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Patrick Dettmar
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Feudum
2-5 players
3 hours (4 with teaching)
Heavy
action selection/area control/resource management


Theme and Mechanics

In Feudum, players are noble houses that have been exiled and are trying to regain influence with the king and control various guilds. The mechanics and theme are loosely correlated, but the mechanics don't bring out the theme particularly well.

The board is made up of several locations in several different areas (mountains, plains, island, small islands, and jungle-ey area). The locations are randomly seeded at the start of the game with outposts, farms, and villages that can be upgraded (in that order) and ultimatley upgraded to a feudum. Players will choose 4 action cards each round to play; actions like move, summon, influence, attack, copy, and use area specific actions like harvest, upgrade, and tax. Each player will play one of their chosen actions on their turn. Influence can be in 3 areas on a location; a ruler, a serf, or a subject. Rulers can use the action associated with that area, and serfs can benefit from working the land. Subjects only serve to solidify control of the ruler. Upgrading a location will also get you a land tile that you can assign to your serfs to gain their benefit. There are also 6 guilds that can be controlled, and control is determined by the types and amount of guys and locations you have. each guild has 3 actions that can be taken; push, pull, and trade. Only the guild master can push, only the journeyman (second place for guild control) may pull, and anyone may trade. The guilds all have resources that can be moved from guild to guild to score points by the guild master and journeyman and will effect the value of the trade action for that guild. Guilds and trade actions include farmers guild, which will gain you food by adding resources from farms, merchant which allows purchase of goods, alchemist which allows vehicles to be purchased (to move on water or fly), warrior which allows you to gain more influence tokens, noble which allows for royal seals (which are worth points and allow you to score cards), and the church, which increases your harvest action. You will score points for nearly everything you do, but most points will come from guild push/pull actions and the heroes journey track (which you move on by doing a move action more that once per round). There are several scoring rounds that will award points for controling locations in different areas, having worked land tiles on the board, and controlling guilds. The end game scoring will also award points for types of locations you control of the same type, coins, and royal seals.

There are 6 types of workers you can have running around on the board, but you can have at most 3 at a time. Each is directly associated to a guild, and provides a bonus when taking certain actions. There are also kings favor cards which can be gained in various ways (mostly from guilds) which proved bonuses for combat and secret ways to score additional points. You can also have monsters running around that can be purchased from the warrior guild that help in combat and stop other pawns from moving.

at the end of 5 epochs, the game is over and the player with the most points wins.

There is A LOT more rules than what I've mentioned here, but these are the basics and this section is long enough as is.


Art and Components

The art and components are fantastic. I played with the kickstarter version, which I understand has some significant component differences. There are really cool monster figures made out of some porcelain like material. There are a lot of standard wood cubes for the resources and cylanders for influence. The player pawns are cubes with a different type of pawn on each face. The board is absolutely beautiful to the detriment of game play (it is hard to tell where a lot of the paths are, and where the different areas are). The art style seems very whimsical with a lot of pastel colors, and the box cover is a good example of the art you'll see throughout the game.


Replability and Expansions

The replayability is pretty high, and it mostly comes from the several different paths/guilds there are to take in the game. Each guild offers a different aspect of game play, and you can really only explore 1-2 guilds at a time in a given game. The locations will be different every game as well, and the kings favor cards (if you chose that strategy) will allow different goals for each game you play.

There are several expansions as well. I'm told they add very minor changes, but I have no experience with any of them.

Feudum: The Queen's Army
Feudum: Windmills & Catapults
Feudum: Squirrels & Conifers
Feudum: Seals & Sirens
Feudum: Alter Ego


The Up Side

The game is absolutely beautiful. There is a ton of content and strategy to explore, and the replayability is very high. This game will reward players who play multiple times and who will enjoy exploring the strategies in depth, because there is plenty of depth to explore.


The Down Side

Learning the rules is a huge barrier to this game. It does not seem very streamlined, and there are a ton of easily forgettable fiddly rules that don't make a whole lot of sense. This was the first time in nearly 10 years that I have been thoroughly confused after a rules explanation (disclaimer: I was taught the rules, and did not read the rule book myself, so I'm not sure if it was a rules problem, or a teaching problem). There is iconography for helpful reminders of many of the rules, but not all, which can lead to a lot of missed rules in the first play. The game length is considerable, but there did not seem to be a lot of down time, because there were always things to plan and think about.


