Battle Brothers Hits Early Access


Been waiting for that mega update for quite a while, really happy with the direction they’re taking the game. Originally they said they were planning for an X-com-like structure where some “Big bad” would eventually make itself known, and the player would have to defeat it. Now they’ve shifted gears to a Mount and Blade-like sandbox, only with better (Sounding, anyway. Have yet to see how it works in reality of course) NPC interaction and dynamic happenings.

Enjoyed the current barebones sandbox, looking forward to starting up the new super sandbox on Monday.


I love the game idea, but REALLY, really hate the icons for the people. Its impossible for me to get over. I bought the game, because I want games like this to be successful, but I seriously doubt I’ll ever get to play it.


Sunk some hours in with this latest update. Still could use some work, currently the contract balance seems wonky. You might get paid 1,000 crowns to deliver a package with no combat at all, while you might later be paid 600 crowns to take on a band of 6 heavily armed and armored raiders in lamellar and chain. Having a really hard time getting my feet under me since I’m only barely making enough money to replace my heavy losses when I get a stupidly out of whack mission. I also may have run in to a bug where the orc camp I’m supposed to hit spawned outside of the border of the map.

Apart from that, update’s looking pretty good. The limited contracts means you have to use taverns to find where the action is, which slightly goes away when your reputation goes up and more people will offer you work. Combat’s as good as ever. Just seems like the early game is out of whack, and I can’t reach that “Decently equipped so you can handle moderate to mild combat without much issue” point.


Yeah, I’m having similar problems. I’ve had the same thing happen five times already where I simply ran out of funds early due to mounting casualties and a lack of viable missions. (I haven’t exploited the tavern much – maybe that’s the problem). I’m also finding (as Squee noted) the enemy difficulty seems crazily variable now. My last campaign ended when my level one and two party was jumped (no real chance to run) by a huge band of goblins then finished off seconds later by an orc raiding party.

I haven’t checked the appropriate forums, but I’m wondering if there’s a bit of Darkest Dungeon syndrome going on here, where the devs are paying too much attention to the small but vocal group of early accessers who are pestering them for more difficulty. IMHO, that’s a mistake. The real appeal of this game, I think, is about slowly building a group of ragtag bozos into a formidable fighting force. It’s not about seeing how long you can limp along before your inevitable defeat (i.e. it’s not a roguelike).


Re: balance

Looks like the newest patch addresses some of the contract issues, among other things. Seems like the Big Update just wasn’t play-tested enough but now the dev is saying he’s got a bunch of new blood contributing feedback. Patch notes:

Changed roaming enemy parties to start out weaker in the early game.
Changed contract rewards to be slightly higher.
Changed contracts to appear sooner after starting a new campaign.
Changed contracts to appear slightly more often.
Changed employers to be slightly less enraged when the player cancels contracts despite receiving advance payment already.
Changed second tutorial battle to have one less opponent on Even difficulty.
Changed hotkey to show/hide tracking to ‘Tab’, hotkey for camping to ‘T’ and opening the character screen back to ‘C’.
Changed the way sounds and music are loaded in order to eliminate some potential crashes for people. This may introduce minor lag as music changes, but with the crashes gone we now can take the time to look for the best solution.

Fixed potential crash when loading an autosave right before combat.
Fixed game not saving correctly in rare cases when destroying a location that has a party roaming around it.
Fixed tutorial battle not triggering correctly because of Hoggart’s hair.
Fixed bug potentially having the player start out with large amounts of money.
Fixed battles starting with the player being ambushed when they shouldn’t.
Fixed issue with contract payment not scaling properly to contract difficulty.
Fixed ‘Tab’ key making the UI glitch and not accept keyboard input correctly sometimes.
Fixed the player starting on tiny islands in rare cases with no way to get off.
Fixed bandits having a leader hostile to them in a twist of the ‘Drive away bandits’ contract.
Fixed player choice in twist of the ‘Investigate Cemetery’ contract not being registered correctly.
Fixed player choice in twist of the ‘Armed Courier’ contract not being registered correctly.
Fixed issue with ‘Investigate Cemetery’ contracts being issued on small islands with no space to spawn the cemetery.
Fixed issue with player’s wardogs not properly attacking militia and noble house troops.
Fixed people joining the player via events even when the roster is already at full capacity.
Fixed several text errors.


Either that patch helped, I got over the initial hurdle, or a combination of the two, 'cause I finally reached the “Relatively stable band that makes money” stage. 10 tolerably well equipped brothers able to pull in 1000-2000 crowns a contract while paying 111 a day. Just ran down a group of 6 werewolves (Don’t care you renamed them dire wolves to get rid of magical disease connotations. WURRWILF) for 1200 crowns and no casualties, just one moderately chewed-on axeman. That’s what his mail shirt is for anyway.

