Author’s note: This article collates events that occurred over three different files in Community Inc., each lasting for around a week of in-game time. The events did not necessarily occur in this order, but it still serves as a summary of my overall experience.
Prologue: The Beginning of the End
I arrived in town bright and early, and was quickly greeted by a company representative. Almost immediately, they began rattling through their “best practices” list that every new hire has to hear. To be honest, I didn’t really mind; this wasn’t my first run as mayor, but, seeing as I’d been out of the game for a while, it was good to get a refresher course. Something seemed off, though. The rep’s ear-to-ear grin and exuberant shaking of my hand seemed to mask the fact that they were more than a little scatter-brained. Within minutes, they jumped from the acquisition of Lings (citizens of the town) to resource gathering and management, and then into combat and trading.
“But wait, how do I—”
“Aaaaand that’s it! Good luck!” cried the rep as they dived past a Mushface (a race of lumbering mushroom-folk) into the town’s dimensional portal. I looked at the Mushface, confusion and worry plastered all over my face, but he just shrugged and walked through the portal. An auspicious start.
Day 1: Welcome to Buttsville
I woke up with a frown on my face. I dragged myself up, made some coffee, and stared into the mirror. Tried brushing my hair so it wasn’t standing up in all directions. No dice: the frown remained. Today was going to be fun.
I stepped outside as the sun began to rise. Forest on all sides, and the portal in front of me. I’d always wondered what lay beyond it, but the handful of mayors who had dived through were never seen again. An eternity in an unknown void didn’t seem much better than where I found myself. Then again, it didn’t really seem much worse.
Well, best to be productive while my sanity degraded. I summoned a handful of Lings from the portal and started assigning jobs. One received a pickaxe and set to work on some rocks. Another grabbed an axe and charged off, swinging it wildly above her head and letting out a scream of glee. I… I needed to keep an eye on that one. As one of the Lings passed me, she looked up and asked about the name of their new home. I let out an exasperated sigh.
“Freaking…I don’t know. Buttsville.”
My listless manner didn’t seem to faze her, and she dashed to her fellow Lings to spread the news. That was that; introducing Olivia: Mayor of Buttsville.
Lunch time rolled around, and the town gathered around the supply cart. They passed vegetables around and chowed down, then looked at me with disappointment when I told them that was all they could eat for now. What, so I was the asshole for ensuring we had food for the foreseeable future? Fine, I could make sure that wouldn’t be a problem.
As the Lings trudged back to work, I reached over and clotheslined one of them with a hoe. “Merry Christmas,” I muttered as I strolled off to find something productive to do. Should I bang my head against a tree or a rock? Asking the real questions here.
Day 2: First Contact
There was a lot of chatter going on around Buttsville this morning. Apparently, some Stone Golems were spotted making their way into our portal. First contact with the rest of the world! Great, now there were people expecting things from us.
Almost immediately, the contracts started rolling in. The Blue Foxes wanted fancy dinner tables for their party. The Mushfaces wanted food. Everyone wanted our money so they could sell off their useless surplus resources.
I decided to bite the bullet and take some contracts on. At the very least, I could get some money out of it, which meant the Lings could get some money, which meant that someone might be happy with this whole situation.
Starting with the dinner tables seemed reasonable, since we had amassed a large wood pile already. Unfortunately, the same builders who had crafted the wood logs into planks just stared at the table blueprints. One of them picked up two planks and started hitting them together. Another picked up a plank and looked like he was going to try eating it until I cuffed him over the head. Then I saw the little note on the blueprint: “Needs a carpenter”.
Well, shoot. To assign a Ling as a carpenter, I needed to give them a carpentry saw, but to make the saw, I needed more resources, and to get those… well, you get the idea. Needless to say, half the day was taken up with prep work to give a Ling the ability to make some tables. Then, two tables in, they stopped. It turned out that the storage cart was full. I sighed and started discarding random resources. Some idiot had decided to pick up over 60 leaves and throw them on the pile, leaving the useful resources (logs, stones, etc.) just sitting on the ground! Ugh… it’s so hard to find good help these days.
After the table production resumed, I waited for more logs to be brought in by the Lings; we were going to run out of planks soon. Nothing happened. I turned around, and everyone was standing in the centre of the town! What was their problem?!?
Apparently, they had become so infatuated with their new professions that they completely forgot how to PICK THINGS UP OFF THE GROUND. Resisting the urge to scream and punt one of them, I reassigned a group of Lings as builders and watched as they happily gathered some logs and fashioned them into planks. Soon, though, night rolled around. We were slaving away, making tables for a bunch of fox people, and in the meantime, sleeping on the ground. Hallelujah.
Day 3: The Town of Cocky Cocks
After all the table shenanigans, we completely missed the deadline for the order. Suffice it to say, the Blue Foxes were less than impressed. Good to know that the ineptitude of my workers was reflecting so poorly on me. It didn’t really matter, though, because after completing a contract for the Stone Golems, the Wood Giants got pissed. Apparently, nobody’s ever happy and everyone hates each other. Life lesson, kids.
Given the recent deterioration of relations with the giants, I was a bit wary of their presence as they wandered through the town. The last thing we needed was to provoke them-AAAAND ONE OF THE LINGS WALKED UP AND STARTED ANTAGONIZING THEM. If Buttsville gets taken down by giant trees because my citizens can’t keep their fat mouths shut, so help me…
In other news, I sorted out my “tree vs. rock” dilemma from before. I’ve heard the Lings discussing a rumour that one of the trees deep in the forest has a vaguely head-shaped imprint on its side. Nothing but speculation, I say.
Day 4: Lethargic Lethargy
I summoned some new hires today, and noticed that they seemed far less angry with me than the other Lings. Yeeeaah, maybe it was time to provide a housing option.
