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RPGWatch Forums » Games » General Non-RPG » Banished - Medieval City Builder

Default Banished - Medieval City Builder

February 21st, 2014, 22:26
Bough if from GOG on release date.

It is nothing like Ano or SimCity because it has a thousand ways to make you lose , one of my villages died out from demographic problem, in another one people frozen to death while walking a big distance to buy beer.
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February 22nd, 2014, 12:10
After trying more this product, it appears it is either:
-a failed game
or
-a game released with a work in progress gameplay in fear of upsetting players over a demanding way of playing.

Technically, this software comes with a very high quality in coding. Elements in it are very often singled out units, people or tiles of the grid. Everything is tracked separately so one wonders the stress put on computer performances.
Playing the 64 bits version, I went up to a population of around 600 citizens on a large map, it keeps ticking very well. I stopped at this point (you can aim for more than 1000 citizens) because I wanted to investigate the gameplay some more, especially the actuality of all the options the game provides.
I found a minor but annoying bug relative to building brigdes, that is all.

This technical success gives a solid foundation to elaborate a specific gameplay.
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February 23rd, 2014, 09:42
On the gameplay:
The code gives a solid platform to build a specific gameplay. Yet it does not translate. At this stage, either the studio failed to bring that specific gameplay or the implementation was postponed as this specific gameplay could spook players.


The gameplay is supposed oriented toward the attempt of settling a colony in a harsh environment. The game comes with many options, in order to assess the actuality of these options, I tried the game with harsh conditions/ hard start/large map (maximum difficulty would have been on small map, I think)
I stopped playing when hitting around 200 citizens.

The game engine includes several threats that could ruin a settling effort. In the game, they are called disasters.

Disasters can be turned on/off so they are supposed to be a big deal.

Disasters come in various forms:

-exposure to cold: the colony runs out firewood, coal Settlers are killed by being frozen to death. Building up on firewood/coal, building stone houses, crafting clothes help to prevent.

-Starvation: the colony runs out of food. Settlers die of starvation. Buidling up food, managing properly the population help.

-Diseases: can affect people, herds or farm fields. Spreads according to proximity.

-Fire: the settlement can catch fire.
-Natural disasters: tornadoes.

The game engine provides a heap of ways to manage all these situations, or more exactly, to be the better prepared when they hit.

Problem: all this managing is useless at the moment and can be skipped. It means that what is supposed to be a primary feature in the gameplay can be skipped.

Weather conditions:
A year is divided in 12 periods of time, connected with weather.
Each season is divided in three: early season/season/late season. The season itself is steady while the early/late can be unpredictable. For example, it can snow in early spring.

One way to take account of the weather to favour settling is to allocate work relatively to the weather conditions.

For example: exposure depends on being outside. Certain activities, outdoor activities lead to more exposure. So it might be better to allocate the manpower accordingly.
Gathering resources like stone, wood, iron can be performed at no risks from spring to autumn.
During winter, manpower is allocated to indoor activities or activites that are located near settlements (since when entering a house, a settler can warm herself up)

That is this type of considerations that the game engine leads to think of: getting the most of milder weather conditions in order to prevent death by exposure.
Yet it does not add because it takes a lot for people to die of exposure.

Even more telling, the weather is not harsh.
The lower temperature I observed through is -14c and in the game, settlers spending the whole winter (early and late included) outside do not die from exposure to cold. They do not catch diseases like flu, cold etc as shown by the low consumption of medecine.

In other words, cold is not lethal enough to incitate to take it into account.
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February 27th, 2014, 10:18
I'm loving this game. I've been playing it since it's release date and thank god Shadowrun comes out tomorrow - because Banished is addicting. Over 50 hours in and a ton of cities built - most have failed . . . so what.

For me its sorta like SimCity 2000 and Ascendancy. But I'll get to that later.

You're building a somewhat medieval city but there is a unique strategy. No money is used in the game (only Barter) and there are no armies you have to fend off or build. You can even turn off disasters (I usually turn em off) but really bad stuff can still happen to your citizens. The uniqueness comes in the planning of your city. You just can't lay down stuff, you not only have to take into account your resources but where are the builder citizens located who are going to build your stuff. This is not a problem in the early game but when you start expanding the map, your core of builders my be where you last constructed that Gatherer's Hut on the north end of your continent. This "feature" is driving players crazy because it is not unusual to have your citizens starve to death on their way to work.

