaxe has more than one use. It is primarily used for breaking rocks, but you can also attack enemies and cut weeds.

As for felling trees, you can use bombs to clear off all the trees on your farm (save for large stumps.) If you’re worried about getting to the Secret Woods, you can use a known glitch that came with the 1.5 updates. Place a chair near the large stump blocking the way to the Secret Woods, sit on it, and launch yourself to the left to get past the obstacle.

You can catch fish by placing crab pots in Stardew Valley’s lakes, ponds, rivers, and beaches. Even without a watering can, you can still grow fruits and vegetables by placing sprinklers between your crops. And if you’re wondering if you can do some fishing in this type of playthrough, the answer is yes.

Complete the Community Center in Year 1


Speed runs are probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think of self-imposed challenges. Completing the Community Center bundles within a year is a goal most players intend to accomplish. While it seems like an easy challenge, a year can pass by so fast, and trying to acquire all the items needed for the bundles can be a stressful race against time.

Learning the most efficient ways to obtain the necessary materials for this quest is crucial, especially if you want to fulfill it in Year 1. The most difficult items to attain initially are Red Cabbages and Truffles.

Red Cabbage Seeds are sold at Pierre’s Store. But they are only available in Year 2. Fortunately, you can purchase them from the Traveling Merchant in Cindersap Forest.

Truffles can give you a hard time because they come from Pigs, which are expensive and can only be raised in a Deluxe Barn. If you prioritize earning money and getting resources for Barn upgrades without spending them anywhere else, it’s plausible you can get truffles in your first year.

100% Completion

SOTP FeaturedImg

The ultimate goal for a normal playthrough is to reach 100% completion, and they are usually done at a relaxed pace. But you can put rigorous effort into it if you try to reach perfection in less than two years. In Qi’s Walnut Room at Ginger Island, you’ll find a perfection tracker that indicates if you have checked off all the tasks you need to do in the game.

If you want to learn how to become a Stardew Valley completionist, you can check out our How to Obtain the Statue of True Perfection guide, which details what you need to do to complete the game.

Never Leave the Farm

BestFarm FourCorners

Whoever thought you couldn’t get far in the game without stepping outside your farm must have never heard of the Never Leave the Farm challenge run.

In this playthrough, you have got to work with what you’ve got. You can only rely on your starter tools and weapons since you can’t go to the Blacksmith to upgrade them. Robin will not make farm buildings or expand your house if you become a recluse farmer. Fishing is not feasible because Willy is the one who gives you your first fishing rod. Marriage is also out of the question, as you can’t get to know the villagers without going to see them.

Luckily, you can still make this challenge fun. There are plenty of resources all over your eponymous property that you can work with. The Four Corners farm is the best type of farm for this kind of challenge. The farm spawns a variety of materials you can sell and craft objects with. You can try to live like a hermit for a year or perhaps until you have enough gold to give you a jump start on your life outside the farm.

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