Dev Blog #22: Battle Brothers FAQ

sword_in_the_ground-flat
Aug
11

Dev Blog #22: Battle Brothers FAQ

Over the past weeks a lot of the same questions emerged regarding Battle Brothers and all of its aspects. We thought it would be helpful for many to compile them here with our answers so that you don’t have to traverse all the internet to find them yourselves.

In this article we feature just a small selection of these questions. You can find the full FAQ on our new subpage here: FAQ

If you have any questions not covered here, feel free to head to our forums or to leave a comment!

General Questions

Q: How is the development of Battle Brothers funded and what are your future plans?

Right now we are funding the development out of our own pockets and most of us work on the game in our spare time. Here’s a quick overview of our future plans in chronological order:

1. Steam Greenlight campaign – we will start this step as soon as our trailer is finished, probably in September 2014.

2. A possible Kickstarter campaign by November 2014. If Kickstarter decides to come to Germany, that would make the process a lot easier.

3. Early Access to fund further development by the end of 2014 or early 2015.

4. Full game release sometime at the middle of 2015 via digital distribution plattforms.

Q: Is the game a sandbox or does it have a linear progression with a beginning and end?

Battle Brothers will have a completely open world which doesn’t restrict the player to go anywhere based on story progress, but only on being able to survive. Concerning progression, the game will have a beginning and an end given by the general setting, loosely framed within a narrative related to one of several “greater evils”. There’ll also be several milestones along the way, though they don’t necessarily have to be completed in linear sequence or at all. We won’t have forced and repetitive story missions that conflict with our open world gameplay or get in the way of replayability. However, the ultimate goal of every campaign will be to destroy the source behind the “greater evil” and stop the invasion. At some point the player will have to face the enemy or see the land get swept away.

Q: Will there be magic for the Battle Brothers like spells or enchanted items?

The player won’t be able to command a magic-user in the sense of a wizard or similar. However, there will be some items with magical properties to be found in the world. They’ll be rare and hard to get, but some will come with unique active skills that allow for otherworldly feats. In addition, some enemies also drop crafting materials (e.g. vampire dust) which can be crafted into a variety of accessory items, sometimes with magical properties.

Generally, we want to keep things down to low power fantasy and promote a certain asymmetry between the player and the opponents in the game; Battle Brothers will always be common humans in a pseudo-medieval setting that sometimes have to go up against non-human and supernatural foes. It is for this reason also that we try to avoid skills for the player that feel clearly unrealistic and superpowery (e.g. shooting 3 arrows at once) to keep things grounded a bit.

worldmap_21

Strategic Worldmap Questions

Q: How many Battle Brothers will be in the party at maximum?

A: The roster will hold around two dozen or so Battle Brothers of which 12 can participate in a single tactical battle at a time. Brothers will get wounded in battle and take time to heal, so there should always be enough replacements available. Also, they tend to die very easily. The player has to consider that all Brothers will consume money and food constantly, though, so the bigger the roster of backup troops, the higher the maintenance.

Q: What other factions beside the undead will be in the game?

A: Besides the undead, we currently plan on including the following enemy factions in the base game. In the future, we might add more.

Bandits – Basically human opponents of all sorts that use hideouts as base of operations and will try to attack and raid caravans and villages.

Orcs and Goblins –  We’ll have our own interpretation of the classic greenskins with some special twists.

Beasts – Werewolves and other mythological creatures roaming the world. Inspiration for these is often drawn from folklore and myths so you will definitely see a lot of unknown and interesting creatures here.

Q: Are there any non-combat skills like crafting?

Yes, on the strategic worldmap there will be crafting all sorts of items, from common equipment to accessories with magical properties out of ingredients obtained from slain enemies. Crafting and other non-combat activities will be done by so-called followers, not your Battle Brothers. Followers are sort of an entourage dedicated to the auxiliary and logistical tasks of a pseudo-medieval mercenary company. They are separate from the fighting force and can not engage in battles themselves. There will be a variety of them, like a hunter providing food while traveling or a monk helping the wounded Brothers to heal faster. Your party can only support a limited amount of these followers, so you’ll have to decide which ones to hire for your mercenary trek based on what best fits your overall strategy.

