###################################################
#                                                 #
#               ~ Animal Crossing ~               #
#     Perfect Town Condition/Golden Axe Guide     #
#            Ver. 1.x updated 7/7/03              #
#                                                 #
#           by elumelum, Copyright 2002           #
#                                                 #
###################################################


========
CONTENTS ('*'s indicate new or updated sections)
========

I.      Introduction
        - Disclaimer
        * Version History/Updates
        - Description
        - A Word of Encouragement
II.     Perfect Town Guidelines
        - Definition of Terms
                - Exempt and Non-Exempt
                - Trash
                - The Well's Messages
                - The 4 Town Conditions
                - Adjacent Trees
                - The Lake
                - Normal Acres
        - The Checklist
        - The "Scoring System" Idea
        - Helpful Hints
                - Exempt Acres
                - Counting Your Trees
                - Mail-order Axes!
                - STUMPS
                - Tips on Growing Trees
                - Partially-Grown Trees
                - Weeds
                - Dead Tree Sprouts as Weeds
                - Trash
                - Flowers
III.    Getting the Golden Axe
        - Keep it up!
        - The Well-Deserved Reward
IV.     - SPECULATION Central
	- New or Unconfirmed SPECULATION
	- Confirmed or Denied Previous SPECULATION
V.      Wrap Up
	- Thanks
	- Copyrights, etc.


-----------------------------------------------
SECTION I:                         Introduction
-----------------------------------------------

Disclaimer
----------

This FAQ is for personal use.  You may print out a copy for yourself,
but please do not distribute it.  You may discuss the information on
the Internet so long as you give me full credit for it.  Do not excerpt
from this FAQ without giving me credit.  I've worked hard to make this
FAQ, and all I ask in return is proper credit for it. See Copyrights, etc.
in the Wrap Up section for more details.  Enjoy!

Version History/Updates (* please read *)
-----------------------------------------

Ver. 1.x (7/8/03):
-------------------

I've been away from this for quite some time now, but I just wanted to 
put up an update saying a few things:

1) There are several other FAQs out there that finally got the whole thing
figured out better than I did.  I wanted to thank everybody that helped me
("back in the day"), and direct people to look elsewhere, but I thought
I'd leave this up for posterity's sake.

2) If you still have trouble with this part of the game, consult the
GameFAQs board--you should be able to find help there.  I wish I had
links to the other FAQs (a certain issue of Tips & Tricks magazine had 
it broken down to a scoring system that was perfect), but I don't.

3) My e-mail address is gone--I can no longer answer any questions on
this subject.  Thanks for the ride everybody, even though it kinda ended a
while back.  The whole thing just got too big for me to handle, but maybe
I'll write another guide someday!


Ver. 1.21 (11/29/02):
---------------------

This version update is mainly just a massive response to all the e-mails
I've been getting.  I've been really busy and really sick lately, so I
haven't had time to research or update, but there's a lot of great info
right around the corner.  To everybody having trouble getting perfect:
plant more trees.  Not more than 16 a square, of course, but I'm almost
positive there's a total number of trees you need to hit.  Also, plant
more trees in your beach squares, the player square and the well square,
even if they fail.  It seems like dead trees don't count as weeds, and
they definitely do count towards your total tree count for as long as
they exist.

All of this stuff will be treated in greater detail as soon as I get to
update--hopefully soon.  Thanks for reading this FAQ and thanks for
sticking with it!


Ver. 1.2 (11/04/02):
--------------------

Getting around to updating the guide has gotten tougher, as I've had less
time lately, and more e-mails than ever.  Keep them coming though--all of
your information is appreciated.

Perhaps the most important new ideas are about a scoring system and about an
HRA point requirement.  See SPECULATION Central as well as the first half of
Section II for more details.

Another very important update is simply a point of clarification I'll offer
here: no part of this guide is not final.  Not only are there many things
about obtaining perfect condition that I don't know (and that I'm working
on), but also I'm only human, and I make plenty of mistakes.  Even things
that say CONFIRMED or DENIED are subject to change (see also Word of
Encouragement).

I say this not to shoot myself in the foot or strip away my own validity,
but only to clarify that this guide can be "wrong" and still be useful.
I'm a little frustrated at people saying my guide is "wrong", dismissing
it on those grounds, and then not looking at it again.  Your opinions are
your own business, but they are also extremely valuable to me.  If you think
this guide is "wrong", and especially if you have theories on why it's wrong,
please e-mail me.

Obviously I can't make everybody go through me as a forum for figuring
this whole thing out, but I'd like to encourage using this guide as a
collaborative resource.  Also, please participate in the Perfect Town
threads on the board.  I may not always be able to check the board, so I might
have missed something important or useful on there.  There's a lot more good
stuff being discovered about perfect status then there was even a week ago.

