The Banner Saga: Factions is the premiere multiplayer role-playing strategy game on PC and Mac. It brings the feeling of beloved tactical games to a high-definition era with gorgeous hand-animated artwork and a degree of depth unprecedented in the realm of free games. Fight, learn, and lead your clan of vikings to glory!
User reviews:
Mostly Positive (706 reviews) - 75% of the 706 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Feb 25, 2013

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"A mixture of ocean-like tactical depth and frantic mid-match pacing that feels impressively different."
Rock Paper Shotgun

"When you first boot it up, you'll probably find yourself just... staring."

- Kotaku

"In The Banner Saga you feel the cost of every unit weighing on you... Factions might be the Saving Private Ryan of RPGs."

- Indie Statik

About This Game

The Banner Saga: Factions is the premiere multiplayer role-playing strategy game on PC and Mac. It brings the feeling of beloved tactical games to a high-definition era with gorgeous hand-animated artwork and a degree of depth unprecedented in the realm of free games. Fight, learn, and lead your clan of vikings to glory!

System Requirements

Mac OS X
    • OS:Windows XP
    • Processor:1.6GHz
    • Memory:512 MB RAM
    • Memory:1024 MB RAM
    • Other Requirements:Broadband Internet connection
    • OS:10.7.5
    • Processor:1.83GHz
    • Memory:1GB RAM
    • Memory:2GB RAM
Customer reviews
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Mostly Positive (706 reviews)
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482 reviews match the filters above ( Mostly Positive)
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
127 of 161 people (79%) found this review helpful
6 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
83.0 hrs on record
Posted: March 30, 2015
Aaah this mess and what a mess it is.
Back when The Banner Saga: Factions launched there was so much talk. Talk about ripping off the kickstarter backers (which they weren't ripped off they just never bothered to read), talk about the lawsuit for use of the word 'saga', talk about how the game was so perfectly balanced that it risked becoming stale.

Now no one talks about The Banner Saga: Factions anymore.
Looks like that last one came true.

First of all this is a mini-game, a subgame if you will. The point of this game is solely to PvP so do not confuse it with the main product and likewise this review is for this game not the main game itself.

TBS:F is like a game of chess...With only 4 pieces. But wait, each of those pieces come in 3(4) flavours so their is variety!
Except not really. Confused? We gotta go deeper Leo!
You have your typical 3 classes, you know Tank, damage dealer, how does it go again? shield smasher? Yeah thats it. Whats a healer?

Now without sounding like an instruction manual every unit has 2 bars, a health bar and an armor bar. armor reduces damage but the lowest amount you can do is 1hp. Be warned however that losing your armor is a big deal and a low armor or armorless unit will be cut down in short order! This makes games very methodical. Do you snipe hits for 1 damage each trying to score an early kill, or do you whittle down armor and then deal devastating damage to quickly mop up and win? Afterall their are no healers so every match is a war of attrition!
It works out really well and I can't do it justice with words alone, it is a simple idea that could have gone really badly but here it is balanced perfectly.

Of course not all things are created equally in any video game and this one is no different so what sounds like an awesome and rivetting gameplay experience ends as a battle of patience as a losing player with 1 archer can still run away and then pick your remaining units off and trust me, they will. So every team has archers because being dumb doesn't pay off on the battlefield and most matches become mirror matches. Remember when I compared this game to chess? Imagine introducing a new piece into a game of chess. Imagine the sheer balance upset and new tactics that would bring to the table?! This game suffers that exact same issue because the balance is so fine, it is too fine and very easy to upset that balance.

So what happened?

It stagnated, what did you expect? A competitive game needs a lot to keep the crowds coming back. Look at DOTA, new champions every month is it? Streetfighter, new iterations just about every 2 years. This game? Not a damn thing since release.

The music is fine as are the sound effects and honestly who even gives a ♥♥♥♥? The music has to be great for people to sit up and take notice and here it is just above average. But the art, this game is graphically a piece of art. Playing this game is like visiting an art gallery it just looks so good!

But you play a game to be entertained (usually) and this game is fleeting fun. Their is fun to be had don't get me wrong but when you decide to shake it up a bit and really get into the game you will realize their isn't much more to it to explore, what you see is what you get. So I can't recommend this game.

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319 of 458 people (70%) found this review helpful
10 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
1.2 hrs on record
Posted: November 1, 2014
I played the solo campain with great pleasure. Ambiance, strong fight mecanisms and nice artwork are still there but...

This declination is a pay to win with quite a bad interface where you always search how to do things.

Please avoid pay to win games, they have to disapear.
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40 of 42 people (95%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
114.8 hrs on record
Posted: August 15, 2015
So you put together a team of viking and giant warriors and fight short tactical turnbased fights and tournaments to get renown, wich is used to buy more space for warriors or upgrade your warriors. You get matched against players with the same combined level of fighters, resulting in very even matches.
The combat system is identical to the banner saga, with the only exception of some small changes to the abilities of some units.

Though I strongly recommend the game, there are some issues that you should know before playing.

First of all it is a player vs player only game. There is no training mode or single player, if you want that you have to buy The banner Saga (strongly recommended as well).

The second major issue is that the game seems kind of forgotten by the developers, there are memory leak issues that cause lag, and updates are close to nonexistent.

The third issue is that most player quit due to the first two, or the fact that the gameplay changes very little over time, resulting in very few players online at any moment. This of course can cause painfully long periods of waiting for a match. This is also to some extent caused by the matching system, in wich you may be unable to battle anyone at all if you don't have enough warriors to put together teams of different levels (ironically happens predominantly to new players).

