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

I've put in an hour. I feel like the tutorial doesn't do a great job of introducing me to the mechanics. It basically did all my moves for me in the first battle and then left me to fumble my through the next few.

I think I'm approaching the end of Banner Saga 2. The plot has taken some fairly interesting turns. It's still following the same, dual caravan approach, which feels a bit like how a novel will switch POV characters.

The main changes in gameplay I've noticed are fairly minor. The clansfolk are scavenging for supplies now, which makes them actually useful. So supplies have not been a major concern so far. Also it feels like I'm getting more renown. One reason is that there are these challenge battles in the training tent that try to teach you some advanced tactics. They give you a ton of renown with no risk.

I'm a bit surprised that they keep introducing significant amounts of new characters and classes. I count at least 8 new classes off the top of my head. You do get to add a 2nd ability for high level characters, so characters aren't as locked in to their original role.

Banner Saga 2 is significantly more generous with resources, as I recall. You could also make your characters hilariously OP.

Spoiler:

Spec Alette - or Rook I guess if that's how your game ended up - with the right skills and trinkets, and she'll get a reaction show on anyone entering her range, with knockback if i does enough damage, making her nearly untouchabble.

Redherring wrote:

Decided to carry on the saga - bought part 2 and 3, let’s see where this road trip takes us.

I got 2 and 3 as well. I think I'm going to take a bit of a break after BS1 and see if I can finish Wasteland 2 before starting 2 though.

Alien Love Gardener wrote:

I jumped in and beat it over the weekend. I was going to make some different decisions this time around, but i didn't have the heart to make a drifferent decision in the end, and the only drastic difference was in Frostvellr when I made the fateful decision to

Spoiler:

Pick upp Onef, who then proceeded to betray the caravan later on and kill poor Egil.

So, uh, I think my first playthrough is going to remain my canon one.

Still a great game, despite me not caring much for the gameplay systems. The alternating is so unintuitve, as does you using the same currency for supplies and leveling up. Yes, it forces you to make hard decisions, but it feels. Everything about the presentation is just *chef kiss* though.

Congrats on finishing up! That was fast! I'm glad you enjoyed it a second time through.

Mr GT Chris wrote:

I've put in an hour. I feel like the tutorial doesn't do a great job of introducing me to the mechanics. It basically did all my moves for me in the first battle and then left me to fumble my through the next few.

I feel like the beginning doesn't do a very good job of explaining much at all, just kind of tosses you into things and assumes you know a lot more than you do. But it sorts itself out nicely after a bit.

I got in my daily half hour or so tonight. Things are getting a bit grim. I feel like we're holding things together with tape and glue. Still in Chapter 6, but we're down to 1 day of supplies, and we're at some camp without the ability to buy any supplies. Starvation looms for at least some of us.

It didn't help that I chose poorly tonight. Pretty much every decision ended up costing a ton of time, pretty much guaranteeing that we'd run out of supplies.

Chapter 6 Spoiler

Spoiler:

F'ing Onef! Garg! Egil was one of my favorite characters, and so handy with his Stone Wall ability. He was pretty much the core of my battle plan. Send him straight at one half of the enemies to suck up attacks with his stone wall while everyone else whittled down the other half of the enemy force. He was a beast. I'm going to miss him.

You have my condolences.

After a couple of bad decisions in chapter 3 (like not understanding how the war options worked and that I could manually initiate a camp action—doi), I ended up deciding to start over. It's gone a lot better now that I have more familiarity with the tactics system, using the traversal system, etc. At least one character who I lost early in my first go is still alive, and in chapter 3, I'm not running with my entire squad injured this time, which is nice.

ubrakto wrote:

After a couple of bad decisions in chapter 3 (like not understanding how the war options worked and that I could manually initiate a camp action—doi), I ended up deciding to start over. It's gone a lot better now that I have more familiarity with the tactics system, using the traversal system, etc. At least one character who I lost early in my first go is still alive, and in chapter 3, I'm not running with my entire squad injured this time, which is nice. :)

I was thinking I might do a second run of Banner Saga 1 (after I finish my first run) to set up Banner Saga 2. I think it would go fairly quickly the second time through, and there are a couple of people I'd like to keep alive for the second game.

OK, another hour in, getting into the swing of it. Still feel like a strategy noob but enjoying the dialogs and story so far.

A decent way into part 2 now - chapter 10. Some things are revealing themselves to not be what we thought. We started with lots of supplies and people then made a string of terrible decisions under pressure

Spoiler:

Eyvind nearly killed himself making a bridge out of random rocks and the caravan split into two groups

and now not so many people. Or supplies.

