The New Mayor's Handbook - Ch. 2: Meet the Neighbors

Kissing Hands and Shaking Babies

No matter how hard you try, there will always be computer-controlled neighbors in your village. Now that you're the mayor of this town, you should probably learn how to get the most out of interacting with them. While we're at it, we'll discuss the stores you can expect to see crop up as you play, what they're useful for, and what you need to do to gain access to them.

You're in for a long read, so now's a good time to grab some snacks.

Let's start with...


Villagers

Over the years the Animal Crossing developers have slowly built more and more complexity into the villagers. Originally they were just something to do to break up the monotony inbetween events and the changing seasons. In New Leaf we're treated two eight personality types and thirty-five animal types. What's more, villagers have designated astrological signs which are used to calculate how easily they'll make friends (and enemies) with other villagers. In City Folk, the Animal Crossing release on the Nintendo Wii, animals were given favorite hobbies such as fishing, bug catching, fossil digging, and gardening - this has been expanded to include shopping, museum-going, and tree shaking. All of this combined makes for a ridiculously varied 329 (and still counting!) unique villagers that will cycle through residence in your town.

For a full set of the villagers people have found thus far in their games, check out the List of Villagers at the New Leaf Wikispaces page.

So, what is there to actually do with these guys and gals? Honestly, there's not much in the way of tangible benefit you get out of interacting with them. Villagers are primarily there to add a unique flavor to your village, and to help make sure no two game experiences are the same. That being said, there are a couple incentives here:

  • Villagers will often ask you to help them run errands, providing you with gifts of clothing and furniture as a way of thanking you.
  • Villagers have a hidden friendliness rating with you, which will affect the sorts of things they gift you with, the frequency with which they gift things to you, etc.
  • Villagers all have unique house interiors, and the longer they live in your town the more of that furniture they will cycle out. Every time they do, there is a chance it will be put up for sale at Re-Tail.
  • Villagers will occasionally come up with ideas for new public works projects during conversation, which is how you unlock the majority of them.
  • Villagers will donate bells to help pay for public works projects you've started.
  • If you have the Town Beautification city ordinance in effect, villagers will water your plants and weed your fields.

But what if you don't want a villager in your town? Well, all villagers will leave eventually, but there are a few things you can do to expedite the process. In the previous chapter I mentioned Pitfall Seeds, one of which can be found every day when you go fossil hunting. If you bury a Pitfall Seed in the path of a villager, they will become extremely upset with the quality of life in your town. You can also make a habit of hitting them with your bug-catching net, which will steeply lower their friendliness rating with you. Finally, be sure to ignore them so you don't accidentally make friends with them. Should you keep this up, they're likely to leave within the week, making room for a new animal.

Speaking of new animals, one of the first public works projects you can invest in is a Campsite, which will occasionally be used by animals who do not reside in your town. When they visit, you can chat with them and eventually encourage them to move into your town if you have the space free. They'll also offer to play games with you with furniture as prizes, some of which are only available through the campsite's visitors.


Stores

When you first start the game you'll have roughly half of the stores in the game unlocked, though not necessarily in their most full-featured form. Let's run down all the stores you can have, what it takes to access them, what upgrades you can unlock for them, and how to do that.

Able Sisters

Run by Mabel, Sable, and Labelle, this store provides you with shirts, pants, dresses, skirts, hats, glasses, helmets, accessories, and umbrellas. They also will allow you to display up to 8 custom patterns of your own design for a small creation fee. Able Sisters boutique is found in the Main St. shopping district.

By talking to Sable (the hedgehog manning the sewing machine in the upper-left corner of the clothing store) for 10 days, you will gain access to the QR Code machine. This allows you to turn patterns you've created into QR codes suitable for sharing with other Animal Crossing players, as well as the ability to scan QR codes to download other players patterns.

Club LOL

Club LOL is a night club that Dr. Shrunk will decide to open in your town once the Nookling Junction has received its first upgrade to the T&T Mart, as well as having a 100% approval rating (which is necessary to actually perform mayoral actions such as city ordinances and public works projects). Shrunk will show up outside your house asking you to assist him with a petition and hand you a clipboard. To finish Shrunk's task you'll need to talk to six of your villagers. Five days later, you'll find the nightclub next door to Nook's Homes.

Club LOL serves a number of purposes - first, Shrunk will once a day teach you one of the forty emotes your character is capable of performing when you talk to him. More importantly, on Saturday nights from 8pm to midnight, K.K. Slider will perform songs for the crowd. The first song of the night will be given to you as a record to take home and play on any music player furniture you may have acquired. In New Leaf, K.K. Slider will also give you an album cover which can be hung on the wall of your home.