Final Thoughts

The game is good, but I didn't enjoy it as much as I'd hoped. I was really hyped for this game, but it felt like it was too much stuff thrown in, not much streamlining and a lot of fiddlyness. I feel like it may have needed more playtesting, and let me be clear about this statement; what is in the game all works mechanically, and is all very closely coupled and integrated and balanced. That is not what I mean. What I mean is that it would have benefited from a lot more development in streamlining the mechanics, better graphic design, better layout of the board and cutting a lot of the fiddly nonsense rules (the ferries, for instance). A couple rounds into this game I developed a pretty good grasp of the rules, but I realized I was just not enjoying it. I think it was mostly due to the amount of information there is to process, and usually in this type of game, I will pick one thing to focus on (like, instead of trying to win or understand everything, I'll just try to do the hero track, or something along those lines) but in this game, I didn't want to focus on anything in particular and I was just done with it, so I made my focus ending the game as quickly as possible.

I do recognize that it is a good game, and for full disclosure, I only played it once, but I don't think this game is for me. I do enjoy long complicated games (Kanban: Driver's Edition, Mage Knight Board Game, Dominant Species) but this one just didn't do it for me.

5 out of 10 (for me), objectively, probably closer to 7 or 8

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Fair enough if you didn't care for it. Although I do think there's a little bit of a Mage Knight type puzzle in that you have to select your action cards and play them in the order that will optimize your results. Likewise, position in the guilds is monitored a la Dominant Species in that the board state means you keep watching to see when guild status changes.

Two plays (2p) in (and the first game was buffed with some missed rules and misunderstandings) and I'm beginning to see that what many may call a bunch of piled on various mechanics or options and actions that don't really relate are, in fact, a really genuine sandbox approach to scoring points. There really are lots of things you can do and focus on (to the complete exclusion of others) and still be competitive.

I think Feudum's greatest strength will be its greatest challenge: It will take a few games to get the mechanics down and begin to see the strategies and paths to victory. Alas, in our day and age, if a game is too tough the first time, it will rarely make it to the table a second.
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Michael Frost

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You should've disqualified yourself from your own review in light of this admission:

"(disclaimer: I was taught the rules, and did not read the rule book myself, so I'm not sure if it was a rules problem, or a teaching problem)."

I played Feudum yesterday with a good friend. He is rather slow & deliberate and prone to AP. But he is thorough. I taught him the game at his pace. He'd ask a lot of questions. Took me about 90 minutes. BUT...he mostly knew the game and we agreed that since I'd played it 3 times, I'd select my cards. Then if he had any questions, he could ask me without me being able to change my selection. He beat me in a very close game. And he loved it. So much that we've got a 3-player game set up next week.

This game is for Euro-style players that want a very heavy Euro experience. This is a thinky game with lots of moving pieces that you either make fit right and well in light of what your opponent(s) are doing or you don't. Little luck. Nearly all tactics and strategy.
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Patrick Dettmar
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Malacandra wrote:
Fair enough if you didn't care for it. Although I do think there's a little bit of a Mage Knight type puzzle in that you have to select your action cards and play them in the order that will optimize your results. Likewise, position in the guilds is monitored a la Dominant Species in that the board state means you keep watching to see when guild status changes.

Two plays (2p) in (and the first game was buffed with some missed rules and misunderstandings) and I'm beginning to see that what many may call a bunch of piled on various mechanics or options and actions that don't really relate are, in fact, a really genuine sandbox approach to scoring points. There really are lots of things you can do and focus on (to the complete exclusion of others) and still be competitive.

I think Feudum's greatest strength will be its greatest challenge: It will take a few games to get the mechanics down and begin to see the strategies and paths to victory. Alas, in our day and age, if a game is too tough the first time, it will rarely make it to the table a second.


I did quite like the action selection portion. I'm actually pretty surprised that I didn't enjoy this one as much as I thought I would. It may have been partially been overhyped in my head, because I was very excited to try this one. After my review, I find myself wanting to give it another chance.
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Patrick Dettmar
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MPMelanchthon wrote:
You should've disqualified yourself from your own review in light of this admission:

"(disclaimer: I was taught the rules, and did not read the rule book myself, so I'm not sure if it was a rules problem, or a teaching problem)."

I played Feudum yesterday with a good friend. He is rather slow & deliberate and prone to AP. But he is thorough. I taught him the game at his pace. He'd ask a lot of questions. Took me about 90 minutes. BUT...he mostly knew the game and we agreed that since I'd played it 3 times, I'd select my cards. Then if he had any questions, he could ask me without me being able to change my selection. He beat me in a very close game. And he loved it. So much that we've got a 3-player game set up next week.

This game is for Euro-style players that want a very heavy Euro experience. This is a thinky game with lots of moving pieces that you either make fit right and well in light of what your opponent(s) are doing or you don't. Little luck. Nearly all tactics and strategy.


I agree with everything you said after the first thing.

