Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de



Tom Wham


No. of Players:
2 - 6



Gamebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game:

LOOKOUT - the publisher that in the past attached great importance to the fact that none of their games uses dice - surprises us with one of its newest games. The central element of Feudality is exactly what LOOKOUT tried to prevent until now: dice. Consequently the game is advertised under a new sub-label - LOOKOUT WITH DICE. Oh dear! the experienced gamers might say, hopefully luck is not the major element of the game. But after the first turn it is evident, the fears are confirmed. Luck determined by dice is definitely a dominating element. And yes, Feudality is a mean and unfair game and it may happen that a player who has almost won, looses half of his victory points by an unlucky roll or an unfavourable card.

Now then, why should anyone try the game? Well, if you let yourself in for the great luck factor, you can find an entertaining, diverting game that, of course, should not be taken too seriously. Just like Tom Wham's much older Kings & Things*, the game is meant to be funny and you should always remember: it can be you who is punished by an unlucky event, but it can be your opponent, too.


Let us have a look to the story: Life is unfair. And also in the Middle Ages it was not fair that life is unfair. Lucky enough, in Feudality the players are born rich, and so the game lets us take control of a fiefdom where we can sent alchemists, stonecutters, carpenters to work for us. Every player gets his own player mat consisting of an 8x8 grid of our fiefdom. A 2x2 keep for our fortification and our soldiers is placed upon the fiefdom at the beginning of the game, whereas the rest of the landscape must be developed during the game.

Each turn of a player begins with the throwing of two eight-sided dice, the blue one determining the column and the white one the row of the fiefdom. The space on the fiefdom of every player indicated by the dice and the eight adjacent spaces can be used to produce resources: each player chooses one of these landscape spaces to produce the resource given on the production tile that hopefully has been placed upon the landscape. If there is not yet any production tile on these spaces, the player is unlucky and cannot produce. Now, equipped with new resources, we are ready to draw an event card. Some of these cards only have effects for the active player, but a lot of cards have influence on all players. Most of the cards are mean (e.g. the king declares a new tax), some are very mean (e.g. the black death strikes the kingdom) and only a small minority has positive effects for the players (the queen tours the land). After this phase you sometimes will find yourself cursing, but what helps it? It is not getting any better …


To enhance chances to produce and to fortify our fiefdoms, it is good to use the purchase phase. Beginning with the active player, everybody can buy new tiles for his fiefdom from a tray. The tray is filled up with new tiles every turn which are randomly drawn from a cloth bag. Alternatively it is also possible to fortify the keep. New tiles are immediately placed upon the fiefdom mat. As these tiles cannot be moved once they have been placed, the players should find the right space to make the placement, because a lot of the tiles can be influenced by the landscape underneath or are influenced by other tiles nearby. So a relic must be placed adjacent to a church or a shrine and a goldmine can only be placed on a space with a mountain.

The next phase can be used for two productions again, only that this time the player can choose freely which of his landscape tiles should produce. Alternatively, the player can choose to use his second action for a special one. This special action can be a secret amorous liaison with the king or the queen, decided by a roll of the dice. If the dice are lucky, this will leave happy memories (plus one victory point), but you better should not be caught red-handed... A successful sabotage on the other hand will win your opponents favour (at least if they are not the victim) and finally you can also decide to attack with all of your soldiers one of your opponents or an impartial state. Again the dice play a major role in the fight and the result is a win or a loss of victory points. Additionally all attacking soldiers who went to the war must undergo a surviving roll, and so dice are used to determine whether they have survived the expedition. The round ends with the feeding of your fiefdom, well at least if you have enough food resources left. If not, a loss of some of the landscape tiles is unavoidable. The game ends if one player has reached the given victory points for the number of players.


As a matter of fact, Feudality presents itself like a somewhat lighter version of Kings & Things*. It is explained very quickly and new players understand the game very easily. Smaller mistakes of inexperienced players are smoothed away by the dice and even the experienced player cannot prevent to be invited by the king (of course it is taken for granted to bring your own food). Malicious fellow players are a result of all the bad luck the dice and the cards bring upon you, but remember that the other players always can be the next ones. The game should not be taken too serious, the funny drawings on the landscape tiles already should be a warning. And as the mightiest knight of the game mounts an elephant called Wolf instead of a horse, you can not really expect a bloody serious game.

However, the fun and anger factor sometimes seems to be overly stressed, especially if you have the end in view and then are pushed heavily back after one hour of playing. For me the game duration definitely is a weak point of the game, since about 40 minutes should be enough to finish, but very often the game lasts longer and then a lot of players get nervous. Still, if you love to talk about other things in between, Feudality is a perfect game, because with one look on your fiefdom you are once again familiar with the game situation again. And, if you leave the game duration aside, the cute retro approach chosen in Feudality should offer some attractiveness for most players.

[Gamebox Index]

Google Custom Search

Impressum / Contact Info / Disclaimer


Copyright © 2012 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany