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Sparring is a form of non-lethal melee combat, led by the Militia captain in charge of the respective squad, to train soldiers in their combat skills in fortress mode. Sparring takes place at a barracks; on-duty soldiers will engage in training activities such as sparring and watching combat demonstrations while off-duty soldiers will primarily conduct individual training drills. Training is a safe way to get experienced soldiers.


The weapon you wish for a squad to use can be chosen through the military screen, and then the equip selection. When soldiers spar, they practice (and thereby gain experience) with whatever weapon and armor they have been assigned, including shields. Your soldiers will put on their uniforms and grab their weapons once they are assigned equipment in a squad (and don't have any other civilian jobs).

Organized squad training[edit]

You cannot directly assign a soldier to spar. Instead, you need to schedule his or her squad to train. This is accomplished by opening the military screen. Open the alerts panel, then assign the squad to Active/Training (or establish a more complex schedule of alerts). Now query the bed, weapon rack, and/or armor stand to designate a barracks. Highlight which squad you wish to train and press t. A T should appear on the right side of the screen beside that squad's name. Now your squad is set to be training, and has a place to train in. A squad set to the default Alert/Training alert level (or a more complicated schedule using the advanced calendar system) will predominantly train in their training barracks and occasionally engage in their civilian lives. A squad with active orders delivered through the squad menu will first carry out those orders, taking breaks to eat or sleep, but will not train. To change the number of dwarves assigned to train in a squad, open the military screen, go to the schedule screen, then edit the order for each month by pressing + *- or / to change the minimum number of dwarves assigned for that month.

  1. Define a squad with members (equip with whatever armor and weapons you like)
  2. Designate a barracks and have the squad set to train there
  3. Have an active training order for the squad
  4. Lower the minimum required dwarves for the order to be equal or less than your squad (note that the default is 10, requiring a full squad!)

Individual Training[edit]

Your soldiers will continue to do jobs outside the military if they don't have a place to spar or an active schedule. Motivated dwarves will also conduct individual training. This happens if:

  • the dwarf squad has no scheduled orders
  • the squad has a designated barracks to train at
  • the dwarf is on break (dwarves with no job do not go on individual combat drill)

Other Notes[edit]


Dwarves are very unlikely to hurt each other while sparring, even when equipped with otherwise lethal weapons. They can however have accidents due to them dodging an attack: falling in the water or down to a lower level may happen to them depending on the surroundings of your barracks.

Also, dwarves can dodge up one level if they are next to a wall. Make sure they can walk back down or build a roof, because otherwise you risk a military dwarf trapping himself and starving to death.

Default Schedule[edit]

The default Active/Training alert requires a full 10 member squad. This can be changed from the Scheduling menu. If you have a dwarf die, remember that another member must be appointed or the minimum number required to train lowered to accommodate the new squad count.

Happy Soldiers[edit]

Be kind to your soldiers. Civilians with no military experience will get bad thoughts from going on duty. Soldiers will get a bad thought if they don't have any civilian experience. Having the wrong number assigned to train in a squad can also generate bad thoughts.

Training on disarmed prisoners[edit]

A very effective way to train your dwarves is to let them fight stripped prisoners while heavily armored and carrying training weapons themselves. Keep in mind that a dwarf needs be attacked to increase his or her defensive skills up. In other words: if you're interested in having your dwarves quickly train as Dodgers, Armor Users and Shield Users, it'll be far more efficient to set-up multiple small pits where dwarves can train one on one against disarmed prisoners.

See Remotely Opening Cages for more information.

See also[edit]



Danger Room