Battle Brothers: The little things add up

While browsing the Battle Brothers reddit, I saw someone comment that the way spearwall is implemented in BB is the best they have experienced in a game. Its a bold statement, but one I agree with.

Here is how spearwall works in BB: When equipped with a spear, you gain the ability to use spearwall, which when used plays a small animation of the spear being braced by the unit. If an enemy tries to enter a hex next to that unit, you attempt to push them back with a spear attack. If successful, they take damage and are pushed back. If they still have action points left, they can attempt to engage again, and once again the spearwall attack is attempted. If the attack misses, the unit enters the zone of control like normal.

There are a few things that make this especially impactful. For one, so long as enemies keep moving into the spearwall, you continue to attempt to hit them. This can lead to a significant output of attacks when its not even your turn, especially when overwhelmed like you often are. The second reason this ability is great is because it can often secure a flank, or create a funnel into your heavy hitting units.

Of course your spearwall can fail, and that can equally create problems when you expected units to be pushed back, but the attack misses and suddenly that flank is overwhelmed and you have to react.

It’s not overly complex or flashy, but it just works and each part makes sense. Spearwall does what you would expect it to do, and it feels great when your plan to control the battlefield works out in part because of that one ability.

Spearwall aside, a lot of other details in BB just work. Wolves are individually weak units, but are fast, usually numerous, and rely on overwhelming you. Battles against them often go one of two ways; either you dominate them because you cull their pack quickly, or they overwhelm someone and tear them down, potentially leading to a chain reaction of losses. Usually most fights against them are fine, but there is always that chance of it going horribly wrong very quickly.

The flip side of this is fighting the undead; they are statistically weak and slow, but can come back to life (especially if aided by a necromancer), and don’t have stamina, meaning regardless of how long the battle goes, they keep fighting normally. A battle against the undead always starts out well, because you are fresh and undamaged, and they are individually weak. But the longer the battle drags on, the more fatigued and injured your units become, while the undead remaining are unchanged. They can be killed, but they can’t be fatigued or injured. Difficult fights against the undead are long slogs of bashing them down again and again, until finally, your exhausted and battered brothers can claim victory.

I could go on, from the orcs that try to brute strength smash you, to the sneaky goblins that rely on poison, to how satisfying it feels when you use a two-handed mace to literally smash an enemies head in. Battle Brothers nails the feel of so many things, and doing it all with its limited graphics in-game rather than flashy cut-scenes or one-off set piece scenarios.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
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