In fact, I haven’t hit a completely ridiculous contract since that patch. Had a delivery mission, no problems, the werewolf mission which was reasonable for the pay, a well paying mission for 8 poorly equipped bandits, and then a really well paying patrol mission which involved a lot of killing but since the pay was per-kill that’s where the money was. Definitely seems more reasonably balanced. Still needs a big heaping pile of more content (Apart from generic more contracts/items/enemies/etc, it could communicate the state of the world and what the noble houses are up to better) to call it complete, but as-is it’s definitely very playable. Dumped in 8 hours since this update and I’m really enjoying myself.

#47 just hit. Some good changes, most notably toning down the goblin contracts which have been fairly consistently crazy.

Changed tooltips of food items to also display the price they’ve been bought at in order to make trading them more convenient.
Changed factions to show up in the relations screen also when their relations to the player are in the neutral territory but not exactly neutral.
Changed factions to also show their numerical relations in brackets for more transparency on how relations develop.
Changed it to be less likely the player is drawn into battle between AI parties.
Changed ‘Patrol’ contract to require the player to fight while on the road, and not attack locations, in order to get paid. The previous cap to the amount of heads has been removed.
Changed resource costs paid by the AI for individual goblin troops to be slightly higher, i.e. there shouldn’t be quite as many goblins now if you’re tasked to fight them.

Fixed recruits in settlements not refreshing correctly every few days.
Fixed battles potentially starting without enemies if the player is drawn into battle between two AI factions.
Fixed issue with two contracts available at a single settlement at the same time.
Fixed twist in ‘Drive off Bandits’ contract not registering as completed.
Fixed twist in ‘Armed Courier’ contract not registering as completed.
Fixed potential crash with the ‘Hunt down beasts’ contract.
Fixed the game hanging on attempting the ‘Hunt down beasts’ contract with just a single man on the roster.
Fixed various text errors.


So I jumped back into this for the first time in a while. I find myself getting mauled pretty much every mission I take and I’m not able to really replace my losses well. What do you guys find more useful to start with? Large parties with lower end gear, or smaller parties with the best gear you can afford? Any other starter advice would be appreciated.


Large parties with lower end gear to start with, usually hiring cheap cannon fodder to fill your ranks. You’ll want 6-10 bodies relatively quickly, a farmer or daytaler won’t have the melee skill of a sellsword or raider, but when you can hire 3-6 farmers for the price of one skilled dude you’ll make up for poor accuracy with number of attacks.
The most reliable (And simplest) group composition to shoot for early on is a back-liner using a pitchfork (Later pike, later billhook) for every 3-4 front-liners with medium shields and one handed weapons of choice. Militia spears are pretty good, hatchets are alright, clubs are ok, whatever you want. You’ll be able to form a defensive line with your shield users who will be able to get one attack in and raise shield using the AP for a turn, while your back-liners can stab with their reach weapons for huge damage. Not a bad idea to squeeze someone using a two-handed axe in there either to knock down shields, but since he won’t have a shield himself make sure you stick your heaviest armor on him. On level, I’d give the front-liners shield expert as soon as possible and the back-liners either the 10% bonus chance to hit heads or increased damage to armor. I’d also make sure your characters with the highest melee skill get to use the pitchfork/pike/billhook, since that’s where your biggest damage will come from.

You’ll probably still take some losses, but that’s just how Battle Brothers goes. Once you start getting more experienced soldiers and better equipment you can start doing more exotic things, but this is what I’ve found to work the best to get rolling.

Edit: Oh yeah, I didn’t really mention armor because I don’t give anyone armor (Apart from the round/medium shields and basic hats) in the beginning. Once you start building up you can invest in some armor, plus hopefully you’ll have some leveled people with more max fatigue who can handle the heavier armor well, but early on they’re disposable cannon fodder and have to rely on a shield wall to not get killed.


It’s on sale this weekend for $15.99 (20% off), matching its historical low.


Still at $15.99, but I just got done playing around with this game for the last few days and I can’t recommend it enough.

It is still in EA, and looks to be there for another 6 months or so. The game is very playable right now, but the next patch coming out Q1 '17 will add a lot of UI improvements and some more gaminess. Right now, you are free to wander around a rather large map getting contracts at the various towns, exploring the countryside, etc. However, it is just a mercenary band sim, and lacks any sort of end-game.

They are going to add goals and Late-game crises in the next patch. The goals will be things like growing your band to 12 men, gathering enough gold to get a new banner, all the way up to stating you want to defeat the Orc Uprising (one of the late game crises). It will also bring in Retirement, where you can get a final score and read how the band fared after your departure.

For those still unfamiliar with the game, the dev provides a combat demo. The combat demo was enough to get me to buy the game.

I have combat pretty well figured out now and was doing fine in a beginner level game until I took on my first 3-skull (game’s difficulty indicator, but you can also judge by payment) contract. I figured I should hire a couple more mercs before taking it on, but decided to simply go see and what I was up against before spending the gold. When I saw that I outnumbered the bandits, I wasn’t too worried, but seeing my first Bandit Leader did provide some misgivings.

The battle served as an excellent example of why I like the combat so much in this game. Despite being outnumbered 6 to 9, the bandits better equipment, and their likely higher leveled units went to town on my troops. The Bandit Leader, named appropriately The Manhunter finished 3 or 4 of my guys himself, and weakened a couple of others for his raiders to kill. Two of my guys were able to flee to safety with three bandits in pursuit.

