Bad North is a minimalist real-time strategy game rogue-like, in which you must defend your home from waves of oncoming marauders.
In battle, orders are issued in real time, that direct your units towards boats that are about to land. At first, your groups of units are simple melee units, but as you progress your units can vary in class and ability. Your main objective is to protect any buildings on your island as the enemy tries to ravage your land.
The world menu, between battles, allows you to progress through combat islands. Each island grants you new experience points to level up your soldiers, while some islands grant you additional soldiers or special items.
Death is permanent and there is no overall progression outside of your active quest.