Super Battle Bros

I had a good feeling about my latest company. I recruited a very decent disowned noble and we carried on a run of caravan escorts. There were some dubious hires who ended up having training accidents.

No problem.

We successfully carried out a bunch of jobs between runs, clearing graveyards of undead, returning stolen artefacts from brigands, and the like, with few losses and no injuries. No big deal, but big damn heroes. Even a knock-down drag-out orc ambush couldn’t stop us.

There were a few injuries, but nothing serious. The orcs had murdered most of the caravan hands and one of the donkeys, though, and the next ambush, if there was one, could be catastrophic.

And there was one, and it was. For them.

Hagen couldn’t miss, he killed several with his crossbow, never moving from his perch next to the wagon, and as their morale dropped, the rest of my men moved in and made short work of the few remaining, leaving one to flee, leaving only a trail of his own cowardice.

After that, we rested, recovered from injuries, repaired kit, and eyed new jobs. There was another caravan run going, low risk, decent pay, it would be nice to travel and earn while we healed up. Except we bumped into a religious procession on the way.

My four healthy men were unceremoniously stabbed to death in the woods by twenty-five cultists. With a full levelled-up team of 12, this would have been a challenging fight. So ends the tale of the Golden Hands mercenary company, may the old gods take mercy.


That sounds… frustrating an end.

Curious, how long did it take to get to the point where you were murdered by religious zealots?

Wish this were on MacOS but I do enjoy living vicariously through you lol

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Same, but iOS. I know I am missing out on a world of great titles but I just don’t use my PC anymore.


Time for a steam deck!

I fired this up again after an absence of years and started with the “tutorial” company. First fight (you know, the tutorial one) I won with one brother left standing. Second fight (the one they steer you to and tell you to recruit three more guys for) was a total wipe, game over.


Curious, how long did it take to get to the point where you were murdered by religious zealots?

Probably a couple of hours. I don’t mind it as I’m playing on ironman and choices are irrevocable. BB is a game about very brittle forces fighting, so results tend to be decisive for a variety of reasons. The undead don’t get scared, so they fight to the last corpse. Orcs are big and hit hard but they’re big targets and they have fragile morale. Goblins are hard to hit but will retreat early. Various monsters are terrifying but can usually be routed with some big hits/kills.

Plus, this applies to your men too. What keeps me interested in BB over other games is it doesn’t so much have a difficulty curve as a set of difficulty steps, and it’s not interested in helping you up them. If you surmount one, the next is ready for you, and your men only just managed the last one. This can lead to ‘long losses’ where it takes a while for your team, on a death spiral, to win fights, but with too many deaths/injuries to keep up with the pace of the game, and lead you down a path of inevitable defeat, eventually. The midgame onwards is absolutely lethal for level 1 recruits, so catching up with a new team becomes less and less likely.

The world is covered in roaming brigands and monsters and other hostile forces, and their group sizes only grow as the game goes on, so there’s another challenge in that you have a limit of taking 12 troops into a battle, so they need to be quite good overall in order for you to stand a chance versus, say, 25 cultists, or 30 ghouls. The game is not interested in fair fights, and I think that’s what really elevates it; other games struggle hard to try and give you a ‘fair’ fight, when what that really means is tilting the game firmly in your favour, sometimes to the extent that you can see just how badly the AI is rigged with really subpar enemy moves and attacks sparing your troops. In BB, you might be 20 hours in and your favourite soldier and leader of your troops takes a crossbow bolt to the face and dies instantly. That in turn can trigger a morale check which leads to other troops panicking and fleeing. Or you can do that to your enemy. Or you can lure that pack of direwolves into a fight with your mercs and that platoon of city militia nearby, and turn that coin flip into a cakewalk.

Everything in the game has a strength and a weakness. Troops can be bolstered by banners and leaders. You can load up your troops with heavier armour and deadlier weapons, though this basically revolves around the fatigue system, which is the core of your battle management. Troops have fatigue, doing anything costs fatigue, and the heavier your equipment, the less fatigue you have to spend. You also have to manage initiative, which determines turn order, and which is also reduced as you increase your fatigue. Your troops get tired. Certain enemy types, like undead, don’t get tired. This can present you with some difficulties as you must get a win before getting everyone exhausted. To this end, you can take various perks as you level up to help reduce the amount of fatigue you spend, recover chunks of it, etc, and you can vary your builds so people have more fatigue (but are more vulnerable as a result).

Each character has unique traits and the different backgrounds have varying strengths and weaknesses.

I know, I shouldn’t have hired him, shut up. I’ve ended up with so many unique men I’ve lost count. Donbert, the witch hunter crossbowman with a heart of pure cowardice, could never miss a target or pass a morale check. Literally one wound taken on my team and he would flee. Willibald, the glass cannon of an axeman who would regularly decapitate at least one enemy every battle, but whose bones were apparently made of glass, and would be injured after each wound no matter how small. Sorrel, who refused to take a hint, and lost an eye, and ear, and a finger in successive battles before I retired him for a career, probably in something less demanding.