Another day, another half hour. Just reached Chapter 7. We starved for one day, lost a handful of clansmen, but then got some supplies thanks to one of the events along the trail.

Combat is getting better. I thought we'd be struggling with our lost characters, but I think I'm getting better at using special abilities, and some of them can be nasty. Eyvind's lightning is a battle changer if you can get enemies on a diagonal. We've hit a few with three enemies lined up and it's great fun.

I'm curious to see where Chapter 7 takes us. I feel like we've been managing only one of the two parties for the longest time now. I think I've forgotten my tactics with the other group.

Made a bit of progress in Chapter 7 tonight. Things are definitely accelerating to a climax. I imagine I can't have more than a couple hours left, unless there is some sort of final battle that I might need to fight a few times to win.

Still enjoying the story, and curious to see how this first installment concludes.

This close to the end, I can say that I wish the combat had a bit more variety to it. While I haven't found it boring, as I'm still learning how to make different characters' abilities work well, it's most definitely got a same-same sort of feel to it. There isn't a ton of battles, though, which helps.

Chapter 11 - finally some

Spoiler:

darkness (in the tunnels)

for the first time.

Nice progress, Redherring! I'm avoiding the spoiler for the moment.

The last couple of nights have been busy for me, but I'm hoping to finish up Banner Saga 1 this weekend.

How's everyone else doing?

After a Chrono Trigger sized break, I picked back up in Ch.3, and immediately started off bad. I did a war segment, and pushed to a second battle after my guys were already weak from the first. We wound up with a total party wipe, and a ton of people had a -3 penalty to strength for a story battle, where I tried to do another back to back. I barely scraped that one out, with only two people still standing. As soon as I could, I rested enough to get everyone back up to full strength.

But then I lost another party member from a choice (some varl), and I guess I forgot how this game goes. Looking back, I think the option that would have saved him is obvious, but I’m just going to roll with it. I still had enough for a full party, so it’s not totally a problem. And TBH, I don’t exactly know who it was I lost, since the name wasn’t too familiar. I guess when named party members come up in scenes with choices, I should be more careful going forward, since that’s actually where they’re going to die.

I finished up Ch.3, and have started off into Ch.4. The two teams feel wildly different, since one is full of varl and fight mostly tanky dredge, and the other is just humans fighting humans, so they're squishier but the enemies are too.

So, amde a start on The Banner Saga 2 tonight, and mostly I've forgotten how to actually do the battles. My first was embarrassingly inept, but I just about pulled through will only a little humiliation to contend with.

Storywise it picks up pretty much where the Banner Saga 1 leaves off. Not much more to report just yet on that front. I will keep this thread updated!

I'm in Ch 7, had some carnage due to a Ch 3 choice (I think). Whoops! I've turned down the difficulty to easy because there are just too many battles.

Woot! Done! Feels good to finish a CRPG game after a bit of a personal slump.

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/wbt3wqd.jpg)

That was a thoroughly satisfying conclusion for the first part of a trilogy. The more I played the game the more I enjoyed it. After the first couple of chapters I was okay with things, but by the time I got to the last chapter I was having a great time.

I also like how it didn't overstay its welcome. For the mechanics, complexity, and story, everything just feels so nicely packaged.

Combat was repetitive, for sure, but it wasn't until Chapter 6 and 7 where I felt like I'd gotten decent at using the characters' abilities, and it was rewarding to go through the last two chapters with relative ease in combat. The final battles went surprisingly smoothly.

I think I got really lucky with most of the supply and forces questions, as we only had one day where we didn't have supplies, and we ended the game with a large force of clansmen, fighters, and varls.

The character decisions, however, were another story... big spoilers

Spoiler:

We lost Gunnulf (early) and Egil (late). Both of these characters would have been super helpful to keep alive.

I'm curious to learn about the other endings. Big ending spolier:

Spoiler:

I chose to have Alette take the shot, didn't realize that would mean she was going to die at the end. Bummer! I wonder if choosing Rook would have meant he dies instead of her?

In any case, I really enjoyed this game. I'm going to jump over and see if I can finish Wasteland 2, but I'm thinking to play BS2 and BS3 during the CRPG window, for sure.

And ... part two is done.

That went to some weird places. in the final fight

Spoiler:

Bolverk won, and I’m not sure if that was a good or bad thing.

Godzilla Blitz wrote:

I'm curious to learn about the other endings. Big ending spolier:

Spoiler:

I chose to have Alette take the shot, didn't realize that would mean she was going to die at the end. Bummer! I wonder if choosing Rook would have meant he dies instead of her?

Spoiler:

Yes. Which means you're playing Banner Saga 2 as Alette instead of Rook if Rook takes the shot.

