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...dawn of the thoarr mine...

Alexandre Correia
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Day 1557. April 6, 2021. Lagos...

While I wait for the physical copy of Delve to make its way to this corner of Southern Europe, I thought it would be interesting to compare and contrast it with another lesser known game about managing a dwarven stronghold. James Hron's Dwarf Mine, a solo mapmaking/journalling game. For now, only available through his page.

The rules are straightforward with three phases per year, but mostly you'll only go through the first two. The last phase is for more persistent and devious creatures that I'm not sure I want to encounter.

There's your turn, where you spend resources and dig (draw) new buildings beneath the mountains. And then there's the mine's turn, where you gain resources through mining and deal with whatever creatures the sound of the dwarven pickaxes have draw attention.

Simple fare. Like many of these games, you're rolling dice and checking the results with tables, concocting a story to unite everything. With the mapmaking element, however, there's a bit more decision space for the players. The deeper you go, the more resources you'll excavate to support the Dwarven expansion. But as you dig deeper into Level 2, 3, and ultimately 4, the more dangerous the encounters and events.

And if this wasn't enough, the longer your stronghold lasts, the higher the chances of the dwarfs disturbing truly nefarious underworld dwellers! Dragons!

From gallery of ZombieBoard

It's time to dig out my solo RPG notebook.

There's also a lesser RPGesque element in Dwarf Mine. At the end of the game, you'll tally up the prestige and age of the mine, so you can try and beat it the next time you play.

A couple of expansions included in the main rules finish the package. However, for tonight, all I could muster was rules reading and three years' worth of dwarven expansion...

From the diary of Whurgar "Iron Lurker," of the Clan Keenhood.

Year 1 in the Thoarr Mine.

Our scouts returned from The Overhanging mountain range with good news. They found signs of mithril and an entry into a large cavern that was perfect for our first camp. A few weeks after everyone had settled inside, with the entrance to the cavern secured, we built two barracks to train our folk and construct a simple hovel to make this place more welcoming to baby dwarfs.

A few months into the construction, our diggers came across a natural cave, and the small goblin group the lived there. The goblins killed the unwary dwarf that found them. Our newly trained soldiers wiped them all out in exchange!

Year 2 in the Thoarr Mine.

At last, the first signs of mithril! And we've barely started to dig deep! One can only hope and dream about rich veins of ore that we'll find as we expand the mine! Unfortunately, there's no reward without sacrifice. A cave bear found a way into a less secured part of the mine and slaughtered six of our bearded brothers before we could kill the angry creature. Our newly built tomb received its first eternal dwellers.

Year 3 in Thoarr Mine.

Fearing ever-dangerous creatures as we continued to move inward, we spent another year building more barracks and training more soldiers. This project almost depleted our gold reserves and cost us the lives of another handful of dwarfs! The soldiers succeeded in containing the dire wolf's wrath, but we'll soon need to transform the mithril into something of use. Armour!

One year ago: ...three day land of coins and robes...

Photos & Images: James Hron, ZombieBoard
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