I've read that up to four people can play on one cartridge but that they'll be forced into the same town, and only the first can be mayor, while the rest are citizens. What's the difference between a mayor and a citizen? What can a mayor do that a citizen can't?
For the second, third, and fourth players that join a village, the gameplay experience is much more familiar to the traditional Animal Crossing formula. Resources in the village are shared among players, and individual achievements (upgrading your home, establishing friendships with NPCs) are not.
The defining difference between the player that is the mayor, and the players that are not, is that the mayor has complete control over how the town develops. The other players may play a supporting role by helping to pay off public works projects, watering flowers, and keeping the town clean... but ultimately the decisions the mayor makes will be the ones that shape the town.
On a gameplay level, these are the noticable differences:
- The first player in a town will be that town's mayor.
- Flavor text in certain situations (villagers, butterfly fish, other NPCs) will change depending on your role in town.
- In-game conversations that are meant for the mayor (primarily with NPCs suggesting public works projects) will not take place with the other players.
- The mayor character has access to public works projects. These projects are the most prominent influence the mayor has on the town -- in some cases, they are permanent fixtures. Anything that is on the site of a new project will be removed.
- The mayor character has access to town ordinances.
- By virtue of being the first player in town, the mayor will very likely unlock gameplay features, such as the tropical island or the QR machine, before the other players. Until the other players reach their individual accomplishments, these features will be visible but locked to those players.
- Players that are not the mayor can move to another town, and become mayor of that town. The only prerequisite here is that they've completed their first house payment.
As Mayor you can start Public Works Projects. You can also establish Ordinances that have special effects such as keeping stores open earlier/later, needing to water flowers less often or increasing the bell (money) rate for buying and selling items.
Normal citizens will not have access to any of the above. They can live in your town, but as mayor your decisions will shape it! :)
The differences between a mayor player and a normal resident player:
Mayor players can start public works projects and enact ordinances while normal resident players can't
Non-mayor players can move to another town (link) after they've upgraded their tent to a house.
Villagers won't suggest public works projects to non-mayor characters.
Some text in certain situations will be different depending what character you're playing as.
The first character created in a town will be the mayor.