Alien Love Gardener wrote:
Godzilla Blitz wrote:

I'm curious to learn about the other endings. Big ending spolier:

Spoiler:

I chose to have Alette take the shot, didn't realize that would mean she was going to die at the end. Bummer! I wonder if choosing Rook would have meant he dies instead of her?

Spoiler:

Yes. Which means you're playing Banner Saga 2 as Alette instead of Rook if Rook takes the shot.

Wow.

It's probably to be expected. Banner Saga establishes early on that choices matter.

Carrying on through Ch.5. I don't know what the proper role play option would be, but I chose to fight on the bridge at every opportunity, because I want more Renown and I'm now fully convinced that it is the most important thing in this game (followed by supplies).

Then into Ch.6, I nearly ran out of supplies for my army, and right as the counter was about to hit zero, another group joined and brought supplies which bought me a couple extra days. And right as those were about to run out, I got to a small town, and bought out all of their supplies. Good thing I had all that extra Renown lying around.

Sundown wrote:

Carrying on through Ch.5. I don't know what the proper role play option would be, but I chose to fight on the bridge at every opportunity, because I want more Renown and I'm now fully convinced that it is the most important thing in this game (followed by supplies).

Then into Ch.6, I nearly ran out of supplies for my army, and right as the counter was about to hit zero, another group joined and brought supplies which bought me a couple extra days. And right as those were about to run out, I got to a small town, and bought out all of their supplies. Good thing I had all that extra Renown lying around.

Nice! I did the same thing and had the same sort of series of events after that. I ran out of supplies in Chapter 6 for one day, otherwise I think I would have gotten the achievement for not having anyone starve during the game.

I think pushing the combat (which does take more time) helps because the upside of renown is greater than the downside of injured characters.

I think I'm heading toward the finale of Banner Saga 3 now. A couple of new characters added to my groups and some old faces resurfaced. This game really does a good job of making each fighter at least somewhat memorable and distinct with only a few lines of dialogue and a paragraph of backstory.

One particularly tragic outcome to a choice resulted in me shamelessly looking at a walkthrough and reloading:

Spoiler:

Rook already lost Alette. I'll be damned if he's going to lose Oddleif too.

I made chapter 7 over the weekend and had much the same experiences. Twice I ran out of food on the day the caravan entered a villiage or stumbled into a situation to find food. It feels like those last journeys are all designed to leave you on the brink regardless, but the game does a great job of making it feel organic.

I fought at the bridge as well, but . . .

Spoiler:

I also attempted to fight my way down a certain path subsequent to that. Interesting how you get rewarded/bailed out for one foolhardy decision at the bridge and get pretty well crushed for the same kind of thinking not that much later in the game.

Further, I had Ulef in the party. That did not end well. lol Super job of the game setting that one up and being patient with letting those dominos fall. That sinking feeling as he put an axe into Rook was the same I had reading/watching The Red Wedding.

Alright, I finished Banner Saga 1!

One of my favorite combos in this game, and I seldom got to line it up properly, is having my spear guy use Impale on some heavily armored enemy, and then have a shieldbearer come in and knock them back, so they take a ton of bleed damage when they get pushed back, and even more when they move back to attack. It was a great way to completely neuter an high risk enemy by shaving off a lot of health without having to break through the armor first. I also like using Impale on any of the slingers, since they run off after damage and bleed out for me all on their own

Now for final spoilers:

Spoiler:

I gave Rook the arrow so he's gone now, and presumably Alette will lead the caravan for the next couple of games. And though it doesn't count for anything, I let Iver take the final blow on the Bellower in the second fight, one since he had plenty of strength left, and two I thought it would be funny if his whole bit was killing Sundr.

I plan finish the trilogy over the quarter, and it helps that it's pretty good for doing it in smallish chunks (I've got it on the Switch).

And I was having this thought earlier, but this game is a mix of a sort of visual novel and tactical fights, but the visual novel level is where most of the big events are, and you can honestly fumble though most of the tactical engagements. It struck me that Banner Saga's balance between the two is sort of like Pyre, instead of a Fire Emblem or some other TRPG.

Congrats on finishing up, Sundown, nice work! You are our fifth finisher, and welcome to Level 2!

Sundown wrote:

And I was having this thought earlier, but this game is a mix of a sort of visual novel and tactical fights, but the visual novel level is where most of the big events are, and you can honestly fumble though most of the tactical engagements. It struck me that Banner Saga's balance between the two is sort of like Pyre, instead of a Fire Emblem or some other TRPG.

Yeah, the fights are the safe place. It did take me a bit to adjust to the fact that some innocent conversation could likely kill one of your best characters.