Battle Brothers is a turn-based tactical RPG that’s a hidden gem for anyone who likes strategy games. You recruit mercenaries – “brothers” of various backgrounds – into your company and travel between cities taking on contracts, leading your men in battle, and training/equipping them to become stronger.
The game is no pushover when it comes to decision making. Every decision you make counts – both inside and outside of combat – from whether you should take a contract on, to the role each of your brothers takes on in combat (2 Hander, Tank, Archer, Crossbowman, Spearman, etc.), to how you’ll pay and feed your men.
Unlike in most games, death of your men in Battle Brothers is common and should be expected. You’ll get into fights against orcs with underequipped and underleveled men, only to lose them all in the ensuing brawl.
This can be frustrating for new players, so we’ve compiled some of the best Battle Brothers tips in this guide to help you get better and speed up the learning curve.
Play on Beginner difficulty to start.
Battle Brothers is difficult and has a steep learning curve. Put aside your ego if you’re a new player and play on the Beginner economic and combat difficulties with High starting funds. You’re likely to be humbled even on the easiest setting so you might as well learn as much as you can before jumping into the deep end.
Don’t get attached to your bros.
There’s a lot of death in Battle Brothers. Don’t put one brother’s life ahead of your squad. Sometimes you’ll need to sacrifice someone or someone will just be the unfortunate victim of RNG. Don’t get too hung up on this.
Spears and swords are great early game weapons.
Spears provide +20% hitchance and swords provide +10% hitchance. This is very useful early game, as your weak brothers will miss – a lot. Early game fights are all about killing the enemy before you suffer too many casualties, so you should equip as many of your men with spears and swords as possible early on.
The Spearwall ability is underrated, use it.
Once you equip your frontline with spears, don’t forget to use the Spearwall ability. If you have the archer advantage, the enemy will be forced to get into range with you. They’ll run into the spearwall and you can often inflict 2-3 hits of free damage. Bros using shieldwall next to each other will receive an extra bonus defense.
Equip shields on all your bros early on.
Even if you have a bro with insane stats for a 2-hander, like high fatigue and melee attack, you don’t want to just slap a 2 handed weapon on him early on. Your focus should be keeping your best men alive for the mid to late game. Sell the 2 handed axe you get at the start, or put it on a fodder bro.
Equip hats on all your bros.
Make sure all of your brothers are wearing some form of headgear. Hits to the head do double damage to HP but not armor, so wearing a hat ensures they don’t get one-shotted. Especially important when facing enemy archers.
Hire brawlers and farmhands early game.
You need to be efficient with how you spend money in the early game to ensure you have enough gold for food, wages, and equipment. Brawlers and farmhands are on average the best backgrounds to hire early on as they offer the best stats for how much they cost. Wildmen cost a bit more but are also very good once you can afford them later on.
Pitchforks and hooked blades are strong early game.
Along with spears and swords, pitchforks should also be prioritized early on. They have longer reach, allowing you to hit foes 2 tiles away. Putting pitchforks on bros allows you to keep them out of melee range, if you want to protect them.
Find advantages during combat.
During combat, try to surround enemies and try to place your men on elevation. Having height advantage will increase your hitchance while reducing the enemy’s. Surrounding enemies gives you bonus hitchance +5% for every ally, or +10% if you have the Backstabber perk.
Look for damaged items in stores to buy.
Damaged items (items with <100% durability) sell at a discount in stores. Look for shields, hats, and other useful armor/weapons when buying gear. It’s cheaper to do so and then repair them than to buy them fresh. To repair items in your stash, simply alt+left click them.
When hiring a bro, keep in mind you pay for their equipment.
Remember, the key to hiring is getting the most bang for your buck. A lot of people don’t realize that a brother’s equipment factors in to their cost. Sometimes you’re better off buying a brother with a mediocre background, like Gravedigger or Caravan Hands, if he comes with full gear over a naked Brawler.
Equip daggers on all your men as a secondary weapon.
