It never hurts to brush up on your knowledge before heading into battle!
Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia is a delightful grand strategy game whose unique emphasis on battling over resource management makes it the perfect country-conquering adventure for people who prefer a show of force over being diplomatic. Just because the game nixes much of the number-crunching doesn’t mean that Brigandine is easy, however! Proper strategizing is still absolutely key in coming out on top, but, admittedly, getting comfortable with everything can take a bit of time. Going through the aches and pains that comprise the learning process can be kind of cumbersome sometimes, so, for those wanting to sharpen their minds before sharpening their swords, I present to you a (hopefully) helpful beginner’s guide complete with things that I knew about the game before diving into it myself!
Planning for Success
Fighting may be the focus in Brigandine, but it’s not the only thing you’ll need to do to conquer Runerisa. In fact, it’s not even the first thing that you do! During each turn, before any fighting starts, players have the ability to do several different things with their Rune Knights. The map-based gameplay is split into two different parts; the organization phase—which lets you move troops between bases, organize parties and embark on quests—and the attack phase—which lets players issue attack orders (which lead to battles) for neighboring territories. Knowing that alone is already helpful in itself, but what say I toss a few more tips your way? Sound good? Hopefully so, because here we go!
Tip #1 Take your time in the beginning
I’m sure that some of you out there might want to immediately rush into conquering territories as soon as the game begins. Technically speaking, that’s just fine, but did you know that your enemies aren’t generally nearly as aggressive during that time? It’s true! For the first 4 or so seasons, opposing factions are too busy working on bolstering their own ranks. Because of this, you have the opportunity to send every unit available out on quests without having to worry about getting invaded! And believe you me, the units, items, and equipment obtained during this time will make things much easier—just make sure to start defending again by season 5!
Tip #2: A failed quest can still be a success
When a unit comes back from questing, their quest is either deemed “Excellent,” “Great,” “Good,” or “Failure,” with Excellent getting you top-tier items and EXP, and Failure getting you absolutely nothing… unless you’re looking for units! For some reason, unit recruitment doesn’t follow the same rules as everything else, meaning that even characters with low success rates can come back with a shiny new Rune Knight for you to order around. Just be sure to keep in mind that this only works with unit recruitment—a failure is a failure in any other situation!
Tip #3: You can lose some battles and still win the war
While it’s true that you need every territory within Runersia to win the game, sometimes you might find yourself with too much land and too few Rune Knights to go around. While it’s still possible to hold onto everything with a bit of skill and plenty of luck, sometimes the best thing to do is to let your enemy have a few pieces of land for a little while. Having fewer places to guard can free up more Rune Knights to send on quests. After all, a few levels or pieces of equipment can make a huge difference during battles.
Tip #4: Conquer Carefully
It’s a lot easier than you’d think to start going conquer crazy, only to realize that you left yourself open for attacks in multiple locations. If you did, don’t worry! Just refer back to Tip #3. However, if you’re looking to avoid that, then I urge you to plan out how you’re going to take over all of Runersia. While there’s no correct way to do this, I’ve personally found success by following two rules: 1) conquer one faction at a time instead of lashing out at everything, and 2) to go along the edges of the continent in the beginning. If you can manage it, the upper-left and bottom-right corners of the country make excellent defensive spots!
Swords and Sorcery
You might think that battles, being Brigandine‘s main focus, are the most complex element of this game. And that’s good because they absolutely are. However, with this being a starter guide and all, let’s focus on the core components. Always occurring immediately after the Attack phase (with a few story-related exceptions), Brigandine‘s battles are tactical in nature and require plenty of planning and foresight on the player’s part. Each opposing side can bring up to three units into a battle, with each unit consisting of one Rune Knight and anywhere from 0 – 5 monsters. Rune Knights and monsters can both level up, change classes (with Rune Knights being substantially more diverse), and equip weapons and armor.
Naturally, Rune Knights and monsters differ in terms of stats and abilities, but they also differ in permanence. Rune Knights cannot die, no matter how many times they are defeated in battle (although a retreating Rune Knight does bring all of their monsters with them). Monsters, however, die upon reaching 0 HP. Aside from the use of Revival Stones (which aren’t easy to come by), there is no way to bring back a defeated monster. And, since getting through the entire game without ever losing a single character probably won’t be happening your first time through (or at all), I’d like to throw a few more tips your way.
Tip #5: Adopt, don’t shop
Monsters can be acquired via two primary means. The first and easiest way to get a monster is to summon it. Unfortunately, summoned monsters aren’t exactly strong because they always start at level one. There is another way of acquiring monsters, though; capturing! Whenever a defeated Rune Knight retreats, they bring with them all monsters under their command. However, there is a chance that they will fail to bring along every single monster. These left-behind monsters will remain on the field and can even be attacked and killed, but cannot be commanded. Should this happen to your opponent and you end up beating them, you will automatically capture any monster left behind. Captured monsters are immediately converted into allies, and work exactly like summoned monsters. Furthermore, the Charm spell also guarantees that a monster will join up with you at the end if you win. Just be sure that your opponents don’t use that knowledge against you!
Tip #6: Don’t go too capture-crazy
You might be tempted to try to capture every last monster after reading the last tip. However—and I’m aware that this might sound ironic—I’d advise you not to. Capturing insanely powerful enemy monsters is incredibly satisfying, but sometimes the risk outweighs the reward. If you find yourself face-to-face with an Ancient Dragon or Archangel that threatens to rip your units to shreds if left alone, then don’t hesitate to kill them. Sure, it means that you won’t be able to make them yours at the end of the battle, but it also means that the opponents can’t use them anymore, either! Capturing is a great way to strengthen your units, but do so intelligently.
Tip #7: Bait your opponents
In my review of Brigandine, I mentioned that battles tend to end up as one giant cluster, and they absolutely do. Even if you plan things out, every unit’s going to be camped cell-to-cell eventually. There is, however, a way to at least partially control the chaos. If you’re having trouble with multiple opponents quickly offing your squishier units but can’t afford to just let them stay behind, try beating your opponent if you’re able. Bulky characters who can self-buff like Knights and Monks are great for this, and the AI almost always takes the bait. In fact, there are even times where, if your bait character is deemed to be too strong, they’ll march straight up to you without even attacking. Let those silly sitting ducks have it!
Tip #8: Chain, chain, chain!
Chaining is a mechanic unique to Brigadine that occurs when two characters of the same faction surround an opponent on both sides. The game goes into chaining, mentioning how useful it is, but I’d also like to stress just how crucial chains can be. While not a necessity for every foe, the fact that chains slap massive debuffs on foes makes dealing with them a lot easier. Personally, I’ve found chaining to be the most useful with fast foes. Fast characters are usually really good at dodging, but a chained foe isn’t nearly as good with their fancy footwork. And, of course, like with many other things, avoid getting chained yourself!
Tip #9: Nightmares make for dreamy victories
Now, this might be getting a little specific, but I’ll say it anyway; Nightmares are one of the best monster units in the game. One of two class upgrades for the Unicorn (the other being the less-useful Pegasus), Nightmares are the total package in terms of supporters. They have powerful physical and magical debuffs, can heal HP and cure status ailments, can take a hit or two, and can even push back units with a standard physical attack. I can’t tell you how many times having a few Nightmares around helped me turn battles around. Are they the only monster worth using? No, definitely not. But you might find yourself in trouble if you don’t let these four-legged friends horse around in your party during more difficult battles.
Well, that about wraps things up for this little guide. Did you find any of my tips useful? Hopefully so! If you found anything particularly helpful, or have some tips of your own to share, I’d love to hear from you in the comments. Happy conquering!