Games like Dwarf Fortress – 2018 Picks

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What is Dwarf Fortress?

Dwarf Fortress is a construction and management-styled computer game that is developed by brothers Tarn and Zach Adams. Development of the game began in late 2002 and was finally released four years later in 2006. The game was heavily inspired by the popular board game Dungeons & Dragons and because of that, Dwarf Fortress is entirely text based. Units are displayed by their corresponding letter while terrain is based on a certain color with everything else being based on a random number or symbol. The game is very open-world or sandbox-like, meaning the player can essentially do anything they like. There is also no real way to win the game but you can lose if your dwarf colony gets destroyed. There are three modes in Dwarf Fortress:

Fortress Mode – Fortress Mode is when you embark on your journey and work on building the greatest fortress you possibly can. You begin your journey with seven dwarves. Each of these dwarves is unique in their own way because they each have certain traits which are randomly generated by the game itself. Using the interface you give orders to each dwarf. There are several different things a dwarf can work on including leatherworking and glassmaking, but make sure you’re choosing the right dwarf for the job.

Adventure Mode – Adventure Mode is almost the exact opposite of Fortress Mode. Rather than having seven dwarves that you give orders to, you are given one dwarf to explore the world with. Adventure Mode is very similar to other typical RPGs that allow the player choose their name and give them skills. Choices are a lot more important in this mode and combat is turn-based, similar to the Final Fantasy series.

Legends Mode – Legends Mode is a very interesting mode that allows the player the option of looking at the historical data of the world they created. It’s very similar to other games that like to include the players statistics within the game, with the main difference being you are essentially looking at a randomly generated world.


Dwarf Fortress is definitely a complicated game. While the game itself has no graphics, that doesn’t stop the player from being able to enjoy the gameplay. Like I mentioned before, Dwarf Fortress was released in 2006 but it was released while still in beta. Technically the game is still in its beta stage and the lead developer has stated the game won’t be completely finished for another 20 years.

Top Five Games like Dwarf Fortress – 2018 List

#5 – Gnomoria (PC)

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Gnomoria is a game when you are in charge of a gnome paradise. You begin the game by starting with very few supplies and using those supplies you must improve your lifestyle and make sure all your gnomes and animals survive. You can accomplish this by setting up your sleeping quarters. Using straw you should build some beds to give your gnomes a place to sleep. You’ll also want to forage for food so that your gnomes don’t starve to death. Once you have a place for your gnomes to sleep and a decent sized portion of food to last for a couple of days, it’s time to start getting into really improving your life! Using tools you are able to mine underground and search for minerals. It’s best to mine at an angle, as mining straight down will cause your gnome to get stuck and then he’ll wind up dying. You should start slow and only mine a few feet down so you don’t get too tired and hungry. It also gets darker the further down you go and you likely won’t have any torches at this time. There are also monsters that live underground and will spawn and attack you. Once you find some minerals you just need to collect them and head back up and get some rest.

Using this method you’ll be off to a great start. Afterwards you’ll be able to accomplish more things that the game has to offer, like breeding animals so you can butcher them for their food and hides. You may also keep them domesticated and earn milk or egg produce if you so desire.

But the main purpose of Gnomoria is to continue construction at your base and have it be more accessible for your gnomes, as well as improving their lifestyle so they aren’t forced to sleep in straw beds and eat food you find on the ground. There are tons of jobs available within the game that you’ll have access to once you are able to gather the required tools.

#4 – Dungeon Keeper (PC)

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Dungeon Keeper was released in 1997 by publisher Electronic Arts. The game revolves around the player being in complete control of an underground dungeon, filled with creatures and objects. The player must set up the dungeon to protect these creatures from heroes that are trying to invade your kingdom – yes you are technically considered to be the “bad guys”.

Using the mouse, which is represented by a hand, the player must give orders to creatures to keep the dungeon in production. The main creatures in the game are your generic imps. These imps do the majority of manual labor, including: mining for gold and gems, digging tunnels to expand your dungeon and even searching for various portals which you can connect to your dungeon. Once you set up a portal to be connected to your dungeon, various monsters will start to appear. Luckily you have various creatures of your own (including imps) to combat against these monsters. It is ultimately up to you to protect everyone in your lair.

Other objectives you must complete include setting up a hatchery of chickens for your creatures to feed on and making sure your work force doesn’t fall behind. If any of your creatures end up lagging behind it is your job to give them a slap to hurry them up but in doing so you’ll end up costing them some of their life points.

If you are a fan of the Fable series you’ll be excited to know that the mastermind behind those games is the same person who developed Dungeon Keeper. The game would go on to receive a cult following and help inspire a lot of other games, one being Dwarf Fortress. A sequel was made two years after in 1999 and production for a third entry was started but never finished.

