Banished: the widely anticipated city-building strategy game released.
February 18, 2014 2:56 PM   Subscribe

You control a group of exiled travelers who decide to restart their lives in a new land. They have only the clothes on their backs and a cart filled with supplies from their homeland.
Created by a single developer, Luke Hodorowicz, Banished reached 13 500 active players* on its first day of release on Steam. [screenshots]

The game already has numerous positive reviews. It sells for $20 via Steam, or directly from Shining Rock Software. It is available only on Windows for now, with other OS versions planned for future release.
*current figure, as of this post
posted by Gomez_in_the_South (42 comments total) 45 users marked this as a favorite

Looks pretty cool. link here
for those who like their stuff DRM-free.
posted by JauntyFedora at 3:01 PM on February 18

Thanks for ruining any and all productivity I might have had this week!
posted by SkylitDrawl at 3:02 PM on February 18

The game has also received a negative review, via RockPaperShotgun:

Banished is a taxing game. It might even be a vexing one. Here’s an example, from a relatively early stage of a game, although it still took a bloody long time to get there. (There’s no campaign as such, by the way: you start with a randomly-generated map, immediate access to all buildings, and keep going/growing for as long as you can.)

My town consists of roughly 80 people.
Food is supplied by 12 fishermen, 7 farmers, 12 hunters and 8 gatherers. 39 food workers total.
Firewood is supplied by 16 foresters providing logs to 4 woodcutters (any more woodcutters and they’d have nothing to do, lest that sound low). 20 fuel workers total.

80 people. 39 food workers. 20 fuel workers.

And yet they are starving to death. And yet they are freezing to death. There is some imbalance I can’t understand – how could a ratio of almost one food worker to every two people fail to provide enough? (Yes, I have been careful to spread fields, cabins and barns out so no-one has to make long, hungry treks for sustenance). Is everyone obscenely greedy, or is everyone extremely lazy? Perhaps the population count is representative rather than exact, and that 70 refers to an abstract grouping rather than the full total – but why, then, would the same not apply to the number of food workers?

posted by Smart Dalek at 3:06 PM on February 18 [3 favorites]

They'd have had $20 from me if not for Windows-only grumble grumble.
posted by mudpuppie at 3:35 PM on February 18 [9 favorites]

So, Dwarf Fortress + pretty graphics - digging?
posted by brentajones at 3:35 PM on February 18 [3 favorites]


There is some imbalance I can’t understand – how could a ratio of almost one food worker to every two people fail to provide enough?

Welcome to medieval Europe.

Banished is a taxing game.

It sounds similar enough in spirit to Dwarf Fortress that the old motto applies: losing is fun. Accept from the first moment that the colony is doomed to die in ways you will fail to anticipate, genuinely enjoy seeing the consequences of your choices come back to bite you, and be pleasantly surprised if you actually make the place thrive for a little while.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 3:42 PM on February 18 [3 favorites]

They'd have had $20 from me if not for Windows-only grumble grumble.

Humbe Indie Bundle 11, which just went up for sale today, has some great cross-platform stuff.
posted by ODiV at 3:46 PM on February 18 [1 favorite]

Hunh. I just realized how much I like skill / tech trees.
posted by poe at 3:52 PM on February 18

I just realized how much I like skill / tech trees.

I like the idea that this game lets you try to build a megastructure Heorot on day one of your starving village's existence.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 3:58 PM on February 18 [2 favorites]

There is no money. Instead, your hard-earned resources can be bartered away with the arrival of trade vessels. These merchants are the key to adding livestock and annual crops to the townspeople’s diet; however, their lengthy trade route comes with the risk of bringing illnesses from abroad.

omg, the merchants from far away places (where they presumably have currency systems and far more sophisticated, larger economies) are going to make out like bandits while the banished townspeople are going to get screwed over again and again in their bartering until they catch a deadly disease from the merchants, and then even after that if there are survivors.
posted by Bwithh at 4:26 PM on February 18

Basically it's Dwarf Fortress minus all the really unworkable pieces that cause the system to just blow the fuck up.