In regards to the first thing, I was only referring to the confusion I had during the explanation. The rules made a ton more sense once we started playing, and the other players were able to readily and easily answer any questions I had. After a round and a half, I got it. The confusion for me was abnormal, because I can usually get a good grasp on a game by rule book alone. I mentioned this to point out that it was not a knock against the game (or maybe it is, if the rule book is as confusing as the rules explanation I got).

Hope that clarifies

Edit: also, this guy has taught several games to me with no issue
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Michael Frost

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Having played 4 times and going to play a 5th today, I don't agree with your limited thoughts. Take just this:

"a lot of the fiddly nonsense rules (the ferries, for instance)"

I've had interesting ferry issues come up in every game:

1. Sometimes the use of a ferry suddenly pops up, allowing you to get somewhere you weren't able to. BUT do you have the shillings?

2. These more "out of the way" places are best to create Feudums or Farms where your opponents have trouble either conquering or using the Merchant's "Money is Influence".

3. A smart opponent who controls the alchemist guild can try to trap an opponent who uses a ferry to get somewhere, by then building say a submersible. To get out of the 2 locations at the east end of ferry routes, you need either a ship or flying vehicle.

In the game yesterday in the 4th epoch near the end, the ferry suddenly became available. I had pawns next to both western edges of the 2 ferry routes. I had a 50/50 chance it would be the last round (as 3 Epoch IVs were sitting there to be rolled off, so to speak). But I also had a flying machine with my 3rd pawn on the western edge of desert. My choice: Pay 4 shillings to use 2 movement points to go to and later influence 2 unoccupied locations (making me their ruler) or use all 3 movement points to fly into the mountains to use "Money is Influence" to take over 1 location. I choose the latter, but was tempted to the former.
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Patrick Dettmar
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MPMelanchthon wrote:
Having played 4 times and going to play a 5th today, I don't agree with your limited thoughts. Take just this:

"a lot of the fiddly nonsense rules (the ferries, for instance)"

I've had interesting ferry issues come up in every game:

1. Sometimes the use of a ferry suddenly pops up, allowing you to get somewhere you weren't able to. BUT do you have the shillings?

2. These more "out of the way" places are best to create Feudums or Farms where your opponents have trouble either conquering or using the Merchant's "Money is Influence".

3. A smart opponent who controls the alchemist guild can try to trap an opponent who uses a ferry to get somewhere, by then building say a submersible. To get out of the 2 locations at the east end of ferry routes, you need either a ship or flying vehicle.

In the game yesterday in the 4th epoch near the end, the ferry suddenly became available. I had pawns next to both western edges of the 2 ferry routes. I had a 50/50 chance it would be the last round (as 3 Epoch IVs were sitting there to be rolled off, so to speak). But I also had a flying machine with my 3rd pawn on the western edge of desert. My choice: Pay 4 shillings to use 2 movement points to go to and later influence 2 unoccupied locations (making me their ruler) or use all 3 movement points to fly into the mountains to use "Money is Influence" to take over 1 location. I choose the latter, but was tempted to the former.


It's still one extra rule that's easily forgotten and makes no thematic sense that could have been better implemented or streamlined. Just because someone used it to their advantage doesn't make it less fiddly nonsense.
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Curt Carpenter
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dettmarp wrote:
The confusion for me was abnormal, because I can usually get a good grasp on a game by rule book alone. I mentioned this to point out that it was not a knock against the game (or maybe it is, if the rule book is as confusing as the rules explanation I got).

Not a knock against the game? Learning the rules was the only down side you listed, and you ended up at a 5. Something missing?
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curtc wrote:
dettmarp wrote:
The confusion for me was abnormal, because I can usually get a good grasp on a game by rule book alone. I mentioned this to point out that it was not a knock against the game (or maybe it is, if the rule book is as confusing as the rules explanation I got).

Not a knock against the game? Learning the rules was the only down side you listed, and you ended up at a 5. Something missing?


My point is that I can't comment on the rulebook itself, because I didn't read it. It is a difficult game to teach, the are a lot of rules, many of which are easily forgettable.

You're not missing anything other than the fact that I simply didn't have fun playing it. I thought it was overly and unecesarily complicated, and in dire need of further development. Like I said, objectivity, the aren't many big negatives, but it just wasn't fun for me (I did enjoy some aspects, particularly the action selection mechanic)
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dettmarp wrote:
MPMelanchthon wrote:
Having played 4 times and going to play a 5th today, I don't agree with your limited thoughts. Take just this:

"a lot of the fiddly nonsense rules (the ferries, for instance)"

I've had interesting ferry issues come up in every game:

1. Sometimes the use of a ferry suddenly pops up, allowing you to get somewhere you weren't able to. BUT do you have the shillings?