How the game works is the citizens tend to live(or move) close to their place of work. So lets say you build two settlements in your early game next to each other. As you build the third settlement you stock it with a wood cutter, some homes and a nearby hunting lodge. But what happens is your new hunting lodge resident is married with kids and the wife is a wood cutter in the old settlement. The new hunter has to commute (walk) to his new gig. Many times when the walk is too great and the citizen has to do it in the winter he may freeze or starve to death. The game will eventually get the family into a closer home, but many times it's not soon enough. And this is a big problem on a large map.

There is an excellent Lets Play video by a guy by the name of Quill18. If you want a feel for how the game works.

Earlier I said the game for me is like Sim City 2000 and Ascendancy. I like city builders and I like creating a metropolis be it the islands, Egypt or the Black Forest. I like looking at my work when I finish the map. And like those games Banished is easy to play but hard to master. A lot of players think its easy because there is no real problem getting your city to 100, but try managing all the intricacies with a city of 600, or 1000. The general consensus is that if you can maintain a city of 1500 for one season, you have beaten the game. I also really love the music in this game - it reminds me of the great sound track on Ascendancy by Neno Vugrinec. There is even one tune in Banished that sounds very similar.

The media folks are calling the game a survival - city builder. I agree with that assessment because unlike Sim City when your planning fails and the place becomes a slum, in this game you fail at planning, YOUR CITIZENS DIE. And that is the end of the game. I think . . . because when the counter starts ticking down and I only have a couple guys left, I tend to quickly exit the game.

It's a really fun game. Check out some Lets Play vids on youtube (Quill18).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gAXcREfjbQ

The Sim City franchise has left me, Banished nicely fits the city builder that is in me.
Last edited by Dajjer; February 27th, 2014 at 10:29. Reason: add link
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March 5th, 2014, 00:56
I played it a bit and while I like it I think it needs few content patched/dlcs/expansion to be great.

Also game is doing extremely well week after release it was #1 on best seller list it still is in top 5 and it's been in steam top 20 since release, there is also nearly 3000 user reviews on steam and 200 pages on steam forum.So it's done very impressive for one man project.
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March 5th, 2014, 07:00
I am on getting the achievements. A few remain, including one that could provide more insight.

More than adding content, they should focus on giving meaning to gameplay elements that have too little at the moment.

You can make leather coats, wool coats or warm coats. Differences between them in terms of survival is small (if it does exist) Differences are when it comes to trade.

Depending on the trade a NPC takes, the exposure varies. A hunter is more exposed to weather than a woodcutter. The former is more exposed to death by cold.
But the weather conditions do not affect much the yield of exposed workers.
The help files hint that outdoors workers will make more out of clothes but it does not appear.

The pionneering experience is failed at the moment.

Maybe this game will go by adding more cosmetic content or it will go by adding meaningful gameplay.
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March 5th, 2014, 07:15
Originally Posted by Dajjer View Post
I like looking at my work when I finish the map. And like those games Banished is easy to play but hard to master. A lot of players think its easy because there is no real problem getting your city to 100, but try managing all the intricacies with a city of 600, or 1000. The general consensus is that if you can maintain a city of 1500 for one season, you have beaten the game. I also really love the music in this game - it reminds me of the great sound track on Ascendancy by Neno Vugrinec. There is even one tune in Banished that sounds very similar.
I hit the 600 citizens mark on my second attempt. I did a second attempt because I wanted to try a large map.

The game is easy. People who do not play the game as it is will find it hard, as every other games.

The idea of beating the game by getting to the 1500 citizens mark and holding for it for one year shows problems in the gameplay.
Especially for a game that leans toward survival.
It is clear that for a city builder(even more when turned to survival), adding more and more population will make things harder.
If it were not the 1500 mark, it would be 2000 etc
It makes no sense.
City builder game sessions might have no end other than one imposed by the gameplay. Providing yourself an end to the game session shows problems.

I like city builders that tick well and this one ticks very well. But the gameplay is lacking.

The developpment is extremelly linear. There is no set back, it is very flat, no bad years etc… which means that, apart from pushing for overpopulation for the sake of overpopulating a map, there is no difficulty in it.
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