Live through an epic role-playing Viking saga where your strategic choices directly affect your personal journey. Make allies as you travel with your caravan across this stunning yet harsh landscape. Carefully choose those who will help fight a new threat that jeopardizes an entire civilization.
User reviews:
Very Positive (64 reviews) - 89% of the 64 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Very Positive (7,922 reviews) - 90% of the 7,922 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Jan 14, 2014

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Recent updates View all (19)

September 1

Added Japanese Language Support!

Added Japanese Language Support.

17 comments Read more


“Game of Thrones Meets Vikings Meets Disney. The Banner Saga is blindingly lovely and arguably just as intriguing to play. Built atop a world that all but demands the attention of travel documentaries, it's epic in the literal sense of the word.”
100% – US Gamer

“With a refreshingly unique aesthetic, well-written story, and challenging gameplay, The Banner Saga is an excellent adventure well worth your time.”
90% – Games Radar

“The Banner Saga deserves commendation for the strength of its art and music experience alone, which shatters conventions.”
86% – IGN

About This Game

Live through an epic role-playing Viking saga where your strategic choices directly affect your personal journey. Make allies as you travel with your caravan across this stunning yet harsh landscape. Carefully choose those who will help fight a new threat that jeopardizes an entire civilization. Every decision you make in travel, conversation and combat has a meaningful effect on the outcome as your story unfolds. Not everyone will survive, but they will be remembered.

Key Features

  • Player choice that drives your own narrative – every decision you make in travel, conversation and combat has a meaningful effect on the outcome as your story unfolds.
  • Over 25 playable characters from 2 different races, human and varl, the horned giants – embark on your epic journey with a variety of characters from 7 different classes, each with unique abilities and upgrade options to fit your play style.
  • Strategic combat with consequences - victory or defeat and even the permanent loss of a character depends on which characters you choose to take into battle and what decisions you make afterwards.
  • The journey is as important as battle – your role in building and managing your caravan as you travel the vast frozen landscape is critical to not only your own survival but the survival of an entire civilization.
  • An epic Viking saga brought to life in 2D glory – beautifully hand drawn combat sequences and animations, accompanied by an evocative score from Grammy-nominated composer Austin Wintory, will immerse you into a fantasy realm inspired by Norse mythology.
  • Multiplayer Combat Enhanced – sharpen your combat skills in the free multiplayer game “Factions”. Compete against other players with many of the character classes you see in The Banner Saga.

The Banner Saga is the first part of a planned trilogy. If you complete this game, your unique progress and storyline will carry over to the next part of the story.

System Requirements

Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    • OS: Windows XP SP3
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Storage: 4 GB available space
    • OS: Windows 7 SP1
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Storage: 6 GB available space
    • OS: MAC OSX 10.7.5
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Storage: 4 GB available space
    • OS: MAC OSX 10.7.5
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Storage: 6 GB available space
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Storage: 4 GB available space
    • Memory: 4 MB RAM
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated Sept. 2016! Learn more
Very Positive (64 reviews)
Very Positive (7,922 reviews)
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5,223 reviews match the filters above ( Very Positive)
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
14.5 hrs on record
Posted: October 2
Product received for free
Absolutely stunning.

Would definitely recommend to anybody who's in to the old northern kind of stuff like vikings and old runic language, a very good turn based strategy game with a ton of choices to the story with both amazing visuals and soundtrack.

(Cheers to my buddy Table for gifting both The Banner Saga 1 'n' 2 on my birthday, 2016)
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
7.4 hrs on record
Posted: September 28
Great mix between combat and story sequences. At first combat seems to be on the shallow side but quickly open up into a more in depth system as you unlock more characters. A shame that its quite short!
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
18.6 hrs on record
Posted: September 23
An evil threatens the land and you must lead your people to safety, but your choices mean more than you may think. Simple dialogue options will change the outcome of your party and effect options down the line. An intricate battle system leads to victory or to pain. Will you be able to save your people?

  • A very intricate and fun battle system (when you learn how to use it)
  • Beautiful graphics
  • Amazing music and SFX and voiceovers
  • Controls are easy to understand/options laid out well

  • If you don't take time to learn the battle system it's very frustrating
  • Travel becomes tedious
  • Dialogue options are vague/don't know until you try
  • Couple boss battles are a B! Try until you get them right...