2. These more "out of the way" places are best to create Feudums or Farms where your opponents have trouble either conquering or using the Merchant's "Money is Influence".

3. A smart opponent who controls the alchemist guild can try to trap an opponent who uses a ferry to get somewhere, by then building say a submersible. To get out of the 2 locations at the east end of ferry routes, you need either a ship or flying vehicle.

In the game yesterday in the 4th epoch near the end, the ferry suddenly became available. I had pawns next to both western edges of the 2 ferry routes. I had a 50/50 chance it would be the last round (as 3 Epoch IVs were sitting there to be rolled off, so to speak). But I also had a flying machine with my 3rd pawn on the western edge of desert. My choice: Pay 4 shillings to use 2 movement points to go to and later influence 2 unoccupied locations (making me their ruler) or use all 3 movement points to fly into the mountains to use "Money is Influence" to take over 1 location. I choose the latter, but was tempted to the former.


It's still one extra rule that's easily forgotten and makes no thematic sense that could have been better implemented or streamlined. Just because someone used it to their advantage doesn't make it less fiddly nonsense.


Now, to me, that's the sort of statement that one play doesn't really justify. I have a hunch there is all sorts of screwage to be had in fighting over ferry routes vs. vehicles. What's interesting is that the ferries open up routes that aren't available some other way so that having no vehicles at the Alchemist makes the map a bit different.

It's true that Feudum has a complex set of rules with some key variations and exceptions that may be missed the first time through. In my opinion that doesn't count as fiddly, but as deep. There's a lot to explore here if we're patient and keep playing. (But I have no issue with someone who wouldn't want to keep playing because the game just doesn't strike them as their type of fun).
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Patrick Dettmar
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Malacandra wrote:
dettmarp wrote:
MPMelanchthon wrote:
Having played 4 times and going to play a 5th today, I don't agree with your limited thoughts. Take just this:

"a lot of the fiddly nonsense rules (the ferries, for instance)"

I've had interesting ferry issues come up in every game:

1. Sometimes the use of a ferry suddenly pops up, allowing you to get somewhere you weren't able to. BUT do you have the shillings?

2. These more "out of the way" places are best to create Feudums or Farms where your opponents have trouble either conquering or using the Merchant's "Money is Influence".

3. A smart opponent who controls the alchemist guild can try to trap an opponent who uses a ferry to get somewhere, by then building say a submersible. To get out of the 2 locations at the east end of ferry routes, you need either a ship or flying vehicle.

In the game yesterday in the 4th epoch near the end, the ferry suddenly became available. I had pawns next to both western edges of the 2 ferry routes. I had a 50/50 chance it would be the last round (as 3 Epoch IVs were sitting there to be rolled off, so to speak). But I also had a flying machine with my 3rd pawn on the western edge of desert. My choice: Pay 4 shillings to use 2 movement points to go to and later influence 2 unoccupied locations (making me their ruler) or use all 3 movement points to fly into the mountains to use "Money is Influence" to take over 1 location. I choose the latter, but was tempted to the former.


It's still one extra rule that's easily forgotten and makes no thematic sense that could have been better implemented or streamlined. Just because someone used it to their advantage doesn't make it less fiddly nonsense.


Now, to me, that's the sort of statement that one play doesn't really justify. I have a hunch there is all sorts of screwage to be had in fighting over ferry routes vs. vehicles. What's interesting is that the ferries open up routes that aren't available some other way so that having no vehicles at the Alchemist makes the map a bit different.

It's true that Feudum has a complex set of rules with some key variations and exceptions that may be missed the first time through. In my opinion that doesn't count as fiddly, but as deep. There's a lot to explore here if we're patient and keep playing. (But I have no issue with someone who wouldn't want to keep playing because the game just doesn't strike them as their type of fun).


I agree, and maybe I need clarify what my definition of fiddly is, because gamer terms are very subjective.

To me, something fiddly is something that is difficult to deal with or hard to remember, usually because it is completely disconnected thematically, or it is counterintuitive. Using the ferries, for example:
They are printed on the board, connecting two locations with a gold cost printed on it. This would lead you to believe you can use them if you pay the cost, but they are not always available as the board would imply (counterintuitive). They are only available if there are no ships in the alchemist guild (thematically disconnected).

Now, it may provide strategic opportunities, but it's still fiddly by my definition. You could change the graphic design to make it more intuitive, or tweak it a bit too make it more thematic and it would cease to be fiddly, even though mechanically it's the same. If there was some sort of flood that made them unusable (but a larger ship could still handle), or some clear indication graphically of when they can and can't be used it would reduce the fiddlyness significantly.