New Leaf has 92 songs in it for K.K. Slider to play. For a full list, check the Animal Crossing Wikia page.

Dream Suite

The Dream Suite is a public works project that you can build as early as 7 days after beginning the game. To get the option to build this, you'll have to wait until Isabelle randomly fall asleep at the counter when you enter the Town Hall. After waking her up, she'll add the store to the list, and set the price as 234,000 bells, payable to Lloid inside the train station.

For 500 bells you can use the Dream Suite to travel to another players town without actually requiring a coordinated play session. This is a dream form of their town, and nothing you do to the town will be retained after you leave - so trample flowers, beat up villagers, cut down trees, whatever you'd like. If the player who uploaded their town to the database indicated as such, their custom patterns will be available for you to retrieve from Wendell the walrus, an NPC who will be wandering around the town.

If you wish to upload your town as a dream for others to visit, you can do this once a day, and you will receive a payment of 5,000 bells from Luna, the tapir proprietor of the Dream Suite.

Fortune Shop

The fortune shop is a permanent version of Katrina's traveling tent, which makes her fortune-telling a daily possibility instead of just weekly. To unlock this, simply receive 20 fortunes from Katrina.

Katrina's fortunes provide several game changes that take effect once your fortune has been told - easier to improve your friendship levels with villagers, higher chance of finding rare items, and higher chance of finding bells are the beneficial results; villagers avoid you, and trip frequently while walking are the negative ones.

Garden Center

A sloth named Leif will open a garden center next door to the Nookling Junction five days after you begin playing, assuming you've pulled weeds and watered plants a combined 30 times. The store sells flower seeds and saplings, as well as watering cans and axes.

Once the Nookling Junction reaches its fourth upgrade (T.I.Y), the garden center will become incorporated into the Nookling's store, and it will expand its inventory. Leif will also start providing a weed pulling service, and if you take him up on the offer he will be seen wandering the town during the day pulling any weeds he finds.

Happy Home Showcase

Isabelle, your secretary, has a twin brother named Digby, and he can be found standing in the center of Main St. welcoming people into the Happy Home Showcase, provided you've upgraded to your first home and talked to Lloyd from the Happy Home Academy at his desk in Nook's Homes.

Happy Home Showcase will display the homes of any players who you StreetPass. These players will be found waiting for you upon your first encounter, and will give you special accessories such as balloons and ice cream. When you examine their homes, you are given the opportunity to view a catalog of all the items in their house with the option to purchase them if that's something that interests you.

Kicks

Kicks is the shoe store run by the eponymous Kicks the Skunk. It becomes available ten days after beginning the game, so long as you've spent 8,000 bells on purchasing clothes and accessories from the Able Sisters.

Kicks is the only place to get new socks and shoes for your character, unless you happen to get some as special gifts from NPC's.

Museum

The museum is one of the most involved aspects of the Animal Crossing experience (and my personal favorite). It's run by an owl named Blathers, and serves as an interactive catalog of all the fish, bugs, fossils, and artwork you've collected throughout your time playing the game (so long as you donated them upon discovery...).

Blathers will also identify fossils and forged artworks for you, a necessary prerequisite if you're looking to sell them to a store.

The museum can technically be upgraded once - After donating 20 items in total, with a minimum of one item of each type (fish, bug, fossil, art), Blathers will request a second floor be added. This floor will contain the Museum gift shop, which sells some of the Silver tools (which we'll discuss in a later post), as well as museum-only furniture. It also has exhibit halls which you can pay for to display your own custom exhibits, being given the ability to decorate them in the same manner you would your home.

Nook's Homes

Tom Nook, having given over the management of the Nook general stores to Tommy and Timmy, is now devoting his efforts to a realty business. At Nook's Homes you can order expansions to your home, as well as pay to have new roofs, exteriors, fences, mailboxes, doors, and pavement installed.

Nook's Homes is also where the Happy Home Academy is located, which provides you with daily ratings of your decor, along with prizes if your house is rated highly enough.

Nookling Junction

Nookling Junction is the first form of the general store once run by Tom Nook himself. It's now taken care of by Tommy and Timmy, who you may remember from previous titles. The first store will have very little in the way of inventory - two pieces of furniture, wrapping paper, stationery, and two randomly-determined tools. Tommy & Timmy also sell fortune cookies in exchange for two Play Coins, the currency you gain by walking around with your 3DS while in sleep mode.

