Dwarf Fortress on Mac

Dwarf Fortress is a popular and complex simulation game and many fans are asking us if there is a version of Dwarf Fortress on Mac that they can play. The answer to this question is yes, but there is a little more to that. The game is available in two different versions: Classic and Steam.

The Classic is the original version that supports Dwarf Fortress on Mac but requires players to learn a complex set of keyboard commands to interact with the game’s world. The Steam version was released in 2020 and features a graphical user interface (GUI) and updated graphics, as well as a tutorial mode to help new players learn the game mechanics quickly. Ultimately, whether to choose Dwarf Fortress Classic or Steam version depends on personal preference but on this page, we will show you how to play Dwarf Fortress with Steam on all Macs.

Is there a Dwarf Fortress Steam Mac version?

No, there is no nativeDwarf Fortress Steam Mac version, however, fans can play this game on a Mac in several different ways. Below we will give you instructions on exactly how to download and install the popular simulation game but if you want to save some disk space, you can also check our cloud gaming suggestion.

Can you run Dwarf Fortress on any macOS?

As long as your Mac meets the minimum system requirements, you should be able to run the Classic version of Dwarf Fortress on any macOS without issues. It’s worth noting that this is a complex game that can be demanding on system resources, especially as your fortress grows larger and more complex. Therefore, you may experience some performance issues if you are running it on an older or less powerful Mac. As far as the Steam version is concerned, you can learn more about it in the next paragraphs.

Can you play Dwarf Fortress on Mac?

Yes, fans can play Dwarf Fortress on Mac, but we will discuss the workarounds they will need to use since there is no official Mac OS version of the premium game version on Steam and Itch.io. The first method that we will give you instructions for is how to play the game without downloading and installing it on your Mac’s hard drive. Aside from this, we will also give you links to detailed guides that explain in a step-by-step manner how to download and run the premium Windows PC version of Dwarf Fortress on a Mac.

What about Dwarf Fortress on Mac M1?

You can play the premium version of Dwarf Fortress on Mac M1. However, in order to do that, you must first learn how to set up a Windows virtual machine and then use Steam or Itch.io to get the game and play it. Alternatively, you can skip the installation of a virtual machine and play the game in a cloud with the help of the instructions on this page. It’s important to remember that what we are offering you here are only workarounds and that these methods won’t provide you with the same gaming experience that you would have on a Windows PC.

How to play Dwarf Fortress on Mac

To play the premium version of Dwarf Fortress you need to first get the game:

Play Dwarf Fortress on Mac with Boosteroid

A Mac and a Boosteroid subscription are all you need to play Dwarf Fortress in the cloud. There are a lot of advantages to using Boosteroid for cloud gaming. For instance, no game downloads or installations are required to get started playing. Most significantly, you don’t have to delete any files to free up space on your Mac’s hard disk for the game and it doesn’t matter what the specs of your Mac are as you can stream the game in the browser. The quality of your cloud gaming experience depends only on how stable and reliable your internet connection is.

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1. First, go to the Boosteroid website and create an account or use your Google, Apple ID, or Facebook account to sign in.

2. After you login to your newly created account, click on your Profile details icon (top right corner of the Boosteroid page) and then click on My account.

3. After that, select a subscription plan in “My subscription” and follow the steps on the screen to activate it.

4. With your Boosteroid subscription active, go to the Boosteroid main page and search for Dwarf Fortress in the search bar, then select it.

5. When the game’s page opens, click on the Play button.

6. In order to play Dwarf Fortress with Boosteroid, you’ll need a Steam account, which you will be prompted to connect to the cloud service when you press the play button. If you don’t have a Steam account, go to this page and create one, then enter your Steam account and password to connect it with the service.

7. Wait a minute until the game loads. If the game doesn’t launch automatically, go into your Steam library and click the “Play” button.

Other Methods to Play Dwarf Fortress on Mac

In addition to the above-mentioned cloud gaming option, Mac users who want to play Dwarf Fortress on their computers can do so by running Windows with specialized software like Parallels, Boot Camp Assistant, or CrossOver. Detailed instructions for these three applications are provided below. However, please keep in mind the actual gaming performance you can achieve with them may depend on the specific Mac model you use.

Play Dwarf Fortress on Mac with Wineskin

Another alternative to play Dwarf Fortress on Mac M1 is to turn to a porting tool like Wineskin, that can convert Windows games into Mac OS X apps.