When rules are thematic and intuitive, they become more streamlined and put less stress on players having to remember them, because they "just make sense" and remove the burden from the player without sacrificing depth or complexity

I hope this helps illustrate what I mean
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dettmarp wrote:
curtc wrote:
dettmarp wrote:
The confusion for me was abnormal, because I can usually get a good grasp on a game by rule book alone. I mentioned this to point out that it was not a knock against the game (or maybe it is, if the rule book is as confusing as the rules explanation I got).

Not a knock against the game? Learning the rules was the only down side you listed, and you ended up at a 5. Something missing?


My point is that I can't comment on the rulebook itself, because I didn't read it. It is a difficult game to teach, the are a lot of rules, many of which are easily forgettable.

I agree. But I think that is a knock against the game. Of course not everyone will agree with that, and that's fine. But for players who care about rules sets being smooth and relatively void of exceptions / corner cases, this is not the game for them.
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dettmarp wrote:
Malacandra wrote:
dettmarp wrote:
MPMelanchthon wrote:
Having played 4 times and going to play a 5th today, I don't agree with your limited thoughts. Take just this:

"a lot of the fiddly nonsense rules (the ferries, for instance)"

I've had interesting ferry issues come up in every game:

1. Sometimes the use of a ferry suddenly pops up, allowing you to get somewhere you weren't able to. BUT do you have the shillings?

2. These more "out of the way" places are best to create Feudums or Farms where your opponents have trouble either conquering or using the Merchant's "Money is Influence".

3. A smart opponent who controls the alchemist guild can try to trap an opponent who uses a ferry to get somewhere, by then building say a submersible. To get out of the 2 locations at the east end of ferry routes, you need either a ship or flying vehicle.

In the game yesterday in the 4th epoch near the end, the ferry suddenly became available. I had pawns next to both western edges of the 2 ferry routes. I had a 50/50 chance it would be the last round (as 3 Epoch IVs were sitting there to be rolled off, so to speak). But I also had a flying machine with my 3rd pawn on the western edge of desert. My choice: Pay 4 shillings to use 2 movement points to go to and later influence 2 unoccupied locations (making me their ruler) or use all 3 movement points to fly into the mountains to use "Money is Influence" to take over 1 location. I choose the latter, but was tempted to the former.


It's still one extra rule that's easily forgotten and makes no thematic sense that could have been better implemented or streamlined. Just because someone used it to their advantage doesn't make it less fiddly nonsense.


Now, to me, that's the sort of statement that one play doesn't really justify. I have a hunch there is all sorts of screwage to be had in fighting over ferry routes vs. vehicles. What's interesting is that the ferries open up routes that aren't available some other way so that having no vehicles at the Alchemist makes the map a bit different.

It's true that Feudum has a complex set of rules with some key variations and exceptions that may be missed the first time through. In my opinion that doesn't count as fiddly, but as deep. There's a lot to explore here if we're patient and keep playing. (But I have no issue with someone who wouldn't want to keep playing because the game just doesn't strike them as their type of fun).


I agree, and maybe I need clarify what my definition of fiddly is, because gamer terms are very subjective.

To me, something fiddly is something that is difficult to deal with or hard to remember, usually because it is completely disconnected thematically, or it is counterintuitive. Using the ferries, for example:
They are printed on the board, connecting two locations with a gold cost printed on it. This would lead you to believe you can use them if you pay the cost, but they are not always available as the board would imply (counterintuitive). They are only available if there are no ships in the alchemist guild (thematically disconnected).

Now, it may provide strategic opportunities, but it's still fiddly by my definition. You could change the graphic design to make it more intuitive, or tweak it a bit too make it more thematic and it would cease to be fiddly, even though mechanically it's the same. If there was some sort of flood that made them unusable (but a larger ship could still handle), or some clear indication graphically of when they can and can't be used it would reduce the fiddlyness significantly.

When rules are thematic and intuitive, they become more streamlined and put less stress on players having to remember them, because they "just make sense" and remove the burden from the player without sacrificing depth or complexity

I hope this helps illustrate what I mean


I would maybe call that 'overhead' or something rather than fiddliness.

Good review.
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dettmarp wrote:
...but it felt like it was too much stuff thrown in, not much streamlining and a lot of fiddlyness.


More doesn't equal better! Many designers throw everything they can in their designs thinking that it will make the game more complex and interesting.

In reality, a well designed game doesn't need a ton of mechanics, just some well integrated ones and - equally important - needs to be thoroughly play-tested!
 
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GeoMan wrote:
dettmarp wrote:
...but it felt like it was too much stuff thrown in, not much streamlining and a lot of fiddlyness.