Sorry for the pocket rant.  On a similar note, the introduction to Section II
has been updated, and in the Checklist, the word "requirements" has been
changed to "guidelines".  See Section II for details.

I've done some grammar and wording fixes as usual, and changed some details
such as the maximum number of weeds in the Checklist and in the Keep It Up
section.  I didn't get to proofread this as much as I would have liked, but
once I start to see many e-mails about the same thing, I know it's time to
get an update up there, even if it's a little screwy in parts.  ;)

I'm having a tough time putting everyone's name in the thank you section.
I'm now getting suggestions from so many people, it's hard to say who found
anything first.  Thus proper crediting is an issue.  If you think something
has been miscredited, let me know.  I'll try to put everyone who's been
helpful in the thank you section in due time.  Also, thanks to everyone for
being patient and flexible in reading this FAQ--this subject is unusual, so
I had to write an usual FAQ to suit it.

* For those of you who've done everything they can and are still stuck, try
checking the total number of trees in your town and sending it to me.  Also,
try planting more trees in the beach acres, and see if it helps (see
SPECULATION Central for details).

I hope you all find some helpful things in this latest update, and I hope
that I can find some more concrete info for next time.  Enjoy!

Ver. 1.11 (11/01/02):
----------------------

My e-mail has been broken for a week, so most of your suggestions (if you've
been sending them) have not made it to me.  Please re-send them!  I still
have some important things to update in the next version, so if I respond
and say "Wait for the next version", please don't be offended or take it
personally--if I'm writing about your problem in the FAQ, I'd rather not
rewrite the whole solution in an e-mail.  I'll still respond to individual
questions as best I can.

Thanks for all of your support!  You all have been great!  Please note that
aside from this message, nothing about this version has been changed from
ver 1.1.  See you soon in the next update!

Ver. 1.1 (10/23/02):
--------------------

The most important thing I've found in the last two days has to do with
weeds: in addition to having an incorrect maximum number, there was much that
I didn't know at all.  Check the updated checklist and the weeds section for
more details.  The adjacent trees requirement has been moved to the
speculation part of the checklist--although it was certainly the last thing
keeping me from obtaining perfect, some readers (incl. Charizard2000, Russell
Milligan) insist that they have several pairs of diagonally touching trees
and they maintain perfect.  Stay tuned as we figure that one out.

The 3 Town Conditions section has been changed to the 4 Town Conditions
section--I've discovered a few new messages from the well that point to this.

I've added a new (and perhaps temporary) section called SPECULATION Central.
This is where new ideas (whether mine or readers') will go.  Things will get
moved from here to the appropriate place either after being confirmed, or
after being there for a while (for one to three updates).  Also, speculation
from previous versions of the FAQ that have been confirmed or denied will
find themselves into this area.

Check out this new section for a couple of important SPECULATIONs about
flowers and the Well's "imperfect" sight.

I've also received many, many corrections, most of which were about the
dump, on which I stand duly corrected.  On a similar note, Section III has
been updated, as well as speculation/information on exempt squares.

Last, and certainly least: I fixed some tabs and some formatting issues.

P.S.  Out of extreme need for this update (and to silence the e-mails about
the trash) I'm rushing this update out the door a little bit.  Please be
forgiving if there's any glaring errors, although I don't think there should
be anything really bad.  There are several great things that I meant to
put in this version (suggestions about HRA scores, etc.) that will have
to wait for 1.2.

Ver. 1.0 (10/19/02):
---------------------

-HUGE- UPDATE (and complete 1.0 level FAQ completion):

Unfortunately, in my first batch of otherwise great and helpful e-mail
responses from all you readers, there was the Klez virus. Fortunately I've
wiped it out now, but it took me hours to get fully get rid of it, and I was
hoping to use that time to update the FAQ.  Note to anyone who suspects they
have a virus--don't e-mail me until you scan your computer.  All sending me
viruses will do is anger me and make it harder for me to work to update this
FAQ for you all.

Now that that's out of the way, here's a list of most of the additions in
this large-and-in-charge update:

-A more detailed explanation of "adjacent trees" was added, which is
especially important, as it has been causing many people trouble.  The most
common thing I've seen holding someone back from perfect condition is one
tree somewhere diagonally touching another.

Special thanks to Tan Tan and several others for pointing out that I needed
to flesh that part out.

-Many sections have been added: check out the new and interesting tips in
them (including "Dying Sprouts as Weeds?").

-Thanks to much reader input, the information on flowers and the role they
play in achieving perfect condition has been fleshed out considerably.
However, several important details are yet to be confirmed.

