Simulation Strategy Video Games

Banished: A game of hard starting conditions, part one

Today I’m going to show you my fifty-year-long play-through of Banished (official site here) in which I had the starting conditions set to hard and I used a different map to the ones from the guide. This will be a tale told in images, partially because I don’t do videos and partially because on 10× speed it took something like eight hours to complete the full fifty years (although I wasn’t keeping track of time), and editing something that big probably would have made my brain explode.

My excuses for not making a Let’s Play video aside, the first thing I noticed when I did this play-through was how forgiving the game is even on hard starting conditions. You’ll notice me making a couple of decisions that I end up deciding to change later – such as the location of my Hunting Cabins, a Pasture, etc. The resources and time lost in correcting my “mistakes” had no effect on my villagers whatsoever, and even when I stopped paying attention for a little while and I started running out of Firewood and Tools, we seemed to easily recover. But I’ll save the details for when we actually get to it.

Banished map settings

Banished: Map settings

So the map settings used are shown to the right. I kept everything on the defaults except I made the Terrain Size larger and the Starting Conditions harder.

In regards to the Map Seed itself, I got rather lucky and ended up with a starting position that left our villagers with a lake to the south and a large river running down the east side. This probably helped a lot in the short term, even though our dependence on fish and venison made our overall health drop all the way down to two hearts at some points.

From the beginning

Anyway, I’m getting a bit ahead of myself again. We starting by the large river and I had my villagers start by building a Fishing Dock to the south by the lake, and an area of six Wooden Houses next to the cart they always start with on hard. Four of my villagers were assigned to building while the rest were Labourers. When the Fishing Dock was completed, I assigned four villagers to it, and I had the rest clear some space for a Storage Yard and designated a spot for a Storage Barn to be built once the houses were done.

Banished: Starting position Banished: Fishing Dock

I plopped down a Hunting Cabin to the west of the Fishing Dock and prioritised it so that they would build it straight away. When it was complete, I let the Builders get back to the housing area which was partially completed. The Hunting Cabin initially only had one villager assigned to it, but once I could afford to spare more, I increased it to three.

Banished: Hunting Cabin Banished: Wooden houses

My Storage Barn and my housing area were both completed around the same time. Now we just need to make sure we’ll survive the cold winter.

Banished: Storage barn Banished: Wooden houses

The Woodcutter was built next, with one villager assigned to it. I also got rid of the cart we started with and began work on building a Gatherers Hut, a Blacksmith since we don’t have many Tools in reserve, and a Tailor for the same reason with clothing. I prioritised the Blacksmith so it would finish first as I had only one Tool left at the time, and I only had a Blacksmith working at it when our stores of Tools dropped down to fifteen or so and kept them there until it reached somewhere around forty-five.

Banished: Woodcutter Banished: Blacksmith

My Gatherers Hut up north was completed next and I assigned four villagers to it so that we would start having a better variety of food sooner. As you might be able to see, our overall health has dropped to two hearts since we’ve been subsisting on nothing but fish and venison for the past year or so. The Tailor was completed next and I only had a villager working at it when our stores of clothing dropped down to ten or so and kept them there until it reached somewhere around forty.

Banished: Gatherers hut Banished: Tailor

Next, we built a Herbalist next to the Gatherers Hut and I kept a villager working here until our stores of Herbs reached one hundred. No one really used the Herbs for a long time after the initial bunch, so I didn’t need to reassign another Herbalist for many years. Also, I built a bridge across the lake to the east of my Hunting Cabin so that, in the short term, we can collect resources from the island and, in the long term, eventually have our Quarries and whatnot there.

Banished: Herbalist Banished: Bridge

I was worried about a random disease outbreak, so I built a Hospital somewhat early but I didn’t assign any Physicians to it. Then I decided that I wanted my villagers to spend less time travelling to the area across the bridge to the east, so I built a tunnel through the small mountain.

Banished: Hospital Banished: Tunnel

Then I began creating more room for my population to grow by starting the construction of another block of six houses. They’re Stone Houses this time and will be from now on. While those were being built, I also got my Builders to work on my first Forester which I put to the north of the main town area and south of both the Gatherers Hut and Herbalist.

Banished: Stone houses Banished: Forester

Remember that area I built a tunnel and a bridge leading to? I finished building a Quarry very close to the bridge, assigned a couple of Stonecutters to it, and put a Storage Yard next to it. Also, I built a School House next to the Hospital and assigned a Teacher to it so that my future workers would be more productive.

Banished: Quarry Banished: School house

It felt like the time for villagers to start dying from old age was drawing near, so we built a Graveyard that can fit twenty-four of our town’s dearly departed. That’s a 12 wide, 8 tall plot, which can only occupy twenty if you make it 8 wide, 12 tall for some reason (which probably has something to do with how the plots are arranged). A Mine was then built so that we wouldn’t have to worry about running low on Iron for Tools, but it wasn’t an urgent matter, and I only had one Miner attend to it.

Banished: Graveyard Banished: Mine

Next, I built a bridge across the large river to the east so that we could start gathering resources there and eventually have another Hunting Cabin and some Foresters on that side. We also had our first death shortly after – we hope you rest in peace, dear Arian.

