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How should I learn to play Dwarf Fortress?

I am having some trouble breaking in to Dwarf Fortress.

I booted up the game for the first time and there were soooo many options for my new game. And when I started playing, it appeared like the game would play itself for hours and hours and I hardly had to lift a finger.

What is a good initial setup for a player that wants to learn the game? Do I want to start with a big world with very few beasts? A small world with lots of minerals? What is the best initial combo?

(My goal here is just to learn, I am not interested in the long-term viability of my world.)

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See also: gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/1727/… –  chandsie Aug 10 '12 at 16:22
Blood for the Blood God! –  SaintWacko Aug 10 '12 at 16:46
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marked as duplicate by kotekzot, Sterno, FAE, sjohnston, murgatroid99 Aug 15 '12 at 17:15

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3 Answers

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The first few times I played, I followed the quickstart guide from the Dwarf Fortress wiki, located here. It's extremely helpful, and walks you through the UI, controls, and world generation, as well as getting a fortress started.

There is also an e-book: Getting Started with Dwarf Fortress. There was a coupon code for 40% off, but I can't remember what it was, and I'm not sure if it's still active. If I find it, I'll add it here.

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use TIM40 for 40% –  mxmissile Aug 13 '12 at 16:51
@mxmissile - Ah, thanks, I hadn't been able to find it again. –  SaintWacko Aug 13 '12 at 16:52
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I suggest you watch Captnduck's videos.

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You'll probably want to install the lazy newb pack, and then start following this quick start guide to the letter. It includes these topics, among many others:

  • World Generation
  • Pre-Embark
    • Choosing a Good Site
    • Skills and Equipment
  • A Minimal Fortress
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I did this and recommend it. Read the wiki, keep it open as you play. –  ohmi Aug 10 '12 at 20:33
Unfortunately, I am not playing on Windows, so I cannot use this game extension. –  theJollySin Aug 11 '12 at 20:52
@theJollySin - Ah, that's how I started out playing DF, on my Linux install, so I've never gotten in to using the lazy newb pack. I'd definitely recommend installing a tileset, it makes the game much more enjoyable. If you're on Ubuntu, there is a early beta version of Dwarf Therapist built for it here. Dwarf Therapist is extremely helpful. I didn't start using it til recently, and it makes the game so much more fun. Besides that, the book and guide still work on other OS's :) –  SaintWacko Aug 13 '12 at 15:17
@SaintWacko Yup, I'm on Ubuntu. I will try Dwarf Therapist tonight. Thanks! –  theJollySin Aug 13 '12 at 16:21
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