Ruins in the Forest-cover

Michael Halila 3 minute read

A game of Goblin Camp starts when a group of goblins find a portal from the underworld to the middle world, and decide to go see what’s on the other side. They now find themselves in a verdant but dangerous northern forest, where they decide to make their home.

I’ll be honest: we’re kinda proud of our forest. It looks great, it grows organically, and it provides our goblins with all kinds of useful resources. They can chop down trees for wood, and gather fruits and berries to eat. To make things even more interesting, we’ve also added some ruins to the map.


These ruins are the overgrown remains of a lone cabin in the wilderness, or maybe the only remaining trace of some larger settlement. If you send a goblin to explore the ruins, they’ll find some remnant of the past inhabitants that’ll be useful to your camp.

Exploring ruins

But it’s not quite as easy as just clicking on that explore button! If you look at the screenshot above, you’ll notice the ruins are surrounded by fog. That’s because we’ve added a sort of fog of war to our forest. But it’s actually much more than a fog of war; it’s the forest-cover.

Ruins in the forest-cover

Sometimes Finnish people will talk as if our ancestors all lived in the forest, and of course, if you go back far enough, it’s kind of true. But for centuries, people in what’s now Finland mostly lived in farming villages. They certainly made use of the resources the forest provided, but compared to the familiar surroundings of the village, the forest was a weird and scary place.

As many people know, you can get lost in the woods. Finns used to believe that you can get really lost, so badly lost that you somehow end up in a parallel world. If you’re lucky, you’ll wander around for a while; in the worst case, you may never be able to leave at all. This is known as ending up in metsänpeitto, literally the forest-cover. The SKS archives hold a story, recounted to one of the collectors by a woman from Hankasalmi born in 1851:

When I was a girl at Hankasalmi, a man got lost in the forest-cover. The whole Lankamaa village was out looking for him, and he couldn’t be found, until when he was allowed to be found. That is, when he was free from the forest-cover. He was long since dead then, and the people who found him remembered that they had sat on him while searching, thinking he was a log, because he had looked like one.

We’ve decided to model the forest-cover in Goblin Camp as a sort of fog of war. Tiles in forest-cover will show up as “unexplored” when you hover over them. If goblins enter the forest-cover, there’s a chance they’ll get lost, and wander around aimlessly for a while. You can’t build structures in forest-cover either. So how do you get to those lovely sparkly ruins in the distance?

There are two ways you can dissipate forest-cover. It forms around trees and other vegetation, so clearing flora, especially cutting down trees, will push back the forest-cover. The other way is to build a raven statue.

A raven statue

These sacred log statues drive back the forest-cover and make it much easier for your goblins to clear a path into the woods, and explore those ruins. They also mean you don’t have to cut down all the trees and bushes if you don’t want to!

We feel that the ruins and the forest-cover add an interesting and Finnish twist to exploring the forest, and we’ll certainly be expanding on these themes later!