What in the great googly moogly even IS this game? When i tried to watch their highly polished how to play video, i was completely lost. It seemed SO complicated and SO out of my reach, that i began to understand how non-board gamers must feel when i try to explain “phases of a round” to them.
i met designer Mark Swanson at Gen Con, and a year later he commissioned me to teach his game in the Nights Around a Table style, which means a lot of animation (and a little bit of goofing around). i hope it helps demystify Feudum for you!
Fifteen rosary beads on a farm girl’s chicken! Yo ho ho and a barrel of krud. Hi! It’s Ryan from Nights Around a Table. Here’s how you play Feudum.
You and your friends play nobles who have been stripped of your titles and earthly possessions, and are exiled to a foreign land where you have to start again from scratch.
There are lots of different ways to earn the veneration points you’ll need to win the game. You could exert your influence over various locations, or play subservient serf and reap the benefits from working the land. You could upgrade locations to powerful feudums, but then you’ll be on the hook to help the monarchy defend the kingdom, or you’ll start losing points. You can get the King to approve royal writs for endgame bonuses. You can tame ferocious monsters and run around bullying everyone into submission. You can get in good with the game’s six different medieval guilds and earn points shuffling resources between them. If isolation is your thing, you can climb to the top of a lonely mountain and chill out at the monastery for big points.
Whoever earns the most points at the close of five epochs becomes the most venerated in all the land, and wins the game!
Feudum’s game clock is up here. It’s split into five epochs. There’s a stack of landscape tiles down here that you’ll be collecting, and one of them also gets randomly removed every round. When a certain number of these tiles have been removed, the epoch marker advances and everyone stands a chance to earn some midgame points. At the end of the fifth epoch, there’s a big final scoring round.
You begin the game with a bunch of stuff: some food, some money, a smelly old pouch, some round discs that perform various functions, three pawns, and some of these influence markers that you’ll use to take over locations. Two more of your influence markers are locked up here in the knights’ guild, and the rest are in the general supply. You can free those up as you play the game.
Odd Bird Games has sent me some fancy component upgrades to play with, so let’s get rid of these cardboard seals and archery targets and use these better ones. We’ve got some cool castles waiting in the wings to make our feudums look more impressive. Of course, you gotta have metal coins, and most impressive of all, instead of using these vessel tiles, we’re gonna swap in this beautiful boat, submersible, and airship. Aaaand… let’s give the airship a golden stand*. *Not actual gold. Don’t be dumb. Finally, i’m gonna be using this collection of dice that helps you keep track of everyone’s standing in the different guilds. At present, Odd Bird Games still offers some of this extra deluxe stuff on their website, so get it while you still can!
The five main resources are white saltpeter, yellow sulfur, black iron, brown wood, and green food. Hopefully that represents vegetables, and not yogurt. Some of these resources start in the six different guilds flanking the board, and the rest go into the haversack drawbag. If you’d like to see a complete setup guide, skip to the Setup section at the end of this video.
Everyone has a deck of 11 action cards. At the beginning of a round, you secretly queue up 4 of those cards. Beginning with the starting player and going clockwise, everyone plays a card from their chosen four and, if possible, does the thing. You have to play a card on your turn, even if you can’t do the thing. This is the type of game where if you choose your cards poorly, or if the board state changes and one or more of the cards you chose are no longer relevant, you might have to play a card and do nothing, skipping your turn. You keep going around the table until everyone’s out of cards to play. Then you do a couple of upkeep steps, including feeding your pawns and checking the game clock to see if it advances. Pass the start player…thing… on to the next player going clockwise. Wash, rinse, and repeat until you reach the end of the game.
Your action cards have two bits going on: this bit, and this bit. You only have to worry about this bit if you’re playing the advanced version of Feudum, and since this is Nights Around a Table, you’d better believe we’re playing the advanced version. There’s an implied “AND” here: you can do this AND this, except on a few cards where you see this “OR” arrow, which means you can choose to do this OR this.
If we run through all 11 action cards, you’ll see most of what Feudum has to offer. There are some picky bits and curb case rules that i’ll leave out and mention towards the end. Let’s go!
ACTION CARD: MIGRATE
Your pawns are gonna be moving around the board between the different locations, planting your influence markers, fighting each other, and demolishing other players’ feudums.The more influence you’ve spread throughout different regions of the kingdom at the dawn of each epoch, the more points you’ll earn.
To get one of your three pawns onto the board, you select Migrate as one of your four cards for the round, and then play it on your turn. You can use it to either put one of your pawns onto the board, or take one off, but if you put one on, you have to pay a food to the haversack because snacking. The pawn has to go either in a location that has another one of your pawns, or one that has at least one of your influence markers. If you have one or more alchemist pawns already in play, you can completely ignore that rule and put your new pawn on one of these six starting spaces with the pink circles. If you’ve got nothing on the board, you have to put the pawn on one of the pink starting circle spaces anyway.
It’s fine to have a location with multiple pawns on it – even multiple pawns from different players – but there IS combat in the game, which we’ll see later, so be careful if you’ve got plans to snuggle.
Next, you get to choose what type of personage your pawn is going to be: farmer, merchant, alchemist, knight, noble, or monk. This choice usually gives you standing in one of the guilds. Here’s a sidebar on how that works.
