Battle Brothers: Beasts and Exploration – Initial thoughts

I’ve had a few requests to talk about the expansion to Battle Brothers, so while I haven’t seen all of the new content, here goes. In short, if you liked BB before, I can’t imagine you won’t love the expansion. If you tried and didn’t like BB, this expansion likely doesn’t ‘fix’ what you disliked.

The new enemies really mix things up, and push you to alter how you develop your brothers. Prior to the expansion stats like HP and Resolve weren’t optimal, but now become situationally important. For example, Alps put your brothers to sleep, and then cast nightmares on said sleeping brother to kill them. One counter to the sleep spell is high resolve, as it means you resist the sleep more. Now this doesn’t mean you need high resolve on everyone, because the alps prefer to sleep everyone before casting nightmare, so even if just a few brothers resist, they can in turn wake others up, and negate the Alps enough to kill them. If everyone goes to sleep, its likely game over.

Another example of new enemies changing up the meta are Schrats, basically treemen that regrow their shields. In the base game weapons that better destroy a shield, like axes, weren’t as important for that ability. Now? They are very important vs the Schrats, so if you completely ignore them, you’ll have a much harder time vs that particular enemy.

With the new enemies also come new weapons and armor, mostly filling some gaps in progression. Now all weapon styles have the same tiered progression upgrades, and there are significantly more viable options for nimble (low weight) builds at end-game. Before nimble was only ideal late-game if you got lucky enough to find the right legendary weapon/armor. That’s no longer the case, though it still helps!

Right now my favorite part of the expansion is the addition of crafting. Many enemies, old and new, now have a chance to drop crafting components, and these in turn can be taken to a taxidermist (new building in certain settlements) to craft into useful consumables, items, or armor attachments. One fun example; in the base game dire wolves dropped pelts, and if you had a tailor, you could trigger an event to get a special armor made. Now, those wolf pelts can be turned into an armor attachment that has the same bonus effect (negative moral to enemies) as the event armor, and can be added to any piece of armor. It makes fighting such enemies extra worthwhile, and is a new and interesting upgrade path that adds considerable customization.

Finally, the overall flow of the game has been smoothed out, with the early days now feeling less punishingly random (early contracts are more available, wage costs are slightly lower, contracts have been tweaked a bit), the midgame almost overflowing with options, and late game (from what I’ve experienced) having a larger variety of stiff challenges.

This is the perfect kind of expansion IMO, one that adds more ‘stuff’ to a game you already enjoy. It doesn’t drastically change the game mechanics, or twist the setting (low fantasy to suddenly space goats), or anything else that might turn off existing fans. Instead it fills in gaps that might have existed, pushes systems further in meaningful ways, and lets you enjoy another trip through a fun game that feels surprisingly fresh and new.

Very highly recommended!

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in Combat Systems, crafting, Random, Review. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Battle Brothers: Beasts and Exploration – Initial thoughts

  1. saltycleric says:

    My issue with BB and Xcom I finally realized (after a few hrs with Mutant Year Zero) is the inability to strategically attack an enemy. In both these games you are totally at the mercy of rng every time you enter combat thus nullifying whatever spec you chose most of the time. MYZ actually allows you to surprise an enemy after an encounter has begun so you can position your characters to best take advantage of their strengths. With BB and Xcom it is enter combat and cross your fingers the enemy enters visual range in some way that terrain might best be used to your advantage – but its always a complete coin toss. This is what those games were missing – you should check it out.

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