Image taken from http://df.magmawiki.com/images/9/9d/DF_Cheese.jpg
Imagine what you would get if you mixed Sims, Minecraft, Neverwinter Nights, Sim city, Stronghold and nethack together. And then removed the graphics. The situations that can arise in this game are beyond belief. The game and the rules are the most complex I know of in any game in existence. For instance, in battle internal organs are simulated! It is quite possible to die from poisoning, or bleeding, or have a tendon cut, etc. The way your poor dwarfs can die are at least as numerous as in nethack, and often as silly. The humor is wacky and dark. The needs of the dwarves remind me of The Sims quite often. The open endedness and the mining reminds me of Minecraft (which is in fact in some parts inspired by this game and Infiminer I believe), the stories and legends that can arise are at least as epic as any adventure in Neverwinter Nights and other Forgotten realms stories.
The game is deceptively simple in it’s objectives. You arrive with 7 dwarves at a remote place and is to survive there, well, to build a dwarven fortress really but you are not required to, that is entirely up to you. You can do all sorts of silly things. They need food to eat, and alcohol to drink. Water will do when there is no alcohol around but they work twice as fast with alcohol and they are happier as well. Then of course other stuff starts to pop up that they want, somewhere to dine, somewhere to sleep, their own bedroom, and why not some nice things to look at while we are at it? Perhaps a statue garden? A place to be buried the day they die would be nice as well so a luxurious tomb is a must. And so it keeps going, all the while the occasional wave of goblins try to tear you up to pieces (or not depending on where you start). There are tons and tons of different creatures as well, ranging from the mythological to the mundane. Hey, butterflies! =)
You can trade with caravans, keep diplomatic relations to various factions of dwarves, elves and humans. You can start an industry of all sorts of stuff like a meat industry, perhaps start a cloth industry? Leather, metals, ores and stones. A beehive is nice, and make mead, honey and statues out of wax. If you want to you could make a greenhouse and start growing above-ground plants down in a cave, and have a ceiling made out of glass. Don’t forget the traps and constructions, there are tons of possibilities here, and it is even possible to build mechanical computers in the game, albeit not fast but it is possible, people with too much spare time have made them. The amount of content in this game is extreme, and the replayability is just awesome. The entire world in the game is HUGE and is made according to various geological rulesets and climates. You could start a site in a desert, or arctic or why not on some tropical vulcano-island?
If you loose your fortress and every dwarf die, you can start another. And legends and stories from the old fort will pop up later in the game, as the world is shaped by what you do. Well, I’m gonna go back to building my terracotta statues now and encrusting them with jewels for my epic dininghall that has a waterfall in the middle. And I haven’t even explored the massive dungeons deep down in the mountain yet. ^_^.
P.s Tired of building a fort? You can play it as an adventurer as well, just forgot to mention that d.s