You gain membership in a guild if you meet one of its primary requirements, which are here, if we look at the farmers’ guild as an example. So if you have a farmer pawn on the board, that’s worth 1 guild star. If you rule a farmer feudum, you get 3 guild stars. And you can combine those – so if you had 3 farmer pawns and controlled two farmer feudums, that would be 1 2 3 stars, plus 3 for 6, plus another 3 for 9. That… probably won’t happen, but we’re just learning here. If you meet either of these two primary requirements – a pawn or a ruled feudum matching the guild – then you can also count this secondary condition towards your guild stars. So in the case of a farm, you could have a farmer pawn for 1 guild star, and then each farm you ruled would get you another star. The primary conditions for all guilds are the same: have a pawn matching the guild, and/or rule a feudum matching the guild. But the secondary condition varies by guild: it’s ruled farms for the farmers and knights guilds, ruled towns for the merchants and nobles, and ruled forts for the alchemists and monks.
So let’s say you have a farmer pawn and 2 farms, for 3 farmers’ guild stars. We’ll track that total using the official guild tracking dice that you can buy as an add-on, but you could use regular dice, or your fingers, or whatever. Each guild has three positions: guildmaster, who’s top dog at that guild, journeyman, who is second banana, and if you’re playing with at least four players, there’s the also-ran apprentice, who stands to gain some points, but who otherwise doesn’t really get to do anything. The player with the most stars in a given guild gets the top slot, and any other players who qualify for standing fall in line down the chain of command. You send an influence token from your supply to represent you in the guild, and if you’re all out of tokens, you don’t get to take your proper seat in the guild until you get one. And you can’t decide to take your token back from the guild if you decide you need it for something else: once you’re a member, you’ll need to be forced out if you want your token back. As circumstances on the board change, your star rating may go up or down, but if you want to climb higher in a guild, you have to beat the number of stars of whoever’s in the higher seat: if you’re a journeyman at 2 stars, and the guildmaster has 3 stars, and you get another farm or whatever to give you a total of 3 stars, you don’t move up – you’d need 4 guild stars to usurp the guildmaster and take that top slot.
During setup, you start the game with 1 pawn already on the board, so you’ll be the guildmaster or journeyman of one guild to begin with.
We’ll find out more about what privileges and benefits these guild positions get you a little later on.
ACTION CARD: MOVE
Playing the Move card from your chosen hand of four lets you move your pawns around the board. Each of your pawns on the board gets you a single movement point, and you can split those movement points up between pawns. So if you had all 3 of your pawns out, you’d get 3 movement points. Move this guy 3, or this guy 1 and this guy 2, or whatever. Or just squander your movement, because it’s optional. Your pawns’ movements are limited by the type of route you can take: they can travel by road no problem, but if they want to travel by water or air, they need to climb into a vessel – either a boat, a submersible, or an airship. You buy these vessels from the Alchemist’s guild or get them from King’s writ cards, which i’ll cover later. The bubbles denote a submersible route, the waves are boat routes, and the little white chevrons are for airship travel.
If you have a vessel in your possession, you can drop it on the board during a move action and pilot that craft along the route. If your pawn ever leaves the vessel to go somewhere else, the vessel stays on the board, and any other player can jump in and hotwire it and take it for a joyride, and it’s not your vessel any more. So it’s basically Grand Theft Airship.
At the end of a Move action, choose one of the pawns you moved. If that pawn is in a location with stuff on it, you can take 1 of that stuff. Only 1, though – don’t be greedy. You can’t steal from yourself, so if it’s land you’re tending or a farm you rule, the stuff’s gotta stay there. And you can’t grab any stuff along the way – you can only take it from a location you stop at. No drive-bys. This isn’t Grand Theft Airship.
The advanced action here is that if you have at least one monk, you can move one of those monks one space – it doesn’t matter if the monk moved on this turn or not. I think the thematic justification is that monks love cardio and like to run everywhere.
ACTION CARD: INFLUENCE
Play this card to drop influence markers on any locations where your pawns are parked.
If you’re the first person at a spot, your marker goes on the tile, and you rule that location.
If you’re the second person there, your influence marker becomes a serf and hangs around outside the tile.
If you’re the third person there, you… don’t get to place anything. A location can only support two different players’ influence tokens.
But if you’re one of these two original players, the third token that goes down changes depending on which guy you are. If you’re this guy, and you use the Influence action, you put your marker outside the tile to act as a subject of your ruler. “I got your back, brah!” If you’re this guy and you use the Influence action, your marker boots out the ruler. Now your guy’s the ruler, this guy’s the serf, and your original guy is the subject supporting your ruler. Remember that this kind of personnel change might alter players’ standing in the guilds.
If you try to place a fourth guy, well – forget it. It’s a maximum of 3 influence markers from a maximum of 2 players at any location.
If you have a bunch of pawns at a bunch of locations when you play the Influence action, you can drop tokens at all those locations at once!
The advanced action here is that if you Influence a location using a Merchant pawn, and someone has only 1 influence marker ruling the joint, you can pay 1 shilling to just boot it off the tile and take over, relegating the other player to serfdom. Serf’s up, dude!
ACTION CARD: IMPROVE
Playing the Improve card lets you upgrade a location that you rule. You have to rule it though – you can’t just be a dirty serf. You can turn a fort into a farm by paying a wood. Pay an iron to turn a farm into a town. Or pay a king’s seal to turn a town into a feudum. When you do that, you get to pick the type of feudum you’ll rule.
