Simulation Strategy Video Games

Banished: A game of hard starting conditions, part two

Welcome back to part two of my fifty-year-long play-through of Banished (official site here) in which I had the starting conditions set to hard. Part one can be found here and it has everything from the start of the game up until we built a Chapel and a second Woodcutter. Let’s jump right back into it, shall we?

A tale of Banished continued

So not too long afterwards those, another Trader visited and I got some more seeds. However, since I was purchasing two seeds this time, a Cherry Seed and a Wheat Seed, we needed a lot more resources to trade for it. The Crop Field for the Wheat was placed just to the north-east of my housing blocks and the Orchard for the Cherries was placed south of my other Orchards.

Banished: Crop field Banished: Orchard
Banished: Play-through on Hard

The deal for the seeds was completed with the following:

  • 100× Log
  • 2× Iron
  • 100× Firewood
  • 6× Hide Coat
  • 2,000× Fish
  • 100× Leather
  • 300× Venison
  • 100× Herbs

After that, I added yet another set of houses, making my population at the completion of them, 54 / 8 / 18. Then I just left it until the next Trader dropped by, allowing me to acquire some Apple Seeds which I planted to the west (and ever so slightly south) of the Chapel.

Banished: Stone houses Banished: Orchard
Banished: Play-through on Hard

This trade for the Apple Seeds was made with the following:

  • 100× Log
  • 20× Iron
  • 80× Hide Coat
  • 100× Leather

We added another bridge for ease-of-travel between the main area and that to the east. Also, yet another housing block went down. The population at the completion of this block was 64 / 16 / 15.

Banished: Bridge Banished: Stone houses
Banished: Play-through on Hard

Our first lot of Nomads then arrived and we gladly accepted them among our ranks. They ended up staying in the Boarding House until we build another block of houses, but more on that a little bit later.

Yet another overview of our town at this point in the game, with our population at 64 / 16 / 19. You can see that there has been some expansion, but nothing drastic. The plan was to eventually create another residential/town centre off to the north-east, beyond that mountain range that can be seen at the top right of the image.

Banished: Play-through on Hard

Next, we added another Graveyard, followed by a tunnel and a bridge leading from the area to the east to the area further east where I planned to put another Hunting Cabin. You can just make out the town in the top right of the image of the Tunnel and Bridge.

Banished: Graveyard Banished: Bridge and tunnel

Then we built another Fishing Dock to the south-west of the town, somewhat direct east of where the Hunting Cabin would be on the other side of the small mountain range (which I’d probably call a hill). Another Trader stopped by and we were able to get some Chickens which would provide some Chicken meat as well as Eggs.

Banished: Fishing dock Banished: Pasture
Banished: Play-through on Hard

The trade for the eight Chickens was as follows:

  • 313× Log
  • 100× Iron
  • 100× Firewood
  • 45× Hide Coat
  • 100× Leather

Afterwards, we built that Hunting Cabin we were planning to earlier. Also, yes, we built another set of houses, at which point, our population was 92 / 14 / 25.

Banished: Hunting cabin Banished: Stone houses

Next, we built another Quarry near the old one which still hadn’t run out of resources yet, but I wanted to make sure we were prepared for that eventuality. Also, a Trader stopped by and we were able to get some Sheep that we put into a Pasture next to where the Wheat field was.

Banished: Quarry Banished: Pasture
Banished: Play-through on Hard

The five Sheep were gained with the following trade:

  • 250× Log
  • 300× Iron
  • 120× Leather

I then had the Builders get to work on another Forester directly north of our existing one and assigned four villagers to that one (the same as the existing one always was). Another Graveyard was plopped down next to the Chapel and that was when I realised that the orientation of the Graveyard will affect how many plots there are available.

Banished: Forester Banished: Graveyard

After that, I built another Fishing Dock between the two bridges leading east so that we’d have more food. We weren’t running low at this point, as there was 5,362 food at the time, but the population was growing and we had to account for that. I also started the secondary town centre over to the north-east by building a Market and assigned six villagers to that so they’d have resources there before our first villagers moved in nearby.

Banished: Fishing dock Banished: Market

I began construction on a Gatherers Hut and a Hunting Cabin to the east of the new town centre, the former finishing first, followed by the latter. These would help balance the diet of the villagers that would be living nearby. The first block of six houses was then completed for the new town centre, the population being 125 / 16 / 32 at this point. The rapid growth and construction of the new houses brought our food reserves down to 687, making me glad that I began preparations earlier.