Using the second ability on daggers allows you puncture enemies’ HP without doing damage to their armor. This increases the chance they’ll drop it as loot. When you have enemies surrounded, like Hoggart, they’ll lose resolve and stop attacking. You can then take the time to swap your brothers’ weapons for the dagger to finish them off.
Have 3 decent archers in your party.
Usually the enemy parties you’ll encounter will only have 2 archers. Having the archer advantage forces them to come at you instead of vice versa, giving you time to maneuver your men properly and shoot free arrow shots from afar.
Don’t forget to save.
Before you enter combat, the game will create an autosave file, but if you load it up you’ll often be forced to take the fight. As you’re learning the game, there’s no shame in saving frequently so you can go back and make the best decisions. Once you progress, you no longer have to do this if you want a greater challenge.
Don’t let enemies with axes into the center of your group.
Especially Orcs. They’ll chop their heads off with one swing of their axe.
The most important stats for melee bros are melee attack, melee defense, and fatigue.
For any of your melee weapon holders, you want to allocate stats into melee attack, melee defense, and fatigue. Too many people neglect fatigue. Fatigue allows you to use skills and attack more frequently in combat and wear heavier equipment.
The game’s difficulty scales with the more brothers you have and the more contracts you’ve completed.
It’s not always correct to ramp up your party as quick as possible. Sometimes it’s better to keep your party small in the first few weeks, with 5-8 bros, that are all decked out in strong gear and can handle their own. If you recruit 12 brothers as soon as possible, you’re most likely sending many of them on a suicide mission. You’ll be wasting gold that could have been spent on better weapons/armor.
Avoid caravan escort contracts early on.
Carvan escort missions are the riskiest contracts you can accept, because you don’t know what lies in store. You can encounter no enemies all the way to engaging in a fight with a Lindwurm that destroys your whole crew. The risk to reward for these contracts are not worth it, especially if you have to travel far, so be sure to avoid them.
Accepting contracts isn’t the only way to earn money.
New players to Battle Brothers often think the only way to make money is by going from town to town accepting contracts. You can actually go off the beaten path and look for easy Brigands to kill/loot, buy damage equipment to repair and resell, and trade goods like dyes, salt, furs, amber, copper, cloth, wood, and gems.
When assessing contracts, look at the number of skulls and how much gold they pay.
Both the number of skulls and how much gold you’d be rewarded factor in to the contract’s difficulty.
Don’t neglect nets and dogs.
Nets are great for crowd control and allows you to hit enemies easier. These are especially good against Orcs, who you want to kill quickly. Dogs can quickly close the gap between you and fleeing enemies or archers. They can also distract the enemy and make them waste attacks on your dogs.
Look for cheap tools in workshop towns and buy them in bulk.
Tools are a necessary investment to repair your equipment after combat and you can never have too many of them. The cheapest tools are usually found in workshop towns, so be sure to buy them in bulk there. There’s nothing worse than running out of tools and running into a big group of Brigands with broken gear.
Wooden sticks are good for their stun ability.
Along with daggers, you should equip some of your bros with wooden sticks. They do next to no damage but can stun enemies, which prevents them from getting a turn.
Flails are really strong against most early game enemies.
The lash ability of flails works great against Brigand Raiders who often have no helmet. Flails have increased hit chance against shield bearers. And against Ancient Legionnaires, the blunt damage of flails just destroys them. Even against Goblins flails work well, since they often have shields but little HP.
The higher your reputation with a city, the more gold you’ll earn from contracts and selling items.
For this reason, it’s better to optimize your reputation with a big, walled city with a high population such that you can earn the most money.
You can enter cities you pass on caravan by clicking on them.
This is one that took me forever to realize. Simply pause the game as your caravan enters a city and click on it. This is useful if you need to restock on supplies or sell some goods you just got from defending the caravan.
You can attack allied or friendly units by holding Ctrl and Left clicking them.
I don’t suggest attacking friendly units early on, but late game you’ll get an ambition to defeat another mercenary company or you may just want to farm their loot. Just know that once you do attack them, your relations with whichever House they represent will turn hostile. Once hostile, you won’t be able to enter their cities, trade/buy from them, and take on any contracts.