When you Improve a location, you may get to take one of these reddish landscape tiles from the bottom of the board. Each stack of tiles is tied to one of the six different regions on the board: little islands, big islands, forest, desert, badlands, and mountains. If you Improve a location in the badlands, you gotta take a landscape tile from the badlands stack, for example.
When you Improve a location, you earn a certain number of points depending on the number on the landscape tile you took, and what kind of thing you upgraded to. So if you take a landscape tile with a 1 on it, after upgrading a farm to a town, you get 3 points. If the tile says 4, and you upgraded a town to a feudum, you earn 7 points.
Track your points around the edge of the board.
But here’s the catch: you can’t go taking a tile if the number on it is higher than the current epoch. Lower is okay. So if you’re on epoch 3 and you Improve a location in the mountains, you can take this “1” tile, because 1 is less than 3. But if you’re on epoch 3 and the next tile in the mountain stack is a 4, you can’t take it. You have to take some other tile from any stack with a number that’s less than the current epoch number, and if you’re forced to do that, you have to give up any points you earned from this chart.
You still get a landscape tile, though, and that ain’t nothin’. Landscape tiles are great because you can cash them in at any time to get one goods cube of any colour from the bag. But they also tie in to the advanced action on the Improve card.
You can only do this if you haven’t already done this — remember, this means “or” — and you have a serf somewhere. Can’t be a ruler – gotta be a serf. As a serf, you get to work the land. You pay one wood to place one of your landscape tiles next to the location you’re serfin’. The tile immediately coughs up 3 things: either 3 foods, 3 archery targets, 3 shillings, or 3 sulfurs, depending on which landscape tile you lay down. It’s one landscape tile per location, by the way. If you want to, you can immediately take those things, paying one of them to the ruler of that location. Or you could just leave everything there. Why would you want to do that? Because as the marker moves through these epochs, you earn 4 points for every landscape you serf that has one or more pieces of stuff on it, but only 2 points per empty landscape tile. Of course, the risk of leaving stuff there is that other players can horn in with their pawns and nick it.
These archery targets, by the way, can be cashed in to claim your extra influence tokens held in reserve near the knights’ guild.
ACTION CARD: EXPLORE
When you play the Explore card, you get to draw 2 Royal Writ cards, plus one additional card for every feudum …and/or fort you rule. Keep one of these cards, and sink the rest to the bottom of the deck. These cards come in two flavours: Charters give you end-game points bonuses if you fulfill the condition on the card and you place a king’s seal on this spot at the end of the game. So these ones give you points if you rule certain numbers of locations in different areas of the map, you can fulfill this one by defeating a monster, and you can score this one by having some sulfur left over in your wine barrel at the end of the game — we’ll talk about that a little later.
The other Royal Writ cards are Mandates, and they’re pre-approved by the king, so they don’t require you to place a seal to achieve them. These ones give you a choice of stuff if you get at least 3 stars in one of the listed guilds, these ones let you do a little alchemy by paying the indicated goods cubes to earn shillings, and these two are weapons that get you extra attack points when you use the Conqu er card, which we’ll look at shortly.
You can have a maximum of 3 Royal Writ cards at a time. You can discard any you don’t want to the bottom of the deck to make room for ones you do want. Mandate cards that you cash in and discard don’t count towards your 3-card limit.
As for this card’s Advanced action, if you pay an iron, you get to draw another two cards, keep one, and send the other to the bottom of the deck.
ACTION CARD: HARVEST
If you rule at least one farm location, you can play your Harvest card to litter one of your farms with resources that you pull randomly from the haversack. The number of cubes you dump on the farm depends on the other things you’ve accomplished: at a minimum, you get 5 cubes. For every feudum or farm you rule, you get to pull one more cube, and you get to pull 2-5 extra goods for each of the rosary beads you’ve collected (i’ll tell you how to get rosary beads later). The maximum number of cubes you can harvest in a single shot is 10. You can play Harvest on a farm that already has some cubes on it… but if there are already 10 or more cubes on a farm, you have to wait until that farm falls below 10 cubes to play the harvest action on it again.
Now, you can either let it all ride and keep the goods on the farm where, of course, some other player can muscle in and teef them (YOINK!), or you can smack your farmers around a little bit and take some of their crops for yourself. If you decide to do that, check out the chart again: if you’re pulling 5 cubes, you actually just pull 4, and then draw 1 at random and keep it for yourself. If you pull 10 cubes, 6 go to the farm and the other 4 line your pockets. But the church frowns on – you know – peasant abuse – (‘Elp! ‘Elp! I’m being repressed!) so if you take kickbacks during a harvest, you have to flip over all of your rosary beads – even the ones that didn’t help you in the harvest. But that’s not the worst thing in the world, because they become king’s seals, which you can use to confirm those Charter cards at the end of the game, or to Improve towns to turn them into feudums. You always earn 1 point for calling in a harvest, no matter how many cubes you get to pull.
This advanced portion of the card means that if you have at least 1 farmer pawn in play, you get to select your kickback cubes instead of drawing them randomly from the haversack. So you get to look in the bag as you draw them.
ACTION CARD: TAX
If you rule at least one town when you play the Tax card, you get 2 shillings, plus 1 shilling for every additional town or feudum you rule. If you have at least 1 knight in play, you get to take 1 of your influence tokens from the general supply and put it in your collection of goodies. If you’ve already grabbed all of your surplus influence tokens, you can grab the rightmost token from your row in the knights’ guild itself.