-Perhaps one of the most important updates is the division of the checklist
into confirmed requirements and speculative requirements.  Speculation about
requirements and otherwise is extremely valuable to sleuthing out all that
can be learned about this aspect of the game.

-Also, on the topic of speculation, SPECULATION labels have been added in
points where there is information that is very hard to confirm, but that is
still very important.  Please note that I can't guarantee or back up these
ideas...yet.

-I've done some more editing of the general format, fixing of
79-character-per-line problems (that hyphenation caused one in and of itself),
and general sprucing up of spelling, grammar, and style.

-Please visit the updated Thanks section to see all those who are also
mentioned throughout the document who contributed greatly already within the
first two days of this FAQs existence.

Ver. 0.91 (10/18/02):
---------------------

Minor corrections (editing, spelling, grammar, names in Thanks section).

Ver. 0.9 (10/17/02):
--------------------

First version--I've researched the information contained within
for hours upon hours, so most of it is confirmed and correct.
However, the success of this FAQ will also depend on your input
to help verify and expand the information.

The only reason I didn't name this Ver. 1.0 is that information
on the specific length of time your town must stay "perfect" to
get the Golden Axe is a very important detail that I haven't
confirmed yet.

Future updates: The tailor acre: exempt or not?, more info on
# of days for Golden Axe, details of receiving the Golden Axe...

Description
-----------

This FAQ is the first full FAQ I've written, and the first that I hope to
actually distribute on the web.  Having said that, I've gone to great
lengths to make sure that I knew what I was talking about before I began
work on this.  I'm writing this FAQ because I've seen many, many posts
asking for help on the matter (and I've written a few) and only seen cryptic
or vague answers at best.  That's not to say that the answers were wrong--it
just seems that many people, even after actually achieving perfect status,
simply didn't know exactly what the criteria were that needed to be fulfilled.
Partly due to luck, and partly due to being extremely (in fact, overly)
thorough, I have come up with solid information on most, if not all of these
criteria.

This guide is designed to be a source for quick and easy answers to most
questions people ask about reaching perfect condition (as determined by the
wishing well) and about obtaining the golden axe.  In fact, eventually, one
should be able to use this guide as a checklist in order to help them obtain
perfect status.

I am assuming that the reader has a good working knowledge of everyday life
in Animal Crossing--if you need help with the basics, I suggest checking out
the GameFAQs Animal Crossing Message Board:

http://s2.cgi.gamefaqs.com/boards/gentopic.asp?board=12178

...and/or the Beginner's Guide by JTrost on GameFAQs:

http://db.gamefaqs.com/console/gamecube/file/animal_crossing_beginners.txt

I also recommend getting either Prima's or Nintendo's Strategy Guide for
this game: my personal choice lies with the Official Nintendo version, as it
has more detailed information in some sections (more exact fishing and insect
prime-times, etc.) and the Prima guide has some incorrect information in it.
However, the Nintendo guide also has a few tidbits of bad information
(e.g. the sea bass "season"), and the Prima has more speculative information
if you're looking for that.  Both guides are great, and are very handy
references with avoidable spoilers.

A Word of Encouragement
-----------------------

Okay, so I know that the introduction has gone on for long enough already,
but I just have to say this: I know that this can be extremely frustrating.
Especially given that I was drawing charts and running around counting every
specific type of tree in my town when my roommate got perfect status without
having to put nearly as much thought in.

Also, many people complete the checklist as outlined in this guide and then
e-mail me because the town isn't perfect.  I'm still not sure what the answer
to these situations is yet, but I'm working on it.  Remember, nothing about
this guide is final until it says so (see above, in update Ver. 1.2).

Getting a perfect town can be frustrating.  But it's doable.  Granted, it
might take a bit of work, but it's doable.  And hopefully this guide will
make it less stressful.


-----------------------------------------------
SECTION II:             Perfect Town Guidelines
-----------------------------------------------

Follow these rules, and next time you talk to the wishing well, it will
hopefully tell you that you have a perfect town (very livable!).  If it
doesn't, there could be one or many things wrong.  If you e-mail me (see
contact info) with detailed information and if it's useful, I'll update the
guide ASAP.  Please double check that you've tried everything before
contacting me.  Also, don't be disappointed if I tell you that I don't know
the answer to your problem--we're all working together to try to figure this
all out, and nobody that I know of knows all the workings of the well yet.

Definition of Terms (please read)
---------------------------------

-The wishing well evaluates your town's condition by assessing most of the
"acres" (the screens that the town is divided into) in your town.  However,
some squares don't fall under the scrutiny of the wishing well.  I will refer
to these squares as "exempt", and to the other squares as "non-exempt".

-"Trash" refers to boots, cans, and tires that are obtained by fishing (they
all look the same when dropped), and not to other normal items that may or
may not be scattered about your landscape (furniture, money sacks, clothes,
balls, etc.).