Overall, it's an excellent game. I absolutely hated combat until one of the devs came by my stream and gave me some advice, then I absolutely LOVED the combat. I was just playing it wrong! This shone some light on the negatives of travel and how tedious it was. Also how dialogue was very vague. This aside, you will enjoy your time in Banner Saga and want to learn more about the where the enemy came from (there's a sequel!)
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
20.6 hrs on record
Posted: September 29
Absolutely loved it. Appealing graphics and characters, compelling story, and combat system reminiscent of your favorite tabletop rpgs. Solid 5/7 ;)
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
2,074 of 2,680 people (77%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
10.7 hrs on record
Posted: January 19, 2014
I backed this game on Kickstarter very early on, basically after having read the words "turn based strategy" and "vikings" and had very high hopes for the project.
During the first hour of play I was entusiastic and impressed with the artwork, the graphical style, the music and the combat system. It runs well, I encountered no major bugs, and the story starts very intense and engrossing.
Now, after nearing the end of my first (and, most likely, only) playthrough I can sum up my personal experience with a single sentence: I learned to *thoroughly* hate this game.
I'm terribly sorry, I desperately wanted to like this, but with every tedious, frustrating and boring hour of gameplay I had to concede, that just about *every* design choice made by Stoic seems to go diametrically against my personal preferences.
Trying to cast an objective vote, I'd rate it about 5 out of 10, because there are undoubtedly many things good about the game, but the essence of what it's about - having fun, being motivated and enjoying the time spent playing - simply doesn't happen.
TBS is the very definition of a railroaded game. More than that, it actually *feels* like more than half of the time I'm actually watching pointless, endlessly repeating nice backgrounds scrolling past, while nothing happens. Events are scarce, and when they happen, they kill my motivation and the RPG aspect. Because, frankly, I'm NOT making decisions. I'm playing a random guessing game, in most cases with absolutely *no* clue on what the consequences of the 4 "choose your answer" alternatives *might* even be. I hate playing a game where I don't even know the rules, and I hate winning every battle and then losing my heroes (and the associated investment!) to random dialogue events.
The world map is like a bad joke on my expense, as it serves absolutely *no* function in the game but as a "choose your flavour text" library. It feels like there's an entire aspect of the game simply never implemented here...
Same goes for character development and resource management. Both are oversimplified, shallow and simply feel completely unfinished. Each character has one single item slot, and the items available are nothing special. Abilities are pretty much predetermined, and dividing 10 points you *might* receive during 5 ranks isn't that big a deal towards diverity or individualization.
There is one single resource for everything (renown) and one single sure way to acquire it (by killing enemies in combat). Sometimes you might draw a lucky card during the random dialogue guessing game and acquire some extra, but that's it. As the resource is used to buy supplies, items *and* for leveling up your heroes, it comes down to either have your caravan starve or run around with level 1 heroes, despite them having earned several promotions on the battlefield. That kills motivation on such an epic scale, and can't even begin to describe it.
There are no side quests, no method to forage for food, trade, to gain extra renown or anything - remember, you are on one long, single track railway and never look left or right. You will *never* feel in control of *anything* in this game. For me, however, that is what gaming should be about.
Even the combat system, one of the best parts otherwise, has several unnerving flaws that started bothering me in the long run:
- You are forced to choose your team *and* the sequence in which they act *before* you know anything about the enemies you will face. Why is there even a deployment phase at the begin of combat if all you do there is arrange the predetermined team on the board? That placement will be void after one round of movement, a wrong party mix or suboptimal sequence will stay, however.
- the way the two sides take turns is beyond silly. If you face a single, strong opponent, that one will act 6 times for every ONCE your heroes do something, as it's always the *sides* that take turns.
- one stat for hitpoints AND combat effectiveness basically means, that the battles are decided in the first round. The side that starts taking hits is the side that will lose. Always. Without a way to regain strength, a single hit can de facto disable a hero. The whole system is too simplistic, counter-intuitive and artificial. Simple to understand, but never becomes fun for me.
And another main grief is the complete absense of a save game feature. Not because of technical problems, but simply because the designers want to forbid me to play the game any other way than to live with the random outcome of their nonsensical guessing games. Sorry, folks, I'm 45 years old, have been playing games for 30 years and don't need *anyone* to tell me how to. This arrogant patronizing annoys me to kingdom come!
So, again, sorry Stoic for being so negative, but this game is so totally NOT my piece of cake. Terrific art, great lore, good music and a stable game do NOT equal fun, I'm afraid. Lots of bad design choices for me equal de-motivation, tedium, boredom and frustration. Others might love this game, probably the majority. But it's definitely 100% not for me - and the files were deleted after that completely silly, unfair and annoying final battle.
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A developer has responded on Jun 25, 2014 @ 8:37pm
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1,523 of 1,973 people (77%) found this review helpful
29 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
32.9 hrs on record
Posted: November 22, 2014
It really pains me to do this because there are so many reasons to like this game.

