Games of the Year

Battle Brothers

Battle Brothers Screenshot 1
Battle Brothers Screenshot 2
Battle Brothers Screenshot 3
Battle Brothers Screenshot 4
Battle Brothers Screenshot 5
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Battle Brothers is a turn based tactical RPG which has you leading a mercenary company in a gritty, low-power, medieval fantasy world. You decide where to go, whom to hire or to fight, what contracts to take and how to train and equip your men in a procedurally generated open world campaign. Do you have what it takes to lead them through bloody battles and to victory? The game consists of a strategic worldmap and a tactical combat layer. On the worldmap you can freely travel in order to take contracts that earn you good coin, find places worth looting, enemies worth pursuing or towns to resupply and hire men at. This is also where you manage, level up and equip your Battle Brothers. Once you engage a hostile party the game will switch to a tactical map where the actual fighting takes place as detailed turn based combat. Manage a medieval mercenary company in a procedurally generated open world.
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Game Discussion

Review by Anonymous
Review from Steam

I am Chinese. I use the translator to talk with the author now because I want the author to understand that this game is great. This is all I want. I love you because you have created the world I want

Review from Steam

100 hours and I still suck at this game. Really bad. I die at around day 20/30 if I'm lucky, and I constantly rage. I actually mostly shout and rage than have fun, but I keep coming back. You'd think I'm joking but I'm writing this in utter disappointment and loss of hope, because I know that I'm about to start a new run. I don't know what keeps taking me back to this game, you'd think I would have uninstalled a long time ago, and I have made such promises, but I have failed to deliver. I just want to see the light at the end of the tunnel, I want heads to fly and moods to soar to eager, I want the arenas to chant my name and for my band to become immortalised in history. Is that too much to ask for?
Now in all seriousness, I don't find it to be a downside that I keep coming back to the game even if it causes me immense rage, the game is teaching me how to lose and so far I'm getting better at that. Each new game I have approached with a new mindset, with something different to test out, and at this point I actually feel a slight excitement underneath the rage of losing, because I know that this time I can make a difference. For example, "My character just missed twice in a row, I'm so angry because he's now going to die and he had his chance to not to" then I think to myself, "If he had fast adaptation those 2 misses would have gave him 20% extra chance to hit and plus with a spear that's a 40% on top, 2 hits and my bro could have made the difference this game, but now it's too late, better try this in the next game" Or my new favourite tactic of buying what I call flesh armour, cheap 80g cripple that has body parts worth of armour equivalent to a 50-100 not including cheap gear, and in return for his sacrifice we might actually get some gear that would have cost 3x his price. See at first I would have bought an indebted, but the 0 upkeep means nothing if he's going to die the next fight and I'm paying 200g instead of 80g and 4g upkeep for a cripple. And there is always a chance they might live to level up, before you know it I'm steam rolling and a cripple now is worth 300 points of health with armour put together that I had saved up from our battles. That's just an example. The game is pretty complex, if you got the time and patience to learn, I suggest you give it a go, try watching tutorials and reading guides but for me it's grindstone and blood baby, going in raw, just how I like it, even if it turns me a bit insane in the process. The end result will fix it all, I am sure of it. No bros sacrifice will go unnoticed. By the way the hardest habit to get out of in this game is retiring when odds don't seem to go your way, this game is a mental hurdle first before skill, first you will learn more about yourself than about the game, to control your own emotions is to control a bros life and his potentially promising future.
I would have made this a negative review but my playtime and dedication would contradict that. And this game absolutely holds up to my first impressions, yeah it's expensive, but the complexity and difficulty and the time it takes to learn makes up for it all. It doesn't seem all that much when you first get it, it seems a bit bland and repetitive, but then once you keep going and going you realise that the game is exactly how you first imagined it, for me it was mild gritty fantasy with many decisions exploration and plenty of RPG elements, you're running a company in a very dark world where everybody is a resource, death is as common as a cold, and being a hero is not a common luxury.

