There are casual games, and there are serious games.
Then there are hardcore games.
Then there are Nintendo hard games.
Somewhere beyond that, there's Dwarf Fortress.
Even if you don't intend to play the game (and we won't think any less of you if you don't), at least read the stories that have come from people who have played the game.
Holy Crap, explain this thing to me!
Dwarf Fortress is an expansive world simulation that goes into incredible detail. The programmers don't waste space/time on pretty pictures so they can get down to business!
You start by randomly generating a world. You can choose things like how many mountains there are, how tall the mountains are, how much fresh water and how much ocean, and if there's a fiery abyss full of demons at the core of the earth. Yes, I'm serious, and I advise you to turn that last one off if you don't like balrogs destroying everything.
From there you have your little band of randomly generated dwarves trying to make a settlement and survive. Look closely at each dwarf. They have names, hair colors, eye colors, likes, dislikes, skills, and more. Choose activities for each dwarf based on what you read. Have the strong ones dig your new home, have the smart ones build workshops and create things you need, the surly ones can become your military, and so on. You want these little guys to be happy or else they can go insane and kill each other.
Happy dwarves need alcohol, food, water, decent places to sleep, medical care, activities they enjoy, a militia for protection, and a little sunlight each day. And what do happy dwarves give back? Hours of entertainment! Watch as your dwarves grow, prosper, marry and have children. Send them on insane missions to build impossible structures of precious gems and gleaming metal. Watch them wage war on incoming invaders and snigger as you try hard not to offer the elves anything wooden or made from animals. Create the most epic empire of all time, then sit back and read the glorious poems, histories, and art created by your loving people.
Oh wait, there is no sitting back here! Dwarf Fortress keeps going until all your dwarves are dead. From there you can send in a band of explorers to go Indiana Jones on your beautiful ruins as they witness firsthand what became of your people. Kill monsters, plunder treasure, and have an amazing time looting the world you created!
Yes, Dwarf Fortress is loaded with menus and has ASCII graphics.
The ASCII can be fixed with free mods like Stonesense made by players like you, so don't worry.
The menus are a needful evil as, without them, it would be even more impossible to take care of being basically god. Luckily, many menus have hotkeys. Write a cheat sheet out and stick it next to your computer so you can navigate easier.
Also, for the love of god, read the wiki. Don't just read during play, read before you start! This will prevent you from getting lost and having your dwarves be slaughtered by elves of all things within the first few hours of play. You can also learn tricks for making easier worlds, find free modifications (like changing the graphics), and gain a lot of strategic advice.
Only after you have read the wiki and played the game a little can you post in the forums. Doing otherwise makes you look like a fucking idiot, so for the love of god READ THE WIKI FIRST! You may want to look at a few videos as well as those are very useful and often made by forum goers so they can explain things better. Between the wiki, videos, and forums you should be able to grasp this game in no time.
Now get out there and make the best Dwarven civilization ever!
What's this "Losing is Fun" thing?
Didn't I tell you to go out and make something epic already? Sheesh. Well, since you asked....
Yes, losing is fun.
Look at it this way: if Dwarf Fortress went on forever there would be no challenge. Infinite lives, infinite materials, infinite build time, and no attackers gets to be boring. What do you build when you have built everything? How do you improve when there is no need to improve and nothing ever decays? People play games for the challenge, otherwise they'd just go read a book.
You will lose your first few fortresses hilariously to things you never thought of. This happens to everyone so don't take it seriously. Look at the situation from the outside and laugh a little or try to figure out your mistakes and improve. Dwarf Fortress has a wicked learning curve, but learning new tricks and finding new ways to die is part of the fun.
Either way, do not give up! Sometimes just when you thought you were going to die things get better. The Kobold story is an example of that. Keep trying and you'll be having fun before you know it!
The Kobolds: It doesn't always end badly, really!
Sometimes, just as it looks like you're screwed, something awesome will happen and suddenly everything will be fine again. This is one of those awesome happenings.
I was still learning how to make an army, so I simply loaded up on traps and worked on training soldiers and creating weapons as I went. Everything seemed to be working. Occasionally kobolds attacked, but the traps always kicked their asses so I felt there was time.
Then one smart kobold learned to disarm traps.
The dwarves raised the alarm and ran to the armory, but I didn't have enough weapons and armor for them all. Armed with chair legs, hot pokers, and anything else they could find, the dwarves bravely ran out to face their invaders. The kobolds, however, broke into two parties and sent a second smaller party down to raid our supplies and steal our weapons, going behind the dwarves' backs with the hope of mounting a surprise attack.
One unlucky dwarf armed with a table leg was guarding the food. The first kobold to arrive stabbed him with a knife. He struck the beast, sending it screaming into a wall. During this minor distraction three kobolds snuck up on him, pinned him down, then cut off his arm before leaving him to die. The dwarf was pissed as he watched them load up their sacks and walk away. He used some muslin to tourniquet off his arm, then went for vengeance.
