I spent a good 20 minutes trying to determine where and how to build a screw pump in my underground fortress so I could pump the standing water out of my first well cavern and into a new well cavern. Then I could retrieve the bodies of my fallen dwarves who fell into the cavern when the above floor collapsed while trying to build the well. And once I finally got the screw pump built, I found out that I built it in the wrong direction.
I originally needed to build the well and the tunnel to the well from the river because I embarked in an area with no underground water. The problem was that the river was frozen half the year, so I had to dig an underground tunnel to get the water to my fortress. Normally, dwarves don’t really need water (they’d much rather drink beer) but I had multiple dwarves injured and dead from the attack.
A few years into my new fortress, The Forgotten Beast, Edir Ormothram, attacked from underground. Edir Ormothram was described as a great chicken with external ribs and a spiral shell that shot webs at its enemies. Fortunately for us, it appeared to be emaciated from lack of food or illness. After all was said and done, and the Forgotten Beast was struck down, multiples dwarves were killed and many injured. My hospital was full and they quickly needed water, so construction on the water system was started.
That was just an hour or so of play in my latest fortress in Dwarf Fortress (or known by its full name of Slaves to Armok: God of Blood, Chapter II: Dwarf Fortress.) As the Dwarf Fortress wiki says, “The game has a very steep learning curve, partly due to its [ASCII] graphics, but also due to the fact that it is one of the most complex games ever released. That said, the curve can be overcome with time, documentation from this wiki, help from people on the forums, and plenty of beer.”
It was a built difficult when I started to play it, but once you get the basics down (and maybe a graphics tileset) it’s a lot of fun. The insanely deep simulation that this game creates is amazing. Just the world creation part of your game that you do in the beginning completely simulates a entire fantasy world, including living creates, weather, and nature for hundred of years before you even start your fortress.
A good start would be to watch a few Let’s Play or Let’s Learn videos on it, like I did. I recently found one that seemed pretty good and it was recorded not long ago so it is using the newest release stage of the game and he also explains using the “Lazy Newb Pack” which is almost a must. You can watch his Part 1 here.
And if you start playing, remember the unofficial slogan of “Losing is Fun” because it is and you will…a lot. But, you will lose in the most amazing ways ever imaginable. Visit the Dwarf Fortress subreddit to read some of the stories of some of the more famous fortresses out there, like Boatmurdered.
If you start playing, or have played before, leave a short story of one of your most “fun” moments in the comments.