Review from Steam

Battle Brothers is a game about one thing: 12 medieval mans on a hex grid fighting 4-16 other medieval mans in turn based strategy. Sometimes the other medieval mans are orcs, monsters, or undead, but the premise is the same. While there is a bit of an overworld map and an economy, that is all sideshow to the tactical fights.
It does this really well. No Fire Emblem "Move, attack, repeat for 40 turns" crap here. Every weapon has a set of skills and properties reflecting its use. Spears are weaker, but more accurate, and can deny areas with spear walls. Hammers batter armor. Flails can ignore shields. Whips can disarm and shut down an enemy for a turn. Certain weapons strike at two range over your frontliners. Enemies too have gimmicks. Orcs like to charge and stun and just take a lot of damage before going down. Undead keep getting back up and usually there is some goth wannabe nerdomancer in the back who keeps propping them up. Goblins are little rat finks who will keep trapping your team in nets and pelting them from range. Each enemy set provides a different experience and different tactics are required.
The game runs fairly tough and is balanced quite tightly: You can usually win most fights. However, winning every fight without someone dying is exceptionally difficult, and will require proper gear, strategy, and yes, a bit of luck. Life is cheap, and there is a lot of room for you to wuss out, retreat, lose people, or otherwise fail without losing the game. It's a long campaign and the only time you game over is if everyone dies in a battle. You can always recover and rebuild.
Or you can be like most people and turn off ironman and just keep repeating fights until you squeak by. I know that's how I play, but if you can relax and live a little and accept some losses, that's how they intend you to play Battle Brothers.
On the bright side, the leveling system and the one perk tree are fairly elegant and not mired in a lot of pointless fiddly numbers. While the absolute quality of a stat is bit tough to read because the game refuses to show you enemy stats, it is fairly easy to figure out who on your team is better at what. (Except the fatigue stat never shows the baseline for some reason.) But that brings me to one of my main issues with the game...
The devs clearly intend for you to play this not only Ironman, but also with a wiki in the other hand at all times. There is ABSOLUTELY NO INFORMATION in this game to help you win it. You are beset by two Schrats. What the hell is a Schrat? What's an Unhold? What makes Undead Legionaires worse than an enemy mercenary corp? You either facecheck this stuff and watch your squad die or you do the smart thing and read a guide. And if you're doing that, you may as well read guides to figure out who wants what out of the perk tree and which archetypes you need to build your team for. It's fairly obnoxious how hard it is to get even general strategy advice when just two lines of "Orcs tend to open with charges that stun your team on impact, but the chargers don't do quite as much damage as their backliners." would do wonders. You can learn by doing but only a moron would do that in Ironman.
There's a lot of little QoL issues with it that could be fixed with mods too: For how important it is to gear your team to counter-play the enemy gimmicks, you have no ability to change your squad's loadout before combat. The overworld map is about half as fast as it needs to be for how much travel you have to do. The keyboard commands mid battle are half-assed and you can't answer "Are you sure" prompts with them. Unless you break immersion and rename your mans to their classes and who is expendable or not, it is almost impossible to see mid-battle how big a loss it was letting Lars die. Was Lars the crippled barber or was he your prospective endgame tank? Now that he's dead who knows? For a game that's nothing but dozens of hours of the same tactical fights over and over you really expect folks to have iron trap memories and not treat this as a backup game between their main games? Throw us a bone so we don't have to memorize so much crap unaided.
That said I have enjoyed Battle Brothers quite a lot and will continue to do so. It is good at what it does and has unmatched presentation and charm. While it is a hair pricey for what it offers, the polish and continuous development has shown that the devs really treat this game as a labor of love, and I find it easy to treat it the same. The strategy combat is satisfying and, in a strange way, somewhat relaxing even if I will probably never seriously run it at a high level of skill.