The game is absolutely brutal, but it’s a brutality you can wield in order to win, it’s not just exercised against you. You can bring 8 crossbowmen and serve up bolt salads to that group of brigands. You can bring 10 men in heavy armour and axes the size of ponies and chop those orcs into dog meat. You can bring a handful of dogs and set them on enemies, breaking up their line or occupying their archers. You can bring a stack of spearmen and watch the undead pile in and impale themselves.

Your bros can literally get PTSD if they lose close comrades.

If they get downed in battle but manage to survive, they can get permanent injuries which means they’re too valuable to fire, but too vulnerable to last long in the Great Attritathon.

I do of course find some outcomes frustrating, but the game is uncompromising and I love it. Apart from the donkeys having legs.

That’s just disgusting.


Yeah, that’s on my list of things I really don’t need but really want.

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Apologies for disturbing you chaps, it seems we’ve taken a wrong turn. We’ll just be on our way

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Found a nice secluded little spot t’other day.

I thought I was going to lose Eduard early on, after he was taken down in the first week. Not a great loss, he is short sighted (not an issue, not an archer) and stupid (gains less XP).

But he only lost an eye. No big deal, he’s not an archer, he can hold a place in the shieldwall with one eye. Then he got taken down again. Traumatised, having lost resolve and initiative, he shakily regained his place. Then he got dropped again. This time, his heart was weakened, and he lost 30% of his health. Today is day 55 for him in the Ghostmakers. His mood is at 86%, he is euphoric, presumably at having lasted months longer than expected.

Second in the Unlikeliest to Survive stakes is Witold. The only remaining original member, Witold unfortunately caught a crossbow bolt in the first week and dropped like a brick. His flimsy armour did not help.

The resulting permanent lung damage took 40% of his fatigue. I relegated him to the backline, sweeping axe cuts into the melee, in an attempt to get some use out of him. He has become one of my deadliest fighters, with Berserk giving him extra action points for kills, and Killing Frenzy giving him extra damage on successive turns after a kill, so he can keep going at a steady pace and absolutely brutalise the enemy. Lost an ear in battle too, barely misses it at all.

Balduin is a more recent, expensive hire. He is my walking tank. 100+ HP, and the heaviest armour I could afford.

By far the best battle/kill ratio in the company, second only in melee skill to Witold, I just run him into the enemy line and let him kill things until they are all dead or they run away. I gave him the Lone Wolf perk so he gets a 15% bonus to his fighting skills and resolve when isolated, and he also has Berserk, which means if he’s surrounded by enemies, he can hit (and usually kill) two a turn. Helm taken from the body of a fallen hero he bested in single combat.

My bannerman, Karl.

Respectable fighter, but I’ve mostly been spanking his resolve up, as it acts as a bonus to the rest of the company if they’re within range. Has no issues killing people too, has Berserk for two attacks per turn, and has Fearsome, forcing morale checks on enemies when he hurts them, said checks are penalised by his resolve, so the higher it is the better.

Super Hans.

My main backline boy, his career trajectory was incredible until an orc maimed his foot for him. Now it costs him extra AP to move anywhere, so I have to shepherd him carefully. Rough terrain is especially hard on him. I need to see about getting him the Pathfinder perk to at least cut down on the fatigue he spends limping around.

It’s pronounced ‘ESPN’.

A good shot, but also has Eagle Eyes for extra range.

Volmar is in some ways my favourite character, and I was gutted when he took a sword to the face.

Thankfully he merely lost an eye, as he’s a great all-round fighter, and my backup sergeant should anything go wrong. He has Berserk and Fearsome, and also Rotation, to help move troops out of trouble.

They and many others make up my current company, who are actually doing quite well, for a change. Horde of direwolves didn’t stop us, undead swamp ambush didn’t stop us, two dozen Nachzehrers didn’t stop us, twenty brigands didn’t even slow us down. A necromancer was, briefly, very very sorry he ever met us.

It is Day Ninety-Six. My reputation is excellent. My butcher’s bill is a mere two dozen names. I have never failed a contract. I did, however, intentionally betray an employer because some shady bloke offered me 3,200 gold to ‘fail’ a 400 gold contract. We all have our price. I can win this one.


Immensely enjoying reading about what seems to be a gem I’ve overlooked. I’m curious as to what all your thoughts are as to how this compares to Darkest Dungeon (1)?