More doesn't equal better! Many designers throw everything they can in their designs thinking that it will make the game more complex and interesting.

In reality, a well designed game doesn't need a ton of mechanics, just some well integrated ones and - equally important - needs to be thoroughly play-tested!


Though one could only evaluate such thoughts if concrete examples were provided. Comparing Feudum to other similar heavy Euro games. So we'd be looking at some pretty heavy games. Nothing just mid-weight or even medium-heavy. But heavy.
 
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It's funny that the rules are always such a problem for FEUDUM.
Taking over one hour to explin the rules is a bit. It's not the only game that suffers from this ache, and I could mention other games that have the same problem and in their case is overlooked, but it wouldn't excuse Feudum.
So as far as the length of time to teach the rules, I can see the downside. But having people that expect a heavy euro, therefore a complex game, complain about the rules being too complex is kind of funny, really. It's like people want to play complex games, but the complexity needs to come from somewhere else other than the rules, because their brains can handle any type of complexity but that one.
I actually like that Feudum Rules are intricate. It's a breath of fresh hair having a not so streamlined game. And really I don't see how you could achieve what Feudum sets to achieve if the rules were streamlined. Unfortunately I'll have a tough time putting this on the table as much as I'd like, but so far I really enjoy it. The real challenge is how to market this game amongst the people I play with.
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Patrick Dettmar
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Orckimedes wrote:
It's funny that the rules are always such a problem for FEUDUM.
Taking over one hour to explin the rules is a bit. It's not the only game that suffers from this ache, and I could mention other games that have the same problem and in their case is overlooked, but it wouldn't excuse Feudum.
So as far as the length of time to teach the rules, I can see the downside. But having people that expect a heavy euro, therefore a complex game, complain about the rules being too complex is kind of funny, really. It's like people want to play complex games, but the complexity needs to come from somewhere else other than the rules, because their brains can handle any type of complexity but that one.
I actually like that Feudum Rules are intricate. It's a breath of fresh hair having a not so streamlined game. And really I don't see how you could achieve what Feudum sets to achieve if the rules were streamlined. Unfortunately I'll have a tough time putting this on the table as much as I'd like, but so far I really enjoy it. The real challenge is how to market this game amongst the people I play with.


you hit the nail on the head with these 2 statements. For me, complexity that comes from the game intricacies, and not rule intricacies is a hallmark of an excellent game. It's not that their brains can't handle other types of complexity, but it diverts your focus from whats fun about the game, and greatly increases the barrier to entry.

The second bolded statement is the exact reason why fiddly rules are such a bad thing.

and, your right about this: If I sit down to play a super heavy euro becuase I like super heavy euroes, I can't really complain about the rules being too complex; and I'm not really (I sort of am, but let me explain). I don't have a problem with the rules being complex, I have a problem with them being thematically disconnected and counter-intuitive (which I explained above). When you are going to have a big, epic, rules heavy complex euro game, those to things are absolutely essential. Otherwise, it's too much to handle and you spend all your time concentrating on trying to remember the rules and not really getting into the game.
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Michael Frost

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Though when you write this--"I have a problem with them being thematically disconnected and counter-intuitive (which I explained above)."--about the only specific you provided was in regard to the ferries.

And yet the ferries are spelled out clearly on the board itself! Pay 2 shillings to use on a 1-way trip but you can only use them when there are no vehicles in the alchemists guild for sale. Which is both clearly explained and thematically connected, not "counter-intuitive" at all. At least if you understand how Guild and Royal monopolies actually worked back in the day.
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MPMelanchthon wrote:
Though when you write this--"I have a problem with them being thematically disconnected and counter-intuitive (which I explained above)."--about the only specific you provided was in regard to the ferries.

And yet the ferries are spelled out clearly on the board itself! Pay 2 shillings to use on a 1-way trip but you can only use them when there are no vehicles in the alchemists guild for sale. Which is both clearly explained and thematically connected, not "counter-intuitive" at all. At least if you understand how Guild and Royal monopolies actually worked back in the day.


I think it's cool how the Alchemist Master (or Knight Journeyman) can manipulate the board by either making vessels available or not providing them. You could leave the shop empty, let someone take the ferry, and then build a vessel to possibly trap them when the ferry closes. So many possibilities, nuances, and intricacies to this game!
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MPMelanchthon wrote:
Though when you write this--"I have a problem with them being thematically disconnected and counter-intuitive (which I explained above)."--about the only specific you provided was in regard to the ferries.

And yet the ferries are spelled out clearly on the board itself! Pay 2 shillings to use on a 1-way trip but you can only use them when there are no vehicles in the alchemists guild for sale. Which is both clearly explained and thematically connected, not "counter-intuitive" at all. At least if you understand how Guild and Royal monopolies actually worked back in the day.


