An Epic in Grime (Part 1)

Goblin Camp is described as “a simulation game which follows the lives of a group of orcs and goblins and their bloody misadventures” and “a roguelike citybuilder, inspired by Anno 1404, Dwarf Fortress and Dungeon Keeper.” I’ve decided to chronicle my attempt to guide a ragbag collection of greenskinned misfits in their efforts to pollute the unspoiled countryside.

While learning the basics of the game I’ve started a number of camps but never taken them very far, knowing that my first few would be replete with errors too pedestrian to be hilarious. Not so this, my latest camp! It will be a thing of wonder. Wonderful, wonderful wonder.

I am using v0.21 of Goblin Camp with the Nameless 32×32 tileset. This makes it look very accessible and, most importantly for you, nicer in screenshots.

My starting area seems… okay. I admit I’m not too sure what some of the graphics mean. There’s some bubbling ooze to my west and scattered elsewhere. Is that water? Maybe I should try a different tileset to try and figure it out.

Okay, it’s not water. I think it’s stone, or bog, or something. Either way that is somewhere I can later build mines. That should be useful. That or a source of unspeakable screaming horrors. (Goblin Camp is “inspired by” Dwarf Fortress. Some elements of its inspiration are obvious. Others may only become apparent in the form of night terrors. We’ll see.)

After scrolling around a bit I spot a river up to the north. This means sourcing drinking water will be annoying as it’s so far away, but I can always dig a ditch to divert some of it down to my camp. First up, though, it’s time to build a pile. A pile is exactly what it sounds like: your greenskins run about and grab everything nearby before dumping it onto the pile. Piles are untidy sprawls. I guess goblins aren’t as obsessed with geometry and symmetry as dwarves.

Goblin Camp screenshot 1

I also build a spawning pool, which you can see to the left in the shot above. This produces new orcs and goblins provided it’s regularly supplied with filth and corpses. I have about twenty greenskins wandering about my camp so I doubt there’ll be a shortage of either.

Finally, it’s time to start building up some industry. First I need wood. Using the axes helpfully left nearby by a coincidentally dismembered human woodsman (who is now helpfully bobbing in the spawning pool) I have my goblins set off to chop down some trees. The rest I try and encourage to harvest some plants. They may be able to eat them. At the very least it will clear space for my first farms and industry.

I order two saw pits made. My past experience suggests that logs take a while to convert to planks, plus sawmills can, I think, create basic wooden objects, which will be handy. At last, my camp can have a pot to piss in!

I use the stock manager to up my desired quantity of wood logs and planks (you can set an optimum number which your greenskins will always work to reach). While I’m in there I notice that I have a couple of stone axes. I set up a military squad of two (orcs) and tell them to arm themselves with slashing weapons, before remembering that axes are used to cut down trees. Christ. It’s like my first proper Dwarf Fortress all over again. (I didn’t take any axes and, er, couldn’t get wood.) I switch the squad over to blunt weapons instead since I should soon be able to make clubs, and designate a basic patrol route around the camp. Those boys will keep everyone safe. Ahahaha.

Next I use some of the recently cleared space to set up a few farm plots. Previously I’ve always just set up a single big plot for growing everything, but this time I’m going to set up three plots for the different food types: Bloodberry, Nightbloom and, er, Blueleaf. Shouldn’t that last one be called Murderflower or something?

Hmm, seems I also have something called Chillweed. No idea what that is. I’ll leave it be for now.

So that’s the start – the basics are all set up and my goblins and orcs are busying themselves. Next I order a carpenter’s workshop built using some of those natty planks, and begin to contemplate fortifications, weapons, and what the hell I’m supposed to do about all of that.

Goblin Camp screenshot 2

In the meantime things are looking pretty untidy around here. Time to clear up a bit. I designate more trees to be felled – all those dirty wooden things are getting in the way of my nice pile of junk. I also slap down the first beds that my carpenter has produced. Helpfully the orc who does the carpentry is also prone to sleeping in the workshop, meaning no other bugger can work there while he snoozes. Stupid shiftless bloody creatures.

I also notice that my critters are running a bloody long way up to the north in order to drink, so I decide to dig a ditch to divert some water closer to my camp. I lay out part of the groundwork and designate more trees to be felled. The sodding things are everywhere and very much in the way. I suppose I’ll need lots more trees in time, once I’ve hacked them all apart, but for now they’re an annoyance. Besides, I’m sure everyone will die long before I run out of… well, anything, frankly.

While I’m doing this a message pops up: “Will o’ the wisp was crushed by Gobsnik”. I toggle over to where this epic clash occurred but I can’t see anything, and Gobsnik is wandering off to get something to eat. I guess the wisp only piqued his appetite.

Checking up on my other greenskins, I find little Irpik asleep in a ditch full of water. Interesting. Gorgul the orc has also moved on to making some wooden clubs. I hope those are ready before anything shows up to try and slaughter my camp. Almost everyone else is busy storing things in my pile – including, apparently, all of the dirt I’m digging out of my ditches. Good work, chaps. Just drop all of that earth and shit all over your food. It’ll be fine.

A lot of my greenskins have a little snail icon over them. This means they’re sluggish, which happens when you don’t sleep in a bed – when sleeping, for example, in a flooded ditch, or in a heap of dirt and logs, or even next to a spawning pool full of corpses and filth. HURRY UP WITH THOSE BEDS, GORGUL.

I’m getting paranoid that no creatures have shown up as yet so I add another chap to my squad (now dubbed the Stone Choppas) and click the re-arm button. I hope they’re actually picking up the clubs Gorgul is making. HURRY UP, GORGUL.

It’s also time to start using some of this dirt. I designate an eastern rampart to protect my camp. It’ll take a while to build all the way around, but it’ll help. Probably. I think ramparts only slow enemies down. My camp needs to reach tier 2 (a higher population and more workshops) before I can build palisades, which are much harder for most enemies to get past.

Moments later, a red message pops up alerting me to an attack from some monstrous enemies. “Killer Bees have been sighted outside your Camp!”

Terrifying stuff. Maybe they’ll set up shop nearby and I can trade honey for… dirt. Then again, there are quite a few of these killer bees. I count eighteen of them. I wonder how effective wooden clubs are against bees?

Goblin Camp screenshot 3

Ahahahahahaha. That’s a pissed-off unicorn gibbing a killer bee.

Goblin Camp screenshot 4

A snake is smashed by the bee swarm. It makes quite a mess.

Goblin Camp screenshot 5

When the bees finally arrive they’re obliterated in seconds. It makes a much larger mess. Bees sure do contain a lot of blood.

A few of my goblins have been stung; a little green icon appears over them which suggests they’re poisoned, but hopefully they won’t die. At least not until they finish digging ditches and sweeping up the mess of bee chunks.

I barely have time to finish that thought before the words “Irponk was dissected” appear: what the hell? I go to check but it doesn’t look like anything was nearby. Maybe he was dissected by bee stings. Perhaps just pulling out one of those whopping great big stingers can slice a gobbo in half.

Predictably, at this point the starving wolves arrive.