With those things out of the way, this is really fun and challenging game for you tactics fans. The turn system is different from many other games and is of extreme tactical importance, and to me the number of classes and restrictions are enough for a large umber of tactics and combos.

Adressing the issues: The first becomes a non-issue after like four fights. The community is great and everyone are excited for new players and will help you get started.
The second issue is bad, but in theory if more people play it the devs should work more to upgrade it. It will also likely get a boost after the release of newly announced TBS2.
The third issue is the hard one. I personally don't think its boring, just as I dont think chess is boring, even if chess hasnt got any upgrades or new skins for decades =). And remember that many quit because there are too few players already. what kind of logic is that? But I won't judge anyone who played the game for a year and a half, waiting for someone to fix the lag and crash issues, and stopped playing when nothing happened.

Try it out though. it's Free! and fun!
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69 of 89 people (78%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
0.9 hrs on record
Posted: January 16, 2015
No one plays this game....It seems like it could be fun but PvP matches are the only option and there are just not enough people playing to even find a match. They really should have though about having PvE for leveling and training. apparently the tournament is a thing but I can't get to level 12 to participate because no one plays quickmatch in my level range haha. Oh well, uninstall.
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66 of 89 people (74%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
127.8 hrs on record
Posted: November 25, 2013
If you like tactics games and multiplayer this game has quite a bit of depth to it. The hand animated character models really feel like living things, and theres quite a bit of polish. There haven't been any huge balance tweaks in a while, but the core game is amazing. Can't wait for the single player to release!
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27 of 28 people (96%) found this review helpful
4,929.3 hrs on record
Posted: March 28, 2013
Turn based strategy, depth, art, music, great community! Got it all :)
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53 of 73 people (73%) found this review helpful
583.4 hrs on record
Posted: November 13, 2013
It's viking themed, its artwork design is retro-stylish and reminiscent of golden Disney era and it resembles chess but with more diversity and "easy to grasp difficult to master" mechanics. It has an awesome community and it's free to play with no pay-to-win features.

"This game is simply great and greatly simple." --- doomator
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27 of 33 people (82%) found this review helpful
0.8 hrs on record
Posted: March 16, 2014
If you have played The Banner Saga, you know what to expect.

If you have not, well, it is a game for those MMO enthusiasts who like a slower pace, more calculating approach and generally leaning towards chess rather than Wipeout in their games. Only complaints I would have are the same as for the "original" TBS: we could use more animation and more (i.e. any) voiceover. Other than that, the graphics are delightful, the atmosphere is great and the audio is fantastic.

Definitely for the calmer, more realxed gamer. If you want a game for long winter evenings you will not be disappointed.
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33 of 45 people (73%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
217.9 hrs on record
Posted: November 26, 2013
An excellent game with plenty of strategy if you persevere and learn the mechanics. In contrast to some other reviews out there, there is no real random element to this game if you learn how to play it, and learning the game is made all the easier by the friendly community which are always happy to help. I can't reccommend this game enough and as it's free there's no reason not to try it!
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23 of 29 people (79%) found this review helpful
90.1 hrs on record
Posted: March 7, 2014
Great art, great concept, great community. A truly great game, which I highly recommend to everyone who likes turn-based games.
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Recently Posted
0.6 hrs
Posted: October 12
Thats my banner in the game.

Helpful? Yes No Funny
Buxton Boi
0.2 hrs
Posted: October 8
Honestly its incredible and i now want the singleplayer games.



Downloading banner saga 2
Helpful? Yes No Funny
55.0 hrs
Posted: October 7
abandoned and beautiful
Helpful? Yes No Funny
The Hound
5.5 hrs
Posted: October 2
I liked the turn based combat and thats about it. Pay to win and theres pretty much no one who plays this.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
0.5 hrs
Posted: September 4
Bad game play
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Pemadam Nafsu
0.8 hrs
Posted: September 3
Sadly if you are low level the queue are damn long...
Helpful? Yes No Funny
3.8 hrs
Posted: July 29
it is an interesting game and definitely worth it if you cannot get the banner saga games as it is essentially just the pvp partof the banner saga games although the playerbase is very small because of the games that have come out
Helpful? Yes No Funny
0.6 hrs
Posted: July 15
Completely dead.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
The Lone Rider
286.4 hrs
Posted: July 13
Banner Saga 1 & 2 are great games by themselves. This game, which is s multiplayer pvp format of the game - is an abandoned project only used to promote BS 1 & 2 these days. With all my respect to the developers, who are but a small team with a great vision for character and style, I can by no means justify a completely abandoned product as this one while it still allows players to invest real money in game. The only news and update notifications you will see are regarding the other 2 games. Most recent news notification ( which regards to bs 1 and not this game ) is from 2014.

It is understandable that plans not always work out, but responsibility has to be shown when this occurs and in this case - 1. real money purchase options have to be blocked and 2. formal developer notification as to the state of the game has to be made.

Game has great potential. In fact, so much more than bs 1 and 2 can ever dream to have - as it is not based on AI but on human inteliligence which is ever creative, ever fresh, ever challenging. Hence endless potential and replayability.
But putting aside the peculiar decision to forsaken it for the sake of much more limited projects ( personally spent almost 300 hours in this game vs 12 hours in bs1 which I didnt even care to finish ), I can not but criticise the ignoring tactics of the developers not having the integrity to at least admit and apologize for turning their back on this game.

Unfortunately I have to say - do not go near this game until Stoic acknowledges its state and has the integrity to either announce their plans for its future or announce their lack of and stop selling real money packages for a dead, unsupported product.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
49.0 hrs
Posted: July 12
Pvp mode of Banner Saga. The game is now dead.
Helpful? Yes No Funny