Armed only with his severed arm, he ambushed the cocky kobolds, bashing one of their skulls in. The Kobolds wheeled back in shock, slashing his legs. The Dwarf disarmed one kobold by making him stab the knife through the dismembered arm, then stabbed the kobold with the knife-arm until he died. The remaining kobold screamed in panic and tried to flee, but the dwarf tacked him down and found him cowering under a wagon. All that was left was a smear of blood when that dwarf was done with the kobolds. The dwarf skinned all three, then took the skins to be tanned, feeding the corpses to the dogs.
After that he became known RustBeard the One-armed. As soon as the milita was founded he beat the crap out of the captain I chose, then became captain on his own and proceeded to kick serious kobold ass for the rest of his life. Not a single kobold who ventured near our land ever survived again.
--- Kitsuneae 00:24, June 10, 2012 (UTC)
The Boatmurdered Saga: What if Lovecraft played DF?
Sometimes things go awesomely right in Dwarf Fortress. Other times, things go horrifyingly, terribly, wrong. The sleepy little village of Boatmurdered is a shining example of when normal seeming things go very, very wrong.
In the year 1050, the dwarven civilization of Kinmelbil, "The Oaken Tomes", exhausted the last of its mines. Driven by lust for gold and rumors of the priceless and all but mythical metal adamantine, a team of seven colonists was dispatched to build a new home for the dwarves of Kinmelbil in the Smooth Points of Pride. The first year of diaries from the ill-fated foreman of the mine were recovered, giving some hint as to the beginnings of the fortress that once stood there, if not its mysterious and presumably gruesome fate...
The 1050 Diaries
Month Granite - year 1050
"We've set out for the mine, led by the Miner's Guild representative. The man claims to have led several successful expeditions, so taking his advice we've set out with a skeleton crew; just one miner, one lumberjack, a pair of farmers, and some craftsmen. He suggested plenty of meat and -- my favorite -- booze, as well as some seeds and a few dogs and cats. He swears the dogs will pay for themselves a dozen times over in warding off larger wildlife, while the cats will make indoor life more comfortable and pest-free. I thought he muttered something about their taste as well, but I'm sure I misheard..."
"The new fortress site is truly in the puckered sphincter of nowhere. The nearest civilization -- if you can call it that -- is a goblin citadel to the northeast. But the Guildsman swears they've surveyed for precious metals and this is the best spot. There's also a river nearby, which means one underground, which means we can start our farm without much trouble once we dig to it."
"Of course, he waits till he's leaving to tell us the name of the site... BoatMurdered. Then takes off at a flat run promising to be back 'real soon'. Bloody nobles. But still, nothing to do but start. Stockpiles, send someone to chop a few trees, and set someone else to dig for the river."
Later, same month
"God damn but there are a lot of elephants around." Month Felsite - 1050
"Hit the river. Got lucky and found it at a low point, heard tell of some nasty cave floods, and damn glad I didn't have to see one. We can start the farm now, and carve out some other rooms."
Month Hematite -1050
"A few months on and it looks like we might actually survive. We've got a farm up, got some bedrooms which ain't much to look at, but at least they've got beds. Got a dining room with some decent thrones, and got a bunch of traps. God knows why but the lads love them. Stand around staring at them for hours. Nothing out of the river yet, and the elephants have been pretty quiet. Too quiet. I see them out there, staring at me with those beady eyes, those gleaming tusks. Looking over the river. Elephants can't swim, can they?"
Several pages of the journal are torn out here, the entries seem to resume sometime in the fall...
"...merchants trying to dodge the elephants. The betting pool's up to ten stone blocks and a rat skull; we really need to make some coins. I guess the trade depot was a good idea but we'll see if we can finish it before they get here or get eaten by those bloody pachyderms."
"Now riddle me this: what sort of soft-headed, beard-gnawing merchants braves goblins, mountains, more goblins, and then those damn elephants to show up with nothing but one piece of cheese and two rolls of cloth? These merchants, that's who. I noticed one try to eat his own ear coming in, gods know how they're going to get out. Fortunately they're dumb enough to take some of these useless trinkets in trade."
Month Timber - year 1050
"Fall's settling in and it seems like a good time to take stock of where we are before winter gets around to killing us. Our bedrooms and dining rooms are finished, we're running low on booze so we put a still together -- I've never seen the lads put any building up so fast -- and we've got a butcher's shop behind closed doors so the squeamish don't get put off their meat, seeing where it comes from. There's also the statue garden, to get them away from throwing rocks across the river at the elephants, and the kennels, so we can start training the dogs. One of the peasants has been working on smoothing the floors in the dining room, looks like she's actually picked up a bit of a knack for it. The farm's undertended, but we've got plenty of food, so I'm not too worried."
"What does worry me is the wildlife. They're too quiet, I know they're planning something."
HeadShoots: Undead Capital of the Dwarven World
Sometimes things play nicely and bad things happen suddenly. Other times things start out nice then go bad. On rare occasion, you'll find places where everything was bad from the start. Behold the (very appropriately named) HeadShoots: Zombie & Skeleton Capital of the Dwarven World!
The art at right is an artist's interpretation of actual in-game art based on this description:
Engraved on the wall is a masterfully designed image of two dwarves and a skeletal mountain goat by Mofeta. The dwarves are melting. The skeletal mountain goat is laughing.
