Towncraft is a game that lets you play intrepid pioneer, building a town from scratch, completely to your liking. As you begin the game, you are placed in an area of wilderness, devoid of any buildings, the only sign of civilization a road running right through the center of it. Your character, too, starts with not a tool to his name. You’ll quickly pick up a stick and rock and tie them together to make your very first tool – a hatchet that can be used to cut down trees for lumber, which is quickly followed by a pickaxe to mine the various stones set into the ground.
And just like that, you’ll be hooked. The lumber you cut down will allow you to put together everything from barrels to brew ales to walls for constructing the buildings of the town. The stones you mine can be used to create everything from weapons to silverware. You’ll need to figure out the correct recipes for each item, as well as the proper equipment to make them, and that’s a huge part of the challenge in the game. Once you start to figure things out, you’ll construct things like tool benches for woodworking, various ovens for cooking, and a furnace for melting precious metals. And this will open up a whole world of crafting that could keep you busy for hours on its own.
Of course, most of that equipment will require buildings to house them, and so you’ll start building your town, beginning with a town stockpile that will hold the items your town produces. From your first humble shack to money makers like shops and taverns, your town will go up exactly as you like it – although you’ll be cautioned to keep shops close to the main road. Like your other crafting, buildings range from simple to complicated – with the more complicated ones requiring a list of specific items before you can craft them. You’ll also want to put up things like mills, mines, farms, and wells to ensure you have access to the raw materials you’ll need to complete your quests.
As your town grows, a variety of people will show up. The traders will be helpful in two ways – you can purchase items you aren’t yet able to craft, and you can sell excess items to earn cash. The cash is much needed, as the workers who show up can be hired to work your farms, toil away in the mines, and more – if you have the money to pay their daily salaries. The workers work hard all day, and then take off for the taverns and shops (once you’ve paid them), with their day pay coming out of your wallet each day. If you run out of money, they’ll simply stop working, leaving your crops to wilt in the field.
The quests are what serve to advance the story in Towncraft (although you certainly can just wander around collecting and crafting, if you prefer). The rich people who your ever growing town attract will give you a variety of tasks to complete, each with a nice payout once they are finished. These range from simple tasks like collecting food for a party, to more complicated tasks like building golden swords. The quests start out pretty easy, but you’ll soon find them pushing the limits of your crafting abilities. If you want to advance in the game, you’ll need to learn new recipes and grow your town. After all, cakes can’t be baked without a mill to create flour, and glass can’t be forged without buckets of sand to collect it. It’s all quite addicting, as you work to make your town ever more impressive.
Of course, when you finish a map, you’ll have to start all over again. Once you’ve completed all the quests for a town, you can move on to an entirely new world – they all have a lot of similarities, but a lot of differences in layout. You can also choose to continue your current map, making an ever more perfect city – there’s no pressure in Towncraft. It’s an addicting game that lets you advance at your own pace, with lots of quirky one liners and as much challenge as you like.
Towncraft is a great example of what a crafting game can be. With a nice story line that lets you advance at your own pace, and a simple to learn but challenging to master crafting system, it’s a game that suits players of all temperaments and skill levels. While reading is really a must, it’s perfectly acceptable for gamers of all ages otherwise, making for a game that is addicting for your whole family.