-The Well's Messages

The Wishing Well has a small handful of answers to the question "How are
things?"--this is the question you ask the well in order to learn about the
town's condition.  They are:

1) The "satisfactory" message:

'Yes...yes.  Things feel as they should.  This is certainly a satisfactory
level of prosperity...but with just a little more effort, things could be
even better.'

This means that you have most, but not all of the perfect guidelines
complete.  For me, this meant that I needed to get rid of a couple of
diagonally touching trees.

2) The "almost satisfactory" message:

"Things aren't too bad...but with just a little more care and attention,
everything would be much, much better."

This means that you have taken care of most of your weed problems, but there
are still too many weeds in one acre and/or in your town in general.  Once
you clear up the weeds, you will wind up with either the "satisfactory"
message or the "perfect" message, depending on whether the other perfect
guidelines are met or not.

3) The "perfect" message:

"Everything is perfect!  [Your town name] is a very livable place."

4) The "too many weeds" message:

"When there are too many weeds...and acres in need of care and attention...
a town feels very unsettled."

5) The strange "faring well" message (new as of this update):

"It appears that things fare well, by and large.  If you were to search out
areas where there are too many, or not enough, trees...then things would be
faring even better."

(Thanks to Rob R., Charles. E./Chezne, Danny L., David N., Duane A. and Steve,
Erick B., Graham K., Jason M., Jodi W., and several others...)

I haven't ever recieved this message myself, but several people have written
to confirm it's existance.  In order to get from this message to the "Yes,
yes" message, some have replanted trees or removed instances of adjacent
trees or partly-grown trees, but it seems no-one knows exactly what the deal
with this is.  Let me know if you have any info on this.

There are also 6) the "too many trees" message ("Trees are a thing of
extraordinary beauty but...") and 7) the "too few trees" message ("In areas
where there is little green...").  The three "too many" / "too few" messages
are all followed by a message telling you which acre needs work.

The "too few trees" message means that there's fewer than 9 trees in the
acre mentioned.  Plant more trees there.

The "too many trees" message means that there's more than 16 trees in the
acre mentioned.  Chop down/dig up more trees there.

The "too many weeds" message (which supplies an acre) means that there's
more than 3 weeds there.  Pull at least one weed in that acre (you might as
well pull them all, unless you like to live dangerously with your weeds).

-The 4 Town Conditions

There are 4 town conditions: "unsatisfactory" (too few or too many trees in
one or many acre(s)), "satisfactory" (correct number of trees, but fails one
of the other requirements on the checklist), "almost satisfactory" (too many
weeds in one acre and/or in the whole town) and "perfect" (meets all
conditions described on the checklist below).  See above for explanation of
the different conditions.

-"Adjacent" trees are trees that are directly next to each other, even on a
diagonal.  If a tree is one digging spot up and one to the side from another
tree, the two trees -ARE- adjacent.  Here's a diagram to help explain:

 xxx
 x0x
 xxx

If the '0' is any given tree, there must not be trees in the 'x' spaces
around it.  This diagram shows a diagonally touching pair of trees, which
will keep you from earning perfect condition:

 xxxx
 xx0x
 x0xx
 xxxx

If you have confusion as to what the spacing is, try digging a square of
holes 3x3.  You should notice how they are all evenly spaced.  The spots
you are able to plant trees in are all in a grid as such.

A good double-checking idea (as submitted by several readers) is to make sure
you can run a full circle around the tree in question.

-The "lake" is the square where the river forms a large pool where there is
a dock.  As far as I know, every town has one.  It is *not* the holding
ponds, the isolated bodies of water of which there are several in any given
town.

-"Normal" acres are acres that are neither beach nor any shop or major town
point of interest (e.g. police station, Nook's, Museum, and other things as
marked on the map).

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for...


****------------------------****
*The Checklist (details follow)*
****------------------------****

Confirmed guidelines:

- All non-exempt acres must have between 9 and 16 trees (inclusive) in them.

- All acres must have no more than 3 weeds in them (see Weeds below).

- You must have fewer than -30- weeds in your whole town.

- There must be no trash on the ground.

Speculative guidelines

- You must have more than or fewer than a certain total number of trees in
  your town. (provided by Rich S. and others)

- There must be fewer than a certain number of adjacent trees.

- You must have a certain number of flowers.
  (I'm almost positive that flowers -aren't- required: see Flowers below.)

- You must have (at least one tree/at least a certain number of trees) in
  *NON-EXEMPT* acres.
  (Recent info suggests at least 3 trees.  Also see SPECULATION Central.)

This list is growing and being refined every day--by following these
guidelines, you should be able to get to a perfect town, but there are a few
sticking points that have yet to be ironed out.  See below for more tips.