It's counter intuitive because you can't use them all the time, even though it's printed right on the board, with no indication of when they're not available. Intuition would tell you that if it's permanently printed on the board, it's always in effect.

It's thematically disconnected because why would a ferry not be available because there's a boat at the alchemists guild? what do those two things have to do with each other, and how does that make any thematic sense?

and that was just one example. Why can you turn sulfer into wine? how is that thematic or intuitive? (granted, the rulebook does explain this one a bit, but wouldn't grapes be more intuitive? is there a reason it couldn't have just been grapes instead of sulfer?)

why does sulfer get you extra cards?

why does saltpeter get you extra actions?

I guarantee if I farmed the rulebook, I could find a ton of these fiddly rules.

and if I have to be medieval history scholar to understand why it makes thematic sense, then that doesn't really count, because you're average person isn't going to know that (because I don't know how guild and royal monopolies worked back in the day, and the rules say nothing about monopolies).

Now, these things don't make the game mechanically a bad game, but it does make a huge difference in the barrier to entry. Like you said, you can't get it played often, and I'm betting this is a very large contributor to that. The more effort I have to put into remembering rules, the less I can enjoy the game. The only solution to this problem in feudum is to study the rules and play until it becomes second nature so I can focus on the game itself, and strategies, but by that time, (for most people), first impressions are already made and they've already moved on. I shouldn't have to put in that much effort to enjoy a game.
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Malacandra wrote:
MPMelanchthon wrote:
Though when you write this--"I have a problem with them being thematically disconnected and counter-intuitive (which I explained above)."--about the only specific you provided was in regard to the ferries.

And yet the ferries are spelled out clearly on the board itself! Pay 2 shillings to use on a 1-way trip but you can only use them when there are no vehicles in the alchemists guild for sale. Which is both clearly explained and thematically connected, not "counter-intuitive" at all. At least if you understand how Guild and Royal monopolies actually worked back in the day.


I think it's cool how the Alchemist Master (or Knight Journeyman) can manipulate the board by either making vessels available or not providing them. You could leave the shop empty, let someone take the ferry, and then build a vessel to possibly trap them when the ferry closes. So many possibilities, nuances, and intricacies to this game!


yes, you're right. I'm not arguing that the ferries should be taken out completely (although, that would be one solution), but the rule could have been better written to make thematic sense, or some kind of iconography or "unavailable" tokens to take some of the burden off of remembering these fiddly, forgettable rules.
 
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dettmarp wrote:
MPMelanchthon wrote:
Though when you write this--"I have a problem with them being thematically disconnected and counter-intuitive (which I explained above)."--about the only specific you provided was in regard to the ferries.

And yet the ferries are spelled out clearly on the board itself! Pay 2 shillings to use on a 1-way trip but you can only use them when there are no vehicles in the alchemists guild for sale. Which is both clearly explained and thematically connected, not "counter-intuitive" at all. At least if you understand how Guild and Royal monopolies actually worked back in the day.


It's counter intuitive because you can't use them all the time, even though it's printed right on the board, with no indication of when they're not available. Intuition would tell you that if it's permanently printed on the board, it's always in effect.

It's thematically disconnected because why would a ferry not be available because there's a boat at the alchemists guild? what do those two things have to do with each other, and how does that make any thematic sense?

and that was just one example. Why can you turn sulfer into wine? how is that thematic or intuitive? (granted, the rulebook does explain this one a bit, but wouldn't grapes be more intuitive? is there a reason it couldn't have just been grapes instead of sulfer?)

why does sulfer get you extra cards?

why does saltpeter get you extra actions?

I guarantee if I farmed the rulebook, I could find a ton of these fiddly rules.

and if I have to be medieval history scholar to understand why it makes thematic sense, then that doesn't really count, because you're average person isn't going to know that (because I don't know how guild and royal monopolies worked back in the day, and the rules say nothing about monopolies).

Now, these things don't make the game mechanically a bad game, but it does make a huge difference in the barrier to entry. Like you said, you can't get it played often, and I'm betting this is a very large contributor to that. The more effort I have to put into remembering rules, the less I can enjoy the game. The only solution to this problem in feudum is to study the rules and play until it becomes second nature so I can focus on the game itself, and strategies, but by that time, (for most people), first impressions are already made and they've already moved on. I shouldn't have to put in that much effort to enjoy a game.


Do you even understand how monopolies work? A sole supplier. Who limits what you can purchase? Here the Alchemists Guild is responsible for vehicles. It is their "job" to have some for sale and you can only buy from them. BUT if they aren't doing their job and none are for sale, the realm allows you to use the ferries.