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You can definitely see the parallels. The games are doing similar things in slightly different ways: you get a team of misfits, you put together their gear and weapons and trinkets, and you create a working team that exploits their collective strengths and hopefully covers their weaknesses, and the games intentionally want you to try and develop in such a way as to produce characters and teams that are almost exploits in themselves, asking you to enhance abilities/traits in such a way as to give you advantages that are almost broken, like making the most of Death’s Door as a Leper in DD, or using Berserk on a polearm-wielder in BB to get two attacks every turn instead of one. Proper character death, plus you have to juggle character health, money, etc

They’re not quite equal in terms of complexity, but DD is a leaner game; you get your team sorted out and you go, and apart from one or two quiet corridors, you navigate traps and fights and you get a dungeon done in half an hour, maybe? Assembling a team takes a couple of minutes, five at the most if you’re really juggling some accessories around? Whereas in Battle Brothers, your team can be up to a dozen in a battle, and your company can be up to 20 men, so while it’s not much more complex, there’s more to handle, and each character doesn’t have a set class; each recruit comes from a certain background which have different predilictions, but any of them can have a wide range of traits, and any of them can be given any perk.
So in this case, this character has Student (XP gain), Gifted (stat increase), Dodge (melee/ranged defence), Backstabber (bonus to having allies adjacent to the same enemy), Polearm mastery (polearms do more damage and use fewer action points), Berserk (AP on kills), Killing Frenzy (damage after kills) and Indomitable (take less damage). But this character could be an archer, or a front line fighter, or a dedicated polearm wielder. Whenever characters level up, they get to increase three stats.
You choose which three, so you can enhance any of their abilities you wish. So this mix of background/traits/perks/stats/injuries all intermixes and you can spec characters that do similar roles very differently. So it definitely is not as easy to play as DD, because there’s no class boundaries you can rely on.

BB’s world map is also a decent size, your party’s FoV is relatively small, so there can be a lot of travel time (in a bad week it can seem like you’re playing Caravan Guard Simulator), and the game isn’t scared to put you in a truly terrible position. I find DD you discover pretty quickly and sharply that your party isn’t cutting the mustard, you take a party wipe and go back to the drawing board. You can use that info to design a team you know can crack that encounter. BB isn’t scared to throw you into a battle you are very unlikely to win even with the ‘correct’ team (enjoy fighting 30 cannibal ghouls that power up whenever they eat a corpse! Hope nothing fucked up happens!), and it can also trap you in a death spiral where you win a battle, but all your equipment is damaged, all your characters are wounded, and you are miles away from anywhere. In DD you can get some breathing room with some easier runs, and while BB sort of has that, the main thrust of the design is that the world is carrying on without you, there are progressively more enemies, they are tougher, they’ll actively come looking for you, and while there are opportunities to get enemies to fight one another, and some easy targets, most of the time it’s up to you to keep your men happy, fed, paid, and alive, and if any of those things go wrong, you’re fucked. I had a game where I lost most of my team via running out of money. I had a game where all it took was a few key soldiers quitting because of dissatisfaction with the food on offer, and the rest of my team, late in the game, couldn’t cope with the battles.

BB has more freedom, but that’s also freedom to make mistakes and time spent for things to go wrong over a much longer timescale; I’ve found myself floundering in a late game with a team halfway capable, who go on to win a dozen battles badly, and that does make for a great story in retrospect, as your minor mercenary company has an outsize impact on the ongoing conflict and gets snuffed out as a result. That can be a really cool story to have, but experiencing it can feel harsh and frustrating, though I think a game like this should generate those feelings. If you’re a small mercenary outfit fighting in a conflict against a rising undead army, or an orc invasion, a lot of those stories are going to be the old tale of attrition in war. If you survive against the odds, it means a lot of people in the same situation did not. You can’t have an incredibly rewarding experience of surviving a harsh trial, if you don’t have a harsh trial in the first place.

BB’s focus is also more up to you. The world’s progression towards a crisis is inevitable, but your involvement in it is encouraged but not compelled; I had an orc invasion and I barely noticed. I was busy at the time trying to destroy a goblin city in an unrelated (but thematically connected) objective I decided upon. I took part in defending towns, raiding camps, hunting down war parties, etc, but I only took those orc contracts to fund my real work committing goblinocide. The amount of variance in the world and encounters and events and locations is staggering, I’m 290 hours in and still finding new stuff.

tl;dr DD is a dagger, short, sharp and pointy. BB is a warhammer, long, crushing and brutal. I like DD. I love BB.


Outstanding!! Your passion for the game is palpable. On a side note GOG currently have BB on sale at 50% off, finishing in 2 days.

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Bought this on the Switch. Y’all made it sound too appealing. Helps that it was half off on there too.


Good luck! Don’t get too attached to your people, they’re going to die. All of them.

And I don’t want to give much in the way of tips and spoilers, other than to say it’s a low magic world, so if you find anything supernatural, be afraid


Boys, you have picked the wrong fuckin’ caravan.

Team on tye left looks they have it covered…

… which means there was a nonzero chance he took a TPK, amirite?


I’m jealous of OhBolloxs “100 days in veteran” achievement, so I figured I’d retire my 160 day beginner game as I’d done what I wanted to do. I set them out to fight some of the serious fights I’d been avoiding, half the party got massacred, and then there was a second wave of enemies….rip.



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I saw something on the world map I’ve not seen before or since. One of the towns spawned with a leather worker, for cheaper or more numerous light armour in the settlement.

My party got massacred before I could get there of course, but I wonder if that’d be a good way to armour up a party without putting them through the grinder of raider battles