I’m sure we’ve said it a hundred times, but it’s only towards the end that I think of really asking what it means – what village romance means. I still don’t know, even after playing the game in Early Access for a year, and now that the game is coming out in 1.0 it seems like a good time to ask. Because it has a meaning, and I find that the meaning is perfect.
Understanding that depends a lot on being German, because that’s where Team Toukana comes from. Toukana consists of four people: Timo Falcke, Sandro Heuberger, Luca Langenberg and Zwi Zwusch, who met while studying game design in Berlin. “Dorfromantik” is a German word. “An older word,” Zwi Zausch tells me in a video call they all join. “And it’s usually used to describe that nostalgic feeling you get when you long for being in the country.”
Perfect right? The word closest to us in English is bucolic, which sounds like something related to the plague.
The name didn’t stick immediately. They used it as a placeholder because it described the feeling they were aiming for and slowly it got to them. They liked the idea of using a German name for a German game, although some developer friends advised against it. English audiences wouldn’t like it, they said. But if English speakers can get used to words like kindergarten and zeitgeist, Toukana reflected, village romance would certainly have a chance. So it stuck. And now you know what it means.
Dorfromantik, the game, is a placement game in which you slowly build a landscape, one hexagonal tile at a time. The idea is to adjust the sides of the tiles to connect fields or trees or houses to create larger collections of them – forests and cities and farmlands. And not just for show: behind this is a point-based scoring system that collects more stones the more stones you place – stones that are filled up when completing missions, the forests with a certain number of trees or cities require a certain number of houses etc. in the game.
I love village romance. I wrote in detail why in