You might go back and study feudal guilds. And even refresh yourself on American history in the 17th and 18th century, regarding royal monopolies. Look at the infamous Stamp Act or the Boston Tea Party.

So all you do is make an assertion, a claim, based on your subjective impression but it is one divorced from both history and theme. And the rules are clear. It makes sense.

And there are both strategic and tactical considerations during the game depending upon your status in the Alchemist Guild and the state of the vehicles available for sale there or not.
 
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Though if you want silly nonsense about restrictions on movement, just look at the original Scythe. Giants mechs can carry massive quantities. BUT there are no bridges? And no aviation? And no ships? Makes zero sense in any real world, but that, too, is a fantasy world. Duh.

See also Scythe's silly restrictions on actions. There are 4. I'll call A-D. And you can do the less efficient top action or the more efficient bottom action. But if you do A, you can't do A the next round. You must do not-A. Unlike Feudum! So IF I want to move every round, I can. I can do each of the 11 actions every round.

I say the above even though I'm not even a fan of the game; however, I know a lot of people like Scythe. They at least came up with the airship expansion!
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What is sad is that YOU are the one claiming that things don't make "thematic sense" and yet you appear to be admitting that you know little or nothing about feudal times.

That is somewhat akin to someone saying, "That part of the US Constitution makes no sense." without then understanding either constitutions or the history of same and related ideas and that of the US in the 1780s.

Do you complain about a lack of "thematic sense" when you play "trading in the Med" games? Or have to engage with the Italian Renaissance? Or must do things in ancient Egypt? I doubt it. You just play those games by their rules and you don't make sweeping claims about "thematic sense".
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MPMelanchthon wrote:
dettmarp wrote:
MPMelanchthon wrote:
Though when you write this--"I have a problem with them being thematically disconnected and counter-intuitive (which I explained above)."--about the only specific you provided was in regard to the ferries.

And yet the ferries are spelled out clearly on the board itself! Pay 2 shillings to use on a 1-way trip but you can only use them when there are no vehicles in the alchemists guild for sale. Which is both clearly explained and thematically connected, not "counter-intuitive" at all. At least if you understand how Guild and Royal monopolies actually worked back in the day.


It's counter intuitive because you can't use them all the time, even though it's printed right on the board, with no indication of when they're not available. Intuition would tell you that if it's permanently printed on the board, it's always in effect.

It's thematically disconnected because why would a ferry not be available because there's a boat at the alchemists guild? what do those two things have to do with each other, and how does that make any thematic sense?

and that was just one example. Why can you turn sulfer into wine? how is that thematic or intuitive? (granted, the rulebook does explain this one a bit, but wouldn't grapes be more intuitive? is there a reason it couldn't have just been grapes instead of sulfer?)

why does sulfer get you extra cards?

why does saltpeter get you extra actions?

I guarantee if I farmed the rulebook, I could find a ton of these fiddly rules.

and if I have to be medieval history scholar to understand why it makes thematic sense, then that doesn't really count, because you're average person isn't going to know that (because I don't know how guild and royal monopolies worked back in the day, and the rules say nothing about monopolies).

Now, these things don't make the game mechanically a bad game, but it does make a huge difference in the barrier to entry. Like you said, you can't get it played often, and I'm betting this is a very large contributor to that. The more effort I have to put into remembering rules, the less I can enjoy the game. The only solution to this problem in feudum is to study the rules and play until it becomes second nature so I can focus on the game itself, and strategies, but by that time, (for most people), first impressions are already made and they've already moved on. I shouldn't have to put in that much effort to enjoy a game.


Do you even understand how monopolies work? A sole supplier. Who limits what you can purchase? Here the Alchemists Guild is responsible for vehicles. It is their "job" to have some for sale and you can only buy from them. BUT if they aren't doing their job and none are for sale, the realm allows you to use the ferries.

You might go back and study feudal guilds. And even refresh yourself on American history in the 17th and 18th century, regarding royal monopolies. Look at the infamous Stamp Act or the Boston Tea Party.

So all you do is make an assertion, a claim, based on your subjective impression but it is one divorced from both history and theme. And the rules are clear. It makes sense.

And there are both strategic and tactical considerations during the game depending upon your status in the Alchemist Guild and the state of the vehicles available for sale there or not.


I understand how monopolies work, but the rules mention nothing about monopolies. Even a quick little sentence would have made that mechanic make more sense

"You might go back and study feudal guilds. And even refresh yourself on American history in the 17th and 18th century, regarding royal monopolies. Look at the infamous Stamp Act or the Boston Tea Party."

No. This is ridiculous. I should not have to go study history so I can enjoy the game. