The GWJ CRPG Club - Game 12: Banner Saga (In Progress)

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For more information on the GWJ CRPG Club, go here.

The Banner Saga is the GWJ CRPG's Club's twelfth winner, winning the vote in a stomping romp of the other contenders.

The Banner Saga is the first of three tactical RPGs developed by Stoic Studio. Published in 2014, this story-driven game based on Norse mythology lets the player take control of two characters. Strong points of the game are its combat and choice-driven play. The game is playable on pretty much every relatively modern platform.

While technically we're playing Banner Saga 1, because the game is relatively short, participants are welcome to continue on to play Banner Saga 2 and/or Banner Saga 3. And in the spirit of inclusivity, if you're already played Banner Saga 1, you're welcome to simply jump in and start with Banner Saga 2 or 3. Playing any one of the three games will count for leveling up purposes. If you do start with 2 or 3, please take care to not spoil major story plot lines for the people starting with Banner Saga 1.

We'll be playing this game until March 31, 2021. This thread is for friendly discussion as we play through the game. Share your reflections, successes, defeats, tactics, wishes, impressions, and whatever here! The more conversation the better, so post away.

For BIG spoilers, please use the spoiler tag. (No! I am your father!) Tactics, strategies, general story progression likely won't need them.

Anyone and everyone is welcome to participate, and can start at any time, so join the fun! One quick favor: If you decide to play, make a post here along the lines of "I'm in!" to let us know. If you start and finish the game before the end, you'll level up your GWJ CRPG Membership.

Helpful Links
Tip: For shopping, the trilogy is often marked near the same price as just the first game
Steam ($4.99 <-- SALE! - BS2 & BS3 as well)
GOG ($24.99)
Playstation Store ($24.99)
Xbox Store ($24.99)
Nintendo Switch ($24.99)
iOS ($9.99) (Beware: BS3 not available on iOS and saves transfer)
Google Play - Android ($9.99)
Is There Any Deal: Banner Saga
How Long to Beat (10.5 - 27 hours)
Fan Wiki
Wikipedia Page
Company Site
Achievements Guide
Metacritic (80 metascore, 8.0 user score)
Walkthrough
(Taking suggestions)

Members Completed
gewy
Redherring
Alien Love Gardener

Members Playing
Godzilla Blitz
Sorbicol
Bubblefuzz
ubrakto
Math
Neutrino
LastSurprise
jdzappa
Sundown
JLS
brokenclavicle
WizKid
AUs_TBirD
Mr GT Chris
GioClark
Hardek

I'm in and have started.

I just played the first 10 minutes or so, going through the story background, the combat tutorial, and the first conversation after that. So far so good, combat looks rather straightforward with some decent variety and tactics to play around with. Liking the artwork and style so far. Fun to play a non-isometric RPG for a change too.

I’m also in, although probably not until I can pick up the second and third games in a sale. There is a ‘Stoic’ package available that includes all 3 games I think.

The first game has been my favourite game of this year (so far) and I’m really looking forward to playing the other 2. We’ve got 6 months and there are a lot of games coming out the next couple of weeks so I’ll slot them in somewhere/somehow. I might just even go back through the first one again!

Sorbicol wrote:

I’m also in, although probably not until I can pick up the second and third games in a sale. There is a ‘Stoic’ package available that includes all 3 games I think.

The first game has been my favourite game of this year (so far) and I’m really looking forward to playing the other 2. We’ve got 6 months and there are a lot of games coming out the next couple of weeks so I’ll slot them in somewhere/somehow. I might just even go back through the first one again!

Awesome!

I'm looking for 2 and 3 on sale as well. Nothing apparent at the moment for PC, but looking at Is There Any Deal's price history for the games makes me think we'll see a good number of sales pop up over the upcoming months, certainly something around Black Friday at the latest. Looks like they go on deep discounts when they do go on sale.

Have had it downloaded on my PS4 for a while in my "on hold" folder, this seems like a good opportunity to move it to my "B playing" folder

In for at least the first one!

I'm in... but I should really finish Wasteland 2 before starting.

I'm in! I've got Banner Saga 1 & 2 in my library ready to go, hopefully I can pick up BS3 in a sale at some point.

In! The game is downloading to my Switch this morning.

I’m in though wondering if I can get credit for my first play through as long as I finish 2 and 3?

I'm in. I grabbed the trilogy on sale for the Switch after this game came close to winning in a previous round of voting, so I'll hopefully get started in the next couple of days.

I'm in!

Determined to do better than my non-effort on Wasteland 2.

Already started this game a while ago, but this is the perfect excuse to jump back in. Faily early in the game, still.

Bubblefuzz, ubrakto, Math, Neutrino, LastSurprise, jdzappa, Sundown, JLS, brokenclavicle - I've added you all to the list, welcome!

Math wrote:

I'm in... but I should really finish Wasteland 2 before starting.

