Survival Mode

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Survival Mode (SM) is an extra gameplay mode available in the second and third part of The Banner Saga that is all about staying alive through as many battles as possible, trying to reach the end of the journey. There is no story in Survival Mode, only battles that, nevertheless, follow the same course as the regular campaigns, so beware of spoilers!

In the beginning of this mode, you choose six Heroes from all characters available (in each game), then pit them against overwhelming enemies: dredge, horseborn, bandits, varl and Warped. Earn Renown and an item with each victory, unlock heroes to replace those who fall in battle, and upgrade the veterans who stay alive. To play, simply click on the Survival Mode banner on the start screen:

TBS2 Survival Mode.png

Note: Survival Mode is included for free in the PC/Mac version of Banner Saga 2 (released June 2016), and as a DLC (released September 2018) in Banner Saga 3.

General Features[edit | edit source]

  • Choose any 6 Heroes from the full Roster of the game to begin the campaign. More heroes can be recruited (unlocked) anytime along the way, by spending Renown.
  • Progress is saved, but battles can only be Reloaded a limited number of times. More Reloads can be earned down the road.
  • Heroes who fall in battle are dead (Permadeath) and can be given a Viking Funeral (see below) to regain some Renown and recruit new Heroes.
  • Heroes have no Kills count requirement for promotion. If you have the renown, you can promote the hero.
  • Battles have a 30 second turn timer (and 60 second deployment timer) to keep the action moving quickly.
  • Battle turn order is fixed from the start, like Pillage mode of the main game.
  • Scores are tallied and Leaderboards are displayed for playing in Normal or Hard difficulty.
  • One enemy per battle spawns with an Item equipped. Kill the enemy, and gain the Item for your next battles.

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Features specific to Banner Saga 2:

  • You have 3 Reloads to start with and you gain one more Reload every 5 battle victories.
  • Every 5 battles, the opportunity for a Second Wave of fighting is offered, which opens up the possibility for additional Renown and Items.
  • Twelve new Steam Achievements!

Details[edit | edit source]

Recruitment & Promotion[edit | edit source]

  • All Heroes in Survival Mode start at Rank 3.
  • Recruitment cost is 5 Renown. The first 6 Heroes you recruit on start are free.
  • Promotion costs are the same as in the main game, but the Kills requirement is entirely removed.

Viking Funeral[edit | edit source]

The Renown returned by performing a Viking Funeral on a killed Hero is given by:

Renown = (HeroRank-2)*5 + ItemRank*3
  • You can change the Item equipped on the dead Hero, which must of course be of equal to (or lower than) the Hero Rank. Note that you cannot simply remove (unequip) the Item though!

Item Drop Rank[edit | edit source]

The Rank of the Items spawned on enemies are in the range of [RMax+1,RMin-1], where RMax/RMin are the max/min Ranks of the Heroes in your current Party (not Roster). For example, if your Party Hero Ranks for one battle are {3,7,4,6,8,5} then the Item rank will be between [2,9].

Scoring[edit | edit source]

Game scores are determined as follows, once you complete a run (beat battle #40) or fail it (run out of Reloads):

Kills:        [ 1  ] * Kills
Deaths:       [ 1  ] * [36 - Deaths]
Time:         [ 1  ] * [200 - Minutes]
Reloads:      [10  ] * [12 - Reloads_used]
Recruits:     [ 1  ] * [Recruits]
Damage Done:  [ 0.1] * [Total_Damage_Done]
Damage Taken: [ 0.1] * [3000 - Total_Damage_Taken]
  • Damage Done & Taken counts only STR (not ARM), including Overkills.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

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Run from the Darkness, keep your party ahead of the onslaught. Survival Mode tests your tactical mettle in a series of escalating battles. Choose and promote your party members carefully as combat deaths are permanent. Can you keep your heroes alive, win all battles, and survive?

Survival Mode in Banner Saga 3 follows the same principles as in the previous game, with a few different features:

  • You can choose among a larger pool of heroes; there is 43 available in total.
  • You can purchase items from Marketplaces, chanced upon every few battles.
  • The total number of battles is 30
  • Wave Battle - Increased difficulty, fighting through multiple waves and being able to reinforce mid-battle with 'fresh' heroes from your Roster!