Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Cozy Town, a game where nothing bad happens

After getting into Animal Crossing: New Horizons, I went looking for an RPG that had a similar feel for community building. What I really wanted was something like The Quiet Year until someone told me that Cozy Town was verbatim what I was looking for.

So, I found it and checked it out.

In Cosy Town, you are creating a safe and cozy community together. The core concept is communally creating a map of the place. Along the way, you will develop the folks who live there, the resources the town has and the holidays they celebrate. While there will be individual characters, they don’t belong to anyone. Everything belongs to all the players.

The game plays out a year in the life of the community. You divide up a deck of cards by suit, with each one being a different seasons. Each turn, the active player draws a card and consults the guide. Each card describes an event that takes place and asks a question about how the resolution affects the town.

After that, the active player can choose one of the three actions: add a feature to the map, have a friend of the town visit or prepare for an event.

I have to say that, while it would be super easy to create an Animal Crossing-style town, a lot of the fluff options that are suggested are actually even more whimsical and saccharine than Animal Crossing, to the point that Animal Crossing would end up on the gritty, realistic side of Cozy Town. 

It’s beyond obvious that Cozy Town is heavily influenced by The Quiet Year to the point that it’s practically a reskin. Mechanically, they are border on being identical. And, yet, they are almost on the opposite ends of sensibility. The Quiet Year runs on scarcity and the innate conflict that comes out of scarcity while Cozy Town explicitly bans scarcity and conflict.

I am fascinated by The Quiet Year. It’s a very unique gaming experience. Cozy Town is also fascinating for me. It is what I was looking for in a game that emulates Animal Crossing. At the same time, I have a feeling if I played it more than once, particularly with the same group of people, we’d end up bending the rules on scarcity and conflict. I mean, you need some level of conflict to create drama.

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