Still fun.
posted by PMdixon at 4:27 PM on February 18

From the sound of it, it's World of Warcraft without the war part.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 4:32 PM on February 18

This sounds like the sort of game that I will absolutely love. Now if I can only get away from football manager long enough to enjoy this...
posted by all the versus at 4:59 PM on February 18

In bad times in Medieval Europe, for every seed planted two were harvested - that is, one for food and one for next year's crop. Of course the noble's wouldn't starve, so the peasants did. By comparison in modern era it's 30:1 seeds or more harvested for every seed planted.
posted by stbalbach at 5:04 PM on February 18

Basically it's Dwarf Fortress minus all the really unworkable pieces that cause the system to just blow the fuck up.

But those are the best pieces.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 5:12 PM on February 18 [3 favorites]

World of Warcraft without the war part

World of 'Craft: Revenge of the Felters
posted by zippy at 5:45 PM on February 18 [4 favorites]

It also sounds a lot like The Settlers Online, a game my wife really likes. Anyone know how Banished stacks up against TSO?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 5:46 PM on February 18

I have the least sexy settlers on earth. They just refuse to breed.
posted by Skorgu at 7:58 PM on February 18

It does look like Settlers without the battle missions. I like those rivers and boats!
posted by chapps at 9:32 PM on February 18

Wasn't there a web game very similar to this posted to Mefi a few years ago? It had simpler graphics -- 2D, isometric -- but the mechanic of slowly building a society of farmers and loggers and such in a wilderness was the same.
posted by Rhaomi at 10:38 PM on February 18

Ah, just found it -- it was called Breaking The Tower, posted back in 2009. You had to generate a village using a small starter population of townspeople, but for the purposes of breaking down a stone tower on the far side of the island.

Fun fact: the game was as an entry to a Ludum Dare competition by one Marcus Persson, just a few months before the alpha release of a little game of his called Minecraft.
posted by Rhaomi at 10:59 PM on February 18 [6 favorites]

Thanks, Rhaomi. I was trying to remember what that game was called just the other day.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 11:35 PM on February 18

They'd have had $20 from me if not for Windows-only grumble grumble.

From the FAQ:

"Is the game available for Mac or Linux?

Banished is currently only for PC’s running Windows. However, I’d like to make Mac, Linux, and SteamOS versions in the future. "
posted by hat_eater at 1:52 AM on February 19

I've been following the development of Banished for some time.

In fact look. One of my very earliest AskMe Questions was pretty much asking for this game.

I still haven't found the time it play it and I'm not sure when I will.
I'm going to have to rely on MeFightClub to play it vicariously...
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 5:03 AM on February 19 [1 favorite]

I got the game yesterday, and it's just blown me away. I lost about half my population in the first winter from failing to cut down enough trees (but they are so pretty!) but now a decade has passed and I'm up to 30. We're still scraping by, but lord knows I value every one of those little villagers.

No doubt there will be bugs and imbalances - this thing was made by one guy, after all - but so far it's on a par with (if not better than) the games it is most similar to (namely Tropico, Anno, and Dwarf Fortress: I've not played the latter, but the let's-player Arumba seems to think it compares favourably). And after the SimCity debacle, us city-builder fans will take all we can get.

Some things that make it stand out to me include: the fact that you can plan things in advance at no cost (as opposed to having to save up only to find you have no space left to build); the intelligence of the villagers with regards to prioritising, pathfinding, etc; just sitting back and watching the seasonal cycles and weather effects; the ability to micromanage if you so desire... I could go on.

This game has so much potential, I'm excited to see where it leads.
posted by Acey at 10:09 AM on February 19

From the sound of it, it's World of Warcraft without the war part.

Even in a strategy thread no one remembers Warcraft started out as a strategy game. Where is my Warcraft 4, Blizzard?

