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Dwarf Fortress Review | Losing is !!FUN!! Edition

What is up, my brothers and sisters? Zenishira here. Today, I will be talking about a game that inspired a genre, a game that creates endless possibilities for storytelling. Fables of civilizations rising to fame and fortune, only to fall down and crumble to dust. A game so complex that it requires you to memorize key binds just to be able to place down a simple carpenter’s workshop. A game where absurd events happen just because some sod thought that getting back their masterfully crafted sock is more important than saving their life from the horde. I am of course talking about…

Dwarf Fortress by Kitfox Games

Dwarf Fortress is a City Builder / Roguelike game developed by Bay 12 Games, and created by Zach and Tarn Adams. The game released in 2006; however, it is still updated to this very day. In fact, Dwarf Fortress released on Steam a few months ago, adding new graphics and simplifying game play. Before that, Dwarf Fortress used to have ASCII graphics. This is what it looked like in the past:

Dwarf Fortress update removes graphics | PCGamesN

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Text-based? ASCII graphics? Zen, that sounds boring as hell! Stop recommending us trashy old games and play some Fortnite, you utter boomer!” But trust me, Dwarf Fortress is anything but boring. It’s a game of infinite possibilities, where you can create anything your impure mind of yours can imagine. You can build a fortress of drunken dwarves, explore a procedurally generated world, or even just watch your dwarves go about their daily lives (or die trying).

Now, let’s assume we are about to start the game, we hit “Create New World”:
Dwarf Fortress as a Writing Tool - Momo Marie

Next, we set some simple parameters such as the world size, how old the world will be, civilizations, number of sres and how many beasts you’d like to have. The more beasts the funnier the game is, trust me!

Once you’re satisfied, you can press y and let your world generate!


10 Years Later Spongebob Hot Sale - benim.k12.tr 1688376436


SLPT is your pc hot, cool it down with a garden hose : r/ShittyLifeProTips

Uh… Did I forget to mention how CPU intensive this game is? Eh, sorry… I am not responsible for the damage Dwarf Fortress caused to your computer. To explain why this game is so CPU intensive, we would have to look into Dwarven Psychology.

Consider this short, bearded, bumbling idiot of a Dwarf. We’ll call him “Aban.”

Dwarf Fortress

Now Aban here might look just like an average Dwarf, but deep inside he has thoughts and feelings. You can check what each and every single one of your dwarves is feeling like at a given time, in most cases you’ll have around 200 dwarves inside your fortress. They can be happy, sad, angry, hungry, thirsty, or even possessed. And I haven’t even scratched the surface, here’s how a “feelings” screen usually looks like:

Why i always regret starting a 44.10 Fortress. This Dwarf did come before 2 month had no mug for about 1 week and no shelter for about 2 week. And he is

It’s okay, Aban, you’re not the only one who gets depressed after being caught in the rain. (Someone should get this guy some therapy).

Enough jokes, let me tell you about the meat of the game: Fortress Mode. In Fortress Mode you embark in a set location and you start with seven dwarves. No, your mission is not to take care of a 14 year old girl whose skin is as white as snow, your mission is to build a honorable civilization fit for dwarves. In other words, survive. 

Before you embark you will have to make sure your dwarves aren’t just some useless peasants, make sure you at least have a miner or two, a woodcutter, a carpenter and a mason and a farmer to grow your mushrooms (dwarves love mushroom wine). Don’t forget to bring supplies as well.

Custom Embark Strategies — PeridexisErrant's DF Walkthrough

Next, it’s up to you what you want to achieve. As this game is open-ended, there’s no set objective in this game other than the ones you set for yourself. You can try to get the monarch of your civilization to come into your fort, thus making your fortress the Mountainhome. You can try to make your militia strong enough that they could take down an entire siege on their own, make a perpetual machine in the form of a mist generator so that your dwarves stay happy while eating at the bar, capture every forgotten beast you see, make a vampire/werewolf fortress, or even build an intercontinental bridge like I have:

r/dwarffortress - Luckweather: Epliogue

Now, let me tell you a funny experience I had whilst playing this game, this happened around 3 years ago… I went to the bathroom and left the game unpaused, not one minute after I return, this happened:

r/dwarffortress - So I left the game unpaused. Not one minute after me taking a piss this happens.