A few extra men may have helped, but it could have also been that my troops and their equipment weren’t ready yet. Most of my guys were 3rd or 4th level, so I’m not sure if a few more 1st level guys would have done anything besides bleed. I’ll happily put this game away for now and really look forward to diving back in with the next update or the final release.


This shouldn’t be in EA for another 6 months. Overhype said that it will be out in “early 2017”. They’re currently working on a huge update which will be the last such before release. It adds a ton of new stuff including company retirement and overarching mid-late game crises and victory conditions in the form of 3 greater evils. They’ve been working on this last big update for the past several months and it should be ready in a few weeks or so. This is already a great indie game and I have 85 hours into the EA version already.

Dev Blog #92: Late Game Crises
Here we go with a dev blog many of you have been waiting for. After ambitions and retirement, late game crises, also known as the ‘Greater Evil’, are the third aspect of adding more purpose and challenge to the game that we’re going to introduce with the upcoming update. Let’s find out what it’s all about!

The Greater Evil
Older players may remember that when Battle Brothers first entered Early Access, enemy factions would keep on growing and eventually overpower the world of man, if not kept in check by the player. For all the many balancing issues this raised, it certainly had a cool thing about it: the world was changing around you, and what you did had a tangible impact on the world. As we’re nearing the point now where all of the game mechanics are done, we’re going to re-introduce the ability of enemy factions to start an invasion and overrun the world. Only this time, it will be part of one of three different late game crises, and it will be supported by unique contracts, events and gameplay mechanics.


So is there a Black Company vibe going here at all? It does look really interesting and somehow flew under my radar. But I was so addicted to ESO for a while I’m not surprised.


I think there is. I certainly do name my guys “Black Company” half the time and give them the Widowmaker banner, that’s for sure. Some of the elements in the book are there, such as recruiting new men into the company any way you can find them as replacements after battle losses. The contracts, the grey choices you have to make, the finances and supplies management, finding good gear for your men. It’s all really good, and it’s all really fun.

The main difference is that the BB world is a low fantasy European kind of world and it doesn’t have magic spells or magic users (other than necromancers). The undead are really about the only magic in the game. So, you have no hedge wizards like One Eye or Goblin in your company, unfortunately. And there’s no Lady of the North or buried ancient evil Dominator types trying to rise again. No Ten Who Were Taken. I guess the Undead Empire end game crisis that’s coming in the new update is closest to all that. Where the game really, really shines is in the tactical battles. The combat system is a joy. One of the best I’ve ever seen. The AI is also quite good which helps. I’ve been wishing for a “Black Company” type of game forever and this comes the closest for me since the Myth games (Fallen Lords and Soulblighter).


Hey Thanks so much for the info. Maybe a mod or expansion will add some of the appropriate level of sorcery for a Black Company recreation? Have to add this to my steam sale list.


Got this a few days ago and enjoying it so far, despite a bad first impression.

I had a very annoying resolution issue at the start, it was impossible to play the game on my 4k monitor. At 4k rez the UI is way too tiny (they are introducing a scale slider next patch that will fix everything, so that’s good) and playing at 1080p or 1440p wouldn’t work. Had to run it on my secondary 1080p monitor.

When I got it all working I played three runs on veteran ironman and died horribly in all three. Couldn’t even beat the opening mission even after spending all of my coin on new guys and equipment to round out the gang.

Then played on the easier difficulty ironman and having a much better time. It’s still challenging, but now I get to learn the game and get better at it. I have experienced more than a couple of tragedies losing amazing guys due to stupid decisions (aggressive positioning of master archers who then proceed to get obliterated, etc.). This game, more than any other I have played, really excels at making you care for your guys and how quickly and brutally things can go wrong in a battle.

Looking forward to playing more and receiving the next patch to fix all technical issues.


I just picked this up in the holiday sale too, but am planning to wait for the official release before really diving in. It sounds right up my alley though.


I think even you will be challenged by the tactical AI.


A frightening moment in the game that is probably my favourite so far (only very light spoilers since the game doesn’t have a programmed story):

My band was doing well and I had managed to keep two of the three original members of the company. They were my prized possessions and got the best of gear. I took a contract to clear out some orcs. I’d never encountered them before, but figured they would be like goblins with more hp. The young orcs among the enemy indeed behaved just like that, and my guys killed them fairly easily. Then two orc warriors step out from the shroud in full armour and decorative human skulls above their heads.

Here we go, I thought as I position my best guy and some friends near the two orc warriors to finish the fight. The two orc warriors step forward and proceed to behead the captain of my company in two quick sword strikes. Needless to say my eyes widened and my jaw dropped. The battle was won that day but not without heavy losses. I still have one of the original members left and I now always make sure to keep him at a good distance from orc warriors.


You fared better than me. I lost a few heads against a bandit leader.

I’m worried some may find the game a bit grindy, because you need to pace yourself and let your men gain experience as you start to encounter new opponents.