I've wanted to play DF for a while but I do not know how to install it. My computer is a MacBook Air and I run some form of the apple operating system. I am (evidently) not very good with computers and as such the installations instructions about a terminal or something didn't make much sense to me.

  • 2
    Have you tried to go over to apple.stackexchange.com ? It may be easier to get a good answer there since Arqade is less about technical support for games, but more about the games itself. Not that we won't try to help you, but it's good to cover your bases
    – Oak
    Commented Apr 22, 2017 at 15:17
  • Asking us to guide you through the entire process isn't very useful, as we don't know your configuration or exact setup. Much better if you point us at where you're stuck, and we might be able to help with that.
    – Frank
    Commented Apr 22, 2017 at 15:23
  • 1
    Revelant for the Close Vote that happened: gaming.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/11134/…
    – Oak
    Commented Apr 22, 2017 at 15:39
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    I don't agree. I think that going through the entire process is, in fact, useful to other people; accordingly, I VTLO.
    – Schism
    Commented Apr 22, 2017 at 17:03
  • 1
    I agree with @Schism.
    – ave
    Commented Apr 22, 2017 at 18:23

3 Answers 3


From the README.osx:

DF is not currently bundled as a proper Mac application. You'll need to use the "df" script in the folder. Double-clicking on it should work. You can also try running it from the Terminal using "sh df" from the Dwarf Fortress directory.

If you run Terminal, you'll need to do so in the df_osx folder. I'm sure there is a mouse–cursor menu item that says something like “Open a Terminal window here ”.

That should do it.

To be blunt, I would recommend that you hold off on too much more actual installing until you learn a little more about what you are doing.
Really, that makes sense, and isn't disparaging in any way: Trial–and–error is a good way to learn, but installing new executable programs to your computer isn't the best arena for that.

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    sadly, this doesn't work on Catalina and release 0.47.04
    – DevOops
    Commented Oct 27, 2020 at 0:25
  • Does not work on Big Sur 11.5.2 and release 0.47.05 either - security issues with the executable and libraries as well. Honestly, this is the worst install experience for a game (or any other app FTM) I have ever seen. So many free installers out there. Mystifying. Commented Oct 7, 2021 at 3:17
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    I would remove the last paragraph. As long as it's Dwarf Fortress and not a virus, and you aren't messing with anything except for Dwarf Fortress, go right ahead. Commented Jul 25, 2022 at 14:05
  1. Download the Mac version from http://www.bay12games.com/dwarves/older_versions.html ( current version: http://www.bay12games.com/dwarves/df_43_05_osx.tar.bz2 )
  2. save somewhere you can find it, like a folder for ~/Games
  3. double click the df_43_05_osx.tar.bz2 file (or whichever version you downloaded) to extract.
  4. you should now have a folder/directory named df_osx inside your Games folder. open terminal.
  5. type cd ~/Games/df_osx and hit return. this changes the terminal to be inside the dwarf fortress directory. ( see https://stackoverflow.com/questions/9547730/how-to-navigate-to-to-different-directories-in-the-terminal-mac )
  6. now that you are in the dwarf fortress directory in terminal type ./df and press enter. this runs the file named 'df' inside the current directory './'.
  7. if this doesn't work it could be you need the 32bit instead of the 64bit (or vice versa). download the correct one and try again. you should now have a !!FUN!! intro playing.



I highly recommend The Lazy Newb Pack for Mac. It includes DFHack (the premier mod and one almost all other mods rely upon), alternative graphics and tile sets (which are much nicer than the default rectangular ASCII 'graphics'), and a nice launcher app too.

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