Dwarf Fortress – Beginner Tips

Beginner Tips and Conventional Wisdoms

I have played DF on and off for years but only really started getting into it in a big way lately. So from a relative noob to some others here are some tips.

  1. Don’t get intimidated by the ui. About 75% of the game is using the designations and buildings tabs. Another 15% is clicking on workshops. The ui is a mess but easy to remember after a few tries.
  2. If the graphics and even tile sets really throw you off, I recommend using Mephs starter pack. It comes with pretty much all the utilities of the lazy newb pack with a better interface and a nicer tile set.
  3. Resist the urge to build a basic starter setup on your first level when getting started. Getting a base started on the second z level allows you to turn your first floor into a tavern or meeting hall which comes in handy later.
  4. To dig down building a down staircase, drop down a z level, then build an up/down staircase underneath. You can now mine out the lower floor. Took me forever to figure that out.
  5. Have google at the ready. The game is a breeze once you figure out how to do stuff. The problem is figuring out how to navigate the menus to do the things you want to do. There hasn’t been an answer I couldn’t find yet for this game with google and generally it’s such an obvious solution you retain it after one try.
  6. Don’t connect a well from the surface to your base, enemies will dive in it to get in your base.
  7. Military is optional, a couple drawbridges attaches to levers can defend against almost any assault from the outside. Training up some good dwarves never hurts though.
  8. Dwarves who never have the “euphoric after drinking alcohol” thought are likely vampires.
  9. Plan ahead. This one is huge. I used to find myself looking for things to do because I figured I was all done only to have a tragedy add 1000 tasks to do at once. Build coffins, make as many bedrooms as you can, and make as big a farm as you can early, you will need them all eventually.
  10. Generally you want to look for an area with the “calm” tag when first starting out. For learning the game that is great but it likely won’t be very exciting. If you want to learn to play while still getting to have some !fun! Try an untamed wilderness.
  11. Avoid aquifers and very deep soil areas. Aquifers are a pain and you want to start striking rock asap.
  12. Cage traps are a great early defense if you don’t want to build a draw bridge.
  13. Whips are totally understated weapons, lashers are deadly.
  14. You can recruit other races to join your fortress and perform certain tasks by creating a tavern.
  15. Taverns and temples provide a significant happiness boost for relatively little work.
  16. Try to plan stockpiles to be next to their most relevant workstation.
  17. Dwarves are fairly level headed compared to citizens and other games, don’t fret if you can’t fulfill all their needs immediately.
  18. Try to build everyone their own individual room immediately. It’s easier to keep up than it is to try to catch up after 5 migrant waves. Dorms what cut it forever.
  19. While dwarves can train to be very combat efficient, it takes a lot of training to get their. There is almost always a better way to solve a problem than attacking it directly.
  20. Use dwarf therapist. The ui for jobs in DF is abysmal. I still can’t figure it out. Use dwarf therapist. Many times you will get 7 jewelers but have only 1 farmer. Being able to change and add jobs easily is a must.
  21. Build all levers in high traffic areas such as taverns. The quicker you can activate defenses the better
  22. Look up Kruggsmash on YouTube. His crash course guide is perfect for any beginning player
Volodymyr Azimoff
About Volodymyr Azimoff 13686 Articles
I love games and I live games. Video games are my passion, my hobby and my job. My experience with games started back in 1994 with the Metal Mutant game on ZX Spectrum computer. And since then, I’ve been playing on anything from consoles, to mobile devices. My first official job in the game industry started back in 2005, and I'm still doing what I love to do.

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