I’m addicted. To dwarfs.
After hearing about dwarf fortress for a while now here and there, and after reading the article in the NYT Magazine, and after finding out that a friend of mine has been working on his fortress for a while now, I downloaded it and gave it a shot.
And it’s fucking difficult. But it’s also fucking fun—don’t ask me why. It could be that I just get a kick out of the ASCII graphics and the unforeseeable behavior of the dwarfs in general.
Here are some highlights so far:
- One of my dwarfs is in a “strange mood”, goes into the crafts shop, and builds a trinket that is, apparently, pretty awesome. When I later order a dwarf to engrave my meeting hall to make it a little cozier, he engraves that dwarf and his trinket. Several times. I guess that trinket was pretty awesome. He also engraves a weeping dwarf, who apparently took it hard when I assigned the job of a manager to a different dwarf.
- One of my cage traps can’t be loaded. I couldn’t figure out what the problem was, until I noticed that a shoe was stuck in it. This seems to have triggered a hoarding problem in the dwarf who, I think, had been shoe-less for quite a while, and his room is full of piles of clothing. The last time I checked, there was a bronze axe in his bed. I have no idea where he got it from. (My buddy told me to make more wooden bins for storage. I’ll do that next weekend.)
- Another dwarf — my fisherdwarf, to be precise — went into a “strange mood” as well, He, however, went berserk and killed my herbalist and went on into the meeting hall to start a fight with 20 other dwarfs and several dogs and cats. After he was dead, his teeth, fingers, feet, and toes where all over the place. His mangled corpse was in the meeting hall (quite a ways away from the rest of him…) and I noticed that I did not have a graveyard or coffins! I quickly designated an area on a different level, but before the coffins where ready the dwarfs had shlepped both corpses down there. Weeks later, the herbalist’s ghost appears and starts to haunt the fortress. I don’t know if this is going to become a problem, but I ordered a memorial plate to be made, just in case.
- I don’t have coal, so I have to gather wood to be made into charcoal to run my smelters. Needless to say, this is a very slow process and I don’t have any metal at all. All my furniture is made out of stone. Charming, no?
- I know I did not place my graveyard in a great location (because it was kind of an emergency construction) I did put doors in to keep the miasma from getting out. However, it seems to seep out somehow and it’s slowly becoming a problem. Several dwarfs have complained about it and I read that, if I don’t resolve this problem, dwarfs get depressed.
- I have tons of immigrants who complain about the lack of chairs and most of them sleep on the floor. One of them is a legendary cheese-maker. Just what I needed. Cheese-making also happens to be his only skill.
- Trade Caravans show up. Agreements are being made and finalized. I have no fucking clue what’s going on. The caravan departs.
So far I have avoided any battles, but the goblins might be not too far off, because apparently they are attracted to fancy fortresses. And, by Jove, mine is a beauty.
So you can see, plenty of things going on here and I’m getting much more mileage out of this game than I usually get out of games of this kind. There is an extensive wiki that is indispensable and I need to go back and forth between it and DF all the time. And while the ‘graphics’ might be off-putting at first, I have to agree with what other people wrote: your imagination will fill in the gaps. I very quickly got a spacial idea of what my fortress and the surrounding area ‘looked like’ and that is really part of the appeal of this game.
So if you need me, I’m in my fortress, building beds and hoping that I’ll find coal or magma. At this point, I almost hope that one of my dwarfs looses it again, so that there is something exciting going on.