Sound the horns, ye scoundrels. Battle Brothers [official site], the turn-based strategy full of pointless deaths and bad decisions, has emerged from under the pile of corpses that litter the early access battlefield. After almost two years of mercenary mischief, the full release was today. If you’re not familiar with the man-hiring and hexagonal tile-based killing of the game, don’t fret. They’ve got a wee video to show you what’s what, which you'll find down there.
I played some of it back in the day and found it to be a grand old romp. I haven’t played Jagged Alliance, from which it takes some inspiration, but I am a fan of the new age XCOMs and it goes in a similar direction. You take rustic farmer types and put them through the blistering grindstone of battle until they either become real warriors or die in some tragic altercation with a goblin swinging a fishing net around its head.
The hook here is that it’s all set in a “low fantasy” world of hard times and harder monsters. The world map is randomly generated and open to explore from the start. Each town will have quests and recruits, shops and inns. One of the features is that you can buy a round of ale for your men to raise their spirits, but the drink also lasts a while and might make them a bit useless in battle if you indulge your battalion too much.
What I remember most is the toughness though. There usually isn’t enough money to make up for all your faults – to buy new weapons or armour for everyone and still afford to pay them their wages, for example. Warriors die because they’re ill-equipped, unhappy fighters desert the company, frightened and bruised men run away in the middle of a fight. It’s a game about winning some battles and then losing the war, all because you spent too much money on an unreliable war dog.