Post apocalyptic city builder? That’s rapidly becoming passé. But what if you weren’t commanding a bunch of dirty humans? What if you were entrusted with the lives of a colony of upright beavers? That is the philosophical question
Timberborn was created to answer.
The basic resource in Timberborn – at least the demo – is, naturally, the log. Beavers are somewhat naturally equipped for the task, so the logging post is only there for directing specific beavers to the task. And yes, buildings employ specific, named citizens. Also, your populace is split into rapidly growing children and almost as rapidly aging adults, so there will be a natural ebb and flow to the workforce.
I zoomed in and the beaver wasn’t using his or her teeth to cut down the tree. I’m giving Timberborn 2/10 for realism. Shame! Shame upon the developer!
One of the peculiar things in Timberborn is the verticality. Your cities can actually grow upward as some structures allow others to be built on top. Of course, if you want to build a beaver apartment block, you also need to research and build stairs and platforms for them to reach the 2nd floor (and higher) domiciles. And some buildings just won’t work with the whole stacking things. Verticality is also important for the water mechanics, but I didn’t play with them much.
The Tiberborn demo only gives you access to the basic beavers, and even they don’t have any special qualities yet. As we can see from the menu, we can expect at least two more varieties of the beasts in the full version. I’m sure all of them will be equally as cute. I also appreciate the fact that the creators of the game didn’t take “city builder, but with BEAVERS!!1!” as their license to do whacky jokey nonsense.
Without adequate housing, your beavers will sleep in the rough. And just like in Tropico, every beaver has their own stats. In the demo, hunger and thirst are the most important ones, since those can kill a beaver in the timeframe we’re given.
Aside from beavers clearcutting forests, Timberborn features beaver farms. Funny enough, farms can be focused on either sowing or reaping. Doesn’t matter much when there’s only one task to be done. But when your beavers start taking in the harvest while leaving the fields idle, you’ll find yourself wanting a second farm focused on sowing to make the best use of the fields. Beavers’ default vegetable? Carrots. Potatoes are the advanced crop – you need an additional building to roast them before eating.
Unfortunately for potatoes and beavers, Timberborn features dry seasons, when rivers stop flowing, and crops start drying up. This means that you need to account for it in your colony planning. You need to have enough water reservoirs to keep your beavers from dehydrating to death. You need to stock up on food or even build water towers to keep the fields (and the replanted forest) from drying out. You also have to consider that the lack of running river water will shut down the water wheels providing power to the city. I’m sure there are solutions to be found with geoscaping yourself a water reservoir and using it to run the wheel during the dry season, but I didn’t get that far myself – nor was I successful in even the smallest dam projects. Oh well, have to wait for the full Timberborn game!