464th played so far


Genre: Management Simulation
Platform: PC
Year of Release: 2006
Developer: Tam Adams
Publisher: Bay 12 Games

Dwarf Fortress! Here’s a game that’s started lingering in my conciousness for about a year now and it’s been intriguing. Sort of a Minecraft predecessor, it seems like a game that allows you to do… nearly everything, really. Big, difficult but worthwhile.

Our Thoughts

We lost a lot of time on this game, for a bunch of reasons. There is seriously a lot to do – just starting the game takes several minutes as it needs to generate a new world for you, one probably as unique as any. It does so by creating an initial world (following parameters you set) and then spending most of the time aging that world, having civilizations rise and fall and havng some of the contours of the world change.

Then you spend some time creating your team. You can use a decent default team or set them up yourself – stats, skills and all. Yeah, we went for the default team there, so we wouldn’t need to guess too much… Especially as there are a hundred-something skills that may or may not be as useful now or later. Then there’s traits and other elements, as it all stacks up and creates a complex character.

Then you pick your place to settle on the world (another complex decision) and you get put in your selected place. Represented (as the game has been so far as well) by ASCII characters. As shown with the likes of Nethack, this is not a bad idea, and in fact probably allows for more flexibility in the game.

The game deepends from there. While the initial run may be pretty standard – start digging a mine, find a place to sleep, start getting food – even there you’re already thinking about the inital standards, what the best food supplies are and how to lay it out.

So much starts happening after that, with so many options, that you’re just happy the game allows setting up enough orders with enough AI that it mostly begins running itself – something you can even improve with the right jobs and characters.

Even better, the game is still in very active development – at the time of writing, there are updates every five days or so – which means that even if the fortress building now seems to be off, it’s likely to change soon. There’s a full adventurer mode in there we’ve barely explored, seeming more like a roguelike RPG. Earthquakes and non-dwarf characters appear to be on the way as well, together with loads of stuff I just haven’t gotten deep enough into to understand.

This game is going to eat up hours of my time.

Final Thoughts

This game is so big, there is no way we could or would have covered it in the time we give to the game. It feels like we’d need to play for months to get into it.

It’s utterly addictive however, and once the basics get going it all flows naturally. It takes some time to figure out the best way to do things – we went through a few fortresses before we really got to it – but it’s absolutely worth it.

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