The problem is that The Banner Saga simply doesn't deliver what it promises.

At the very beginning we are informed that at our decisions affect the game: THEY DON'T. Despite the fact that they've created this vast and gorgeous world, steeped in lore and history, you can't even choose where to go. You're firmly 'on-the-rails' for the entire game. Occasionally, you get text based encounters where you get to make a decision, but having played Banner Saga a couple of times, I can tell you that most of these change nothing. Sometimes one character or another dies, but it's trivial since they aren't really necessary anyway.

At the very beginning we are treated to a beautiful animated cut-scene complete with voice acted dialogue, so you'd figure those would come up at key points in the game at least, right? THEY DON'T. Not even at the end.

As the story develops, more and more layers are revealed: The gods are dead; the sun has stopped in the sky; there's a prophecy; there's tension and intrigue between characters and races, etc, etc. NONE OF IT GOES ANYWHERE. In a nut shell, the story is: survive until you get to the end boss - who has practically nothing to do with anything.

The artwork is gorgeous, the concept (Viking Oregon Trail + Turn Based Strategy + Some RPG elements) is simple but it works. But instead of using that simplicity to really open up the world, we're instead treated to a vast tableaux of untapped potential.

Maybe they're planning a sequel - and heck, I've put this many hours in already, I might even pick it up - but honestly, if a game leaves you feeling, "What, that's it?" It failed to deliver.

EDIT: I DO NOT care that Banner Saga is part of a planned trilogy. I WILL NOT base a review of a game on the potential of its sequel. I think that would be a huge disservice to those choosing whether or not to spend money on THIS game.
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430 of 551 people (78%) found this review helpful
19.1 hrs on record
Posted: January 14, 2014
Despite always handing players a crummy hand, the consistent drawbacks in The Banner Saga are exhilarating, even if they are utterly exhausting as well. While a sporadic bout of good news may flow through the caravan, the tone is clear. It’s an arduous journey and one that will come with death at all times. With an authentically illustrated ambience of harsh winters and closely followed characters, its story seen through tough conversations becomes that much more captivating. Offering simple yet fully symbiotic combat options as an active counterpart to text, this game leaves little to be desired, except the will to survive.

Read the full review:
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817 of 1,083 people (75%) found this review helpful
11.2 hrs on record
Pre-Release Review
Posted: January 14, 2014
The Banner Saga Review:

Check out my full video review, In all a fantastic game. Great story telling combined with a rich art, solid combat and unique management features.

Thanks for watching

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300 of 379 people (79%) found this review helpful
12.9 hrs on record
Posted: January 14, 2014
Just want to give my early impressions. Not a full, formal review.

The Banner Saga is a Kickstarter game and it's exactly what Kickstarter should be about: visionaries with bold ideas that probably wouldn't get funded through traditional means. And that's exactly how TBS feels; it's a game designed by visionaries who love every bit of their craft but that leads to some issues of its own I'll address later.

First off, this is a gorgeous game. The art style combines the clear-line character art of Ivan Bilibin with the iconic backdrops of Eyvind Earle. Every piece of art from the intricately detailed world map to the rotoscoped animations is beautifully rendered. The world of TBS draws heavy inspiration from Norse mythology but there's quite a bit of detail and world building when I was expecting it to be very straightforward. While it is still a strategy game through and through, fans of RPGs will find plenty to like with the well defined characters and detailed world.

Being a strategy game, combat is at the forefront but has some niggling issues. It's a very clean move-action system where character order is more important than arbitrary stats like speed. Being wholly turn based, action economy is the name of the game as you're forced to dominate the battlefield through superior placement of your units. Combat could be a bit more robust but normal difficulty is a decent challenge so far and there's "hard" for people wanting more of a challenge. Thankfully, battles are evenly spaced between story scenes so every individual battle feels special.

