From the previous article Games You May Have Missed: Dwarf Fortress – ‘The Lazy Newb Pack’ is an invaluable tool for beginning players. To be clear, ‘The Lazy Newb Pack’ is a mod for the game made by a fan, so there may be some googling involved to find the file. However, it will revolutionize the game to such an extent that you’ll wonder how people ever played the game without it. This mod does two things: add in some core mechanic adjustments and overhaul the visual portion of the game.
As I mentioned in the previous article, the game mechanics are seriously challenging for someone who has never played the game before. One such instance deals with the skills allocated to each dwarf. Now, the concept seems simple enough: give a dwarf a skill in something and he/she should be able to perform the task more efficiently and quickly. However, it’s always more complicated than at first glance. Once you get into the game you realize that your dwarfs, for whatever reason, feel no drive to learn a skill if they have not already taken it. For example, let’s suppose you started a colony without a woodworker – you play along for a bit, then you decide to start crafting some basic items for your base. You get the necessary building constructed, gather the wood, and queue the action to be done. However, although your dwarfs have nothing to do, no one will come and start on the project. That’s where one of the features of this mod come into play: dwarf therapist.
Dwarf therapist takes the arduous task of opening up slots within a dwarf’s skill tree and makes it as easy as a click of a button. What the program does is read your game, take that information (names and skills), and throws it up on something similar to an Excel spreadsheet. This way, you just find a dwarf to modify, find the skill in question, and open it. This saves so much time and trouble that would otherwise be spent on hating yourself for a slight oversight while setting up the game that could, potentially, ruin the game or take quite some time to research a solution to the problem. The best part of the mod is that this is just minor to what it also does to your game.
Whereas the vanilla game runs on an almost hieroglyphic series of symbols (something extremely difficult to follow at first glance) and converts them into understandable images. If for no other reason, this aspect of the mod is something that is a must have for someone looking to quickly get into the game. Of course, it does take some of the sense of accomplishment away from the game by giving you a well accustomed foundation from which to start, but the tradeoff is something I think most people would be willing to take (especially considering the game is still as unforgiving once you get the basics down).
So, if you were considering picking up Dwarf Fortress or are one of those gods among us who learned to play the game without ‘The Lazy Newb Pack’ and want to introduce someone to the game for the first time, this mod is for you!