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 (563 reviews)
Release Date: Feb 25, 2013

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Reviews

"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

Windows
Mac OS X
    Minimum:
    • OS:Windows XP
    • Processor:1.6GHz
    • Memory:512 MB RAM
    Recommended:
    • Memory:1024 MB RAM
    • Other Requirements:Broadband Internet connection
    Minimum:
    • OS:10.7.5
    • Processor:1.83GHz
    • Memory:1GB RAM
    Recommended:
    • Memory:2GB RAM
Helpful customer reviews
243 of 333 people (73%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
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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16 of 19 people (84%) found this review helpful
0.9 hrs on record
Posted: January 16
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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13 of 16 people (81%) found this review helpful
0.6 hrs on record
Posted: January 30
Dead online community.
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9 of 11 people (82%) found this review helpful
5.3 hrs on record
Posted: January 22
Just buy The Banner Saga proper, and avoid this. Maybe give Factions a go to learn a few in-game mechanics.

The much-lauded combat has all the depth of a game of Tic-tac-toe or Draughts. There's lots of pretty pictures, though.

Advancement comes at a price or by incrementally expanding levels of grinding. For example; it costs 20 Renown to level a character the first time, second time it costs 80. On average you can expect to earn between 3 to 10 Renown (experience points) per battle, depending on how well you do. Classes and customization are behind a paywall (to be expected), and many opponents constantly wait out their turns forcing you to move first and get within distance of their Archers and units with larger movement ranges.

Not fun, could provide a couple of hours distraction but ultimately an endevour that goes nowhere. Possibly provides a decent introduction that could or could not lead to a purchase of The Banner Saga.
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23 of 39 people (59%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
9.7 hrs on record
Posted: November 1, 2014
Great game. Artwork is unique and amazing. The strategy has a lot of depth and you'll get punished if you just blindly do something in a battle

There's a few things that this game definitely needs however. The major one would be more base unit types
Right now it only has Warrior, Shieldbanger, Archer and Raider. Each of these units can be upgraded to 3 types. But I believe the game needs AT LEAST 2 more base units to give it more depth. I think the single player has some more units so I hope they add that to the multi as well and add more base units in future

Also a little more customization would be nice. Only customization you currently have is different colors for units which looks a bit repetitive after a while

All in all a solid strategy game but has potential for to do even better
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5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
83.0 hrs on record
Posted: March 30
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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13 of 23 people (57%) found this review helpful
2.7 hrs on record
Posted: November 4, 2014
Very good PVP-game if you've a fan of the strategy elements of Banner Saga. Very good balanced, but exp is hard to come by. Drives me angry that you can specific klasses only with real money but a free game is a free game, right? :D
Definitively worth a try!
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5 of 8 people (63%) found this review helpful
30.1 hrs on record
Posted: January 13
The Banner Saga: Factions is easy to pickup, but offers incredibly deep gameplay. The real strategy comes in deciding on the composition of your team, and whether you are going to play defensively or offensively, focus on ranged or melee, have one or two powerful units or spread the ranks of your team evenly.

I've played games that are outright brawls, and games that have been about cautious manuevering trying to outflank the other team. I would recommend giving it a fair try over a number of days as durng my first few hours I almost quit because the combat seemed too chaotic and I didn't appreciate the nuances.

I really like the variety of classes, and love that some of the classes I initially regarded as weak have become my favourites. In fact I would say there are no weak classes and any unit can be good if you use it appropriately.

This game is not in any way pay to win; each side builds a team of equal level based on character rank, so battles are evenly matched. So for instance a rank 6 team could be 1+1+1+1+1+1 or 0+0+1+1+2+2 etc. The payment options just allow you to build that team faster (or even instantly with enough purchased renown), so that does not give any advantage within a skirmish.

I thoroughly recommend this to anyone who likes turn based tactical battles where skill is the overriding factor.
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11 of 20 people (55%) found this review helpful
209.0 hrs on record
Posted: December 20, 2014
Note: As of this review, I've not played the single player version, The Banner Saga.

This game is a very simple turn-based brawler. In terms of pure mechanics, I'd say it plays like a stripped down X-COM: EU/EW, minus perma-death. Or like viking flavored chess. Of course, both of these examples are simplifications.

I really enjoy the balance of the gameplay. Even though it's pure PVP, I've never felt cheated, which IMO is unusual for a competitive multiplayer game. There's only a limited stock of different units, part of why the game is so balanced.

On the other hand, limited unit type means limited unit variation, which is unfortunate. I've come to understand that besides not including enemy faction units (the dredge) from the single player, there is at least one more viking unit missing.

Additionally, you earn Renown (your currency and XP) at a slow rate, clearly to induce you to go to the shop and spend real money. However, paying doesn't grant access to anything that anyone else can except for skins and extra renown.

While I've spent a shameful amount of time on this game, I have a proportionately substantial team to show for it and I haven't paid a dime. Unlike other F2Ps where I wondered "Well what was the point?" when I finally logged off.

It's free. It's balanced and fun. It's rewarding and beautiful to look at. I fully recommend giving it a try.
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
0.3 hrs on record
Posted: January 14
enjoyed the single player game this one not so much. since its a fremium game i advise you check it out and get an opinion for yourself.
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
5.2 hrs on record
Posted: January 30
i like the game even you will have problem with the interface
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
252.4 hrs on record
Posted: March 6
One of the best turn-based tactics games. BS:F remindes me chess, because it is sport, art and science simultaneously. Would be great if developers make tbs heroes-like game with this type of battles.
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
103.4 hrs on record
Posted: December 10, 2014
The three ex-BioWare guys behind The Banner Saga: Factions have truly delivered something unique, and the game speaks of great promise. When the micro-transaction has taken a toll out of this genre, Factions walks a diverse path. It provides a wonderful online multiplayer experience, and free-to-play games simply can’t get any better than this. Any action, strategy or PvP fan will love this game and since it’s free to play on Steam, I highly recommend you try it out. Full Review.
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64 of 81 people (79%) found this review helpful
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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47 of 59 people (80%) found this review helpful
14.2 hrs on record
Posted: June 27, 2014
This game is under "Favorites" in my library. It's a free to play multiplayer game that almost anyone can run.
If you want a mature community and a game in which you fight with opponents that are clever and intelligent, this is the game for you.
Certainly not one of Pay-to-win titles.
I like how the art is done and the soundtrack itself is incredible.
Start playing this game, outmaneuver your opponents, upgrade your warriors, participate in tournaments or just play against your friend.
Next to Chess and Worms Armageddon, this is the game I would play with my family members.
10/10 - This is the game I would play rather than some overrated AAA crap!
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49 of 67 people (73%) found this review helpful
546.4 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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30 of 40 people (75%) found this review helpful
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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24 of 30 people (80%) 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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20 of 23 people (87%) found this review helpful
89.7 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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18 of 24 people (75%) found this review helpful
80.2 hrs on record
Posted: December 20, 2013
You can see the more technical reviews of this game at IGN, etc., but I want to highlight the one thing that makes this game so great: simplicity that belies its depth. The number of combinations of moves and overarching strategies that can win a given match are so numerous that having played this game for months, I haven't exhausted trying new things and even succeeding at them. Accusations that the game is 'boring' for reasons such as lack of unit diversity, etc., actually fail to see the best part of the game.
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