Dwarf Fortress started as a pretty complex game back in the days when it was 2D and barely had a quarter of the features it has now. It's easy to get overwhelmed when you first fire it up. Don't worry though, following a tutorial is a very easy way to learn the basics of the game in an afternoon.
Don't worry if you don't understand why you do things on your first run, even after reading the tutorial's explanation. If one particular thing bugs you, try starting a new fort and skipping it, then seeing what goes wrong! Especially in the current version, trial and error is great way of having lots of fun.
 Installing and Running the Game
If you have not installed the game yet see Installation.
 Learning Fortress Mode
Most of the tutorials were written for the older (40d) version of Dwarf Fortress. But nonetheless, they are still helpful. If you get stuck within a specific aspect of the game then search the wiki and don't hesitate to ask questions in the forum.
The following tutorials will walk you through world generation, embarking with your 7 dwarves, game basics, and building a full-fledged fortress.
 Recommended tutorials and wiki articles
For v0.31: (the current version)
- I Play Dwarf Fortress - (And You Can Too!) Play-Along Beginner's Guide With Pictures
- Bentgirder. A good, mostly-complete tutorial.
- The Fortress Mode Quickstart Guide
- From Caravan to Happy Dwarves. A minimalistic, but great, diagram (maybe for players with a bit more experience).
- Jumping Into Fortress Mode. An outline of main concepts, though it lacks any technical help.
For the old versions: (but still really great for beginners)
- The legendary video tutorials by Captain Duck.
- The Complete and Utter Newby Tutorial for Dwarf Fortress with lots of screenshots (forum thread)
- Indecisive's illustrated fortress mode tutorial.
- A quickstart guide
- "What should I build first?"
 Specific Elements
These are not necessarily tutorials, but they can help out with specific parts of the game.
- Important Advice - Disregard at your own risk.
 Basics of World Generation
 Basics of Embarking
 Feeding Dwarves
There are several ways to feed your dwarves. Your initial supplies will run out, but fishing and plant gathering are easy ways to get additional food in a starting fortress. The default embark group starts with a fisherdwarf; you'll need a fishery workshop to clean the fish your fisherdwarf catches, to make them edible.
To ensure sustenance when the fortress grows, farming is the most reliable way. Above-ground farm plots are easy to set up (if you have soil on your map), but require seeds that can be obtained from gathered plants or by trading with humans or elves.
Buying food from caravans is a good way to prevent shortages.
 Mining and Minerals
- The Non-Dwarf's Guide to Rock - A primer, explaining geology in so far as it is implemented in Dwarf Fortress. Note that DF geology is actually quite realistic, so knowledge of real world geology could make much of the game seem very familiar to you.
 Defending Against Enemies
This is one of the most challenging aspects of the game, so if you feel confused even after reading all of this then you are not alone.
- Military quickstart
- Military - or for a complete explanation and walkthrough of the military menu (advisable to look at first) the Military interface
- Armor and Weapons
 Adventure Mode
Currently the only tutorial for Adventure Mode is the Adventure mode quick start guide. Adventure mode is significantly less complex than Fortress Mode though, so that guide will probably be enough to get you started.
Also see the Adventure Mode Reference Guide.