It is described as "a classic management game with a fantasy twist."
A Game of Dwarves (aGoD) is inspired by Dwarf Fortress and Dungeon Keeper. It takes the basic dwarf colony management of Dwarf Fortress and combines it with the controls and blocky/cartoony aesthetic of Dungeon Keeper. Considering the high barrier of entry for Dwarf Fortress, A Game of Dwarves focuses on accessibility by providing easier controls, a more intuitive graphic user interface and a colourful, whimsical 3D art style.
Much like Dwarf Fortress, the gameplay takes place in a large procedurally generated world where the player manages a small group of dwarves with various specializations. By assigning each dwarf to their own job, players can dictate where to mine, build, and place their rooms and equipment in the world while each dwarf carries their own weight in managing the colony.
By finding, harvesting, and growing their own resources, players can establish a smooth, working economy that should keep the dwarves happy and the colony running. Each dwarf also has their own specific and unique skills, abilities and personalities that can contribute (or damage) the colony.
Typical to the genre, failure is a common but acceptable part of the game. The main fail condition is your Prince Dwarf succumbing to an untimely death. You may also mine into a room full of goblins that will overrun your settlement and ultimately kill your Prince.
Dwarves entered the world of Vanaheim, being very strong willed, and courageous enough to tackle any obstacle. As they built their empire, they encounters elves and dragons and many other races.
Then one day, Mages came from the north and the Dwarves had not seen anything like them before. They brought with them creatures, like goblins, ogres, and more. The Dwarves offered them their friendship, but the mages ignored their pleas. The other races attempted to help the Dwarves conquer the mages, but they were too strong for them and were eventually run out of their lands.
You take control of a young Prince, who has never had to fend for himself. The King throws him out of the stronghold so that the Prince can lead his own clan and become as successful as him. Your father begins to teach you some lessons that will aid in building up a clan and establishing your own settlement. Once you have learned what it takes, you must take "The Trial," a scenario the king has set up to test your mettle. Once completed, you are free to begin taking over other regions of Vanaheim to make the Dwarves' kingdom as great as it once was.
The main controls for the game are located along the bottom of the screen. The pickaxe will allow you to designate areas to be mined. The point finger is the interact order. This allows you to interact with settlement objects like Fertilization Stones, Guard Posts, and even Tablets you find underground. The grabber icon allows you to move any existing object to another location in your settlement. The bag of gold allows you to sell objects that you own. The three rings allows you to teleport dwarves around. Left clicking will pick up a dwarf and right click will place that dwarf down. You can teleport multiple dwarves.
There are also time manipulation controls in the bottom right. You can pause the game (also by pressing the space bar), play, or speed up gameplay. Clicking the castle button in the bottom right will bring up the Hemfort screen. Here, you can order more Dwarflings who you can assign to new jobs. These dwarflings consume more food than normal, but also level up faster. You can also upgrade your Spawning Pool which increases the amount of Dwarves you can have in your settlement. You can also buy and sell various resources.
In the bottom left, you can click the dropper icon and click on an existing object and duplicate the object to be built again. This is very useful if you want to place multiple beds. The hammer and compass icon is the build menu. From here, you can build various objects (both useful and cosmetic) for you settlement. Each object has various stats that can affect the happiness of your dwarves, how many resources can be stored, how much food is gathered each time a crop is harvested, and more. The potions icon brings up the research window. If you have research points, you can spend these to better your settlement. There are four tiers to the research screen.
Along the top is a run down of your settlement. You can see your resource cap, energy output, happiness, food, maximum amount of dwarves, and how many of each type you have. If you click on the button corresponding to the dwarf type, it will cycle through the dwarves, moving the camera to each dwarf in the process.
These are the dwarves that will mine walls for resources or clearing a path. They will gain experience the more they mine walls.
|Crafter||These are the dwarves that will build the objects you place in your settlement. They will gain experience the more they build.|
|Worker||These are the dwarves that will work the crops that you place. They will gain experience the more they gather crops. These dwarves must be assigned to a Fertilization Stone to work the crops fertilized by that stone.|
|These dwarves are your military force used to fight enemies that you find while expanding your settlement. They will gain experience the more they fight or train on dummies placed in your settlement. You can also build a Guard Post and assign them to guard the area in which the post is located. You do this much like the Workers to the Fertilization Stone. Upon researching it, your military dwarves can specialize into a Fighter (melee) or a Spear Thrower (ranged). Even further down the tech tree, the Fighter can turn into a Beserker (DPS) or Shield Bearer (Tank). The Spear Thrower has two upgrade paths as well. Each split has its own end specialty that is the strongest in that tree.|
|Scholar||These are the dwarves that will research upgrades for various aspects of your settlement. They will gain experience the more they research. You can have multiple Scholars, but you must have a Research Table for each Scholar. The more scholars and tables you have, the faster you gain research points. Scholars can eventually turn into Researchers, who can research much faster.|
|Prince||This dwarf is your Prince. He will be calling the shots in your settlement, but you have no control over him and he has no specific job. If he is killed, you automatically lose the map. Right now, the Prince will not fight when attacked.|
There are two different forms of downloadable content: In game and Steam. The in game DLC is the smaller in scope, including decorations, additional types of furniture, and even a gold tree that grows money (most of these are free or $0.99). Within Steam, there are three packs currently.
- Ale Pack ($0.99): This pack came with the pre-purchase of the game. It includes a tree that grows ale and makes your dwarves happier and a barrel of mead decoration that also increases dwarf happiness.
- Star Dwarves ($4.99): This pack includes two new miltary classes (the ranged Redshirts and the melee Knight), a new enemy (the Beardprober), and 24 new space themed props (doors, chairs, etc).
- Pets ($4.99): This pack introduces pets for your dwarves. According to the description, these pets have the same needs as real pets (food, toys, and a bed) and will even defend your dwarves when attacked. This pack includes 5 pets (Drakeling, Wolf, Cat, Giant Snail and the Pet Rock), eight toys for your pets, three pet beds, a new food table, and two sets of matching fences and gates.
- OS:Windows Vista / Windows 7
- Processor:Dual Core 2.4 GHz processor
- Memory:4 GB RAM
- Graphics:Shader Model 4.0 compatible card (minimum Nvidia GeForce 8000, AMD Radeon 2000)
- Hard Drive:3 GB HD space
- Sound:DirectX compatible sound card
- Other Requirements:Broadband Internet connection
- Additional:3 button mouse, keyboard and speakers