The "Scoring System" Idea:
--------------------------

It seems that the town's condition (perfect or no) may be based on a scoring
system rather than a simple checklist.  This seems quite possible, but the
problem is, it's very very hard to logically deduce whether or not this is
the case.  It also would be very hard to determine specifics about the
scoring system, such as how much one criteria (e.g. number of weeds) would be
'worth' relative to another criteria (e.g. total number of trees).

Having said this, I think that the perfect condition is much more likely to
be based on a scoring system than a checklist.  This is why I have changed
the word "requirements" in the checklist above to "guidelines".  I may never
be able to flesh out a scoring system, but I may be able to flesh out a list
of guidelines that will help you earn the right score in a scoring system.

Helpful Hints:
==============

Exempt Acres
------------

You may have as many or as few trees as you like (up to 33, that is)
in exempt acres.

Exempt acres are: any and every beach square (including the tailor), the
player houses (see SPECULATION below), the wishing well (also see
SPECULATION below), the museum, and the lake.

(Aldrin Nicholas and others confirm that the lake and the tailor are exempt.)

Non-exempt acres include the post-office, Nook's, the dump, the police
station, the train station and of course every other normal acre.

(The train station has seemed exempt to some, but I'm almost positive it's
not.)

Note that exempt acres are NOT exempt from weed requirements--I have had the
well complain that there were too many weeds in a beach acre and in the
museum acre.

SPECULATION: According to Casey Jones and Kevin Walter, their player-house
acre and wishing well acre seem to be non-exempt for them.  I think that this
falls under the new speculative requirement of a minimum number of trees in
non-exempt acres, but I'm not sure.  Any information on this from anybody
would be highly appreciated (see contact info below).  I definitely have
fewer than 6 trees in both of those acres and still have a perfect town.

Counting Your Trees
-------------------

If you are unsure whether or not a tree is in the acre you're in, stand
directly next to it.  A tree counts towards an acre's tree total if it's
trunk is in that acre/screen. If you can see a trunk at the top of the
screen but in order to stand beside it, the screen has to scroll, then the
tree does not count for the acre below it.  Likewise if you see only the
top of the tree, it does not count for the acre you're in.

The same principle works horizontally:  if you see a trunk on the left or
right edge, but you have to scroll to the next screen to stand above or
below it, it does not count towards the total of the original acre.

Fewer than 9 trees:

Any number of trees 8 and below will result in the "In areas where there
is little green..." message.  Plant more trees in that acre.

More than 16 trees:

Any number of trees 17 and above will result in the "Trees are things of
extraordinary beauty but..." message.  Chop down/dig up more trees in
that acre.

Mail-order Axes!
----------------

If you have a TON of work to do involving cutting down and or replanting
trees, I highly recommend mail-ordering several axes.  They're cheap, and if
you end up with more than you need, you can always sell them.  It's
frustrating to sit down for a major session of tree management only to have
your axe break and be unable to get a new one.

STUMPS
------

GET RID OF THEM.  I could speculate about the maximum number of stumps or on
how exactly the well looks at them (I know it doesn't like them), but I'm not
going to.  Why?  Because you might as well dig up these eyesores right after
you cut something down, at least if you're going for perfect.  If you're not
going for perfect, you can have all the stumps you want, but why would you
reading this guide then, anyway?

Tips on Growing Trees
---------------------

As Aldrin Nicholas points out, and as is confirmed by the Nintendo Guide,
trees take 4 days to grow and fully mature, and 3 days to bear fruit.  Also,
it is possible for a tree to begin to grow but not ever fully mature--this is
usually due to a poor planting spot (directly next to other trees, rocks,
buildings, etc.).  Note that some trees will grow in poor spots, and often
times, a tree that existed the first time you played will be in a spot that
you could never plant yourself (those cheaters ;D ).  If a tree has been stuck
at one stage of it's growth for a long time, it will never mature.

Also, if you are looking to change the "type" of tree in a certain spot, by
far the best thing to do is to cut down an existing tree and, after digging
up the stump but before covering up the hole, plant a new tree in the same
spot.  The Nintendo Power Guide and many FAQs suggest that this increases
the chance of having the new tree grow successfully, and I agree with them.

Ver 1.2: Eric S. suggests not planting tons of new trees too close to each
other, as it seems to reduce their chances of success.

Partially-Grown Trees
---------------------

The question has been raised about whether partially-grown trees count towards
the total number of trees for that acre.  I'm almost positive that the answer
is yes, as simply planting a sprout will increase the tree count for any acre.

Also, there is speculation that partially-grown trees count against you.  This
does not seem to be true (see SPECULATION Central).

