Thank goodness I found something to drag me away from Borderlands 2.

It’s hard sometimes to just “up and play” older games, but with a little bit of nudging from a couple different places — and yet another kick in the pants from Borderlands 2 — I started playing the classic Dungeon Keeper.

And I love it.

Part of my exuberance no doubt stems from a relief borne upon the shoulders of exhaustion wrought by Borderlands 2 and Skyrim. But there’s more to it.

Dungeon Keeper is a strategy, base-building game that — like Dwarf Fortress — does away with the tedium of assigning orders to units. Instead, you create zones for lairs and whatnot, set work orders, and your minions do the hard stuff.

And if they don’t work fast enough you can slap them silly.

I’m only five or six missions into the game and I’m having a blast.

Still trying to work out the most effective means of doing some things — I really didn’t “get” the Barracks, and the Dungeon Keeper Wiki suggests they’re buggy and unreliable. So there’s a load off my mind. Now about these Temples…

Actually, whichever the last mission was — that was the first mission I actually encountered any difficulty. I accidentally burrowed into an area with three 4th-level flies that just annihilated my creatures and dungeon heart.

I think in the mission before that, I ran out of gold a couple times before I managed to tunnel around an enemy’s base and leech off their gold vein — then dropped a small army on the claimed space and drew the enemy out.

Eventually I realized part of my problem was building rooms too large.

Training Rooms for example, don’t really need to be larger than 5×5. Creatures seem to filter through the Training Room on an Eat-Train-Rest cycle that I hadn’t expected. Monsters in Dungeon Keeper are more efficient than The Sims.

I want to call it a “dungeon-management simulator,” but you get to kill stuff.

Really, I came into this game almost blind. No manual, no Let’s Plays, no nothing. Just the in-game tutorial and help files. I’m only just getting into the wiki today because I want to Build A Better Dungeon. It’s actually kind of daunting.

I’m looking forward to going into the next mission now that I have a better idea of how to attract monster types and what to do with them.