The Banner Saga: Factions is the standalone, free-to-play online multiplayer component of the planned role-playing, strategy game The Banner Saga. It was released on Steam on 25th February 2013. The Banner Saga was funded by a Kickstarter campaign that raised $723,886 from an initial goal of $100,000 in April of 2012. The game features an art style inspired by Eyvind Earle. For the initial release of Factions, players can only play as Vikings in the city of Strand, with additional factions to be added in with future updates. The game uses an in-game currency called "Renown," which can be either acquired through combat or purchased through the in-game store.
The game takes place on a 16 x 16 grid, where each player controls a team of 6 characters, consisting of humans and varl (horned giants that take up 4 squares). Each character has 2 stats: health/attack and shield. Play alternates every turn between different characters on opposing teams, as determined by the order they pick in the Proving Grounds screen. When attacking another character, the player has a choice to attack the shield or to attack their health. The amount of health damage is determined by subtracting the attackers health from the defenders shield value. An important tactical consideration is the balance between attacking the shield and attacking the health of an opposing character.
During battle, the player can choose to use stars, which are non regenerating, to boost the distance a character can travel by 1 space per star or increase the damage by 1 per star. Stars can only be regained by defeating enemies; for each defeated enemy the player acquires 1 star that can be distributed to any member of his/her team.
When a player has only 1 character left, the game enters "Pillage" mode, in which turns no longer alternate between players, but rather proceed in a set character order. This results in a sped up endgame.
Marketplace: the in game store of the game, where players can buy Renown, more advanced characters or cosmetic items for their characters.
Mead House: where players can acquire new characters for their party. Basic characters cost 10 Renown, but experienced characters (ready for upgrade) cost 30 Renown.
Proving Grounds: where players can manage their party and upgrade the classes of individual characters, if they have acquired 5 kills, for a cost of 50 Renown.
Hall of Valor: displays the current leaderboard of players of the Banner Saga.
Great Hall: the multiplayer is started from here. The player can choose to play a standard Versus game or an Expert Game, where the time for each turn is shortened to 30 seconds. In addition, friend matches can be started here, but no Renown is gained for friend matches.