Our original news post about the existance of a Banner Saga board game, Warbands, was one of the first things I wrote on the site, so I was mighty confused to discover it only just launched on Kickstarter – which is essentially an accepted pre-order platform for board games – today. It’s already made $75,000 after only asking after $50k, which is the kind of thing that happens a lot with board games and why it’s an accepted pre-order platform.
Prefer your strategy digital? Here’s the best ones to play.
A couple of interesting things about this one. First is the total lack of luck involved. There’s no randomisation in damage or card drawing when it comes to combat, it’s all based on tactical aptitude. It’s an odd choice for a board game, where I’ve always preferred a dose of randomness as an anecdote-creator and seems to be the basis of even the more competitive ones. It does mean the combat is reliably fast, with each encounter on a Warband’s path taking only ten minutes or so.
Each player takes control of one of the characters within that Warband, deciding how they’ll act in combat and levelling them up individually. You’ll be arguing with team-mates for bonuses to your own stats and trying to keep yourself alive, while having to rely on them to make sure the entire group doesn’t fall. It’s a cool dynamic, but one that could easily be ruined by the backseat master player you find at some game tables – who has the skill at the game and mental ability to calculate everything every player should do to stay alive, while not realising winning under those circumstances is unlikely to be fun for anyone but him.
There’s a couple of lengthy gameplay videos of play sessions embedded below. It’s $80 for a copy of the physical game, or you can use the Kickstarter to finally get your hands on the digital version of The Banner Saga for $15.