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The gods are dead. In their wake, man and giant survived through a tenuous alliance, driving black destroyers called dredge, deep into the northern wastes. Now is an era of growth and trade. Life goes on. Only one thing has stopped. The sun.

The Banner Saga is a Norse fantasy-themed hybrid tactical role-playing game. The player controls one of many main characters, which will change as the story progresses, indicated a story chapter. These main characters lead a party of heroes and a caravan which travels to a linear story-wise destination and it is up to the player to ensure that the caravan survives the onslaught of human, varl, or the fearsome dredge, may it come in the form of combat or story decisions.

The majority of the story is represented by visual novel-style dialogs or events, prompting the player to choose one from several options, many of which may result in a beneficial or negative outcome. These choices, for the most part do not change the overall story, however will affect the player's accessibility to for example, heroes and items or result in the immediate death of a hero.

The heroes consist of human or the varl (horned giants), each with a unique biography (lore), as well as different classes and different traits. The character sheet of a hero primarily explains his or her combat abilities, a few examples are:

  1. Ability and Willpower
    Ability is unique combat power that hero possesses due to his or her character class. A hero has one special attack and one passive ability. Each ability has three different ranks, with each higher rank a more powerful version of itself. Willpower is power needed to activate abilities. It does not by default replenish during combat and will have bonus/penalties subject to morale of the caravan.

  2. Armor and Strength
    Armor the hero's ability to block combat damage. The lower the armor, the higher the damage to the hero, up to the point that it may different affect the hero's health. Strength is both the hero's ability to inflict combat damage, as well as the hero's health. When strength falls to zero, the hero will fall unconscious and cannot be revived for the remainder of combat.

  3. Promotion
    Character development of heroes progresses when the hero kills a sufficient number of enemies in combat. If the requirement is reached, the hero may be promoted at the cost of renown to the next level. Promotions will reward the hero with points which may be distributed to increase the aforementioned skills as well as access to higher special ability ranks. Hero levels are capped at Level 5.
Additionally, heroes may also carry a maximum of one item, which have beneficial properties when equipped. Items have a level requirement and may be purchased from merchants or obtained through story events.

The Caravan
As the story progresses, the player's caravan travelling between locations will become a prominent feature of the game. This caravan consists the party heroes, clansmen (non-fighting members), fighters, and varl. Although the destination cannot be changed, the player may opt to break camp at any time to equip or rest wounded heroes, as well as practice combat in training sessions. The caravan also brings supplies, which will affect the moral of the caravan. Supplies will be consumed at the start of each new day.


The Banner Saga Windows First combat scene - Many of the early combat scenes come with a tutorial of the basic concepts during combat.
The Banner Saga Windows Camp - While travelling, the player may opt to camp the caravan. Allowing further access to manage heroes.
The Banner Saga Windows War - Later in the game, the player will encounter dredge war parties. The total number of combatants are displayed here.
The Banner Saga Windows Combat victory - Victory will result in possible leveling up for characters and renown.

Promo Images

The Banner Saga Concept Art
The Banner Saga Other An old hand in Varl culture and long on the frontline of the fight against the dredge, he is highly respected among his peers and had the skills to lead a clan of his own. However, he now commands the personal army to the second in command of the Varl race.
The Banner Saga Screenshot
The Banner Saga Concept Art

Alternate Titles

  • "バナーサーガ" -- Japanese spelling

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Critic Reviews

GameZebo Macintosh Jan 14, 2014 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars 100
HonestGamers Windows Jan 27, 2014 9 out of 10 90 Windows Jan 14, 2014 86 out of 100 86 iPad Oct 06, 2014 86 out of 100 86
Shoost Windows Jan 17, 2014 8.5 out of 10 85
GameStar (Germany) Windows Jan 16, 2014 83 out of 100 83
PCGamesN Windows Jan 17, 2014 8 out of 10 80 Windows Jan 14, 2014 16 out of 20 80 PlayStation 4 Jan 12, 2016 80 out of 100 80
Games Arena Windows Mar 17, 2014 7.5 out of 10 75


Topic # Posts Last Post
Kickstarter Credits 1 Indra is stressed (19939)
Mar 16, 2014
Hybrids will be the death of me. 8 Indra is stressed (19939)
Feb 09, 2014


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Contributed to by Sciere (408618), Kabushi (170460) and Indra is stressed (19939)