Tobold's Blog
Monday, April 20, 2020
Chopping wood

So I uninstalled Animal Crossing, having grown bored with it. But there were parts of the game that I liked. I particularly liked gathering resources, e.g. chopping wood, and then using the wood to craft stuff with. But then I realized that there are lots of games with that mechanic, and in terms of crafting Animal Crossing isn't really all that great. On my Switch I have for example My Time at Portia, which after a patch that resolved some loading time issues is much more satisfying as a "chop wood and craft" simulator than Animal Crossing is. I don't consider city building games like Anno 1800 here, even if wood is being chopped in them, but only games in which you control a single character that does the wood chopping.

One kind of game that frequently has this mechanic is survival games. Some people don't like chopping wood in survival games. Me, I'm just not a big fan of the survival genre. For me, survival games are frequently just building games with an arbitrary fail condition. I prefer games in which I just build something up, and have the freedom to experiment, without the threat of doom over me if I don't play like the developers intended.

Another type of game that has wood chopping and crafting is those blocky games like Minecraft. Minecraft itself is a bit too sandboxy for me; but I did buy Dragon Quest Builders 2 for the Switch, and haven't played that yet, so this would be one option. Chopping wood and crafting is also a part of many MMORPGs, but usually only a minor part, except for the short-lived Everquest Landmark. But preferring single-player games, I would be mostly interested in games of the general "life simulation" gathering & crafting genre, like Stardew Valley.

Is there a game of this type I haven't mentioned and that you would recommend to me?

It depends on what you're getting out of the wood chopping.

Just like the accumulation, potential profit and want a TON of nodes to progress through? You can click F to chop a ton of wood nodes in Guild Wars 2 across all the maps, per character even.

If you're less picky on the first person view demand, something like Unreal World or Rimworld or Terraria has plenty of woodcutting/resource accumulation, with which one can then build up other things with. If it's less wood per se and just the idea of mining/gaining resources to build with, something like Satisfactory can also work and give the first person view to boot.

If it's the actual immersion of going from tree to tree, seeing your axe swing and chopping stuff to accumulate, honestly modded Minecraft (with more photorealism and tree varieties added) offers some of the best experiences. Especially TerraFirmaCraft which sets some more sedate "pseudorealistic" limits on tree regrowth and chopping speed.

Finally, I haven't tried this, but it appears Farming Simulator 2017 & 2019 both support tree cutting. This would be distinctively less medieval but probably more simulationist.
@Jeromai: Thank you very much for bringing Satisfactory to my attention. I didn't know about that one at all, at it seems to be pretty much what I was looking for, albeit with a more SciFi than medieval setting.

The reason why I would prefer Satisfactory over let's say Guild Wars 2, is that in Satisfactory the gathering of resources and crafting *is* the game; in Guild Wars 2 it is only a minor part of the game.
You can play ARK, a survival game, solo now. And you can set the game settings, so for instance you can make combat much easier vs NPCs but keep the progression/crafting progress as is, or tweak that a bit as well. You still retain the whole exploration, crafting/gathering, and some bit of danger with the various dinos/monsters.
I've been getting back into Factorio lately, and it's really good. Like Satisfactory, it's all about the crafting (you can play it in peaceful mode, though the biters aren't that big a deal), and it's 2D which I really prefer for this kind of game.
My wife and I just bought No Man's Sky which dramatically improved from its near catastrophic beginnings. We've just started so I can't say how good it is long-term but it sounds like something along the lines of what you're looking for.
You can mod or use console commands with in Subnautica to turn it into something you might like.

Turning off hostile AI behavior still leaves you with a fun crafting/base creation game with a story to follow and complete.

I've heard of several people playing the game like that as they were scared of the hostile creatures and having played the game myself I can see how that would still be fun.
Not exactly what you want but there is a lot of wood harvesting in Banished and I found it quite satisfying.
Universal Paperclip

It's the ultimate crafting game!
Verdant Skies - game very simular to Stardew Valley, but in sci-fi setting.
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