Amostitdun – Dwarf Fortress

829 words.

Amostitdun turned out to be kind of a boring fortress. Everything just kind of worked fine and the dwarves went about their lives. They had plenty of food and drink and housing and most everyone seemed happy, except a few pesky killjoys. I got tired of managing them when they reached the population cap of 200. Just like RimWorld, it’s just not fun for me to play this kind of game unless I’m reacting to some kind of threat or obstacle. When everything is going fine and there’s nothing to do but build stuff, it’s less fun for me.

I have the same problem with survival games. Once I *can* survive, the game is pretty much over for me.

My main goal was to find and smelt metals. I had to dig way, way down to find them, and even then all I could make was copper and silver and lead. I couldn’t find anything like iron so I couldn’t make steel. As it turned out, I didn’t really need any of the metal. By the time I started making armor, there weren’t very many threats left to deal with.

Of course I found no less than three “expansive cavern systems” digging down nearly all the way to the bottom layer. I think I also found what might have been some magma hidden behind suspiciously “semi-molten rock” walls, but I never actually exposed it. I had to stop digging downward when I ran into one of those semi-molten layers.

I made an entrance into just one of the three caverns. (I specifically dug around the others to avoid them.) There were some tense times fighting off a couple of forgotten beasts, one of which got stuck in the corner of an underground lake for about a year, but the most damaging threat came in the form of giant cave spiders, the big ones with names. Those things are nasty. Webs and venom. And there’s no handy warning that pops up when they arrive, either. Your first notice is a combat log indicator in the corner which is very easy to miss. They killed two of my best fighters. Toward the end, though, that cavern seemed to become tame and no more beasts appeared there.

After building and digging and mining for about four years, the amount of entropy in the fortress started to get on my nerves. I’m not a good planner when it comes to setting up a fortress-I just throw things wherever. Especially since I don’t really know what to plan *for* yet. Stockpiles are a particular problem. After a while, it gets on my nerves and I want to clean it up, but by then it’s such an enormous task to organize things in a sensible manner that it seems easier to just start over. (Very much like programming… I swear this game is basically a programming simulator.)

So I decided to leave Amostitdun after a little more than four years, and start a new one. I think this time, though, instead of retiring the fortress, I’m going to create a brand new world for the new fortress. That way, I can come back to Amostitdun now and then to try out different things to see if they work. I think it will make a good “sandbox test arena” fortress, since it’s got a lot of dwarves, they’re reasonably happy, and everything is working reasonably well even if it’s all disorganized.

Some random things I learned this time:

  • Work orders are incredibly powerful! I automate everything now from the Jobs/Manager screen (j-m), and I almost never have to touch any individual workshops. And yes, the work orders are very difficult to figure out. It took hours and hours and hours of trial and error and reading guides that didn’t explain things right or left out critical details. Stupid Internet.
  • Minecarts and tracks are very complicated to setup in a way that is useful. It’s a whole lot of manual effort to setup something that’s supposed to automate work (surprise, surprise… this game’s UI does not make *anything* easier for the gamer). I only scratched the surface with these things. Planning is pretty important here I think. You need to know exactly what you want to move from where to where. There are no “general purpose” minecarts to speed things up, they have to be specifically tailored to a specific purpose.
  • Engraving the walls and adding statues makes everyone’s lives happier. Also temples. And a tavern.
  • It’s better to build with blocks than rocks. I wondered for the longest time what the point of blocks were when rocks worked just fine, but blocks are faster and easier to move, and you can make 4 blocks from every rock. (Not that there is *ever* a shortage of rocks. Boulders are always strewn all over my underground fortresses and it’s a major chore to get rid of them.)

P. S. The fortress *after* Amostitdun is/was a completely different story.

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