Playing your Conquer card lets you fight stuff. There are two different things you can attack in the game: another player’s pawn, or another player’s feudum. And the monsters are considered honorary pawns, so if another player controls a monster, you can attack that too. You attack a pawn or a feudum with one or more of your own pawns, but you only ever fight one thing at a time. So you can’t rock up and take on this guy, this guy, and this thing all at once.
Start by counting up all of your units’ attack strength. Each pawn at the location gets you 1 attack, a monster that you control gets you 1, and if you’re attacking someone’s feudum and you have a serf in that location, that guy snaps his rake across his knee and gives you 1 attack to help overthrow the feudum’s ruler. If you have any saltpeter, you can pay 1 to give you an extra attack point – saltpeter is an ingredient in gunpowder, by the way – it’s not like everybody’s sucking on Dutch licorice bein’ like “yeah – bring it on!” You can only pay 1 saltpeter to get an extra attack point though… unless you have a knight in the fight, and in that case, that guy can suck on all the Dutch licorice you want to feed him! There’s no limit.
Like we saw with those Royal Writ cards, there are also a couple of weapons you can bring into battle with you that’ll do extra damage – and even more damage if you pay a certain resource to use the big versions of them.
As for defense, a single pawn gets 2 defense, unless he’s drunk, in which case he’s completely defenseless. We’ll talk about liquoring up your pawns later. Monsters only have 1 defense. A feudum is good for 2 defense. If the defending player has a subject at the location, that guy’s good for 1 extra defense, but only if it’s the feudum that’s being attacked – he won’t help out in a pawn fight.
So count up all the attack points – in this example, it’s 3 – and all the defense points – in this example, it’s also 3. And that’s no good, because you can’t win if you tie. So let’s just throw in a saltpeter to tip it over the edge. There! 4 versus 3. If you murder a pawn, that pawn gets booted off the board, and you adjust any guild majority results accordingly. You also get 2 points. If you murdered someone’s monster pawn, that player takes back the influence marker that told everyone who the monster belonged to, and the monster goes back to the supply. Again, you get 2 points.
If you demolish a feudum, you bust it back down to a fort, and boot its ruler off the board. If you had a serf there, the coup is successful and that serf takes over as the new ruler. Wrecking a feudum gets you 4 points.
In the advanced game, your other option on this card instead of fighting a pawn or a feudum is to Starve the People. If you have a Noble pawn parked on a location with someone else’s influence marker beside it – so that marker is either a subject in this configuration, or a serf in this configuration – you can kick that piece off the board and back to its owner. You get zero points for doing this because it’s mean.The church thinks it’s mean, too, so all of the rosary beads sitting on the chickens in the farmers’ guild go poof, back to the supply.
There’s one final benefit to successfully executing a Conquer action: if you pummel a pawn or flatten a feudum or starve someone’s serf or subject, you get to take one of your three round discs and put it on the leftmost spot on this catapult track where you don’t already have a disc. So what’s this all about?
Well, if you rule at least one feudum, the King expects you to contribute to the defense of the kingdom by conquering stuff. When the epoch marker moves into this epoch, this epoch, or this epoch – the ones with the little catapult icons – the King is going to look at your defense contribution. When the game moves into the second epoch, and you rule at least one feudum and you don’t have a disc here, you lose 3 points. And this point loss is cumulative, so if the game enters the fourth epoch, and you don’t have a disc here, you lose 4 points, and another 3 points for not having a disc here either. But if these special epochs begin and you don’t rule any feudums, none of this matters.
You’re allowed to put a disc on the catapult track after a successful Conquering even if you don’t rule a feudum, just in case you plan to rule a feudum in the future.
The only other catch with the Conquer card is this icon, which means Conquer can’t be the last card you play in a round. The game presumably wants to give players the chance to respond to an attack.
ACTION CARD: DEFEND
The Defend action card is the only card you can play out of turn. If someone is attacking your pawn or your feudum with a Conquer action, and you saw it coming and chose Defend as one of your four cards at the beginning of the round, you can whip it out to immediately score 1 point, and add 1 to your defense. You can still play this card even if no one ends up attacking you – in that case, you just earn the 1 point.
In the advanced game, the alternative action lets you defend against someone trying to Starve your People with a Noble pawn. You can pay 1 food to block the Starvation action, and then grab a king’s seal and put it under your serf… or subject… to permanently protect that influence marker from getting starved out for the rest of the game. At any point, you can grab that seal and put it into your supply, but doing that removes your influence marker’s starvation protection.
ACTION CARD: REPEAT
If you play the Repeat card, you choose any of the other cards you’ve previously played this round that have a “times 2” in the corner, and repeat that action. Those possible cards are Guild, Move, and Influence. Certain cards don’t have a “times 2” on them, so you can’t repeat them. And certain other cards – Conquer and Defend – have an explicit “no times 2” icon on them, so you really can’t repeat them.
In the advanced game, you can pay a saltpeter to choose one of the cards you played this round that doesn’t have a “times 2” icon on it, and repeat it anyway. So that’s Harvest, Improve, Explore, Migrate, or Tax. Conquer and Defend are still off-limits.
ACTION CARD: GUILD
If you’ve made it this far, you’re invested. You wanna know how to play Feudum. And that’s good, because we’ve reached the action that’s not only the most complex, but it’s also tied into a good chunk of what i think makes Feudum unique and interesting: the Guild Action.
