What are the first things you should do when starting with a minimalistic build (1 anvil, 1 copper nugget) in Dwarf Fortress.

  • 1
    That's all? i'm not sure if you can pull that off; you really need 3 more pieces of wood (so you can build a metalsmith, a wood furnace, and make a blob of charcoal to forge a pick)
    – RCIX
    Jul 8, 2010 at 23:49
  • 2
    those three wood should be provided by the cart you're arriving in. Jul 13, 2010 at 23:21

3 Answers 3


A true minimalistic build is 1 anvil and 2 copper nuggets; so I'm going to assume that's what you meant.

  1. De-construct your wagon (you have no other way to get wood).
  2. Make your wood furnace (copper nugget #1)
  3. Cook 1 ash and 2 coal from your three wood
  4. De-construct your furnace
  5. Use the ash to make a smelter (ash is a fire safe material in DF)
  6. Smelt 1 copper bar (you're going to need the other one)
  7. Build a forge (nugget #2 + anvil)
  8. Forge a battle axe (use this to cut down 3 trees)
  9. De-construct your forge
  10. Build a second wood furnace (with the nugget from the forge)
  11. Bake 1 ash and 2 coal again
  12. De-construct the furnace
  13. Build a forge out of the ash and the anvil (again the ash is a fire safe material)
  14. Smelt the copper bar from the wood furnace
  15. Forge a pick

This gets you a forge, a smelter, an axe and a pick, thus completing the minimalist challenge.

Or you could just start out with 2 ash, 2 coal, an axe, a pick and an anvil and skip this otherwise tedious beginning.

Its worth noting that with 1 copper nugget you have the choice of either a pick or an axe. As a result you either don't have enough copper or not enough wood to complete the challenge.

Edit: actually if you had above ground lava, you could avoid needing the second copper nugget and make two ash giving you have enough for the forge (as lava forges don't need coals).


In DF2010 (the latest build) you can use the training axe in place of a normal axe to cut down more trees. People who traditionally used the minimalistic build consider this "cheating" as you essentially get your axe for free. This can let you use 1 copper nugget.

  1. De-construct your wagon (you have no other way to get wood).
  2. Build a carpenter's shop (wood #1)
  3. Construct a training axe (wood #2)
  4. Make your wood furnace out of the copper nugget
  5. Cut down 3 trees
  6. Cook 2 ash and 2 coal
  7. Use the ash to make a smelter
  8. Deconstruct the furnace to get your nugget back
  9. Smelt your copper bar (using ash #1 and the nugget)
  10. Build a forge from the ash and anvil (using ash #2)
  11. Forge the bar into a pick

This gets you your forge, smelter, axe and pick. Everything you need to build a full society.

  • 2
    It seems you can use wooden training axes to cut down trees in the latest version, does this feature change the sequence a lot? maybe even up to the point where you can start with just 1 anvil and 1 copper nugget? if you can explain that sequence too, the bounty is 100% yours! Jul 29, 2010 at 23:28
  • @alexanderpas Yes, but its considered "cheating." I'll put it out for you.
    – tzenes
    Jul 30, 2010 at 0:54
  • All in the name of learning, Now I finally understand the complications, problems and toughts needed with such a build. Also, that is some nice rep boost for you. Jul 30, 2010 at 2:31
  • Great answer. The one copper thing threw me for a loop.
    – C. Ross
    Jul 30, 2010 at 18:02

A true minimalistic build is nothing but a wagon; but I'm going to assume that's not what you meant.

The idea is to survive the summer until the caravan arrives in the fall. Before the introduction of training axes, this meant you had only three logs with which you would need to use sparingly until fall when you built a trade depot from them. You also need to build up enough wealth to purchase some tools in the fall, which you can do by gathering, then farming those seeds, fishing, and cooking the food you have into prepared meals. Now that training axes can cut down trees, you can use one of your three logs from your wagon to make an axe, then build a wooden fortress, barrels and a still, etc.

If you try this out, good luck! I myself usually spend all my starting points, but bring along an anvil and ore in lieu of the more expensive zero-quality tools.


assign a drinking area, hopefully the water is potable start gathering plants, easiest source of food, and will provide seeds when the dorfs eat dig for more metal, your going to want another pick and a couple axes

lastly, build things, your minimalistic build will greatly benefit from the incoming waves of migrants. Masons using the rock you dig up can up your fortress value attracting more migrants

  • a bit mode detail for those first steps would be nice, to prevent stupidity errors Jul 19, 2010 at 7:52

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