Weeds
-----

It seems that about 5 weeds appear in your town every day.  You can pull
these weeds by standing over them and pressing B.  Sometimes they are
hard to see, but I'm almost positive that weeds generally won't appear in
a place that you can not see them.  They may be behind a tree, so you can
peek around the sides of trees to check (scroll left or right but still look
at the trees about to scroll off screen), but they should never be behind
a big building like Nookington's.

You can also get rid of weeds by completing a certain condition with a
certain character in the middle of the night, but I won't discuss that here.
If you are thorough enough to have obtained perfect condition, hopefully you
can stand running through each acre in the town and checking for weeds (I
actually think it's fun!).

If you end up with lots of weeds in your town, the well will actually
complain about it, which is something I hadn't seen until time-travelling
forward to gain tons of weeds (great for experimentation).  I experimented
with my 50+ weeds carefully, and learned a lot, but I don't have it all
totally firmed up.  The conclusions I made should be good enough for a while,
though, as we already know that having weeds is generally bad and you should
get rid of them.

The well directed me to several acres that had 4 or more weeds in them.
After reducing any one of those acres to only 3 weeds, it would stop
complaining about that one.  However, it stopped telling me to go to specific
acres (instead, it gave me the general "Things aren't too bad" message) while
there were still a few acres with four or more weeds in them.  This is what
gave me the impression that the well

After reducing those acres such that no acre in my whole town had more than
three weeds in it, the well switched from the "almost satisfactory" message
(see The Well's Messages above) to the "satisfactory" message (a surprising
move).

I tried reducing each acre to a maximum of two weeds each, but it wasn't
until the total number of weeds lowered to 30 that the well said I had a
perfect town.  At that point, some acres had two weeds, some had one, and
some had zero.

So here's my conclusions: 30 weeds is the maximum allowable total, 3 weeds
per acre is the maximum allowable for satisfactory condition, and it seems
that 2 weeds is the maximum allowable for perfect condition.  Unfortunately,
by the time my town had 30 weeds in it, every square had below 3 weeds, so
it's possible that 3 is allowed for perfect condition, but I'm not sure.

Just as with dead tree sprouts (see below), the bottom line is that weeds are
no good, so get rid of them as early and as often as possible.


Dead Tree Sprouts as Weeds
--------------------------

After planting many trees to achieve perfect condition, it's common to have
many of the "sprouts" fail the next day.  By "failing", I mean that the tiny
tree will have drooping leaves and a little round circle taken out of one of
the leaves (presumably decay or damage from bugs eating it).

I'm almost positive now that dead tree sprouts count as weeds.  If you have
more than 3 of them in an acre, the well will probably complain about it.
If it doesn't, I believe it's because of the well's "looseness" when it comes
to telling you about weed problems (see Weeds above).

Whether this is for sure or not, the bottom line is that I strongly recommend
that you dig up failed sprouts if you are going for perfect condition, as
having them around can only be detrimental.

Trash
-----

Make sure to read my "definition" of trash above for a clarification of what
I'm talking about.  It's OK in the well's eyes to have some normal items lying
around, but not OK to have trash lying around.  ** This includes the dump **.
You can put trash in the dump and it will be taken away eventually (I stand
corrected on this issue), but the well doesn't seem to make an exception for
the dump--I'm almost positive (confirmation soon) that it will reset your
perfect condition for trash to be in the dump.

The best thing to do with trash is to "sell" it (read: give it) to Tom Nook.

Flowers
-------

Some say that you can correct the "not enough trees" condition by planting
flowers. This seems possible, but I have neither discovered a specific
formula for it, nor have I confirmed it.  I recommend following the formula
(between 9 and 16, inclusive) for the right number of trees, and then
planting flowers where you see fit afterwards.  Also, I'm almost positive
that you can not receive the "too many trees" message by planting too many
flowers--I had twenty or so in an acre with 16 trees and had no problem.
Of course, I haven't filled the screen with flowers ever, but that could
take a long time to test.  (...might look pretty cool, though!)

My guess is that if flowers can push the condition from "there is little
green" to satisfactory condition "yes, yes...", then there is at least a
rough formula for how many flowers it takes.

Along with the story about my weeds experiment, the following story about
my flowers experiment makes up a very important part of this update.  I
counted 63 flowers in my town before touching them at all.  During this
experiment, I kept three flower bags on hand and demolished three flowers at
a time uniformly across my landscape, and checked the well each time to see
if my town fell out of perfect condition.

I never had to use those three flower bags I had on hand, as I demolished
-every- single flower in my landscape.

I still had perfect condition.

This confirms that flowers are completely unnecessary for maintaining a
perfect condition.  It's still possible that flowers are necessary or at
least helpful for -obtaining- perfect, but I'm still not sure.