3rd Obsidian, 105:
There is a problem in Palmlanterns: a big one. Our still has given up the ghost. We can't make another one with our limited supplies and the process is too complicated to make a workaround system. Simply put: we're running out of booze. No booze, no Palmlanterns. This is crucial to our survival, and the overseer thinks I and some of the others are the only hope we have. He wants us to go find the parts to build a new still. The overseer says that there are around 4 or 5 months before Palmlanterns runs out of booze and that the mountain hall needs a new still. I asked him where I'm supposed to find the parts but all I got was a nasty glare.
I strike out with SWATJester, Verviticus, Facial Butter, Moto42, LCQC, and MrGreenShirt. The harsh glare of the sun is blinding, and once our eyes adjust and once we stop vomiting all over ourselves we see nothing but wastelands. Well, at the very least everything that wasn't underground during the great magma flood of 27 has surely perished, so how dangerous can this be?
1st Granite, 106:
In celebration of the new year I drank heavily. While we dwarves have livers the size of a child's head even I had a little too much of our supply of booze as we trekked across these blasted wastes. I was sitting atop the wagon leading the mules and having a grand old time. I started singing my finest rendition of the Battle Hymn of the Dwarven Republic (and all of its glorious profanity in uncensored form) and my boisterousness seemed to weird out the pack mules. They bolted, yanking their yoke off of the wagon and causing it to tumble down a hillside, breaking both wheels and toppling supplies everywhere. I then started yelling at the mules to come back, but then to my surprise a skeletal giant eagle itself swept down and slew the pack animals where they stood.
There have been a lot of horrible sounding growls and groans from the surrounding countryside. I don't think the locals take too kindly to my vocal talents.
Well, forget Palmlanterns. This place looks to be as good of a spot as any to hunker down and figure out what to do.
Hastily scribbled journal entry:
Leaping two-legged rhino lizards! This whole valley is crawling with zombies and skeletons, and it appears the giant skeletal eagle is the welcoming party. We are stuck on this barren hillside with the horrible beast not even ten paces to our east hovering in the air. Everybody panics and scatters while the war dogs valiantly pursue the beast. Yeah uhh, dogs... it has wings... MADE FROM BONES.
I busy myself yelling at the miners telling them to stop being cowards long enough to dig a passageway into the wall to hide ourselves but MrGreenShirt and Verviticus won't have that shit and high-tail it to who-knows-where.
Luckily the dogs are the eagle's first target. The first dog it attacks manages to break off one of the monstrous creature's wings but then got torn to ribbons. The other two dogs then charged the flightless monster as Verviticus stopped panicking long enough to start carving ourselves a survival bunker. Finally, the eagle fell to pieces and stopped moving. Never underestimate a dog's hunger when he hasn't had so much as a bone to nibble on for weeks.
With that grisly business out of the way, I promote the dogs to the city guard and have them watch over our most important resource: me!
5th Granite, 106:
As Verviticus and MrGreenShirt dig away I have the mason Moto42 construct a makeshift mason's workshop and promptly have him make as many doors as possible. Headshoots is officially in lockdown mode. LCQC doesn't seem to give a damn though and proceeds to go fishing at the local brook which I am sure flows with the black blood of the undead.
Wherever in Armok's name we are we've picked a doozy of a spot. We have two magma deposits and SWATJester swears he saw a chasm from the ridge we approached this valley from. There's also the BOTTOMLESS PIT TO NOWHERE too. Great, more nasty monsters to be our neighbors.
14th Granite, 106: Damn it LCQC...
LCQC got trapped by the skeletal fire imp at the edge of a cliff with no escape, barely having dodged two fireballs cast by the devious creature. With little choice, LCQC engaged the imp in combat! As he bravely charged, he took a fireball to the face before tumbling headlong into the skeletal fire imp. Where is the fire coming from? The thing is made of bones!
LCQC took a nasty beating and only cracked the right hand of the imp slightly before collapsing from the pain, probably from having his eye gouged out by a SKELETAL CLAW... ON FIRE. I briefly considered getting the fish he left behind (rainbow trout is hard to come by when you live in a subterranean vault) but decided to high-tail it back to the fortress. We've started to refer to the foul murdering skeletal fire imp as Landslantern.
Well... a rough start, but now with the doors locked and bolted and everybody safe behind, it can't get much worse... can it?
- Dwarf Fortress official website
- Dwarf Fortress wiki
- 51ppycup Dwarf Fortress video tutorial series
- The Saga of Boatmurdered a succession game chronicled on SomethingAwful
- Dwarf Fortress stories a stories and pictures about Dwarf Fortress
- sup/tg/ archived threads about Dwarf Fortress
|Consoles||Sega Dreamcast - Nintendo Gamecube - VM Labs Nuon - Sony PlayStation 2 - VTech V.Smile - Microsoft Xbox|
|Handhelds||Nintendo Game Boy Advance - Game Park GP32 - Nokia N-Gage - Nintendo Pokémon Mini - Bandai WonderSwan - Tapwave Zodiac|