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Battle Brothers

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

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 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

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

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.

Review from Steam

The game delivers exactly what it promises.
Most reviews are spot on, and so, I'll try to avoid creating an echo chamber with my two cents.
Yes, this game is difficult. At times, it's completely unfair in my eyes. But it's not the AI. Or bad luck. Or difficulty settings. It's a severe lack of intel. Many, many, many losses could've been prevented had there been a way to learn something about what I'm going up against beforehand.
Example: (Most) Zombies stay down if you remove/crush their heads. Seems obvious, I know, but, the point is, not once have I seen this mentioned in almost 200 hours of playing. (Perhaps on the loading screen tips, but, I can't read them since it loads instantly.) This lead to early encounters where my men were ill prepared and eventually overwhelmed.
The next expansion, Of Flesh and Faith, seemingly implies that most people lack knowledge on creatures, which, provides a solid *in game* contextual counterargument to what I have to say. BUT! There's many people who have proven they know a ton about these creatures through various events.
It would've been nice to seek knowledge from them instead of Google. Be it random anatomists/beast hunters/scholars, a library/alchemist/taxidermist, or one of my men simply saying something during the pre-battle phase.
That's my rant. You've been warned. Lovely game.

Review from Steam

This game is the quintessential diamond in the rough. Full stop.
In a sea of bland, uninspired trite, this game stands, a luminous gem.
That occasional game you happen upon that evidently shows the passion the developers have for it.
Game design is a series of interesting choices, and Battle Brothers delivers that in stride. The premise is that you run a mercenary company in a procedurally generated world, and the RNG of the game is harnessed to make every person you choose to hire in your team to stand out with various traits, every level up you make with your roster meaningful. Every battle you face, unique in it's own way. Your battle with bandits will feel radically different compared to facing Nomads, or Alps, or Nachzehrers. Where as Bandits might tend to hang back and pelt you with arrows or bolts to force you to fight on their terms, Nachzehrers will try to overwhelm you and will even bolster their power by consuming their dead allies to become even greater threats. Using one single approach to all your battles will get you killed quick, each foe requires different approaches to come out sitting pretty.
Your main form of engaging with the world is by taking contracts from settlements, and they come in different varieties. Escort a caravan, deliver a package, find a map location, retrieve a family heirloom from thieves. The options you're given with how to make ends meet are vast and cater to many different playstyles. Want to play it a bit safe after taking a beating from a tough contract? Go with a package delivery. Want to really test your mettle early on? Get in on gutting some orcs. One of the best aspects of the game is that you're entirely in control of the pace. You decide when you need new hires, when you need new weapons, armor, accessories or even if you want to even bother buying armor, and rather just take it off your dead foes.
The game has the courage to trust you with how you want to play, where you want to play it, and when you want to engage with the various battle mechanics. It manages this great sense of freedom with solid, and very challenging gameplay. If you're new to the turn based tactical games, you may want to opt to go for the beginner difficulty. To those who want a game that finally stops holding their hand and really test them. This game is for you. It's challenging, and at times, quite difficult, but usually not outright unfair.
Of course it's not a perfect game, the RNG, as with any game can get quite frustrating. And for people like myself who try not to savescum it's infuriating at times to hire an expensive bro, like a hedge knight only to find that he's got some pretty poor stats all around. And while I appreciate the variety, there are some enemies that are straight up unfun to fight. The Alps for instance, aren't terribly fun to fight. They're not horribly difficult once you've figure out the best method of fighting them, but the fights are long, drawn out and a little too rng in who is targeted and whether the guy dies. A good portion of the best approach when fighting Alps is to simply have numbers. Alot of it is having better action economy than they do and you know killing them quickly. And that approach isn't terribly fun, imo.
The same goes for the Hexen, I don't think mind control mechanics are really fun in any game, but Hexens in particular are quite frustrating until you have a few dedicated crossbowman and resolve boosting potions. Otherwise you'll likely be losing a guy or two, or if your early enough in the game, there's a decent chance it'll be a game ender if you stay and fight. Assuming you have a decently large fighting force though, you'll probably get through the fight.
That all said, this is an fantastic game, a game this good comes once every few years. The fact more people don't know about it even, baffles me. This game deserved game of the year for 2017 (The year it officially released) more than any other game that year. Yet, this game seems to not get the audience it deserves. So, if even one other person ends up buying this game due to my review. I'll consider that a win.