Just use Wineskin to install the Windows version of Dwarf Fortress from Steam, then download the game and run it. This software is an open-source solution that adds a compatibility layer which enables users to convert Windows software to macOS through wrappers.

  1. First, you need to download this Wineskin version.
  2. Double-click on the file Winery txz file that gets downloaded, then try to open the newly-created Winery Wineskin icon.
    Wineskin Unpack
  3. You will get an error message from your macOS, telling you that you aren’t allowed to open the app. Dismiss the message, then hold Command, right-click on Winery Wineskin, click Open, and then select Open again.
    Open Wineskin
  4. Select Update and wait for the update to install.
    Update Wineskin
  5. Next, click on the Plus (+), select the latest engine, and click Download and Install.
  6. Then select the installed engine, and click Create new Blank Wrapper.
  7. Enter a Wrapper name and click OK.
    New Wrapper
  8. Wait for the installation to complete (your Mac might seem like it’s stuck for several minutes).
  9. In the meanwhile, go to the Steam download page, and click the Windows logo icon below Install Steam.
    Steam Exe Download
  10. Download the Steam installer.exe file.
  11. Go back to the Wineskin wrapper, which should now be installed, and click on View wrapper in Finder.
  12. Right-click the Wrapper, click Show Package Contents, and then double-click the Wineskin icon.
    Show Package Contents
    New Wrapper Wineskin
  13. Select Install Software, click on Choose Software Executable, and navigate to the downloaded Steam installer, and open it.
    Install Software
    Choose Setup Executable
    Find Steam Exe
  14. Proceed to install Steam, without changing the installation directory.
    Install Steam
  15. After the installation completes, make sure that the Run Steam option is checked, and close the installer.
  16. The Windows version of Steam should now start, but its interface won’t show properly, so you must click View and switch to the Small Mode setting.
    Small Mode
  17. Now that you are able to see the games in your library, double-click on Dwarf Fortress to install it, and after it’s ready, double-click it again to launch the game.

Dwarf Fortress Review

Dwarf Fortress is a management simulation game with roguelike elements where players build, expand, and manage a fictional civilization of dwarfs. The classic version of the game is available on the Bay 12 Games website. A premium version with the same name is available on Steam and Itch.io. It stands out with improved controls, a new soundtrack, new tutorials, and visual changes that multiply the fun by softening the learning curve and giving the game a new life.

Dwarf Fortress Classic vs Dwarf Fortress Steam/Itch.io

The primary difference between the classic and the premium version is that Dwarf Fortress on Steam and Itch.io is available for a price. To justify that price, a whole new user interface and engine have been implemented.

The majority of the game’s hotkeys from the classic version have been modified, and some have even been removed entirely. So, even if you’re a seasoned pro of the game and you’ve been playing it for years, you’ll have to relearn all of your hotkey combinations with the rendition of the classic.

The premium game no longer requires a dwarf to manually place all the necessary materials for construction at the construction spot for furnaces and bridges. There is also a change in the way players bury dwarfs when they die. Coffins can’t be placed anywhere, and players use the zone menu to identify a certain area as a tomb. Most of the interruptions in the game, caused by annoying notifications, have been eliminated, allowing the players to immerse in the gameplay.

In the premium version, all dwarfs participate in a given task by default, unless otherwise specified in their job’s specifics. This is practical when it comes to activities like mining or low-skilled labor, but as your fortress expands, you can assign certain tasks to more highly qualified workers.


The world of Dwarf Fortress consists of randomly generated maps teeming with hundreds of unique resources and creatures. Players can discover over two hundred rock and mineral types, which are found in their right geological environments. A dynamic weather system takes into account the wind, the humidity, and the clouds to create storms.

Visuals and sound

In the premium version, the ASCII art from the classic version has been changed to pixel art. A new soundtrack with over a dozen new tracks helps create an atmosphere of exploration. However, all the melodies capture the spirit of the original guitar riffs from the classic game.


Dwarf Fortress is a complex construction and management sim that immerses players in a deeply generated world full of challenges. The game requires strategic thinking and has hundreds of hours of replay potential that can keep you engaged with the survival of the dwarf civilization in a very dynamic environment.

If you prefer to play the Dwarf Fortress Classic on Mac, you can do that by visiting the Bay 12 Games website and downloading the Mac OS version of the game from there. However, keep in mind that this version doesn’t have the enhancements of the premium version that is available on Steam and Itch.io, which we explained in this article.