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Pencilvillage is a solo print-and-play strategy game. You manage resources, protect and grow a village, and delve into dungeons in search of treasure.

Pencilvillage has enough crunch to be satisfying, but it's light. Each game lasts an hour or less, and it's easy to pause. I set out to make the most interesting puzzle possible for the fewest rules and the simplest possible systems.

  • The rules fit on a single page.
  • You customize each game with setup options, which also fit on a single page. These include a selection of:
    • 25 objectives, which broadly direct your town's development
    • 15 characters, which come with their own strengths, weaknesses, and terrain preferences, forcing you to adapt your strategy
    • 26 mods, which add mind-bending rules to the game and can be combined for even more interesting challenges
  • Then you choose from four maps. Maps come in two halves:
    • A cheery overworld on top, with varied (and mechanically crucial) terrain, where you build your village
    • An oppressive underworld at the bottom, where your brave heroes quest through dungeons to slay monsters and bring home treasure
  • The combination of objective, character, mods and map add up to a substantially unique experience each time you play.
  • Once your game is set up, you play with only two sheets of paper. That's it. These include all the tables, references, systems and terrain you need for a satisfying strategic experience. No paging through manuals looking for stuff! The experience is absurdly slick.

Broadly speaking, you spend the first half of the game building out your town in the overworld while you spin up your economy, and the second half of the game sprinting to fulfil your objective while questing as greedily as possible in the game's varied dungeons. Throughout, your town will need an increasingly stern military to survive the attacks against it.

Every action has been meticulously streamlined to reduce the fiddliness factor. Resource structures produce in fixed amounts, discount mechanics are scarce, gain and loss is as simple as rotating a die or moving tokens, there's very little erasing, and thoughtfully designed trackers make the systems clear at a glance.

The depth has not suffered as a result of this streamlining. Every round, you will weigh up competing priorities, trade off long-term direction and short-term necessity, and make meaningful decisions with substantial consequences.

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Reviews (2)
Discussions (5)
Customer avatar
Craig R August 13, 2019 7:57 am UTC
Just finished my first play on Emerald Copse. Very cool and absolutely worth it! I got a little confused about houses at first (thinking that I only got 1p per house I built). Once I realized it was an action, I was able to fix things up and still win. Admittedly I chose what seemed like a simple objective. I can easily see playing again and clearly it can get much more challenging! Awesome stuff.
Customer avatar
Andrew B August 13, 2019 10:00 am UTC
I'm so glad you enjoyed yourself :) Yeah, I am prototyping ways to make what's part of the action clearer, hopefully it helps on that front.
Customer avatar
August 12, 2019 6:34 pm UTC
Do you have an email address or Twitter account where you may be contacted with questions?
Customer avatar
Andrew B August 12, 2019 8:39 pm UTC
Drop me a line any time at :)
Customer avatar
August 13, 2019 12:22 pm UTC
I sent you an email with an interview request. Thanks, Andrew.
Customer avatar
Andrew B August 13, 2019 2:36 pm UTC
Got it :)
Customer avatar
Pierre S August 07, 2019 3:37 am UTC
Good stuff! But in the last map there is an underground dungeon called Crumbling Catalogue. Did you mean Crumbling Catacomb?
Customer avatar
Andrew B August 07, 2019 7:59 am UTC
Hey thanks :) Nope, 'Catalogue' is intentional. It's very minimal flavour, but the intention was to evoke the idea of a ruined, crumbling library.
Customer avatar
Casey C July 31, 2019 5:14 pm UTC
What's the difference between this and Penciltown? I've been thinking about getting Penciltown for a while, and then I see this come up.
Customer avatar
Andrew B August 02, 2019 6:00 am UTC
Penciltown is around a 6-hour game, with a much more fine-grained simulation. It's fiddly, but deep and satisfying. Pencilvillage games run about an hour, are much less fiddly, and are simpler (but still strategic!). So "do you want a 1-hour game or a 6-hour game?" is a good place to start. Thanks for your interest :)
Customer avatar
David P July 30, 2019 3:06 pm UTC
Andrew B seems like a very passionate designer who is accessible and interested in supporting the community. The price for this is a steal for what you get!
Customer avatar
Andrew B August 02, 2019 5:58 am UTC
Thanks so much for the kind words :)
Customer avatar
Steven F August 09, 2019 1:29 am UTC
Agreed! I'm excited to try pencil town as well.
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Electrum seller
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File Last Updated:
August 02, 2019
This title was added to our catalog on July 29, 2019.
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