Another fortress crumbles and I start again. I thought I was building near a river last time, but when I embarked, there was no river to be seen. Perhaps, I thought, it is underground, and my dwarves dug and dug until they all died of dehydration.

I start again, gazing once more upon the world screen where I chose the location for my next little (vast) dwarf house (fortress). This time, I make sure I am near a river. It transpires, through a conversation with Charlie, that I was not near a river at all. It turns out that, when on the embark screen, looking at the world map, the region map, and the local map, you don’t actually embark onto the entire local map. You embark onto a tiny square inside that, lit up, and movable using yet another set of keys that I hadn’t even spotted on the cheat sheet along the bottom of the screen. I was never near a river. My dwarves had dug in vain.

Turns out, you don’t even need a river, says Charlie. Dwarves need beer, not water. I had simply forgotten to brew. What kind of a monster denies a dwarf beer?

I start again, making extra sure to include a river in my starting region this time, and building a still very early on. I appoint a bookkeeper early to train him up and make sure that I always know how my beer stocks are looking. For some reason, a year in, he still isn’t too clear on it. I need to figure out what’s up with that at some point. First, however, I need to figure out weaponry. I have a small militia, but they’re all forced to become wrestlers, because I simply have no metal. I dig deeper and deeper, and strike gold, but gold is no use to my warriors. You can’t make hammers out of gold. I dig deeper.