My great hall’s nearly ready, but there’s a problem. I need four pieces of mortar to finish the job. Mortar is made in the foundry, using lime. Lime is made in the arcane workshop, from bonemeal. The bonemeal, of course, is ground out of the bones of dead enemies in the cave farm. And the frustrating thing is that I have the bones to make the bonemeal to make the lime to make the mortar, but for some reason no one’s transporting it. No, in fact, the /really/ frustrating thing is that I seem to have got lost in this cave and wandered into a ‘90s adventure game.
Despite sharing its item acquisition logic with Gabriel Knight 3, Hammerting is a game about Dwarves living in a mountain cave. It’s also a game about creating improbably convoluted supply chains in order to arm your allies on the overworld and facilitate their conquest over your common enemy. It’s worth playing the tutorial.
Dwarf Fortress shouldn’t go without mention here, but this isn’t anything like as imposing or obtuse. Its vertical ant farm perspective and cheerfully drawn mountain dwellers do belie the level of complexity beneath though, and anyone averse to starting campaigns over and over again might want to sit down for this.
(Image credit: Team 17)
This being a game about long supply chains and careful resource management, it’s a real problem that AI farmers don’t save one item of a crop in order to replant it. It’s so easy to deplete your food sources this way and then wonder why everyone’s starving. Equally bothersome is your dwarves’ lack of self-preservation, prioritising the crafting of a quill instead of eating, sleeping, or bringing some granite dust to a building site I ordered about 20 minutes ago just because it’s on the other side of the map. There’s a job broker screen, but it only lets you tinker with who does certain activity types, not individual micromanagement tasks that seem to go ignored for long stretches.
There’s work to be done inside the mountain, then, for both Warpzone Studios and myself. Hammerting’s lacking the polish to grease the wheels of its impressive management hybrid, but that doesn’t mean it should be avoided. Like my overworld neighbours, I’d take something new and unusual over the same old stock any day.