So we know that there are 6 guilds on the edges of the board, and we’ve seen how the different location control mechanics earvvvn you guild stars that let you become a guild’s master, journeyman, or with at least 4 players, its apprentice. Each guild has 3 things going on: its trade function down here, its push function up here, and its pull function over here. When you play your Guild card, you can trade with any guild, whether or not you have special standing with that guild. But if you’re the guild master, you can alternatively perform the guild’s push function. And if you’re the guild journeyman, you can perform a guild’s pull function.
What’s this pushing and pulling stuff all about? Well, generally, when you are the guild master and you push, you’re moving resources from this guild into the guild on the right, and the more stuff you move over, the more points you stand to earn. If you’re the journeyman and you pull, you’re importing goods from the guild on the left. You may not stand to gain as many points as the guild master does for pushing, but it can still be a lucrative action for you. And if you’re the guild’s apprentice… Shut up. Nobody likes you. Just sit there and try not to break anything.
The six guilds form a big loop, so if the master pushes stuff out of the Alchemist’s guild, that stuff ends up in the Knights’ guild. The knights guild journeyman pulls from the Alchemist’s guild. Likewise, the monk’s guild master pushes stuff to the farmers’ guild, and the farmer’s guild journeyman pulls stuff from the monks’ guild.
Let’s zoom in a little closer and look at the trade functions of each guild, and then we’ll talk about whole pushing/pulling thing.
If you rule a farm, and the farm has stuff on it, you can trade that stuff to the farmer’s guild. You have to shoot all of the stuff to the guild during a trade – you can’t leave any of it behind. For every 2 goods you send to the farm, you get either a shilling, or a food cube from the haversack.
The farm maxes out at 10 goods. Any stuff in excess of 10 cubes goes back to the bag.
Unless… there are rosary beads on the chickens, of course, which represent the church giving alms to the poor. Count up the rosary bead total, and that’s the number of goods in excess of 10 that can randomly spill over into the Merchants’ guild next door. Just fill up the spaces with the excess goods you sent from your farm. Anything that doesn’t fit in the Merchant’s guild spills over into the Alchemist’s guild, and anything that won’t fit there goes back to the haversack. So if you send 6 goods to the farmers’ guild, and there are 9 goods already there, and there’s a chicken with a +3 rosary bead, drop 1 random good in the guild bringing it to its maximum of 10. The chicken says up to 3 more goods can spill over, so add 1 good here to bring the merchants’ guild to capacity, and 1 more good here to top off the last alchemist pile. The chicken says that one more good can spill over, but these guilds are already at capacity, so the last 3 goods go back in the bag.
If you use your Guild Action card to trade with the Merchant’s guild, you can buy up to 3 goods cubes. The prices are printed on the board underneath each cube, which is why i prefer to shift everything up so you can see the numbers, even though that puts the goods off the square outlines, which makes me a liiiiittle bit twitchy. Any time you trade shillings for stuff at any guild, the first coin goes to the guild master – even if that’s you. The second shilling gets paid to the journeyman. The third shilling goes to – no, not you. Shut up. Just sit there, alright? You’re only here because Uncle Lenny made us hire you. God.
No – the third shilling goes to the monk’s guild on the other side of the board. And if you pay for stuff over on this side, the third shilling goes to the farm on the opposite end.
What happens if you have to pay more than 3 shillings for things?
Well, the next shilling goes to the guildmaster, the next one after that goes to the journeyman, the next one – NOT YOU – goes to the monks or the farm – whichever is on the opposite side of the board from the guild you’re paying- and so on, until all the coins are paid out.
What happens if there IS no journeyman? First coin goes to the master, second coin goes to the supply, third coin goes to the monks or the farm. And what if no one has membership in the guild? First coin to the supply, second coin to the supply, third coin to the monks or the farm, et cetera.
We should note this, too: let’s say you’re the merchant guild master, and you want to buy this saltpeter for 2 shillings. You only have one shilling, but that’s okay, since the first shilling you pay goes right back in your pocket, yeah? Well, no… you still need to have the two shillings to pay the entire purchase price, even when some of those coins are due to come back to you.
The Alchemist’s guild constructs vessels to help you get around the map. When you trade with the guild, you can buy any one of the finished vessels from this pile for 3 shillings. That vessel goes in front of you until you’re ready to use it during a move action.
The knights’ guild is where your surplus influence tokens pile up. When you trade here, you can pay three shillings to grab all of the tokens that have accumulated in your row. If you grabbed at least 3 tokens, you can pay them back to the supply and drop one on either the behemoth or the sea serpent, if they’re available, to tame that monster and put it to work for you! Put the monster anywhere where you have a pawn or an influence token. If you’ve got nothing on the board, you can’t tame a monster. Since the sea serpent has to travel by water, you need to put it on a location that’s next to water. Now, you control that monster, and it becomes one of your pawns, with a few advantages and limitations:
The behemoth can only travel by road, or by airship route. (Yes, the behemoth can fly). The sea serpent can only travel by boat, or submersible route. Since the monsters are pawns, they give you a movement point towards your total when you use the Move action. They can grab goods off the map, fight pawns and feudums, and use weapons on King’s Writ cards. They also pin down your enemies: other players’ pawns can’t leave locations wherever a monster has them pinned. The only solution for pinned players is to either murder the monster, or migrate off the board. But monsters can’t Influence locations… they can’t ride around in vessels… and they can’t trigger the advanced action on the Guild card, which is called “feast” – more on that later. Monsters have 1 attack point just like your other pawns, but they only have 1 defense instead of 2. But just lookit that little face!