Of course, nothing’s ever that easy: first, I needed cotton to make tents. I went out and planted some myself, then stood back and let the farmers get to work. I waited as they worked on the cabbages, moved to the carrots, moved to the corn, and then…BACK TO THE CABBAGES?!?! They completely ignored the cotton, just jumping back and forth between the crops that were already there! As soon as they finished with one, the previous one was ready to be tended again. I let out an exasperated sigh, dragging a Ling by his collar over to the crafting table. He crafted a hoe, and I pushed it into his hands. He immediately set to work on the cotton. I have no words.
Thankfully the cotton grew quickly, and by suppertime there was more than enough to make tents for everyone. The Lings happily set to work crafting and setting them up. As the sun set, I watched them work. One by one, the tents went up. Then they got to the last one. The posts went up. The fabric was draped over top. They started securing everything. Then, as they were about to fasten the final peg, the last light of the sun disappeared beneath the horizon. Immediately, everyone dropped what they were doing. They bolted into their tents and fell asleep. The one who was left, whose tent was literally seconds away from completion, looked around in confusion. He looked at me and back to the tent. He shrugged his shoulders. Then he dropped to the ground and went to sleep. I’m pretty sure that lemmings have more of a mind for self-preservation than these guys.
Day 5: Easily Distracted
Well, the whole “contract fulfilment” business didn’t work out so well, so I figured it was time to find another way to make a profit from our neighbours. With the last of the tents completed (as predicted, it took all of ten seconds), I set the Lings to work on a trading post, hired some more builders (I’ve learned my lesson) and chucked a trading book to one of them. Away he went to the post.
I figured visitors would appreciate some sort of direct path to the trading stand, so I had the rest of my builders start a road from the portal to the post. It was all going well, with them laying one tile in front of another, seamlessly joining them to make a smooth path. Then I instructed them to build a small, square plaza by the trading post. I wish I hadn’t.
Next thing I knew, they were dropping stone tiles down and leaving them disjointed. What was supposed to be a clean, consistent plaza looked like a patchwork quilt made by a narcoleptic grandmother. I buried my head in my hands. Then a member of the Dragonites emerged from the portal and started making their way down the road. They looked at the plaza, and looked over to me with a smirk. I looked at my tree and stomped over to bury my face in it.
When I returned, the Dragonite was heading to the portal with a glare on their face. I noticed that they were empty-handed. I was about to ask if there were any products we should be getting in stock when I noticed the problem: the trading post was abandoned! I whirled around, only to see the trader Ling hefting a pile of rocks towards the road! I gave them ONE JOB, and they couldn’t even stick to that?!?! To any future mayor who may succeed me: if the economy is garbage, it is NOT. MY. FAULT.
Day 6: The Flames of Change
I awoke to the smell of smoke. Considerably more smoke than the fire outside the portal usually generates. I stepped outside, and my jaw dropped.
Some sort of imp stood in the middle of the town, sporting an ear-to-ear grin. Around them, Lings cowered in fear, all of them apparently ill-equipped to deal with the intruder; even the ones CARRYING AXES AND SAWS. Four of the eight tents were ablaze, as well as two of our three crafting tables. Then it hit me: we didn’t have a well!
Frantically, I charged into town and tossed a weapon to one of the Lings.
Congratulations, random builder; you just became captain of the guard. She set to work attacking the imp, while I directed another Ling to craft a well on the remaining table. To her credit, she tried, but eventually we were forced to sit back and watch everything burn. At least the guard took down the imp.
With the village burning, it was something of a low point for Buttsville. We all decided to call it a day early and figure out what to do in the morning. I’d say “At least it can’t get any worse,” but whatever god this world has seems to take that sort of thing as a challenge.
Day 7: The End of the End
Welcome to Purgatory, or, as it’s colloquially known: Buttsville. Today was the day that we were supposed to get back on our feet. Unfortunately, I underestimated the sheer magnitude of the Lings’ incompetence.
Sure, things started out alright. We found a spare workbench in the storage cart and immediately built a well. We put some tents back up. Hell, we even started building a road out towards a nearby river so we could set up some fishing docks.
Then another imp came strolling into town and chucked a torch onto the newly-constructed campground. I figured everything would be alright: the guard would kill the imp, the builders would put out the fire, everything would go back to norm-WHERE WERE THE BUILDERS?!?! I spun around frantically, only to see where everyone was: building the road! They were whistling away, laying bricks down, and chatting like their home wasn’t being destroyed for the second time! I charged over, grabbed one of them by the face, and practically hurled him towards the well.
Meanwhile, a Mushface squelched up to the trading post, where, once again, the trader had abandoned their job in favour of road building. Surely the Mushface would help us out, though?
Yeah, no. After waiting for a few minutes, the Mushface started angrily stomping towards the portal. I raced up to them and frantically pointed towards the fire. They just pushed past me with a grunt and vanished into the portal. I swear, whatever deity these nutbars believe in could literally come down from the heavens, and they’d still be pissed if they couldn’t buy a cabbage.
That was the last straw. I gave up. There was only so much that I could do as mayor of a town, and I wasn’t getting paid enough to overcome the seemingly infinite ineptitude of the Lings. At the rate things were going, I was more concerned about escaping with my sanity intact than anything else. Best to sell off the town and start over; maybe it would get passed on to someone who could handle the instability better.
Epilogue: So Much for a Fresh Start
I walk into the bank and hand them the land deed for Buttsville. They look it over in their grading system. They slide a dollar across the counter towards me and send me on my way.
You know what, maybe I will return to Buttsville. There’s a tree there that may as well have my name on it.
Community Inc. is a town-building game available now on Steam.