Review from Steam

I would put this game in my top 5 of all time easily. The learning curve is immense but very rewarding every time you figure out how to beat something that used to wipe your party, I am still learning things even after 2,600 hours which certainly says something about replayability and depth. There are obvious similarities with Mount and Blade, Darkest Dungeon, Mordheim(I am more thinking of the tabletop game than the computer game) and games like X-com/Jagged Alliance but I think this game is more than the sum of its parts. It strikes a good balance of how much of the game is randomized vs things you can rely on as well as maintaining a very good difficulty curve for the difficulty selected. Even on expert you can keep a run going smoothly if you know what you are doing but greed and overconfidence will get you killed. Even when I get unlucky I have played this game enough to know that I should have seen whatever happened coming and took the risk anyway.
As someone who dislikes how permadeath is implemented in a lot of other tactical rpg's, I think this one does it better than any other. Unlike in Xcom where replacing a character is basically just grinding them up, In Battle Brothers, every character is randomly generated within parameters set by their background which is then modified by traits and talents(which determine which stats they have better growth in. Most characters won't ever be great but knowing how to leverage what you have to get a stronger company is part of the draw of the game. They will eventually die but by that point you will almost certainly have found someone better to replace them. Getting a true god of war is very satisfying.
TLDR; If you like challenging tactical rpgs this is the game for you. There is nothing else quite like it on the market and it will keep you coming back for years to come if you are willing to learn its systems. Bonus points for the dev only putting out a handful of very high quality DLCs in a market where most games are oversaturated.

Review from Steam

I'V WON...... HOLY CRAP I'V WON.
It took a total of 139 hours and I had to come back to the game a total of three times and watch probably 4 hours of youtube videos to learn the tricks. but i am champion of battle brothers!!!!!
I am 40 and don't play many games. If i can do it, you can do it!!!!
Wait there are EXPANSIONS!!

Review from Steam

Game couldn't even get me to play for 6,200 hours. SMH

Review from Steam

Oh Battle Brothers what can I say about you? A hidden gem from 3 years ago, only saw it recently such was the lack of advertisement for it and was truly surprised. Didn't think games like this were made anymore. This is a medieval low fantasy mercenary management game. Oof what a mouthful. It's a game where you explore the world map in real time and fight battles in turn based combat xcom style and just like xcom it can seriously mess you up at any time. It's a game of stacking the odds in your favor while mitigating the adversaries odds as much as possible.
You hire, clothe, feed and equip your dudes while going from town to town looking for work to get a few more coins to keep the process going. It really is a hard game even on the medium setting and you can bet your bottom down dollar that the enemy will use every tactic to bring you down, from singling out dudes to flanking, there's a lot to pour your brain over it. Really engrossing.
You can see this is a labour of love. From what I heard this is a really small team, like 3-4 dudes if not less and what they have come up with is amazing. It's so amazing they did 2 more DLC with a lot of content where they thought they would do none. That says a lot. One of the main contentions people have with the game are the graphics. IMPHO I love the graphics because they remind me of tabletop games but there are a lot of people that don't so there aren't any fancy graphics. I guess that even a potato can run this game. They're not ugly, just stylish.
There's just a hint of magic in this game and it's not available to the player. Only necromancers can use magic and it's very limited, raise dead and a buff for the same undead which nevertheless can give you a few headaches.
There isn't much of a story in this game because it's supposed to be the story of your company and you'll write it as you play and that's OK. It's perfect for an open world where you cruise around defeating enemies be they brigades, noble houses, direwolves and undead. There's also the opportunity to rpg a bit thru events that happen from time to time where you can choose to be a nice guy or a more fiendish sort, both can result in positive outcomes so you're not funneled into a predictable "always nice guy" scenario.
If you like xcom, medieval games and using your brain for more than washing the dishes then this is a really good pick for you. Tell your friends about it. Let's just hope that more games like this come out. If so I'll never touch a triple A game ever again.

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