Banner Saga: Factions

In which I review a newly released game...

Here's a new game I backed on KickStarter about half a year ago. The multiplayer is now available on Steam ( with the single player campaign on it's way. It's also free-to-play!

Graphics and Visual Style

The graphics and PC requirements are fairly low. This is because the graphical style is cell shaded. The units all have a distinct style:

  • female archers
  • male warriors (two distinct shield bearing types)
  • giant warriors (two distinct types - one with shield, one without)

Personally, I think the style has been excellently developed. It was one of the reasons I chose to back the project in the first place (that and a recommendation from Penny Arcade). The Norse feel with some giants thrown in is pretty cool and I'm sure it will be expanded upon in the single player when it is released later this year.


This is a turn-based tactical strategy game. You have a barracks from which you can pick 6 soldiers before each battle. Throughout the game kills and achievements earn you renown which can be spent to hire new warriors and upgrade them. I really enjoy the gameplay and as they bring out updates and I level up my characters I'm sure I'll develop new strategies and encounter interesting strategies from my opponents (I already want to try and all archers team and an all giants team). It's a lot of fun and now we're past release day I've not noticed any issues with sever lag at all.

A more in depth look at the gameplay which happens in several phases:


During this phase you place your warriors in a starting formation on a grid on one side of the battlefield.


For the majority of combat players take it in turns alternating between their characters. Each player will use all his characters in the order shown at the bottom of the screen before returning to their first character. Each character can move and, if they are in range, unleash an attack (red sword icon) or special ability (purple icon). Special abilities deplete a character's willpower.

When you attack a character your attack stat (red stat) determines the damage you deal. You can choose to either attack their health directly (also the red stat) which will reduce their attack power and eventually kill them or attack their defence (blue stat) which will make them easier to harm in future rounds. You can increase your damage using willpower as well. Your willpower regenerates if your character rests or using the horn which fills as you kill enemies.


When the enemy is down to one character you get to use all of yours every turn. Hunt them down and loot their bodies!


Do you like tactical-strategy games? Then try this! It'll be even better when they release the single player campaign :)

Tom Out!