At the Nobles’ guild, you can pay either 3 or 6 shillings to buy 1 or 2 king’s seals and put them in your supply.
At the monks’ guild, you pay 3 shillings to take two beads: the one with the highest number on it, and the one with the lowest number on it. Give them to another player, who mixes them up, and then you choose a hand and keep whichever bead is in there. The bead you didn’t choose goes back to the guild.
PUSHING AND PULLING
If you’re the farmer’s guild master and you play your Guild action to Push stuff out of the guild, you take 5 goods from the farm (or as many as you can, if there are fewer than 5 available) and fill up the shelves next door at the Merchants’ guild. You score points by filling up entire rows or columns. If you fill 1, 2, or 3 rows or columns, you get 4, 5, or 6 points. If you dropped a good here, completing a row and a column at the same time, it only counts as 1 row or 1 column – it doesn’t do double duty. Any excess goods that you can’t fit on the shelves stay at the farm. Then, you get to grab any cash that’s accumulated here and split it with the journeyman, keeping the extra coin if there’s an odd number of them. If the guild HAS no journeyman, take your cut of the money and leave the rest on the farm.
The journeyman at the merchant’s guild uses the Pull function to grab up to 3 goods cubes from the farm guild and put them on the shelves, again trying to complete rows and columns. If you complete at least 1 row or column, you get 3 points, and you also get to draw 2 Royal Writ cards and keep 1.
The merchants’ guild master can use the Push function to grab up to 4 cubes off the shelves from right to left and fill up the alchemist’s guild’s piles. Completing 1,2,or 3 piles gets you 4, 5, or 6 points.
The alchemist’s guild journeyman can use the Pull function to grab any 2 cubes from the merchant’s guild shelves and put them in piles. If you complete at least 1 pile, you get 3 points and you get to draw 2 royal writ cards and keep one. So by now, you should sort of be seeing a pattern.
The alchemist’s guild master uses Push to convert these piles of resources to inventions – either vessels, or barrels of krud, which the rulebook assures me is an Old Danish word for gunpowder. You just pull the cubes off the piles according to this recipe card, send the cubes back to the haversack, and stack the vessels up here as they get invented.
If you want to invent a barrel of krud, you need to build this barrel first, this barrel second, and then finally this barrel. These invented krud barrels populate the knight’s guild with influence markers from the supply. Here’s the first barrel, here’s the second barrel, and here’s the third, and there could be a jagged number of tokens in these barrels depending on how the game’s been going. The point is, you can only invent all three barrels if one of these rows is empty, because that’s the only situation where there’s enough headroom to do it.
So let’s say it looks like this and you burn 2 saltpeter and a sulfur from the alchemist’s guild to invent the first barrel. You fill up this barrel at the knights’ guild with a token, and all the rest already have a token in them. Then you invent the second barrel by burning a saltpeter and a sulfur – notice it’s getting cheaper to invent barrels. You fill up this one and this one all the way, you top off this one to max, and this one’s already at max, so you don’t touch it. Then you invent the third barrel by getting rid of a wood. Completely fill this one and this one and this one, but don’t touch this one because it’s already maxed out. In this situation, you can only invent the first and the second barrels, because everyone’s already got at least one full barrel. And here, you could only invent the first barrel, because all players have at least two completely full barrels.
So when you Push from the Alchemist’s guild, you can invent up to three things, in any combination, as long as you do the barrels in order. You earn 4,5, or 6 points for inventing 1, 2, or 3 things.
By the way, if this space is blank because everyone’s bought out all of the alchemist’s guild’s available vessels, these special ferry boat routes become available to use at two shillings per ride to the general supply. If the guild invents 1 or more vessels to cover the space, the ferry routes are closed again, and you can’t use them any more.
The knights’ guild journeyman uses Pull to invent only 1 thing using stuff from the piles – either a vessel or that first barrel to fill up the rows with influence markers, following the rules we just discussed. You score 3 vp and a choice of two cards for completing 1 invention, just like in the other guilds.
When you Push as the knight’s guild master, you grab up to 3 differently coloured influence tokens from right to left from any rows in the guild, cash them in for king’s seals from the supply, and put the seals on any empty spaces on these scrolls. Just like in the merchant’s guild, you’re trying to complete rows and columns. It’s 4, 5, or 6 points for completing 1, 2, or 3 rows or columns, and placing a single seal can’t count for both a row and a column.
The noble guild journeyman Pulls 2 differently coloured influence tokens from the knights’ guild, converts them to seals from the supply, and tries to complete rows and columns with them. You get 3 points and a choice of 2 cards if you complete at least 1 row or column.
When you Push as the Noble guild master, you grab any two seals from your guild, and flip them over to become rosary beads in the monks’ guild next door. Sum up the beads, and earn 4, 5, or 6 points if the total on the beads is at least 5,11, or 17.
As the monk’s guild journeyman, you pull to grab 1 king’s seal from the nobles’ guild, flip it, and add it to the strand. If the numbers on the beads total at least 11, you get 3 points and the choice of 2 cards.