Unfortunately, my biggest complaint of an otherwise fine system is the speed. Combat moves at a lethargic pace. There's no option to skip animations or speed combat and in a game where battles with as few as 4 enemies can take 10-15 minutes average, having a speed-up option is sorely missed.

TBS is immensely pleasurable so far and I can only hope it remains consistent to the end. I'll update my thoughts as I go along.
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140 of 161 people (87%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
22.1 hrs on record
Posted: July 6, 2015
"A tale is but half told when only one person tells it." - The Saga of Grettir the Strong, Chapter 46

The gods are dead. The sun never leaves the horizon, shining on boundless wastes of tundra. The land is torn between men, giants known as varl and armored creatures known as dredge, neither carry any reason to trust each other. A new day dawns, and the world is at the brink of turmoil, weary of old wars, always anticipating new wars; nearly void of hope. In such a time, you take the role of leading a caravan across frozen wastes to its destiny.

You play the parts of many characters, make their choices and endure the consequences while discovering the beautifully weaved tale of the realm. Each and every character that you lead tell a story of their own in this Nordic, war-thorn saga. Each choice that you make affects your chances of survival, and makes you approach one step closer to your destination. The setting is incredibly rich, expected from any proper RPG game. Every road, landmark, settlement, mountain or forest; every region depicted on the map contains its own local history. The lore is complete and refreshing.

To begin with, the game contains a diverse gameplay, bringing together elements of adventure, role-playing and strategy games. The adventure elements are directly affecting the story, and the outcome of your choices twist and turn to present you alternative destinies. Combats are turn-based in isometric maps, and gameplay is fairly easy to grasp. Yet 'fairly easy to grasp' quickly turns into 'hard to master'. You are able to level up your characters with renown, a kind of currency that you may gain through heroism either in adventure choices or by slaying your adversaries in battle field. Alongside leveling, you are capable of gathering minor and major items to enhance your heroes furthermore.

The Banner Saga presents a direct example for my reason to become a gamer: a story to be told. The game satisfied all my expectations thoroughly. I do not wish to present any spoilers, but it is safe to declare that the story of the realm is not finished in this game. Good news is that The Banner Saga 2 is in development. Cheers!

Please also check out Lady Storyteller's Curator page here - follow for regular updates on reviews for other games!
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Recently Posted
11.3 hrs
Posted: October 18
Loved it, beautiful art style and gripping narrative. Only let down was the overly simplistic combat.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
22.9 hrs
Posted: October 17
Fantastic sound track, engrossing story line, pretty decent game play. Very much worth checking out.

In the end I felt like I read a good book! And who doesn't like reading a good book sprinkled with choose your own adventure flavors?
Helpful? Yes No Funny
6.9 hrs
Posted: October 17
When I opened my monthly bundle and saw this, I first thought "cool art style". The second thing I thought was "ugg, turn-based". I gave this game a try purely because of the art style and the high reviews, and I was pleasantly surprised. The combat is a slow-paced chess game, but there is an easy option for those (like myself) that don't have the patience for it. Nice story, leveling teams of characters was satisfying, sound effects (esp melee) were sick. Overall enjoyable experience and a nice change of pace. I'll be checking out the 2nd installment.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
13.1 hrs
Posted: October 15
This game has a beautiful aesthetic and engaging story, but too many gameplay mechanics are broken or intentionally flawed to create a phony sense of challenge. These are:

* The devs took the "turned based" of turned based strategy way too seriously. Fights are "you hit me, I hit you," and turns are based off of how you line up your team before battle. If you didn't line your team up right and properly zerg rush the enemies, you're in for a bad time. And if you kill the guy who was next in line, the unit three turns away magically gets to go next. I guess they weren't paying attention until their buddy died?

* You can't save the game. The game autosaves at pre-determined points and that's it. Made a bad choice or screwed up your zerg rush? You go to the last save, which may include lengthy marches you can't speed up and cutscenes you can't skip. The devs say this is to make you live with your choices, but it's really to punish you for a combat system they didn't think through all the way.

