A Time to be Banished
Banished is a very beautiful single-player city builder game, with an extraordinary relaxing Zen ambience and immersive-ness. Though there are better micro-managing games out there, such as Tropico or The Settlers, this game has its unique play style which forces you to better your survival skills and capabilities.
All you create or destroy in the game will have an intense impact, as you progress through the game-years, since you will discover how interlocked the economic mechanism is. You have to appeal to empathy or other human emotions, since the population intends to simulate survival in harsh environments and situations, where you are the decisive factor of how they will go though this calamities.
Banished is a sandbox indie game that is very compact when it comes to size and performance. Even so, we have a nice amount of options to tweak through, to meet our PC requirements. The detailed graphics and calm medieval music give it that relaxing gameplay effect, which is a nice artistic touch that makes Banished a masterpiece.
Before you start a new game, you can choose the difficulty options that will generate the game map and environment.
Your first 10 towns
I will not lie to you, this game is tricky, extremely difficult, and elusive at times. The scope of the game is to emerge your population from the wilderness and thrive in steady economic growth as long as you can, since there is no predefined ending.
The first steps in your town development are to make sure that your starting generation survives the first year, with only a few available resources in their possession (the amount of resources depends on the difficulty criteria you have chosen at the beginning of the map). Here is where the trial and error action begins, since you have many ways of sparking the mainframe of your economy.
Banished has a nice way of wrapping around building orders by fusing on a fragile balance between population and resources output. Build too fast and your people will not have enough time to tend to their personal needs, which might ruin an entire population in minutes. Build too slow and the overgrow of the civilization will bring supply shortages, low population health and unhappiness to your town.
A good tip that will assure your survival is to have iron or steel tools. Shortages of tools mean that people will have a hard time gathering resources. After 10 or so game tries you will feel better prepared to organize your town for the harsh seasonal cycles.
Housing and structures
There are many types of buildings you can construct to fit the towns needs, but placing them strategically and making an aesthetic environment, in the same time, is the true challenge of this game.
It is important to know which buildings you need to make first, as the most basic materials are: wood, stone and food and other buildings will also need advanced materials such as coal and iron, but this could be later acquired by mining or trade.
The game becomes more comfortable once you comprehend the learning curve and you can make your citizens life a luxury one, through education, farming, medication, trade ava even religion.
An easy way to oversee all statistics in the game is to build a town hall. The town hall can show you a detailed historical system, of current and past events (over a period of 1-100 years), that impact your city. Also this building is required to accept traveling nomads in your town.
How to trade
In Banished you can expand and sustain the lifestyle of your town just by trading. That is if you have something to trade with. Forests are an infinite resources and you can replenish them so you can keep your stocks steady.
Trade is a very important tool in your town evolution, as you can get seeds, cattle and other materials you don't have direct access to. With this materials you can start your own line of production and make new items which then you can trade some more.
Your devoted citizens
After a person is born, he start a journey in life by devoting himself to work for you and in the end he dies, by old age or a clumsy accidents. This is a very interesting aspect, as Banished focuses on evolution and transition from generation to generation. Alway keep an eye on the birthrate to be higher than the mortality rate, otherwise you can end up with an old population that can't reproduce.
Life is in continuous change and if you manage to impact this life cycle in a negative way, you can lose the entire population in minutes.
Aside from work accidents and old age, Banished also throws at your town tornadoes, diseases carried by nomads and famine. Making sure you have a backup plans, for this unpremeditated events, will help you stay alive even in the most dire situations.
Remember, the more you stay alive the more achievements you can unlock and the more you can evolve your medieval historic town.
In the end
Banished is an extremely nice indie strategy game, that teaches us how to spark a civilization, with the will to live and survive, in an open world with nothing more than a handful of people and a few scraps of resources. As life progresses so do the problems of your city, therefore you have to find an elegant balance to solve them and keep production at maximum capacity through trade, agriculture, industry and happy citizens. Once you have mastered your building skills, you can create magnificent cities with flourishing economies on a larger and more difficult generated terrain maps.