Games Like Dwarf Fortress | The best construction and management games in 2019

Are you looking for games like Dwarf Fortress? Bay 12 Games is creating a construction and management game with a lot of appeal — its alpha build has more features than many games that have been on the market for years. However, Dwarf Fortress can be a tough nut for a newbie to crack, so here are some games like Dwarf Fortress where you can get a similar experience without having to read more stuff than a kid studying for finals.

Games Like Dwarf Fortress | The basic key features of fun

Dwarf Fortress is a construction and management game. Essentially, players don’t directly control their dwarves (most of the time, anyway); rather, they order them to do things and wait for actions to be executed.

Here are the key features that make Dwarf Fortress fun:

  • Commanding (but not directly controlling) up to hundreds of Dwarves
  • The ability to reshape the world
  • Free-form gameplay
  • Disasters that throw a wrench in your plans
  • Army battles/sieges

We’ll be looking at several games that have one or more of these features in common with Dwarf Fortress!

Games Like Dwarf Fortress | Rimworld

games like dwarf fortress

Buy it on Steam

Release Date: October 17, 2018

Rimworld is a game that’s very much like Dwarf Fortress in nearly every respect, so if you should probably avoid this one if you’re looking for something easier to play.

Survivors of a spaceship crash have to build a colony on a planet. You’re wholly responsible for all of the needs of the people, which range from the basics like food, water, and shelter, and including the more complex stuff like psychological health and socialization.

Build things out however you like and try to escape the planet. It’s even one of the few games of this type that actually has a win condition.

Games Like Dwarf Fortress | Gnomoria

games like dwarf fortress

Buy it on Steam

Release Date: February 23, 2016

Gnomoria is almost like an isometric Dwarf Fortress. You command a group of gnomes as they try to establish a village on a procedurally generated map. You’re free to shape the world how you like, whether it’s making an underground fortress to keep your people safe or building a mighty castle above ground and protecting your farms with powerful armies. Like Rimworld, this comes pretty close to Dwarf Fortress in terms of complexity and challenge.

Games Like Dwarf Fortress | Banished

games like dwarf fortress

Buy it on Steam

Release Date: February 18, 2014

A bunch of people have been banished to the wilderness and it’s up to you to build them a new home. You won’t fend off raiders like you would in Dwarf Fortress, but there is still plenty of danger to combat in Banished.

Everyone needs food, shelter, clothing, and other supplies to survive in a simple system of symbiosis. Surviving your first winter in Banished is a badge of honor and you probably won’t manage it the first time.

Once you do get a town going, more people will arrive and be born, amping up the pressure to continue expanding your ability to produce goods so everyone can stay happy, fed, and (most importantly) alive.

Games Like Dwarf Fortress | Prison Architect

games like dwarf fortress

Buy it on Steam

Release Date: October 6, 2015

Prison Architect is exactly what it says on the tin: a game about building and managing a prison. You have a flat plot of land and some money. From there, it’s up to you to create all the necessary facilities to keep prisoners contained, alive, and relatively happy.

Manage your employees, research better equipment, prevent escapes, and put down the occasional riot. Building prisons is easy, but keeping them running smoothly is a heck of a challenge.

Games Like Dwarf Fortress | War for the Overworld

games like dwarf fortress

Buy it on Steam

Release Date: April 2, 2015

War for the Overworld is technically closer to something like a real-time strategy than a proper city builder, but there’s still a lot in common. Each level has you playing a classic “Evil Overlord” who must build a dungeon, populate it with minions, and send them out into the world to destroy the forces of good.

Fortunately, the good guys are often dumb. Unfortunately, so are your minions. Manage their food, keep them paid, and most importantly of all, don’t let the little devils slack off at work.

Much like Dwarf Fortress, clever base construction and use of traps are the key to succeeding in this game. As a bonus, the classic dark humor is sure to give any Dwarf Fortress veteran a chuckle.

Games Like Dwarf Fortress | Craft the World

games like dwarf fortress

Buy it on Steam

Release Date: November 24, 2014

Craft the World is sometimes likened to a 2D Dwarf Fortress. It even actually features dwarves. Players begin the game with a few ill-equipped dwarves and some land. From there, you have to build out a home for your dwarves.

It sounds simple, but things can get devlishly complex. You’ll have to heard underground (and eventually to other realms) to get the resources you need. All the while, you’re going to be under siege from tough enemies who would love to have your dwarves for lunch.

You won’t command legions of soldiers, but this much more casual experience might be able to scratch the same itch without eating up a few dozen hours of your week.

Games Like Dwarf Fortress | Dawn of Man

games like dwarf fortress

Buy it on Steam

Release Date: March 1, 2019

Dawn of Man has you going back in time — way back in time. You’ll start out as early tribes of humans who live hand-to-mouth and use tools made of wood and bone. As you progress through the game, you’ll unlock more complex technologies and have more people join your settlement.

That’s lot all there is to this game, though. As your city grows, you’ll become increasingly more reliant on crops and domesticated animals over gathering and farming. Keeping up all of this hard work requires quality tools which means a lot of people will need to be gathering the resources needed to produce them.

You aren’t exactly safe, either. Many prehistoric animals are deadly, and towns in the later eras are sure to attract roving bands of raiders.