* You have a single resource. No gold and experience, just renown. You buy food with renown or level up with it. As you can guess, this can leave your army starving or your team underpowered. I guess real heroes don't need to eat? You lose renown for buying food so that must be the case.

* Strength and HP are a single attribute. This means the more damage you take, the less damage you can do. This is the main fault of the game - if you don't properly zerg rush the other team and whittle each unit down one by one, multiple characters on your team will be crushed. There's no strategy and no system to learn. Either you chip away at each unit (instead of taking out the most powerful first), or you get shredded.

* Forget guarding (unless you're a special unit), cover bonuses, overwatch, or any other hallmarks of the genre. In this game, you rush in or rush out (and the AI always goes for the weakest unit so you won't rush out for long), and that's it. Better hope you leveled your squad right or by the time you realized you upped the wrong attributes, you're slogging through hours of unskippable cutscenes and ridiculously flawed fights.

This game has great potential, but is so badly flawed that progressing through it will frustrate you to no end and wear your patience to nothing. Watch the cutscenes on youtube if you have to - the torment that comes from making it unfold for yourself is not worth it.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
48.0 hrs
Posted: October 15
Helpful? Yes No Funny
13.1 hrs
Posted: October 14
I Loved the story and that your choises matterd
Helpful? Yes No Funny
2.6 hrs
Posted: October 14
A tactics style game with absolutely beautiful character designs and environments. The story is well written and engaging. My only regret is how long I put off getting this game. I give it a 9/10!!!!
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21.1 hrs
Posted: October 13
I just love the visual style of this game. I wish they did epic cartoons too. The story, the atmosphere, descisions really matter. It's like reading a viking fantasy novel. Worth buying, playing and replaying.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
31.6 hrs
Posted: October 11
A good advice, play it once and you'll be good.

Maann this game is cruel!!

One thing that pisses me off is that you have almost no control of your caravan which is a shame, because the map is huge and there are so many stories and descriptions about other places but that is even considerable. What is really bad is that you can choose a very few times between 2 places to go, camp, or stop or not at some key places. AND THAT'S IT. If you just left a city and forgot to buy your supplies, too bad, theres NO WAY to turn back to a place you literally 1 second ago just left... you'll have to endure loosing morale and soldiers as they starve until you find some other place, a randonly event that gives you supplies if you choose the right(misleading) dialog option, or you can reload to the last save(some times of 30 minutes ago), that by the way you have no control either. Worst of all is that sometimes you're in the middle of something and all the sudden your caravan leaves town without even ask you if want to do anything at all before leaving(and that's because you're the commander), like buying the damm supplies which you've been saving to buy before leaving, making you f**king furious that was no warning, and you now have to play again from the last save because you magically didn't guessed that you would leave before a very specific dialog.

It's like most of the game you have to choose between get or not a ball on the floor where you're passing by, but the consequences of such choice is that 30 days latter you discover that that ball somehow had a poison and it's killing your entire family and friends one by one, and there's no antidote for the poison. To complete your son goes get the ball one day that it rolled by the wind to the street, he gets hit by a truck and dies. And none of that BS wouldn't happen if in the early game you didn't had f**king stop to grab the damm ball, that just would add to your life a little joy, nothing essential.

Don't get me wrong I loved this game, the story is very involving, deep plot, and took me some time to get all the lore of the game. Though after finishing it a second time I felt pretty frustrated by the fact that most of the choices change anything at all on the story and by catastrophic events that you almost cant avoid. Like a treason from a certain character that clearly, and out loud, tells you the reason that he betrays you, so in your next playthrough you do everything possible so he wont have any reason to do so, and in the end no matter what choices you made neither your way of doing things, the treason end up happening by the same points that you avoided this whole time along with some other nasty s*it at the same event punishing you harshly at the middle-end game by a ridiculous single choice you made in the very begining that has NO WAY of being unmade neither avoided from triggering the trason, making events like these look plastic and taking you all the will to replay the whole game.

As you play the second time or more you realize that most of the choices wont change a bit on the game, and the ones that change your path has very little impact(being very generous with the "little" here) on the plot and story, so don't waste your precious time to play it again.
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Scribin The Scribe
29.3 hrs
Posted: October 10
The art is sort of cool but the game play sucks ♥♥♥. The story is way too ♥♥♥♥ing hard to follow. Zzzz mechanics and story , good art style.
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