The context being that I had to kill a dwarf infected with lycanthropy (he was bitten by a weremammoth to be more specific).

Good thing was that said dwarf was crippled, so I had enough time to build a lever so that I could close the main gate, because I apparently forgot to build levers at the start. I had to assign a random dwarf as an engineer and he was slow as molasses because he had no experience. Next, I build the lever, connect it to the bridge, put all my dwarves in the safety burrows and, surprise surprise, UristMcBitten stands up, heading straight for the burrows I have assigned.

Vampire's punishment: a life sentence in the lever room : r/dwarffortress

I was like “Oh no you don’t, I’ll expel you for this!” So I assigned my military to shoot my now expelled dwarf. “Problem solved!” I said, “Now the fortress won’t have any werebeasts other than the depressed werelizard I have walled in for 2 years, right? Right??”

I had to go to the bathroom, so I had left the game unpaused to let some time flow, since time in DF flies way slower than in real life. And now we’re here, all my fortress is painted in red, I am dumbfounded, not even knowing who started all of this. At least I knew what started all of this, a loyalty cascade. I was so stupid to think that killing my own dwarf would end the boiling weremammoth problem that would arise within my fort.

And to make matters worse, I had shot the wrong dwarf; I shot the fisherman instead of the farmer. Just for a little bit more !!FUN!!, I had left the werelizard fight the weremammoth. They both died.

Werecreature Problems? BEHOLD: the Werefortress! (Contains SCIENCE) : r/ dwarffortress

Now I know that the next part of this article is about something that is not available on the Steam release version of Dwarf Fortress, but I can’t just skim over it as it is also part of the original game. I am talking about Adventure Mode, where you get to choose which race you want to play as, it can be anything from the usual Dwarf, Elf or Goblin to the more exotic furries Animal People, to even intelligent undead!

How Does Adventure Mode Work in Dwarf Fortress?

The main difference between Fortress Mode and Adventure Mode is this: In Fortress Mode you indirectly control a large number of dwarves, on a small space, and have other civilizations and monsters attack you. In Adventure Mode, you have full control of a single person, the entire world is yours to explore, and you can choose who to attack. The combat system in this game is so wonderfully crafted that not even games the like of Dark Souls could emulate. Sure, it might look like two pixelated sprites bumping into each other, but when you read the combat logs, prepare to hold your stomach. You can read about how your adventurer slices through a troll’s stomach with their sword, twisting the skin around it, while the troll punches you in the chin and a tooth falls out. I won’t enter into detail as Snowy and Beasto would not approve this article, as they would consider it “too violent.”

How About I Slap Your Shit | Know Your Meme

There’s no game out there that is quite like Dwarf Fortress. It influenced games such as Rimworld, Factorio, Minecraft, and many more to come. I am a believer that freedom is what all of us truly want, and Dwarf Fortress will generously give it to us if and only if we master each and every little secret it has to offer. The biggest secret of all is that you cannot ever learn all of its secrets. You will always lose, and that’s okay, because we Dwarf Fortress players have a motto that has stuck with us since the game’s inception…


So, what are you waiting for? You can download the game for free on Bay12’s website, just without the fancy schmancy graphics of the Steam version. That’s okay, you can download the LazyNewbPack that comes with tilesets, DF Hack and more of the good stuff. There’s the Wiki and the forums to help you if you ever get stuck on how to do stuff. Remember, just because a game is as “hard” and “complex” as Dwarf Fortress, doesn’t mean it’s “bad.” You wouldn’t buy a Ferrari and then complain that it costs a lot to maintain, would you? Anyways, I hope my post has drawn attention to this masterpiece of a game, and I will see you in the next game review. Now, STRIKE THE EARTH!!!

Oh, and whatever you do, don’t mine the blue candy, or else clowns will come out of the circus.

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