Ver. 1.2 (11/04)--I think flowers suggest that a scoring system exists
perhaps more than any other single factor.  Some people swear that planting
flowers fixed their town, and I believe it to be possible, but I also know
that flowers aren't required.  Thus they are "helpful" but not mandatory.

-----------------------------------------------
SECTION III:             Getting the Golden Axe
-----------------------------------------------

Keep it up!
-----------

So your town is perfect?  Great!  Now it's time to try to keep it that way!
In order to get the Golden Axe, you must maintain a perfect condition for 15
days (confirmed by Atticus676 and the Nintendo Power Official Players Guide).

In order to "maintain", it's best to play every day.  It's possible to not
play for several days and keep perfect, but it's risky, because if you happen
to get over 3 weeds in a given acre (won't happen after one day, but could
happen after two or more days), then your town will fall out of perfect
condition.  It's highly unlikely that it will happen in two days, but as I've
said before, it's best to stay on top of it as much as you can.  Also, make
sure to follow the tips at the end of Section II for getting rid of trash.

The Well-Deserved Reward
------------------------

(The pun/reference to the wishing well was initially quite unintentional)




************* Possible Spoiler Alert!!! *************

If you keep up the good work long enough, the next player to talk to the well
will be visited by the well spirit, Farley.  The reward will be the Golden
Axe! The Golden Axe is unbreakable, just like the Golden Shovel (thanks to
CubeCrazyMonkey, Atticus, the Nintendo Power Guide, and others for
confirmation).

******************************************************


-----------------------------------------------
SECTION IV:                 SPECULATION Central
-----------------------------------------------

New or Unconfirmed SPECULATION
------------------------------

-Ver 1.2 (11/4)

SPECULATION: You need at least a certain number of -total- trees in your
town to achieve perfect.

Thanks for all the suggestions (Michael L., Vanda B. and others) on this one--
I think this could be tied in to many people's problems with achieving
perfect.  This may or may not replace the minimum requirement for trees in
an exempt acre, as well.  If anyone can figure out the exact number, let
me know.  I'll work on it as soon as I can.

SPECULATION: Some or all of the beach acres are not exempt, or have special
requirements.

I know that this is at least partly true.  Many people on the boards and in
e-mail have let me know that they've solved their problems by planting trees
in some or all of the beach squares.  I'm not sure what the details are of
this yet--let me know if you have ideas.  (Thanks to Steve P. and others for
this topic)

SPECULATION: The perfect condition is based on a "scoring" system and not
a checklist.

I have no hard evidence to confirm or deny this, but I believe in it
wholeheartedly.  Many people have said that they've completed the checklist
but don't have a perfect town.  Some of these people later acheived perfect
towns through replanting trees, planting flowers, or one of many other
"fixes".  This really does suggest a scoring system as opposed to a
checklist.

Any detailed info anyone can come up with for the scoring system would be
-highly- appreciated.  See contact info below.

SPECULATION: Your town must have under a certain amount of adjacent trees
to achieve perfect status.

Note that there was formerly a guideline in the checklist saying that you
must have -no- adjacent trees.  Several readers have said that they have
a few adjacent trees and have a perfect town, and I've confirmed that to be
possible.  I do think that they affect the condition negatively, though.

-Ver 1.1 (10/23)

SPECULATION: According to BlueYoshi, flowers may divert the well's attention
to another square if the square they are in is lacking something.  It's very
hard to confirm this, but it's a feasible and neat idea boot.  Keep it in
mind.

SPECULATION: The well doesn't always look at all the squares.

BlueYoshi's idea about the flowers would support this.  Also, some readers
are convinced that certain squares that I think are exempt are non-exempt.
Since I've researched my theories on exempt squares quite thoroughly, I could
chalk this up to the well not looking at my squares properly.  However, it
seems more likely to me that there is a certain tree requirement even for
exempt squares (say, a minimum of 1 tree).

Also, the way the well didn't specifically point out some squares that had
more than three weeds in my town (after I fixed a few that it did point out)
suggests that the Well's sight may be imperfect.

It is worth noting that this SPECULATION may never be fully confirmed or
denied, but once again, it's good to keep in mind.  One of the most valuable
things in working towards a perfect town is to be well-informed.

Confirmed or Denied SPECULATION
----------------------------------------

-Ver 1.2 (11/4)

SPECULATION: Having trees up against cliffs, fences or buildings will
keep you from having a perfect town.

DENIED: I have several trees in all of these supposedly "bad" places, and I
still have a perfect town.  However, they may have a negative effect (if
there is indeed some sort of scoring system)...

SPECULATION: You must not have any adjacent trees in order to have a perfect
town.

DENIED: This used to be part of my checklist.  It is totally false, and
confirmed as such.  See above in the new speculation for more details.

