Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Banished Colonial Charters

Banished is a great game that I haven't played in awhile. I wrote about it and why it's amazing despite its supposed flaws a couple months ago. A friend told me that he's been playing Banished while waiting for Warlords to come to an end, and that there was so much new stuff for him to do because of this mystical colonial charter mod.

I had looked into their mods last time I played, which was around when I wrote about it, but it looked like they weren't actually in service yet. They finally came out and let me tell you, this one is crazy.

The colonial charters mod adds so much stuff. It has its own website. From the moment I loaded the game with the mod enabled, I could tell there was going to be an overload of new things to understand.

what's CC Medium- oh holy crap what even is this

Every time I start up, I open a couple interface tabs. One that I always have up is the professions list. When I clicked it, instead of a professions list, five different options for different displays of the profession list popped up. Here is what the full, non-scrolling profession list looks like.

...this is going to be tough to adjust to

I had to sit there and read through all of the new buildings before I started playing. I still had no idea what I was getting into by the time I started.

is this even real

haha, and stuff

One thing of note that I'm excited about is the apiary. When I first started playing Banished long ago, I wrote on the forums with a bunch of stuff I thought would be really cool to add, one of those things being an apiary. It could be used for medicines, food, and alcohol, and it could help increase the food yields of nearby crops and orchards. My idea was a bit more advanced, as it's simply used for food and candles, but I'm still excited to finally have it in game! Edited to add: whoa, I was wrong, it is used for medicines and alcohol!

The new buildings and materials lists are incredibly overwhelming, but I decided to just make an easy difficulty, small map in order to get used to the new stuff. I just started out as I would normally start, a small crop field to boost my initial starting food, a gatherer's hut, hunting lodge, herbalist, forester and - my starting town was super close to a nice water source so - a fishing hut.

I was excited about all the water because there are a lot of new buildings that are made to be built on the water's edge. A great addition, considering that the only thing you could do with water before was build bridges over it and cover it in fishing huts.

okay, doing all right so far...

Considering all the ways that the new buildings, materials, professions, and everything else interacts with the existing structures, I was worried about something awful happening because, for example say, I actually needed a different kind of storage building for the herbalist hut or the hunting lodge didn't work correctly without a butcher. I had the game paused more often than not as I double checked on everything to ensure that what I was doing was okay. The whole starting process was undeniably super overwhelming.

I had to constantly remind myself that everyone dying of starvation might very well happen, and that it would be okay because they are just pixels on my computer and not a real population of people. I had become so good at the base game that the idea of failing due to being overwhelmed by all of the new content made me very uncomfortable.

I ain't no casual

I kept going, making buildings I knew I understood, only to be blindsided by the tailor's inability to make the familiar fancy coats using both wool and leather. It was now one or the other, with two other clothing options made with new materials and also the option to make pouches.

I slowly started to learn how well developed the mod was when I realized that it doesn't allow you to simply throw the new, advanced, specialized buildings up wantonly. The simplest gating mechanism they used was requiring that logs be cut into actual lumber. The lowest tier of the newer specialized buildings were kept just out of reach by simply requiring lumber.

"Well, how do I make lumber? Let's see... let's make a sawmill. Oh wait, it needs some other thing I don't have. Okay, okay... how do I make that thing? 


...Uh, pass. There must be another way to get lumber. Oh, a saw pit, very specifically described as "a slow way to get lumber." Sure, let's do that. Oh I don't have any logs, oops."

They made a good effort to ease you into the new content. You have to start out normally before you can dive into the newer stuff. The saw pit and the shore house allow you to slowly acquire the newer materials, but you need to cover your normal basics anyway, or else your town will all starve to death, just like normal!

I think I built my school too early

Some of the new buildings don't need lumber, but you obviously don't need them until you have other materials available. As overwhelmed as I was with everything, I already know how to play the damn game so I was itching to build at least one new kind of building.

So, I built a sheep butcher. I figured, hey, I have sheep, right?

"Not sure if suddenly meat has to be kept in a meat locker or else it spoils. Does food spoil now? Not sure, that seems like it could happen. I feel like I'm wasting a worker on a sheep butcher. They can just eat the mutton by itself, jeez. Now I regret doing this, what's wrong with me?"

There are so many new materials and the mod did nothing to add any in game tutorials. You have to learn the same way you always did, by wondering what the heck this is for and then finding out later, presumably after it's already too late.

okay sausages, uh, bonemeal?

They added new ways to do stuff you always did, like new ways to get fuel.

I have some people who collect reeds on the shoreline, and someone else turns that into fuel, so I don't have to cut up my precious logs into firewood.

The shore house is also used for collecting sand and clay, which are used as building materials for other, more advanced buildings. I originally built it to get those materials, but as usual, I had to improvise because one thing or another went wrong in the beginning stages of starting up my town.

One of the coolest things about Colonial Charter is that different kinds of crops are specifically used for different kinds of things. Unlike before, where there was basically no reason to get a variety of different crops and trees, there are some types of crops or trees that are specifically used for certain things. You can't build a silkworm hut without mulberry leaves and wheat is now actually used to make flour, which can't be eaten on its own and needs to be baked in a bakery.

yeah there is a fuel shortage at the moment

I built several buildings I couldn't use yet because I didn't know what materials they used to make their products. I scheduled a half dozen houses to be built, but I didn't realize that there was a stone civil war going on, leaving my population dwindling without new families repopulating. Nothing I haven't dealt with before, but now with added flair!

Bottom line is, this mod is amazing. Banished was always a great game, but I always wished it could be a little more refined, a little more detailed. Well, this is it. This is the refinement of the century. There's more micromanagement than a WotLK era feral rotation, and I love it.

If you like Banished, and you should, this mod is highly recommended. This will easily add another several days worth of binge playing this excellent game.

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