EDIT: If you are reading this from the FUTURE, please note that Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup was on version 0.9 at the time of writing, and the game has changed significantly since. Older versions are all archived here, however, if you want to try any of those.
As I mentioned in my introduction to roguelikes, most players eventually gravitate towards the most complex games. These are the games that can last you an entire lifetime, with deep, complex systems that take years to fully learn and master. Finally managing to win one of these games is a truly momentous event, one that many players will never achieve. But even if they do not, they’ll still fondly remember their best attempts, sagas of their own making that were not pre-determined by the developers. Just because your character eventually succumbed to overwhelming odds doesn’t mean he or she was not a great hero, whose last adventure became a legend for the ages. Or maybe your character’s death was actually rather stupid and humorous instead. Either way, that particular character is gone, living on only as a fond (or humorous) memory. It’s time for the next would-be hero’s story.
The steep learning curves of the most complex roguelikes mean that players will usually pick a favorite and stick to it, as recalibrating one’s playstyle to a different game is difficult. There are three main options: Nethack, Angband variants, and Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup. While the title of the post gives away my personal pick of the three, I’m going to briefly discuss the other two in comparison. Let’s begin!