Fortune cookies will give you one of 50 fortunes, which are redeemable for prizes. A complete list of which prizes are available can be found at the related Animal Crossing Wikia page.

Four upgrades are available for Tommy and Timmy's store: T&T Mart, Super T&T, T.I.Y., and finally the T&T Emporium. Each upgrade requires a certain amount of time has passed since beginning the game, along with a minimum amount of either bells spent, or items purchased. For a full list of the differences between each upgrade (inventory held, hours of operation, upgrade requirements, etc), please check out the Wikia page.

Photo Booth

The photo booth is pretty much self explanatory. For 500 bells you can have a photo taken of your villager. If you hold the L button while you're taking the photo, your photo will be black and white. If you hold the R button, it will be sepia-toned.

This photo is used for your Town Pass Card, the identification needed to use the train station to both visit other towns and permit visitors to your town.

Police Station

The police station is one of the three stores not found on Main St., and isn't technically a store, but it's listed here because once you've built it, you can raid the lost & found to get low-price items such as cheap furniture and clothing for free.

To build the police station, keep talking to villagers until one of them requests it as a Public Works Project. You'll be given the option to build a modern-looking police station, or a classic-looking one, which also determines whether you have Booker or Copper, the police dogs from past Animal Crossings.

The police station is also useful as the police officer within can inform you of any NPC villagers who are visiting your town (other than Katie and Pascal, who will be introduced in a different post).

Re-Tail

Re-Tail is the name of the new thrift store found in New Leaf. Along with the Police Station and The Roost, it's one of the three stores not found on Main St. Re-Tail is run by a Alpaca couple named Reese and Cyrus. Reese will purchase anything you have on you, and will give you 20% more than the Nooklings would. Reese also assists you with putting your own items up for sale via the Flea Market system; there are eight platforms in the store which will allow you to place an item and set a price for it. If a visitor to your town or an NPC thinks the price is reasonable, they will purchase it from Reese, who will provide you with the profits.

Once you've played for at least 7 days, sold 100,000 bells worth of stuff to Reese and have 100 pieces of furniture and 50 pieces of clothing in your catalog, Cyrus will wake up from his work bench and grant you the ability to reupholster select furniture items. You can also gem-encrust items using the gems you find from hitting rocks with shovels, if that's a thing you'd want to do.

Other uses of the store are as a place to sell the turnips you buy from Joan on sundays - Check the price Reese is giving for turnips by talking to her, and if it agrees with you sell them like you would anything else. Also, the sign outside Re-Tail will display what items are being bought at a premium for the day, meaning Reese will pay double for them. Keep an eye out for premiums on stuff like Sharks, as the time investment can pay off tremendously: a town with Bell Boom (+20% cost of everything), and a premium on Sharks would see 16 sharks providing you with with a payout of 576,000 bells.

The Roost

The Roost now shows up as a Public Works Project, assuming you've played the game for a minimum of 10 days, have built the second story of the museum, and have donated a total of 50 items with at least one item in each category. The Roost is placed somewhere in the town proper, and is a coffee shop frequented not just by villagers but also by some of the more rarely-encountered event NPC's.

Unfortunately, Brewster (the owner of the Roost) will not hold onto your Gyroids for you like he did in previous games. But after you've drank enough coffee over several days, he will allow you to work as a barista for him. By doing so, you can earn special coffee shop furniture and clothes you wouldn't get otherwise.

Shampoodle

Our final entry in the list of stores is Shampoodle, a hair salon appropriately run by a poodle named Harriet that shows up on the second story of the Able Sisters boutique. This is made available after Kicks is built, assuming you've purchased 10,000 bells worth of clothing and accessories from Harriet's downstairs neighbors.

At Shampoodle you can pay to have your hair style and color, and your eye color changed using a fairly cryptic series of choose-your-own-adventure style dialog prompts, similar to the way your facial features are determined when you first start the game.

For charts describing the process of selecting specific styles and colors of hair and eyes, please check out the very useful guide on the Animal Crossing Thonky page.

Well, that turned into what's (probably) going to be the longest post in the series, but there are a ton of stores in New Leaf, and lots of specifics for each. If you made it through this whole thing, congrats!

Next post we'll be discussing bugs, fish, sea life, and tricks for the obtaining of each. Should be relatively short, especially in comparison to this...

As always, if you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below.

Thanks for reading!

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