And finally, as the monks’ guild master, grab the highest and lowest numbered rosary beads and get an opponent to do the fist thing. The bead you pick goes on a chicken at the farm, and the bead you don’t goes back to the guild. If the numbers on the chickens total at least 3,6, or 9, you get 4, 5, or 6 points.
It all comes around full circle if you’re the farmer’s guild journeyman. You can Pull to grab the highest and lowest rosary beads from the monks’ guild, do the fist thing, and pop the randomly chosen bead onto a chicken, returning the other one to the monks. If the chicken math adds up to at least 5, you get your standard journeyman reward of 3 points and a choice of 2 cards.
A final note about pushing and pulling: if you get to grab stuff and move it to another guild, but there’s not enough stuff to grab, it’s okay to grab less stuff than you’re entitled to. You’re also allowed to move stuff and deliberately fumble the ball such that you don’t earn any points on a Push or Pull, just to get the guilds configured a certain way to support your strategy. But if a guild has no resources to grab when you Push or Pull, you can’t use a Push or Pull function.
To finish it off, le`t’s look at that advanced action on the Guild card, Feast. If you manouever one of your non-monster pawns to snug up against someone else’s non-monster pawn… or feudum, and you pay a sulfur, you can hijack that player’s push or pull function in the guild matching the pawn or feudum, performing that player’s push or pull function, and earning all the points that player would have earned, plus 3 bonus points just to add insult to injury, PLUS that player’s share of the purse if you hijack a push or pull in the farmers’ or monks’ guilds. Rude!
There are just a few more important rules to know about before you’re ready to play.
At the end of every round, when everyone’s taken all their actions, you have to pay 1 food to sustain each of your non-monster pawns on the board. If you can’t pay, any pawns you couldn’t feed come back to your supply, which may affect everyone’s standing in the guilds. If you have any food, you can’t hold it back and let your pawns starve – you have to feed it to them. Remember that landscape tiles are wild, so if you want to use them as food you can let your pawns literally chew the scenery.
Any time you acquire a yellow sulfur cube, you have to decide whether it goes into your supply, or into your wine barrel. If it comes time to feed your pawns and you don’t have any food, but you do have wine, you have to give your pawns a liquid lunch and feed it to them – one wine per pawn. Medieval wine was made from sulfur, apparently. Sounds gross. Anyway, the advantage to feeding your pawns stinky sulfur booze is that it’ll keep them fed for two full rounds. But the drawback is that they’re now completely soused, and they won’t be able to attack or defend themselves the whole time they’re off the wagon. The next time you need to feed that pawn, the booze goes back to the bag. And you won’t have to give that pawn more food – or wine – until the next feeding phase. Your wine barrel can hold a maximum of 3 sulfur cubes.
What if you don’t decide to put the sulfur in your barrel, but you keep it in your supply instead? Well, at the beginning of the round, while you’re choosing your cards, you can place a sulfur cube in your pouch. Then, at any point during the round, you can spend that sulfur to play two of your pre-chosen cards one after another. So you could play Move and Conquer on the same turn to chase down and attack someone’s pawn before they get a chance to use a Move card to escape. If the whole round goes by and you don’t spend that sulfur, it goes back to the bag. You blew it.
Alternatively, instead of a sulfur, you can put a saltpeter on your pouch at the beginning of the round, and then spend it while you’re choosing your cards to select a fifth card to play from your deck.
If your fellow players get picky about making their saltpeter or sulfur decisions based on what their opponents are doing, you can go around in turn order, and each player secretly chooses their cards and then places either a saltpeter, a sulfur, or nothing on their pouch, and then proclaims “long live the king!” to commit to that decision. No backsies.
If you wind up using your Move action twice in a round by way of your Repeat card, and at least one of your pawns moves at least one space each time you use those Move actions, you have the option of sending one of your round discs to this Epic Voyage track at the top of the board. Then, any further time you pull off a double move in a single round, you can advance your token one more space. You get a choice of two royal writ cards whenever your disc reaches these spaces. At the end of the game, your position on the track is worth a certain number of points.
If you use a push or a pull function in a guild, you can optionally send one of your round discs to the push or pull side of the guild, depending on which function you used, and flip it to the “reeve” side to score a point. From then on, whenever you use a push or a pull in a guild where you already have a reeve, you earn a point, and if you have your second reeve out in some other guild when you use a push or pull in this guild, you collect a point for that other reeve, too. If your standing in the guild shifts between journeyman and master, move the reeve to the proper side to reflect your new standing. If you get busted down to apprentice, your reeve gets kicked back to your supply because nobody likes you. What do you even DO here all day? i dunno – i gotta talk to Uncle Lenny about you.
If someone throws “feast” in your honour – ahem – and steals your points while performing your push or pull function, that player doesn’t get to collect your reeve points.
Keep in mind that you only have four of these round discs. One of them is tied up on the score track, and two of them can be reeves sitting on the guilds, leaving you with one. There are three spots on the catapult track, you can have one disc on the Epic Voyage track. Now i’m no expert at chicken math, but that adds up to more than four discs. So committing a disc to one spot might count you out of using it elsewhere.
At the end of a round, after everyone’s played their cards and then nourished their non-monster pawns with either a wholesome meal or a dirty bottle of stankjuice, you roll the blue progress die and peel one more landscape tile off the matching stack. If the tile on the stack you roll is higher than the current epoch, roll again. At that point, if enough landscape tiles have been exposed according to this chart to bring you into a new epoch, you perform an interim scoring. 4 exposed epoch 2 tiles bring you into the second epoch, 3 exposed epoch 3 tiles bring you into the third epoch, and so on.