Banished: Gatherers hut Banished: Stone houses

A Trader came by next and I bought a pair of seeds, making me then decide to rush the construction of Crop Farms for both of them so that we could get a harvest in before the next winter.

Banished: Crop field Banished: Crop field
Banished: Play-through on Hard

The Pepper Seed and the Potato Seed were received in exchange for the following:

  • 50× Iron Tool
  • 100× Hide Coat
  • 400× Fish
  • 500× Venison
  • 300× Herbs

Winter came and so did another Trader with seeds for sale. This time I got another pair of seeds and rushed their construction, pushing my Hunting Cabin back even further.

Banished: Orchard Banished: Crop field
Banished: Play-through on Hard

The Chestnut Seed and the Cabbage Seed were obtained in exchange for the following:

  • 450× Log
  • 350× Leather
  • 150× Herbs

Finally, the Hunting Cabin to the east of the new town centre was completed and I set my Builders to work on building a Fishing Dock to the west, putting it on the east side of the large river, almost directly across from the first Gatherers Hut and Herbalist I ever built here.

Banished: Hunting cabin Banished: Fishing dock

I plopped down another Blacksmith near the initial one to help speed up the production of Tools, and added another Woodcutter in the new area for much the same reason except in regard to Firewood.

Banished: Blacksmith Banished: Woodcutter

An overview of the map after fifty years

The final year came around and at the end of autumn, I stopped playing. This is a shot of the starting position and the town we built there.

Banished: Play-through on Hard

The same starting area with the view rotated and moved a bit to show the little group of buildings to the north of the town centre – the Gatherers Hut, Herbalist, and Hunting Cabin.

Banished: Play-through on Hard

Finally, a shot of the new town centre area including the outlying Gatherers Hut and Hunting Cabin. You can also see some construction which had begun just north of the town. I was planning to have another Hunting Cabin and a Gatherers Hut there but our Builders never got around to it yet.

Banished: Play-through on Hard

A deeper look into the town’s history

Now we’ll have a quick look at the data from our Town Hall for the past fifty years. It wasn’t a perfect game, but that was partially the point – this game is survivable with hard starting conditions and leaves room for a lot of mistakes, allowing you to just mess around and build however you feel like, which has appeal for a lot of people when it comes to city-builders. Personally, I’m a bit on the fence about this, but I digress.

As you can see on the Overview tab, we ended with a population of 133 / 19 / 31, with 99% of our villagers clothed, and 75% of them educated. If I had gone and built another School House, we could have had a 100% education rate as there were Labourers to spare that I just put to resource gathering even though we didn’t need it. You can kind of see this below with the Production tab data showing the amount of resources we currently had – Logs, Stone, and even Iron here are considered to be in surplus.

Banished: Play-through on Hard Banished: Play-through on Hard

A continuation of what I briefly mentioned but in more detail can be seen in our Inventory tab as well as our somewhat varied collection of different food types. We can also see on our Population Graph that the overall population took a bit of a dive near the end. This was my fault as I’d sent a bunch of Labourers off to gather resources a bit too far from their homes and a bunch of them starved to death on their return trip.

Banished: Play-through on Hard Banished: Play-through on Hard

Next we just have a Citizens Graph showing what their overall health, happiness, education, and clothing were like during the fifty-year period. The education rate dropped towards the end as a result of there not being enough School Houses to accommodate the number of Children ageing – if you remember from the guide, each School House with one Teacher can educate a total of twenty Students at a time, and any additional Children who come of age and can’t find a spot in a school will instantly become Labourers instead. Then there’s a Food Graph showing just that – our supplies of food over time. You can see when I raised the resource cap for food to 10,000 and how my planning ahead for extra food consumption might not have been enough to get us through the next ten years without any deaths by starvation.

Banished: Play-through on Hard Banished: Play-through on Hard

Same with the Log Graph and the Stone Graph with their respective resource types. There’s nothing much to say here, except that you can see where all of my spare Labourers went towards the end, resulting in me having much more Stone that I could possibly need at that point. At least it would be good to trade with.

Banished: Play-through on Hard Banished: Play-through on Hard

Then there’s the Iron Graph where you can see I did the same as the Stone one with Labourers towards the end. Although, the earlier spikes were simply due to us clearing resources out of areas we were planning to use for other purposes and there happening to be heaps of Iron there. There’s also a Firewood Graph which, as you can see, is a bit chaotic. The initial problem was a result of the walking distance between the Stock Yard the Foresters used for depositing Logs, whilst the later issues resulted due to the resource cap not being high enough so that when winter came around, there wasn’t enough Firewood for everyone who was running out, and the Woodcutters had already been idle for a while as they’d reached their cap. I suppose the moral of the story is to remember to adjust your resource caps when necessary. I had remembered to with all of our other important resources including Tools and Clothing, but had forgotten about Firewood somehow.

