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Towns: Fumbling After Dwarf Fortress's Crown

A copy/paste of a Steam Forums post I just made clarifies my position on this new game I just finished playing for a bit, Towns.

I like Towns but, after playing it pretty hard over the past couple days, I'm thinking I'd be best off waiting for a few more builds.

The biggest issue I have is that the division of labor is all off. Part of this is that the task AI tends to do last happenings first, which oft provokes the Townies to run extremely far away to do something even if there’s an identical goal right next to them. The other part is because, unlike Dwarf Fortress, you can't assign a person to only do woodcrafting, or stoneworking, building, or hauling, ect. Instead, you have a priority queue, which seems to roughly assign tasks for everyone to do.

Towns is a massive time sink.  It took me pretty much all day (real life) to build this inn,
and, as the second day, I'm up to the third floor of it and it still doesn't have a roof.
Because the configurable priority queue is too fuzzy to resolve it, you’ll typically end up with a nasty backlog where things are being done slower than their needs to be done, and it just builds and builds.

Even on the most basic level, Townies are coded to just throw everything on the ground. In Dwarf Fortress, you could have someone free who would haul the item to a stockpile, but not here, so this creates work for other townies to reach the stuff they’re dropping. In Towns, even if I prioritize hauling first, it will only assign maybe one or two townies to hauling. I can’t leave it set this way for long, because it seems to prioritize the last dropped thing first, and this will result in townies running into the arms of waiting monsters while leaving a giant mess at home.

The real trouble starts when people start dying.

First, because you now need to build tombs/graves to contain them. (Either that, or destroy their corpses, which is a bit of a cheat.) More townies run down to mine the needed minerals or retrieve the corpses, but end up getting killed, creating more corpses, creating a whole cycle of that same corpse-recovery task to do.  Given enough time, the corpses will sprout hostile ghosts, killing yet more townies.

Second, because the dead Townies have most of their equipment destroyed. Now, you need to take the time to recreate most of the armor and weapon they were carrying. Unfortunately, as everyone is now busy trying to pick up the slack of the dead townie, it’s probable that armor and weapon will not be replaced in time. 2-4 immigrants show up and get to work, unarmored and unequipped, vulnerable to adding another iteration to this cycle.

I suppose I could enjoy the added challenge involved in the Townies choosing the worst possible thing to do first. I could see the only real way to play this being in waves: clear a dungeon floor. Wait for the townies to clean up the mess. Finish up everything you need to do topside. A few months will probably pass in-game while all this goes on. Everything complete, and feel ready to tackle the next level? Alright, dig that ladder and lets start this whole cycle again!

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