The Banner Saga
From Before I Play
- Renown is both money and experience points. If you level your guys too much you'll starve and vice versa. No character is sacred and people leave/die all the fucking time so don't feel pressured to go past level 3 except on the important characters like Rook and Hakon.
- Because renown is so rare try to fight everything. During the "war" battles you'll be given an option of fighting more enemies without stopping. If you think you can handle it pick it because each kill is +1 renown and it adds up quickly.
- You're rewarded for role playing to your type. The survival of your clan is priority #1. Being indecisive, taking easy options, and trying to min/max the game results in egg on your face. Stealing a farmer's cattle or ignoring a person being attacked by bandits may make you feel like shit but you'll usually get a renown reward or won't have to deal with the fallout of extra mouths to feed. Sometimes the game will kick you in the balls but just roll with it. Avoid reloading old saves. If you've played Telltale's The Walking Dead you should know what to expect.
- The battle system is kind of wonky. You switch turns after each character moves. This means that the larger your party is, the more your opponent's individual characters will act before you do and vice versa. If you overwhelm the enemy and have a guy caught in the open, they'll likely die as they get attacked several times before they can act. Because of this it's important not to spread your party across the map especially if you move a character into a group of enemies that haven't acted yet.
- Strength is both health and damage. The general strategy is to spend your first turn or so weakening your opponents to the point where they can't really do damage. They can ping at your armor, which is damage reduction, so don't leave wounded enemies alive too much longer than necessary. If you reach a point where you can systematically wipe out each remaining enemy in one hit then you're doing well. You're in trouble once everyone's armor is gone as the enemy will one-shot everyone on the field. Because there's no healing and battles are a game of attrition, the longer a fight lasts the heavier things swing against you.
- Generally speaking, the AI will prioritize archers. After that they start pinging away at the most heavily armored character. Then they start knocking down the strength of everyone else.
- Don't be afraid to switch the difficulty to easy if you're not enjoying combat. The game's plot is the highlight and the constant resting to heal wounded units may grate on you.
- Exertion is the most important attribute and every character should at least have one point. Exertion lets you spend willpower to move further and add points of damage to armor or strength. I never upgraded willpower because the default amount is plenty, you earn willpower reserves for killing enemies, and having high morale gives you more willpower. Other than exertion, raise whichever attribute the character focuses. This means armor for shield bearers, strength for warriors and so on. Armor break isn't really important because of exertion but an archer with 3 armor break and 2+ exertion will wreck heavily armored enemies.
- One nitpicky thing, when you reach Frostvellr as Rook in Chapter 1 do not buy any supplies. The game automatically gives you low supplies when you resume his role in Chapter 3. I believe this is the only time this happens in the game.