Banished: Play-through on Hard Banished: Play-through on Hard

Next is the Tools Graph which looks somewhat shaky overall, but as I had mentioned earlier, I only had a Blacksmith assigned there for the first twenty or so years when the reserve of Tools dropped below a certain amount. However, you can also see that the second Blacksmith I built was just in time to avert disaster from the initial one building’s inability to keep up with demand in the latter half of the game. Then the Herbs Graph shows something interesting – our villagers had short periods of using Herbs, and a couple of long periods without using them at all. I can assume this as I never had a villager constantly working at the Herbalist, I only assigned one when it seemed as though our supply of Herbs dropped. Also, don’t forget to remember that I used a heap of Herbs in a couple of trades and that’s the reason why the reserve of them went down at all a couple of times. For some reason, as the overall health dropped a little towards the end of the fifty-year period, something happened with their diet causing them to purposely supplement it with Herbs. I’ll have to actually test Herb usage properly next time.

Banished: Play-through on Hard Banished: Play-through on Hard

Finally, we have the Clothing Graph which shows, similar to the Tools Graph, what looks like a shaky period, but remember that I only assigned a Tailor to make clothes when our supply of Hide Coats dropped below a certain amount. The drop towards the end however came after I switched to Warm Coats and it appears as though my Sheep population couldn’t keep up their Wool production as efficiently, meaning that my next job would have been to add another Pasture so that we could have more Sheep. Then there’s the Trade Items tab where you can just see how many of each type of livestock and seed I had collected over the course of the game.

Banished: Play-through on Hard Banished: Play-through on Hard

What can we gain from all of this?

First of all, hard starting conditions simply mean that you have to put more thought into what you do at the start of the game. This means that your first lot of buildings shouldn’t be too spread out as they’ll take too long to build and gather resources, meaning you won’t have much done by the first winter. This will probably be the first thing that gets you if you’re moving up from normal or even easy.

Secondly, aside from actually needing to manage which villagers work where at what time, you also need to remember to increase your resource caps when necessary and sometimes you might need to increase the number of villagers that can work at a building. An example of the latter is when I built my farms around the new town centre, I found that they weren’t being harvested fast enough because some of their Farmers had to travel too far to get much done during each harvest. When I increased the number of Farmers that could work at each farm, however, this was no longer a problem and we were able to get the maximum yield each time.

Thirdly, happiness still seems to be somewhat of a non-issue but health seems a little bit fickle. I’ve come to believe that happiness will only suffer if you’re really struggling to get by and your villagers are dropping like flies. Meanwhile, I plan to look a bit more in depth as to how health works in relation to diet and the like as, although the reasons our health suffered overall at the beginning were really obvious, the dip towards the end may or may not have been for the same reason, but then that would lead to another question entirely – how to properly manage the distribution of different food types without building their production buildings so even spread out as a cheap fix? Maybe you can’t, maybe you can. We’ll have to see.

Fourthly, and most importantly, the starting condition difficulty only really affects the start of the game. Why is this important? It means that this game wasn’t played on the hardest settings, I know, but it shows that you don’t need to be afraid of diving right into the settings used here. There’s nothing overly complicated about this game that a little bit of logic and forward planning can’t handle. Really. Try it for yourself with Map Seed 8612236 or, if you’re feeling up to it, see if you can continue from where I left off. The save file for the end of this play-through can be downloaded here. You might find that you have a lot less trouble with the hard starting conditions than you think you will.

Anyway, that’s all for this play-through of Banished. I might do another one in the future when I play the game a bit more and get some actual data on exactly how everything works, for now though, I hope I’ve managed to show you how easy it can be if you just put a little thought into each action you take. But before I go, although it doesn’t actually reflect on how well the game was played, I’m going to add that I got the following achievements in this play-through:

  • Foodie: In a single year, produce at least 2000 food each from hunters, gatherers, fisherman, pastures, fields, and orchards.
  • Smiles all Around: Maintain high happiness for 10 years in a town with at least 100 citizens.
  • Healthy: Maintain high health for 10 years in a town with at least 100 citizens.

So now that we’re done, it’s time for the obligatory “how can I get this game and play, too?” section. You can visit the official site here or, if you’re interested in purchasing it, the Steam store page is here (although there are other options for purchase on the official site).

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