#3 – Minecraft (PC, Xbox One, PS4)

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Minecraft needs no introduction as it is considered by many to be one of the greatest games of all time. If you just so happen to be in the minority of people who have never played the game then I will briefly explain it to you.

Minecraft is a game where the player is in complete control of the environment around you. You begin the game by entering a world that has been randomly generated. While the game itself is on an island, there are several different environments on that island, including swamps, deserts, snowy terrain and forests. The first thing you’ll want to do is make a small shelter for protection. Using your hands you chop down trees and then craft tools out of wood. The reason you need a base is because the night is filled with terrors. Spiders, monsters and even zombies will spawn and attempt to kill you. The only safe place will be inside your home.

Once you build your base, the real fun begins. What most people typically do is craft a mining axe and start digging inside their base. There is an entire world underground, filled with lots of gems and minerals and even monsters. Once you begin finding more resources you can upgrade both your tools and your home life. You can essentially build anything you want so long as you have enough patience. The world is blocky in nature so it’s a lot like playing with Legos. I personally enjoy making underwater houses made out of glass but that might just be me.

Minecraft has gone on to become one of the best-selling video games of all time, with more than 60 million copies of the game being sold since it released back in 2011. In 2014, game company Microsoft purchased the rights to Minecraft for $2.5 billion dollars, making the creator of the game one of the richest game developers in history.

#2 – Planetbase (PC)

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Planetbase is your typical building / organizing game but with a twist – the entire game is played on another planet (or moon), with each of these planets ranging in difficulty and setting. You play as an architect who has complete control over a space colony. You’re given blueprints to various structures which you must build in order to survive. Considering your small colony is literally in space, you’ll need structures to produce water, oxygen and food to keep your colony healthy. In total, there are six different categories of people that you must watch out over.

Biologist – Biologists are in charge of the bio-dome, a research facility that grows vegetables. You need to set up the bio-dome immediately so that your colony is able to eat. You also have to be warry of malnutrition. You can counter it by making various recipes on a daily basis.

Engineer – Engineers are the backbone of each structure. There will be times (like when your sites get hit by meteors) that your buildings will need to be repaired. That’s where engineers come in. Use their wisdom to repair buildings and even bots which you are able to make later on.

Guards – You’ll need multiple guards if you want to keep your colony safe from intruders. You may equip them with guns and protection armor and they’ll deal with any disturbances that may occur.

Medic – After you begin setting up your base, you’ll have the option of building a sick bay. This is where medics come in handy, as there will be times members of your colony will need to be provided with medical supplies.

Visitor – You won’t need to worry about visitors until later on in the game but once they do show up (via the Starport) you must treat them like they were part of your colony. They will consume water, oxygen and food just like everyone else, with the exception being they will pay you in return.

Worker – Workers do the majority of manual labor around the base. There will be times you need supplies which can only be found around the planet (such as minerals) and you can send your workers out there to retrieve them.

If you get a kick out of playing games that take place in space, you’re really going to enjoy Planetbase. It’s a relatively new game and can be purchased for cheaply on Steam.

#1 – Craft the World (PC)

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Craft the World is a combination of Dwarf Fortress, Terraria and Dungeon Keeper so it’s no wonder that it is topping the list of top five games like Dwarf Fortress. The purpose of this game is to oversee control of a tribe of dwarves. You start out with one and over time you are able to accumulate more. You give the dwarves various tasks which include mining underground, defeating monsters and gather resources.

You begin the game with your single dwarf and you must start by building a home base. Inside the base you’ll be able to craft things like beds, totem poles, ladders and other objects to decorate your house. Outside of aesthetic purposes, you’re really going to need a strong base to keep your base safe from invaders. While monsters aren’t exactly set out to destroy you, they will still attack if they feel threatened. Within the game you’ll come into contact with zombies, skeletons and goblins. Although certain monsters will attack you in giant hordes which are the main reason you’ll want a fortified base. Some of your dwarves will eventually die off but luckily they will eventually respawn so don’t worry about dying too much.

But the best thing about Craft the World is exploring. The game has gorgeous graphics and you can explore the dozens of levels that the game has to offer. You are able to expand the world by digging under the earth but make sure you don’t go too far down because there is lava beneath the surface. Mother Nature plays a huge factor in the game as there are different weather environments that you’ll have to keep an eye out for.

Overall, Craft the World is a wonderful game and very worthy of being top spot on the list.

That’s it for the top five games like Dwarf Fortress. Have you played any of the games on the list? Let me know in the comments below!




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David Stewart
David Stewart
I really enjoy learning anything I can about a wide variety of subjects. Other hobbies include playing League of Legends, World of Warcraft, and just generally staying current in the going-ons of todays world, from politics to gaming news.

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