Dwarf Fortress: Tips for Beginners

DWARF Fortress recently launched on Steam and made headlines as fans flocked to pay for the game they’ve been playing for free for years.

The small and dedicated team behind the game gave players the opportunity to play the game as it has evolved over the past decade.

A well stocked storage room.


A well stocked storage room.Credit: Book 12 games

The result of team dedication and player feedback is one of the most complex strategy games of all time.

Much like Skyrim or Runescape, in Dwarf Fortress you set your own goals. Here are our tips if you’re just starting out.

Dwarf Fortress: How to choose the right starting point

One of the first challenges in Dwarf Fortress is deciding where to place your starting citadel. But not all areas are suitable.

Use bottom right ‘Find embarkation location’ to filter out unsuitable areas. You want to filter out aquifer and make sure the range has river stone.

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Other things to look out for are that the area has accessible trees and other easy-to-grab resources. You are then ready to settle your first dwarves.

Dwarven Fortress: How to distribute work

Your dwarves will live underground, but you will need to find a good entrance to your stronghold that is easy to defend and is close to water and trees.

Start with the commands below to make your army chop down trees and collect plants.

You need to tie your gnomes to specific jobs to prevent them from helping in the wrong areas. This allows their skills in this job to grow.

Make sure you’ve locked in your miners before asking them to dig down a flight of stairs and lay the foundations for your fortress.

Dwarven Fortress: How to Set Up Your Fortress

You can choose any layout for your stronghold as long as it has all the necessary rooms, but this is the layout we recommend.

Once you’ve built a staircase down, build one big red storage room Here you can store items and keep your goods protected.

Smaller 3×3 yellow rooms serve as workshops. You’ll need four to begin with – Carpenter, Stonecutter, Crafts, and Still.

Then you need one large blue dining room which you then have to define as a meeting point using the zoning tool.

Not every dwarf needs their own room, so you can start with one small green dorm which you need to zone again.

Then set up two small purple offices with a table and chair.

The last important layout tip is that your hallways should be at least two squares wideor your midgets keep bumping into each other and never get anywhere.

Dwarven Fortress: How to place work orders

The officers will accommodate a manager and accountantrequired to keep your fortress running smoothly.

You must appoint them as early as possible by clicking on the crown icon. The game suggests the best gnomes for the job based on their skills.

The workshops are run by the managers themselves, so you don’t have to check that tasks are being completed yourself. They also unlock work orders that can be accessed via the clipboard button.

This gives you more control over the workshops. For example, you can tell your dwarves to only build barrels when there are no empty ones left.

The accountant keeps track of how many goods you have in your stronghold. This helps your manager to better delegate upcoming tasks.

Dwarven Fortress: How to trade

One of the most important things in building is a trade depot on the surface. You must then appoint a estate agents to work there.

At least one of the workshops should always produce goods that you can trade with. Ask upcoming dealers seed and cloth, They will then tell you what they would like in return so you can prepare it in advance.

When a caravan arrives at your depot, follow these steps to trade:

  • Send your trade goods to the depot (make sure you build containers at the carpenter for this purpose).
  • Send your broker to the depot.
  • Use the Trade button to buy and sell goods.

If the foreign trader does not make enough profit (green number), they may lose patience and may not trade with you. So be as generous as it takes to close the deal.

Dwarven Fortress: How to handle food and drink

Without alcohol, your gnomes will become dissatisfied, so you must ensure that beer and wine are constantly being produced.

To do this, you need to dig a few squares a level below the surface, about 5×5 each. Grow Plump Helmets and other seeds for a constant supply.

Initially, your dwarves will be happy with raw goods, but later you will need a kitchen workshop to prepare food.

On the surface you need a grazing zone for your animals, and you can also build a farm workshop that will provide milk and wool.

Dwarven Fortress: How to Craft Weapons

At some point you will need good weapons to protect your fortress. When digging you will find different types of stones and metals.

Clicking on a rock will show you if it contains an ore that you can process into metal.

Once you’ve discovered a vein, you can use the auto-mining feature to collect as much ore as possible.

Steel is the metal of choice, and you can mine it from Iron Ore, Coal, and River Stone, which can be processed through the Furnace.

From now on, meet the needs of your gnomes and pursue your personal game goal – and remember: losing is fun!

Is it too cold to work? Irish employee rights working inside and outside at -10C

Written by Marco Wutz and Georgina Young on behalf of GOOD LUCK AND HAVE FUN.

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