26: Dwarf Fortress (2006)
Developer: Tarn Adams
Publisher: Bay 12 Games
Dwarf Fortress? A strategy game? Well, yes. The organisation of fighting forces and management of a settlement plant Tam Adams’ masterpiece firmly within our broad definition of strategic gaming. So the question should really be – if Dwarf Fortress is a strategy game by what standard is it not THE BEST strategy game?
Because it’s unfinished? Because it’s too broad and baggy to allow for definite strategic approaches to emerge? Because it’s about dwarves and we all know that tanks are the most strategic species? Admittedly, Tank Fortress would be a fine proposition but the actual reasoning behind Dwarf Fortress’ position as the 26th best strategy game of all time is known only to a select few. Whether you’re allergic to the number 26 or not, you should play Dwarf Fortress right now – it’s one of the most remarkable and complex games ever made
Notes: Development began in 2002 and Adams reckons version 1.0 will be ready sometime in the 2030s.
The full name is Slaves to Armok: God of Blood Chapter II: Dwarf Fortress, as Dwarf Fortress is a sequel of sorts to a 3d isometric RPG that you can find here.
Where can I buy it: It’s free.
What else should I be playing: “Dwarf Fortress with better graphics” and “Dwarf Fortress with a better UI” are almost genres in and of themselves. Clockwork Empires, currently in Early Access, is promising, while Space Station 13 offers something entirely different but the free-form complexity is reminiscent of the best of Dwarf Fortress. Dungeon Keeper and its sequel might also satisfy your desires.
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