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 (547 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
174 of 249 people (70%) 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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20 of 29 people (69%) 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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47 of 82 people (57%) found this review helpful
0.4 hrs on record
Posted: October 12, 2014
Matches take forever because you are required to do more actions/confirmations each turn, animations are slow and opponents intentionally wait for turn to end.

So, just play the single player game because multiplayer isn't fun when you have so long matches and you get so little rewards. Upgrades cost too much so you can Pay To Advance if you feel like it (you probably don't).
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10 of 17 people (59%) found this review helpful
206.0 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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11 of 19 people (58%) found this review helpful
11.8 hrs on record
Posted: September 16, 2014
Good people dwell here, the game is also fun and matches go fairly quick.
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11 of 20 people (55%) 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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1 of 1 people (100%) 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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3 of 5 people (60%) 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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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
530.6 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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20 of 30 people (67%) found this review helpful
12.0 hrs on record
Posted: November 25, 2013
I am not a big fan of Strategy games but this one swayed me. The art is insanely good. I am wating for the single player game to release. The scrore is also great and goes weill with the overall feel of the game.
The setting si very interesting as well.
The mechanics are simple enough to learn with ample tutorials and help provided at the click of a button.
I would say it needs to be expanded with more variation between the character models, at least in multiplayer. Pallette swaps are nice but I would like to see more. This setting begs for it!
Pick it up free then pay a bit of money as I did to support it.
Great title.
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9 of 12 people (75%) found this review helpful
4.5 hrs on record
Posted: January 11, 2014
I haven't played too much of this game yet. Just a couple hours. But from what I have already been involved in, this game is a keeper.

First off, this game is fantastic for what it has to offer as a Free To Play. Not only will it captivate you as a user, and encourage you to play more and more, but you are never once cornered to pay towards micro transactions as an individual.

I have always loved being involved with turn-based strategy games, and a well known similarity too this kind of game is Chess. One player takes a turn, then the other. This provides a relaxing atmosphere for the user as whole, but at the same time making the gameplay quite a nail-biter.

When I first joined the community of TBS, I didn't quite know what to expect. But after a quick, and easy to understand tutorial I was able to get along quite nicely. As several users will say at one point, you can get quite distracted by the beautifully crafted retro graphics, and as I did- miss your turn.

As earlier stated, gameplay is relaxing. You have a fair amount of time to perform each action with every individual unit, and the turn-based aspect of the game gives you time to plan out your ways to attack, pillage, and dominate the opposing player.

I'd like to talk about the community, not as a game, but within the discussion of players. Right as I came into the game, and said my first words into global chat, I was warmly welcomed. Every player is nice, respectful, and easy going. You can easily make friends with your opponent, even if you are trying to bash in their head with a shield twice the size of their unit. Some may like to trashtalk you here and there, but it doesnt spell unsportsmanship.

Hopefully this review has encouraged you to play this game, as much as every other review. I'm looking forward to facing you in The Banner Saga: Factions game.

Infynus
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13 of 21 people (62%) found this review helpful
1.7 hrs on record
Posted: August 8, 2014
A light-heartened adventure. A truely beautiful game. Incredible animation and character buit-up. I came to this game by its art, and I love it for its gameplay. It's a shame that not many people play it. Highly recommended for anyone who love Turn-based tactics games.
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4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
403.6 hrs on record
Posted: April 12, 2013
EDIT: The developers have abandoned post-game support for Factions until they finish the singleplayer trilogy. It's still a fun game, but the population has bottomed out. I played 400+ hours of Factions, and only wish it was supported more, as the potential was so high. I don't regret a single minute of playing, and thank the developers for at least making the game. Hail.

Great visuals. Very unique gameplay mechanics, may not be to everyone's playstyle or liking. I like the in-game sounds and art style. It isn't pay-to-win at all. It does have a learning curve, and requires some grinding to get past the initial "newbie zone". Power level 6 is the motherland, aim to reach that for more frequent matches. I'm looking forward to the singleplayer counterpart to this. Would recommend this game to turn-based strategy enthusiasts, or viking fans. Not for the faint of heart, you will probably be sent to Valhalla for your first few matches. If you're unsure if its right for you, just try it out for a few games, its free after all.
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
347.4 hrs on record
Posted: February 26, 2013
This is free multiplayer-only spin-off to The Banner Saga. A must-play tactical chess-like game set in a viking-influenced setting. You control a band of various sturdy human and varl soldiers, setting up a squad of six and bringing it to a sparring session against your friends or a battle against your enemies using all the strength and abilities your squad is capable of.

Easy to learn, tough to master, impossible to stop playing
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