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Animal Crossing: New Horizons ordinances guide

It only makes sense that as the owner of your own island, you should be in charge of just about everything there. Since the beginning, you’ve had a huge amount of control over how your island works, including transforming the landscape itself to look exactly how you want it to. One thing you couldn’t do, however, was lay down the law. In past games, you were able to enact rules called ordinances that changed the way your village functioned, but these options were missing from Animal Crossing: New Horizons until the giant 2.0 update.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons has been a part of our lives for over a year now, but finally we can start to make the game work more toward fitting into our schedule rather than the other way around. These ordinances were great in past titles, and having them back will make your life, both in and out of the game, much easier. But, considering how long it’s been, and how many people may not have played a past game with them in it, here’s a full guide on ordinances in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

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What are ordinances and how do I set them?

Isabelle explaining ordinances.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The first question many might have is what ordinances in Animal Crossing: New Horizons even are. Ordinances can be explained by Isabelle, but they are essentially different rules you can set for everyone on your island to follow. There are four of them you can pick from, each changing the behaviors of your fellow islanders, or in one case the actual economy, and you can choose one at a time to be active. But, just like most things in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, setting an ordinance isn’t free. It will cost 20,000 Bells to put your rules into effect. Not only does that mean you should be careful before picking one you may want to change right away, but you will also have to wait a full day for a switch between ordinances to actually begin.

When you’re ready to get down to business and set up an ordinance, head into the Resident Services building and have a chat with Isabelle. Ask to Review island features, and then select the new Discuss ordinances option. This will bring up the list of all four ordinances for you to select. Just pick the one you want, pay the 20,000 Bell fee, and wait until the next day to have it go into effect.

All ordinances and what they do

Isabelle asking if you want to enact an ordinance.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

As mentioned, you will have four choices of different ordinances in Animal Crossing: New Horizons that each change the way your island will work. These are Beautiful Island, Early Bird, Night Owl, and Bell Boom. Here’s a full breakdown of what you can expect if you enact each one.

Beautiful Island: This ordinance will scratch that itch of any player who just has to keep their island tidy. If you are sick of coming back to an island overrun with weeds, or even just having to deal with the odd one popping up in your otherwise pristine landscape, this is the ordinance for you. Once you set this ordinance, all your fellow villagers will finally start helping out maintaining the place. That means they will start doing things like pulling weeds, cleaning up trash, and watering flowers on their own. Keep in mind that sometimes you may actually want some weeds or trash, and that flowerbeds may get out of control if villagers start watering them, but those are mostly fringe cases.

Early Bird: If you’re the kind of player who only has time to visit your island in the early hours, this ordinance brings the game onto your schedule. With this ordinance, villagers will start getting up much earlier, and even open up shop at earlier hours so you can make any purchases you want first thing. Also, as a bonus, the shops opening up early don’t change their closing times. They will still close at normal hours, meaning this just extends store times at no downside.

Night Owl: For anyone on the opposite end of the spectrum, Night Owl will make Animal Crossing: New Horizons far more enjoyable. As you could probably guess, this does the exact same thing as Early Bird, only in the opposite direction. Now shops will stay open a little later, and villagers will also stay out and about longer into the night.

Bell Boom: This ordinance is for the more seasoned player in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. This ordinance doesn’t actually do anything to change how villagers work, but rather changes the economy itself. Turn on this ordinance and everything on your island will get more expensive. That might sound like a terrible idea, but while it is true that you will pay more for anything you buy, it also works for anything you sell too. If you’ve got a big stack of rare bugs to sell, for example, you can make even more profit with this ordinance turned on. It’s a bit of a risk vs. reward rule, so choose carefully before you spend to turn it on.

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Jesse Lennox
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