Q: Will there be an ironman mode and what is done against “save scumming” to make it viable?

We plan on including an ironman mode. While the game punishes mistakes with individual Battle Brothers quite heavily, losing even most of your men does not mean you’ll have to lose the campaign. The player will often be able to recover from losses and defeat, especially in the beginning of the game. Since there are up to a dozen Battle Brothers in battle, and more than that in reserve, losing some of them won’t be as impactful as in e.g. the new X-Com game where there are just 6 men and where losing just one of them can be really crippling and send the player into a downwards spiral to lose the campaign later on.

We generally also try to avoid game mechanics that boil down to pure luck and which can be beat simply be reloading. Everything should be beatable with the right strategy from the start. For example, we don’t have critical hits that do massive unavoidable extra damage on completely unpredictable random occasions. Instead, in Battle Brothers, there is a 25% base chance to hit the head instead of the body for 50% extra damage. Essentially, we flattened the curve to make this less of a random game; combatants will do critical hits way more often, but also do less extra damage than in other systems. Enough to still be relevant, but in a way that is more predictable. Importantly, the player can also actively counter critical hits by equipping Battle Brothers with headgear.

If the player accepts that he or she can’t win every battle all the time and that sometimes fleeing from battle is the right option, we think the game should be very much completable in ironman mode. That certainly is our goal.

Battle Brothers beeing in different states of morale after a heavy fight in turn based strategy game Battle Brothers.

Tactical Combat Questions

Q: Is there a flanking or backstabbing mechanic?

Battle Brothers does not have a flanking mechanic per se. We toyed around with the idea, but two points irked us: A combatant in real life can turn around in a split second, so determining that any combatant would be attacked from the back only for the fact that he couldn’t turn around because it isn’t his turn currently seemed very artificial. Second, it would require a very clear indicator of what direction any character is currently looking at – in other words, we would have needed character busts for every one of six possible directions. Sadly, our resources are very limited, and we’d rather spend them on more important things.

What we came up with instead is the “overwhelm” mechanic. The more individual characters attack any defending character in close combat within a single round, the easier it gets for them to score a hit. Or in other words: We grant a to-hit bonus for each character that attacked a target previously in the current round. This way we simulate the difficulty of defending against multiple opponents that attack from multiple sides without the need for any fixed character headings.

Q: Will there be different kinds of tactical combat “missions” or “set-ups”?

Yes, we will have different flavors to how tactical battles start out, depending on how two opposing forces engage each other on the worldmap. For example, if one party ambushes the other, the ambushed party will start at a disadvantageous position (i.e. not in battle formation). If two parties engage each other head-on, they’ll generally start just opposite of each other in organized battle lines, similar to the “Line Battle” scenario of the combat demo. Attacking an enemy encampment before being detected, or coming to the aid of a village that is currently being raided, will have one party scattered all over the map and take a while to realize your presence. All of these starting conditions should feel slightly different to play, some going straight to a short and decisive battle and some supporting more of a careful approach of slow advance and exploration. We’ll try to find a good balance for the final game to keep tactical combat as varied as possible.

Q: Will the player be able to set up ambushes with archers and other ranged troops using some kind of overwatch system during tactical combat?

The player will definitely be able to set up ambushes – both on the worldmap and on the tactical map. The AI plays by the same rules of limited vision, line of sight and fog of war as the player (except for perhaps a few special enemies that have an in-lore justification not to). However, we won’t have an overwatch system like in X-Com; it wouldn’t work well with the initiative-based turn system we use.

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12 Comments

  • juanval
    Aug 11, 2014 @ 20:13 pm

    Nice to hear the kickstarter campaign possibility.

    One more question: at the beginning of the campaign, can we choose the pace of the evil invasion? Something like major difficulty means faster evil invasion.

    It would be great to play another type of campaign too, in which you can do missions and wandering over the map without worrying about time, something like Expeditions Conquistador. Could this type of campaign be implemented in the game?

    • Rap
      Rap
      Aug 11, 2014 @ 21:45 pm

      We plan on having several difficuly levels which, among other things, influence the pace of the invasion.