Banished looks fun, but in games like Settlers, I always preferred the initial stages.
posted by ersatz at 10:57 AM on February 19

From the sound of it, it's World of Warcraft without the war part.

Also without the world part, no? (In that there is no multiplayer of any sort.)
posted by advil at 11:37 AM on February 19

Basically it's like World of Warcraft except for the part where it in no way whatsoever resembles World of Warcraft. They are both video games, I guess? They have words for names? It is similarly a lot like Call of Duty in that sense.
posted by cortex at 11:47 AM on February 19 [6 favorites]

Skorgu - They breed like rabbits, you just have to keep building houses for young couples to move into. Only if you build too many they breed faster than you can feed them. Striking a balance between having the old people all die and cratering your population vs. overbreeding and ending up in a starvation failure cascade was the hardest part for me when I tried it out last night. Also early on in the game agriculture is way too slow and unreliable to depend on, gathering is the way to go, which I guess mirrors history. So yeah I ended up with two miserable death towns of failure last night and one limping along town that I have high hopes for if I can ever get some mines going...
posted by Wretch729 at 12:09 PM on February 19

Fishing, people. Fishing.
posted by PMdixon at 1:38 PM on February 19

Definitely reminds me of pre-"Online" Settlers which, despite being slower paced than a Bergman film, sucked me in for a few months. I'm sure I'll cave eventually but I'm going to try to avoid downloading this...I have stuff to do.
posted by JaredSeth at 1:40 PM on February 19

It really is like DF if DF were actually a game instead of a collection of coupled physics simulations.
posted by PMdixon at 1:44 PM on February 19

It looks a lot like Gnomoria, which itself is a DF-lite with graphics.
posted by hellphish at 2:02 PM on February 19

I'm not really getting the DF vibe. Pre-gen buildings? Pshaw.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 3:26 PM on February 19

Also, just hearing about it, it seems a lot more shallow than DF. I haven't played it yet, but talking with those who have, that's the impression that I get.

As an example, there's no preference or aptitude for built up for jobs by your colonists. You could have a 30 year old blacksmith who has been doing it for 5 years get replaced by a 10 year old with no change in quality or speed.
posted by ODiV at 3:29 PM on February 19 [1 favorite]

Unless there is an option of cannibalism, this game is unwinnable. Every developing civilization has had to HAD TO resort to eating the very weak when times are tough in order to make through a harsh climate.

That being said, I heartily recommend this game to everybody.
posted by Renoroc at 5:25 PM on February 19

Oh, great, now it's 01:28 am.
I said I didn't have time!
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 5:29 PM on February 19 [1 favorite]

I sunk about 3 hours into this last night. After playing the tutorials, I was placed near what seemed like a large forest, so I figured I could do the whole hunting/gathering thing there, once I cut down enough trees for some basic structures. Of course, each year winter comes and each year I cut down more trees for firewood and soon enough there is no more forest at all and I'm the worst hippie ever.

I also enjoyed the "no tech tree" thing (which I thought I would hate - the whole "upgrading knowledge via research" really scratches an itch). For example, I needed a bunch of stone to build some important buildings, so I just built a quarry. Wait, I don't have to first build a school, then a university, then train a citizens as geologists? It really allows for better customization of a town if you're not required to follow a preset path. Great game.
posted by antonymous at 8:59 AM on February 20 [1 favorite]

Figured out the worker allocation method: it minimizes the maximum shortfall among job sites.
posted by PMdixon at 1:02 PM on February 20

Omigod it's a macroeconomics simulator.
posted by PMdixon at 5:02 PM on February 21

Damn, does this mean I'm buying it?
posted by ersatz at 3:57 AM on February 22

Sooo... it turns out the yield on fishing and gathering can vary greatly year to year. Note to self: diversify food sources in future. In other news we've solved the overpopulation problem in my latest town...
posted by Wretch729 at 8:44 AM on February 23

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