During each epoch scoring, you get 5, 3, or 1 points for every guild where you’re the guild master, journeyman, or apprentice. Alright – we’ll give you one point. NOW will you shut up?
For every empty landscape one of your serfs tends, you get 2 points. If the landscape has 1 or more resources on it, you get 4 points instead. Count up all the regions – little islands, big islands, forest, desert, badlands, and mountains – where you have at least one ruler or one serf who’s tending a landscape. You get 1/3/5/7/9/or 11 points for being in 1,2,3,4,5,or all 6 regions. Serfs who aren’t tending landscapes, like this freeloader, don’t count.
If this is an epoch with a catapult icon on it and you rule one or more feudums, but you don’t have enough discs on the catapult track to cover epochs 3, 4, or 5, you’re gonna lose some points. And remember: the point loss is cumulative! No discs on these two spots in epoch 5? Lose 9 points! Don’t rule any feudums? Don’t worry about it!
That’s epoch scoring finished. Next, you replenish all the tended landscapes by adding 3 of the appropriate goodie types to them. If you’re the serf tending that landscape, you decide whether you want to take all the accumulated stuff now, paying 1 thing in tribute to the location’s ruler, or let it ride until a future epoch.
At the dawn of epochs 2,3, and 4, you pepper the board with fresh goods cubes. So for example in epoch 2, look for all the locations with a letter S in their cardinal directions: so anything with a south, southwest, or southeast label gets a random good from the haversack.
When you reach epic 3, re-up all the guilds so they have at least as much stuff as they had at setup, including cubes, vessels, influence markers – everything. It’s okay if the guilds end up with more stuff than they did at setup.
Then pass the start player uh… ceramic bugle mouthpiece on clockwise.
If you reach epic 5, complete the interim scoring as usual, and perform a final scoring round. Whoever leads in each section of the Epic Voyage scores the bigger of these two numbers, and second place scores the lower number. If there’s a tie in any section, you don’t split the points – both players score all the points they’re due. Any player who reached the monastery gets 17 big points.
Each non-feudum you rule gets you a point, and each feudum you rule gets you 3 points. For every 3 sets of identical location types you rule, you get 3 points, and your feudums count once each as wild locations to help you complete your sets. Every 3 shillings gets you a point, and any Royal Writ charter cards you manage to achieve and seal get you additional endgame points.
Whoever has the most veneration points wins! Wine cubes break ties, and if there’s still a tie after that, all tied players share in the victory.
Setup is a snap!
Lay out the board. Mix up the tiles with the blue backs, put all the ones with the pink circles on the start locations, put the rest on the remaining empty spots, and then flip everything over. Keep the rest of the location tiles beside the board. All the goods go into the haversack.
Everyone gets a player aid, 3 pawns, 4 discs, 7 each of influence tokens, food cubes, and shillings, a pouch, and a deck of 11 cards. Put 2 additional influence tokens for each player in the knights’ guild, and chuck the rest of the tokens into a supply with both monsters and the archery targets. If you’re playing with fewer than 4 players, make sure you add dummy tokens so there are at least 4 colours in the knights’ guild. Five seals go here, with the rest in the supply. Draw 4 seals and flip them to form the rosary strand, and throw one more random bead on a chicken. 10 random goods go into the farm. Fill the merchant’s guild shelves, but short the top two shelves by one good each. Likewise, fill up the alchemist’s guild piles, but shortchange them 2 food and 2 sulfur. Randomly draw 2 vessels for the alchemist’s guild and put the rest in the supply.
Shuffle the landscape tiles and stack them along these spots, starting with the 4s, then the 3’s, then the 2’s, then the 1’s.
Drop a random cube from the haversack on any location with an “N” in its cardinal direction – so anything that says north, northest, or northwest.
The start player is whoever looks the most like this guy.
Shuffle the king’s writ deck and keep it handy, along with a supply of money, the progress die, and the… start player junior high shop class ashtray circa 1978. Pop a disc onto the score track for each player. In turn order, each player gets to peek in the bag and grab three different goods cubes of their choice. If you take a sulfur, decide now if it goes in your supply or your wine barrel. Then again in turn order, deploy one of your pawns to one of the pink circled starting lvocations, and claim your position in whichever guild that matches the side of the pawn you chose. Picking the same spot to snuggle up IS allowed… and so is picking the same pawn type as someone else, so you may end up a journeyman or an apprentice if you go later in turn order.
And now, you’re ready to play Feudum.
At 17:10, i incorrectly explain how to Harvest goods when you have a farmer in play. i say that you can pick and choose your kickback goods from the haversack. Actually, you draw all the goods randomly, and then choose your kickbacks from that drawn pool. Big thanks to @sebastianravinale2592 for catching the flub.
At 33:00, i incorrectly explain the way krud barrels work.
When you invent one barrel, you fill up every player’s next most available barrel to the top. So krud, like time, is relative… instead of the way i explained it, where the first, second and third sections map absolutely to the first, second, and third barrel invention. Thanks to eagle-eyed YouTube viewer @nahkubnah for spotting the error!
Get Your Own Copy of Feudum
You can find Feudum in a new campaign on Gamefound celebrating the game’s seventh anniversary (which is very Feudum).