      Every campaign should give you the time to just wander about the worldmap and do missions on your own time in the beginning of the game. It is only later on that the invasion escalates and you’ll be more or less forced to deal with the situation head-on. That said, our first Early Access version probably won’t include the invasion mechanic and will therefore be more sandboxy in nature than the final game. If it were to turn out that this is actually a lot of fun to play over a longer period of time by itself, and a number of players won’t even miss any invasion, it’s quite possible we’d include this as an optional game mode for the final game, too.

  • juanval
    Aug 11, 2014 @ 22:28 pm

    Thanks for your fast answer, as always :D

    Sandbox can be great in this game. Something like you see how your warband grows in power until you are able to do a final mission (reclaim a land that was owned by your family, for example), that you can do it whenever you want.

    Two types of playing: Sandbox mode or Invasion mode ;D

  • drew1988west
    Aug 12, 2014 @ 13:58 pm

    Hi guys,

    You mention ‘several greater evils’ – will this literally translate to seven factions, or will it actually be undead, green skins, beasts, and bandits?

    Oh and are werewolves part of the undead faction or the beast faction?

    • Rap
      Rap
      Aug 12, 2014 @ 14:50 pm

      Undead, Greenskins, Beasts and Undead are our target enemy factions for the final game. We have several more in mind, but whether they’ll make it into the final game or will be added by possible future expansions remains to be seen. We use the term “greater evil” simply to distinguish the invading faction from the other minor enemy factions in any campaign, and it has no relation whatsoever to the christian concept of the same name.

      Werewolves will be part of the Beast faction. They’re just on a loan to the Undead faction right now ;)

  • drew1988west
    Aug 12, 2014 @ 15:12 pm

    Maybe have the other factions as stretch goals if you guys go to kickstarter? ;)

    I’d love to see dragons, giants, elves, demons, thinking about it, I suppose the possibilities are pretty endless

    • Rap
      Rap
      Aug 12, 2014 @ 15:28 pm

      Yeah, having the other factions as stretch goals would be great. One of our non-priority factions does in fact consist of demons – not the classic fiery kind, though, but somewhat more alien and with a lot of insane cultists in their ranks.

      • drew1988west
        Aug 12, 2014 @ 18:32 pm

        Haha yeah I’m not a big fan of the cliche, fiery demons of hell. I was thinking grotesque alien humanoid creatures, basically evil incarnate but without the christian iconography.

        I think dragons, and giants could be interesting. They are your typical monsters of medieval folklore. Perhaps they could have huge HP stats, but take up multiple hexes on the battle map. The bust could instead of taking up one hex, perhaps take up two hexes instead to achieve the scale of these great gigantic monsters…

        Sorry my imagination is running wild today

  • Enilias
    Aug 12, 2014 @ 23:36 pm

    The overwatch system in XCOM causes terrible stall tactics that you basically stick around in a defensive position and just camp the enemy out.

    That aside, it’s cool that you guys are based in Germany, I am too ^.^

    A question though: Will we be able to create Battle Brothers or will they be completely randomly generated?

  • Jaysen
    Aug 13, 2014 @ 12:48 pm

    Yes, all that overwatching was really harming the dynamics of the game and hampering movement. They should have rather focused on an offensive approach instead of a defensive one like making suppression a central element. Maybe you know “Brothers in Arms”, an ego-shooter that has an absolutely amazing suppression system.

    Anyways, for the first version of the game we won’t have custom Battle Brother creation. We considered it and maybe will add it at a later point. When Battle Brothers are generated they are also not really random. They have different backgrounds that result in different traits and character attributes so a Brother who has been a hunter will probably be more proficient with ranged weapons and so on! We want the characters to feel “real” and “believable” while still having so much randomisation, that you will always have a unique band of Battle Brothers.

  • juanval
    Aug 13, 2014 @ 17:16 pm

    At least, it would be interesting in the final game no to see battlebrothers with the same face, like hapens in Xenonauts.

  • Jack Dandy
    Sep 9, 2014 @ 10:22 am

    I’m very excited to hear you’ll balance the game for Ironman as well! Love it when games of these sort do that.

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