Banished: Bridge Banished: Graveyard

Another block of six houses was added so our villagers could have homes of their own to raise children, leaving us with a population of 26 / 3 / 3 (those who are working / students / children). Then the Builders set to work on a Market so the construction of a second Storage Barn wouldn’t restrict the villager’s diet as they tend to only visit the closest one for food and don’t go hunting for more variety. This would have been a problem as the Storage Barn to the south would be closer than the one I planned to build with the Gatherers Hut and Herbalist to the north, which would result in the villagers going back to relying on Fish and Venison more than they should. They then would likely not stock up on the varied food types from the Gatherers Hut because our production of Fish has resulted in constant stock of over 1,500, meaning they wouldn’t ever be forced to look for food elsewhere at this point. As mentioned before, the lack of variety in their diet leads to health dropping, which is why our overall health dropped to two hearts to begin with and we don’t want to go back to that.

TLDR; Markets are good for food distribution.

Banished: Stone houses Banished: Market

I then removed my original Hunting Cabin and added a replacement one up north next to the Gatherers Hut and Herbalist, followed by a Storage Barn so that the workers in these places wouldn’t have to walk as far to deposit the resources they collect and therefore can work more efficiently.

Banished: Hunting cabin Banished: Storage barn

Here is an overview of what we have so far, minus the bunch of buildings further to the north. You can see I’ve already started building roads on the east side of the large river and I’ve added another bridge leading across to the area on the west. The population stood at 27 / 1 / 4 at this point.

Banished: Play-through on Hard

Now I’ve completed another set of six houses, and our town has a population of 22 / 6 / 7. Making them in blocks of six is not some proven optimal method of housing-for-maximum-production-efficiency, it’s just what I like doing, and as you can see so far, this game will let you do whatever random nonsense you feel like without punishing you for it. Aside from that, I also have a Forester built along that road to the east and set four Foresters to work there.

Banished: Stone houses Banished: Forester

I built another Hunting Cabin further to the south-west of where the first one originally was. This new one is on the other side of the small mountain range that the tunnel goes through and is almost directly south of the west end of the tunnel itself. Another Graveyard was also added as the first one was getting close to being full. This second Graveyard is the same size and can hold up to twenty-four graves (plus, Graveyards make the people in nearby houses happier somehow).

Banished: Hunting cabin Banished: Graveyard

Added a Boarding House so I could start upgrading the original set of houses to Stone Houses while not having to worry about them being homeless for a while. It would also be useful if Nomads decided to come to my town and I didn’t have enough space for them, so I figured without this I might lose half of them to the cold of winter or something. Meanwhile, I had a Trading Post built so I could start collecting seeds and livestock.

Banished: Boarding house Banished: Trading post

Next, I built another Mine except this one was for the purpose of gathering Coal instead of Iron. The first Trader visited my Trading Post and I got Pear Seeds which I planted in the area near my Blacksmith and Tailor, starting my collection of seeds and livestock. The trade itself can be seen below this set of images.

Banished: Mine Banished: Orchard
Banished: Pear seeds

I wanted to show that, although it’s not the most efficient or effective method of getting food, farms can still work and help keep our food types varied, so I started by getting Pear Seeds in exchange for the following:

  • 25× Firewood
  • 500× Fish
  • 500× Venison
  • 100× Herbs

Our original set of Wooden Houses has now been upgraded to Stone Houses by now and our population stood at 36 / 6 / 12. Also, a second Trader has dropped by, offering Cattle which I threw into a Pasture by the second Graveyard.

Banished: Stone houses Banished: Pasture
Banished: Cattle

As I had a huge surplus of foods last time, my first trade was easily completed without causing any trouble for my people. However, this time I didn’t want to lose any more food than necessary even though we still had around 3,300 of it, and so, the three Cattle were gained in exchange for the following:

  • 250× Log
  • 100× Firewood
  • 100× Hide Coat

Another block of six houses was built to the west of the Market, with the space next to them now reserved for a Chapel in the near future. The population at this point is 48 / 13 / 10. Also, I removed the original Forester and added another Gatherers Hut in its place instead. This one would take a little longer before it started producing as much as our original Gatherers Hut due to the forest around it being relatively new because of the Forester, but since the area of forest there would no long be interfered with, it had the capability of becoming just as good.

Banished: Stone houses Banished: Gatherers hut

I had the Builders construct a Town Hall so we could accept Nomads if they decided to drop by and just in case I forgot about it by the end of the game so I could show you the data it has gathered for this fifty-year-long game. We also got some Plum Seeds from the Trader, as you’ll be able to see below.

Banished: Town Hall Banished: Orchard
Banished: Play-through on Hard

I didn’t want to start using my food for purchases again yet, so I went with something similar to what I did in the last trade for this one. The trade itself was one Plum Seed for the following:

  • 100× Log
  • 80× Iron
  • 100× Firewood
  • 100× Hide Coat

It wasn’t necessary just yet, but I felt like building a Chapel to the west of my last lot of houses so I didn’t have to remember to leave space for one later. I then added another Woodcutter because we were consuming Firewood faster than they were making it despite having more than enough Logs for the job and everyone having Stone Houses. That in combination with putting some Stock Yards for Logs nearby was a really cheap fix and could have been unnecessary at this point if I had already built the Log Stock Yard closer to the Woodcutters instead of the Foresters. However, as the population grew, there actually became a need for a second one. Just not yet.

Banished: Chapel Banished: Woodcutter

Here’s another overview of the town showing all the changes we’ve made since the last one. Again, it doesn’t show the buildings to the north or the new Quarry to the west, but the majority of the town is there. Our population here is 56 / 8 / 12.

Banished: Play-through on Hard

So this is where I’ll leave part one, as this has been somewhat tiring and I need a little break. I’ll be back to continue my adventure in Banished with the next game update which will follow a quick post about my holiday here in Taiwan.

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