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Video Game / Banished (2014)
aka: Banished

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Banished is a city-building strategy game with survival elements and the first game from Shining Rock Software. You're in charge of a group of people who have been banished from their homeland with only a few months worth of supplies and the clothes on their back.

Tropes present in the game:

  • Absurdly Youthful Mother: Averted most of the time. Citizens can move in with a spouse as young as 10, when they become adults. They won't start having children of their own until their later teens though. However, it's certainly possible for a parent to be only ten or eleven years older than their children; the random number generator just doesn't roll them quite as often. This was Truth in Television for most of the medieval world, girls were married young (usually after the first menstruations) and becoming pregnant around 14 wasn't unusual.
  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality:
    • Every citizen in your village can be seen walking around. Yes, even those children that are literally 0 years old. Your population also ages three times faster than they would in real life, mostly because realistic aging would make the early game interminably boring even at ten-times speed as you wait for your population to slowly expand.
    • You start out with four to six families, depending on your difficulty settings. Even if every parent in that starting population is entirely unrelated, your people will be horribly inbred within a few generations (and if you keep the simulation going long enough to get the achievements, your family tree will almost definitely be quite tangled). Thankfully, none of them seem to suffer any sort of issue from this, as simulating the effects of having a population with dozens of genetic problems would probably put a damper on the fun.
    • Villagers will keep working even into their elder years, and work just as well as youngsters, until they drop dead from old age. The game is already hard enough as it is without having to account for each individual villagers slowly becoming less productive until they end up eating but not working.
    • Workplace accidents will always kill villagers, never maim them, to avoid the complications of adding another variable to each individual character.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: If you specifically request an item from a merchant, it'll cost more than it would normally. Justified in this case since the merchant knows you want/need it and can get away with charging you more.
  • Arcadia: A successful settlement can look like this, though please ignore the mines and quarries.
  • Awesome, yet Impractical:
    • Farming in the early game. Gatherer's Huts produce far more food relative to a farm with the very wild and overgrown terrain you deal with in the early game, and farms only produce food once, in Autumn, and only if they're planted in Spring. Their labor-intensive nature also means they're less useful when you have a low population relative to a Gatherer's Hut or Hunting Cabin. Later on, once you've got a larger population, farming becomes vastly more useful, as they produce far more food for a much smaller space, and farmers with nearby homes, markets, and storage can produce massive harvests.
    • Mines and quarries. They have a worryingly high ratio of fatal workplace accidents and eventually run dry, and there's only so much hills you can build mines in. Worst part is that they permanently disfigure the landscape and you can't fill in the hole left by quarries after they're depleted. In the late game it's more viable to just buy iron, stone and coal from merchants rather than try to produce it yourself in any significant quantities.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: In a gameplay-related sense, as young children are capable of going to the market by themselves and getting food and firewood for their households, meaning their working parents only have to come home when they're hungry or cold and don't have to bother with shopping. Yes, even toddlers and newborns are capable of buying household goods by themselves. In addition, bearing children does cause a mood boost in the entire family in a particular household, which can offset mood penalties due to deaths and other negative elements.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • The Gatherer's Hut. Unlike farming, gatherers are able to find food during any season. When a gatherer's hut is placed in an area completely surrounded by trees it produces an insane amount of food. What's more, since Gatherer's Huts produce four different foods unlike any other structure, it also automatically increases food diversity which is important for your people's health. Placing one of these adjacent to a forester's lodge it produces a large amount of food in addition to unlimited logs and a continuously replenishing forest. Put a hunting lodge next to them and you'll get an infinite source of meat and leather as well. The three aforementioned buildings used in tandem are reliable enough that one never even needs to use crop fields, pastures, or orchards.
    • Firewood is by far the most profitable trading resource, and it is obtainable in large quantities using the above-mentioned strategy.
    • Fishing Docks. They literally provide nothing but fish, but in this game any extra food source is a plus and they start giving food immediately and do so all-year round.
  • Buried Alive: Happens as a random (but alarmingly frequent) death for workers in mines. Just like in real life medieval mines.
  • Command & Conquer Economy: Every building is placed by the player. Your villagers only use supplies as they need them.
  • Death by Childbirth: It fits perfectly to the main theme of survival.
  • Death World: Don't let the serene natural landscape fool you, just because you're not in a jungle, desert or the arctic doesn't mean surviving isn't hard. Freezing to death or starving are very real possibilities.
  • Didn't See That Coming: The need for food, shelter, and firewood are obvious enough, but running low on things like tools, clothing, ale, and even places of worship can just as easily doom your village.
  • Do Not Touch the Funnel Cloud: In-game tornadoes work this way.
  • Endless Game: According to the developer, he's never built a city that couldn't be expanded further. The game only ends when everyone in your town is dead.
  • Due to the Dead: People want to bury their dead. If you don't have a graveyard, people dying of old age will bring your population's happiness meter down from the Excessive Mourning due to the fact that they didn't get to have a proper funeral (people dying of accidents will always hurt your happiness, since it wasn't their time yet).
  • Fight to Survive: Your two main enemies are bitterly cold winters and drought-stricken summers; the former will freeze your face off if you don't have enough firewood and the latter will dry up your food sources. Blights can sometimes strike your crops and livestock as well, making food hard to come by if you're relying on agriculture to sustain your populace. After that, it's just the occasional accidental fire or tornado.
