I love Banished, but I’m not very good at it. Much like Zapp Brannigan in Season 1 Episode 12 “When Aliens Attack”, I fail miserably and then blame the little people.
If you enjoy city builders like Cities: Skylines you would probably enjoy this game as well. Where as Cities has a modern feel (including things like solar power) Banished is more Oregon Trail: after arrival. In fact, when pitching this game to friends I say: If you’re ever wanted to see what happens when everyone is done dying of dysentery and failing at fording rivers, this is the game for you.
Unfortunately it’s really hard, you start the game on one of three difficulties (I usually choose easy), which affects what your people have to start with, like how many herds or seeds. You can further customize the game in the options menu to include different climates and disasters. I never include disaster, because I’m terrible at this game.
Controlling population is the most difficult bit, because having too many or too few people affects everything else: food supply, housing, work flow, how many tools or coats you need, how much fire wood or coal for the winter. Too many births at once and you have a bunch of useless children who do no work, too few and your people stop having kids and population drops too much to sustain you. I’ve had settlements both starve because of too many people and starve because of too few people. I’ve had settlements where I’ve built too many houses which causes people to stay single (why won’t they visit their neighbors? Winter is long and cold).
City planning is also a concern. Unlike in Children of the Nile (previously covered here) roads are not free, and you do need them. They help speed up your people which is important when your city becomes giant, like the one on the left.
However, by not “free” I’m referring to time. You don’t purchase anything with coins or gold or what have you. Everything you choose to build or harvest takes time (and wood or stone or iron). If you start things too late in the season (like trying to plant crops in late summer) or too early (a stone house in the winter) things can go…poorly.
However, there is help. The steam workshop for this game is thriving. You can find things like new buildings or new house designs or mods that make the game a little easier. I currently play with a rock respawner, an intensified fishing dock mod, and “Banished: Plus”. Banished: Plus is a bunch of mods rolled into one that make the game much easier. I recommend playing the game a couple times without mods, to pinpoint which things you find most difficult.
- Hunters and Gathers are crucial, build these first and stick them in a forest area you’re not going to chop down, make it close but not too close. Too far and the people won’t get home in time to eat before starving too death.
- Build farm land in the late winter, so it’s ready in the spring.
- Build things slowly (I fail at this and my cities suffer)
- Good planning is crucial, things have to be close but not too close
- Wait until your other food sources are stable before creating an orchard, it takes a couple years before harvest starts.
- Tools, create tools when low, it sucks up resources but I’ve had whole cities become ghost towns from the production drop.
- Either build a church or a tavern to help with happiness. Booze or God is the key to a happy fulfilled population.
- Ideally you want a city that looks like this: