- Take a Gobbler and a couple of Hens, maybe a Boar and Sow too so they make piglets. Those can live underground just fine.
- Grab glass from the first trader because you probably don’t have a glass industry up and running at that point and strange moods have tho chance of requiring them.
- Disable cooking Plump Helmets. You want the seeds so Dwarves need to eat them raw or make booze with them.
- Disable cooking the seeds too.
Any hole in your fort will eventually be used by an uninvited guest. Doors can be destroyed, but raised drawbridges can’t. A fortress with a waterfall is a happy fortress. The best thing to get you up and running is one of the many beginner tutorials that are popping up on youtube. Dastastic is a long time veteran with good content, but there are many others.
Always delve down around five or more levels before beginning building in earnest or even mining. It’s less problematic if you’re in a mountain, but you will eventually want to build defenses and pits/moats and the like or channel a nearby stream. It’s much easier to do all that if you have some “down” to go “down” to from the surface level. Otherwise, you have to rearrange things if you want to, let’s say, put in a Moat and your underground farms are in the way.
Watch tutorial videos for the Steam version. DO IT. This game can be difficult, but it’s more difficult sometimes because not every action you can do in the game is intuitive or… even does what you may think it does.
As above, but not only disable Plump Helmets, but skill up your Farmers and make sure they’re Processing Plants to get the seeds of the other crops. You’ll want good Plump Helmet production for Drink, good Pigtail production for your Clothing industry and maybe some other Dorfy crops, too.
Manage your Stockpiles. Do it early and do it by knowing what every Workstation needs and what it produces and where you need to send it… A “Quantum Stockpile” may be an exploit, but it’s so commonly used it may as well be a “feature.”
Practice limiting access. You don’t want more than one way into your Fortress and want to limit the places where enemies could go even across z-levels – USE Drawbridges. The only thing that can harm them is dragonfire, AFAIK. They can be any size you want, too.
Water = Important. Without it, injured Dorfs in the Hospital will die and so will all your newborn babies. You must have a clean, safe, source of water and that may mean tapping into a stream and building an underground Well (If you have a light aquifer, that’s actually good to have to use for a water source. It’s guaranteed to be fresh and clean.).
Learn how to use work orders early. They take a ton of tedium and micromanagement out of the game by letting you automate pretty much any workshop task you can think of. You can set conditions, for example, to brew more alcohol as soon as you go under a certain amount. To unlock work orders, assign somebody to the position of manager and give them an office (just a table and chair).