SPECULATION: A certain number of HRA points are required for perfect status.

DENIED: I got as low of a HRA score as was possible (about 1,000) by removing
everything in my house and "unmatching" the wallpaper and carpets.  I still
had a perfect town.

This is not to say that HRA -doesn't affect- the condition at all--only that
it's not required.

SPECULATION: Half grown trees keep your town from being perfect.

DENIED: I have at least 5 in my town, and they neither kept me from
achieving perfect nor made me lose perfect when I got more.

-Ver 1.1 (10/23)

SPECULATION: You must have no more than 10 weeds in your town for perfect
condition.

DENIED: Several readers have confirmed that they have more than 10 weeds
and remain in perfect condition.  I started at 50+ weeds and removed them in
small batches until finding that 30 is the true maximum number (see checklist
above).

SPECULATION: Dead Tree Sprouts count towards the total number of weeds.

OLD ANSWER: The problem with this assertion is that after getting rid of about 10 (of
many) dead tree sprouts, I achieved perfect condition again, but I still had
over 30 left.  This means that either a) dead sprouts count as a fraction of
a weed or b) there is a separate counter for dead sprouts and hence a
separate limit for them.  Unfortunately, the specifics of this speculation
are extremely hard to confirm, but I'll be working on it.

NEW ANSWER: See above under Dead Tree Sprouts as Weeds.

SPECULATION: The golden axe is unbreakable.

CONFIRMED: The only reason it was speculation was that I hadn't gotten it
yet.  This has been confirmed by many, including the well spirit himself.

-----------------------------------------------
SECTION V:                              Wrap Up
-----------------------------------------------

Thanks
------

Thanks to Nintendo for this awesome game!  I'd like to make a special mention
of the quality of the localization--for anyone who understands Japanese or who
has studied it, there are lots of great touches, such as how the shop owner,
a Tanuki (somewhat of a Japanese raccoon) is named Tom Nook, the Kapp'n is a
Japanese sea critter called a Kappa (get it?), etc.  Not only that, but the
writing is great!  It obviously goes far and beyond a straight translation.

Thanks to GameFAQs for hosting both this FAQ and a great site that I
appreciate more each day.  Without the help of those on the message boards,
I could not have created this.  Thanks also to Neoseeker for their interest
in this FAQ.

Thanks to my roommates (Ants Eames and Jenny Becker) for playing along and for
tolerating long hours spent messing with trees (not the most fun thing to
witness, I'm sure). Thanks also to Bobby Conover and Brett Camper for enjoying
this game with me in the early days of it's release, as well as for chatting
about it on-line.

Thanks to everyone who has answered my posts on the message boards (Animal
Crossing and otherwise), and to GameFAQs for hosting such a great site.
Thanks to all who contribute to this community, and to all those writing
detailed FAQs for this unusual game.

Thanks to the writers of the many FAQs I have read--they have shaped the
writing of this guide without a doubt.  Any similarities of this guide to
other guides (besides the traditional structuring and other conventions)
is unintentional.

Big Thanks to all of the reader feedback and suggestions--you guys are going
to help me make this a much better guide.  Thanks to (real names and
e-mail names are intermixed) BlueYoshi579, CubeCrazyMonkey, Kevin W.,
Casey J., Aldrin N., Atticus676, CHester, Tom K. in Canadia,
Adam P., Andrew G., Rob R., Cutter Kwan, Danny L., Duane A. and Steve,
Danman008, Danny L., David N., Eric S., Erick B., Graham K., Jason M., Jodi W.,
Mangraa, Hou-en L., Michael L., SXesteve, Steve P., SkulDrgn, Robert P.,
Qiksilver311, NJ Layne, Phillip R., Charizard2000, Jonathan S., and many
others.  (If your name appears in this thank you list in a way other than
how you want it (people may or may not want there full name listed), let
me know.)

A Big "No Thanks" goes out to the viruses that are coming my way--please,
please, use an anti virus program to scan your computer before contacting me.

Many more thanks to come--hopefully for some great submissions!

Copyrights, etc.
----------------

This guide is:
Copyright 2002 Brendan McCracken/elumelum.

All trademarks and copyrights contained in this document are owned by their
respective trademark and copyright holders.

DO NOT sell, distribute, or reproduce this guide for any purpose without
contacting me.  This guide is my work and my property, and I do not approve
of ANY unauthorized copying or distribution--especially not plagiarism.

Please do not post this FAQ on your web site without contacting me first.
Write me a polite e-mail and I'll be glad to assist you.  This FAQ is
currently authorized to be posted on GameFAQs and Neoseeker.

Hope you've gotten help or at least satisfaction out of this guide!  See ya
next update.