I'm thinking to tag team and play both, but yes, after jumping back into Wasteland 2 the other night I realized I was really enjoying it and want to finish as well. I'm going to try to keep going.

jdzappa wrote:

I’m in though wondering if I can get credit for my first play through as long as I finish 2 and 3?

Happy to help. Let's see if I can clarify. We only level up once per round. The rough criteria for leveling up is participating, playing with the group, and finishing the game within the six months. In this case, any one of the three games will count. Hope this helps!

I’m in.

In once I find a copy...

I'm in, but probably won't start before the holidays. Still need to really get going on Wasteland 2 and finish it before 2021.

WizKid, AUs_TBirD, Redherring - I've added you guys to the list, welcome!

AUs_TBirD wrote:

I'm in, but probably won't start before the holidays. Still need to really get going on Wasteland 2 and finish it before 2021.

I'm glad that it sounds like a few of us will be finishing that up as well!

I'll play the first game on Mac.

In for the first one. I've had this one on Steam for a while and bounced off it a couple of times. Here's to trying again

Would be playing it right now, but the missus is Firing up those Emblems.

I’m in. First two missions are down. Progress stalled when I got to the world map and saw that you can click on every feature to get some background info on it. Compulsively read everything and now it’s time for bed.

Mr GT Chris, GioClark, gewy - I've added you all, welcome!

gewy wrote:

I’m in. First two missions are down. Progress stalled when I got to the world map and saw that you can click on every feature to get some background info on it. Compulsively read everything and now it’s time for bed.

I did that on my playthrough as well. Fascinating stuff in there though, it's a lovely way of world-building without forcing the player to engage with it.

I would definitely recommend people do though.

I started it up this morning, made it through the first tutorial battle and the next one at the mead hall. I have this feeling like I don't totally know what I'm doing, nor how I want to play the main (?) character.

GioClark wrote:

In for the first one. I've had this one on Steam for a while and bounced off it a couple of times. Here's to trying again :)

Same here. I own the second one and may check that out too

LastSurprise wrote:

I started it up this morning, made it through the first tutorial battle and the next one at the mead hall. I have this feeling like I don't totally know what I'm doing, nor how I want to play the main (?) character.

The main characters chop and change as you move through the story

Combat is essentially on 2 layers - Armour and physical health. The more Armour someone has, the less physical damage an attack will cause. The goal is essentially to strip armour and then strike at the physical health. There is a wide variety of abilities and skills that will do all that, which synergise with other party members and their skills that you'll recruit throughout the game. Other abilities are all about controlling the turn sequence.

It's not a complex system once you get your head around it, but it does take a little while to work out and there is a lot of depth to how you might choose to approach it.

One tip - you'll not get enough points to level up absolutely everyone you'll recruit throughout the game, so I'd recommend finding a good core who you like playing with, focus on leveling them and not overly worry about anyone else. It's such a short game (comparatively speaking) that you can always go back and play with characters you've ignored on previous playthroughs.

Another couple of points. The physical health is your damage output. So the lower you get an enemy’s health the less damage they can do.

Also the initiative counter is always you go, then they go, no matter how many characters you and they still have alive. It can be a good strategy to keep a few very damaged enemies alive so they take some of the turns.

Thanks for the tips and insights, Sorbicol and Hardek!

I wasn't able to play last night. It was our wedding anniversary. Pretty sure playing games on our wedding anniversary would be a pretty quick way to not have many more wedding anniversaries, so yeah, no progress last night.

Hardek wrote:

Also the initiative counter is always you go, then they go, no matter how many characters you and they still have alive. It can be a good strategy to keep a few very damaged enemies alive so they take some of the turns.

Clever clever! I'm going to try this for sure. Thanks.

Ah, the exact opposite of almost every other game where it’s preferable to kill one than damage two or even more. Will be hard to retrain my instincts for that.

I played for about an hour tonight. Things feel a bit scattered at the moment. I'm wasn't too sure of the main story, then the whole thing shifted, and now I'm not sure of either story, but we'll roll with it. I'm also not really sure what the consequences of my decisions are.

If you lose a battle it doesn't really seem like that big of a deal, no? I chose poorly and ended up with a fight that was a bit too much for me, then lost, but all that happened was my characters ended up wounded and I didn't really get any renown from the battle. But in a different battle one of our characters fell, but he seemed like he might have actually died? Gosh, not sure.

I'm making decisions, and things seem to be changing because of the decisions, and I think a character died because I made a certain decision, but since I really didn't know who the character was I'm not really sure if it matters all that much.

Does the number of fighters in your caravan matter? I assume it does, but I'm not sure how.

Also not sure if I should be spending renown for stuff or just hoarding it for leveling up.

But I'm not worry too much about things at the moment, just plowing along and enjoying the ride. If I end up getting myself hopelessly stuck I may restart.

Rawr!

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