  • Firewood Resources: Harvested wood (either left lying in the open or stored in a stockpile) is represented in-game by a pile of medium-sized logs. They both serve as a primal resource for building or to be converted as firewood; firewood itself looks like similar logs only cut.
  • Free-Range Children: Children as young as newborns will freely walk around the map, gathering supplies for their home or just idling about. Their parents are presumably too busy staving off mass-starvation for another year to worry about where their children wander off to.
  • Game Mod: There are many since the author released the modkit. The mods that merits notice the most is Colonial Charter, that adds a buttload of new buildings, items and resources, while changing the Excuse Plot from "You were banished from your homeland" to "your motherland sent you to establish a colony" (which makes virtually zero difference).
  • Gender Is No Object: There are no gender restrictions on professions. Women can be blacksmiths, hunters, merchants, or miners just as easily as men. The only exception is having a baby (for obvious reasons).
  • Ghost Town: What you're trying to avoid.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • Farms or Orchards in the early game. The tutorial teaches you about farming and you start with some seeds (depending on the difficulty). It's natural to assume that you should get farms started right away - but farms and orchards take time to produce food. It's entirely possible for half of your village to starve to death while you have a field full of potatoes nearly ready to harvest.
    • New couples require an empty house they can move into before they can have children. While fairly sensible, it's not immediately obvious and can lead to you getting a game over because your citizens would rather allow their entire settlement to die out rather than shack up with another family.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Those rocks you see on the map that are about the size of your laborers? They all produce just 2 stone each, which the game gives a measly 30 weight. Now consider that each citizen can carry up to a maximum of 100 weight in items.
    • Traders move around rivers in small rowboats, which can somehow carry entire herds of cows or fields of crops.
  • Improbable Age: You can have 10-year-old blacksmiths, farmers, clerics, physicians, and so on. More averted if you build schools; citizens will be 16-17 before they finish their education.
  • Low Fantasy: The game is set in a generic medieval world totally devoid of supernatural elements (no magic, fantastical races, etc). The only clues which could imply that Banished isn't set in our Middle Ages are the chapels (which are used by "clerics" instead of "priests"), the weird names of the citizens, and the anachronistic available crops.
  • May–December Romance: The game will ususally pair up citizens of similar ages, but if the demographics of your town don't enable that, one partner might well be half (or double) the age of the other.
  • Medieval Stasis: It's technically possible for thousands of years to go by, but the village will always remain a quaint and low-tech society.
  • No Antagonist: Unlike many civilization-building games, there are no other civilizations to oppose you. No one will swoop in and raze your city if you don't keep watch. There isn't even dangerous wildlife on the map; all that's out there are deer and fish, although it is possible for a random event to occur where a hunter gets killed by a wild boar. Since we don't even see the person or government who banished your starting colonists, the conflict that kicks off the game itself is outside the story.
  • Noodle Incident: It is not explained why your people have been banished from their homeland.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Quarries and mines have a higher than average chance of killing your workers in workplace accidents. Then again, you're playing a tiny medieval village, not a modern industrial simulator.
  • Pregnant Badass: There is no maternity leave in this game. Pregnant women are 100% capable of walking miles through a snowstorm to chop down trees or quarry stone with their husbands.
  • Randomly Generated Levels: Each game is set in a scenery randomly generated from a seed which can be manually edited by the player. Some settings (whether it is set in a mountain or a valley, the harshness of the weather, and the presence or absence of random natural disasters) can also be chosen by the player.
  • Refining Resources: Most resources are used in their raw forms, though there are some simple production chains—logs=>firewood, logs+iron=>tools, fruit=>ale, and so on.
  • Ridiculously Fast Construction: Averted. Every building must have the supplies for construction carried to it and the building must be constructed by people with the Builder job.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Listen to soothing guitar and harp music...while your population starves to death.
  • Starting Units: All adults in your starting population are educated, but you can't educate their children or any future generations until you get around to building a schoolhouse. While you technically could build a schoolhouse right away, you'll probably have more pressing concerns for the first few years (such as, you know, not starving to death) so you're unlikely to get any more educated workers for a while.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: It's entirely possible for a student to be married to their own teacher.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Very common, as it would have been in medieval times. Building a school delays marriage and childbirth, just as it does in the real world (but, unlike the real world, Banished women don't have children out of wedlock).
  • You Require More Vespene Gas:
    • 41 resources, divided into rough categories - food, raw materials, finished goods. Note that different types within the same category are not necessarily substitutes for each other—beans won't replace fish as a source of food.
    • There are also specific subtypes of food: proteins, grains, fruits, and vegetables. Your villagers are happier and healthier based on how varied their diet is, which is what makes markets so useful. Because your markets collect food from all around the city, villagers who go to the market will be able to get a good variety of food and other essentials.
    • In order to keep expanding the population, you will need to build new houses. Couples will not pair off and have new children without a house to move into, and while a house abandoned by a couple dying of old age will be claimed by the next child-bearing couple, it can take a long time to happen.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: If you build a school and assign a teacher to it, it's possible they will end up being the same age as the students, as everyone becomes a laborer (and therefore a perfectly valid teacher) at age 10. The same goes for any physicians who heal the sick, or clerics who give spiritual guidance to your citizens and help maintain their happiness levels.
  • Worker Unit: With the exception of children, every citizen is this.

Alternative Title(s): Banished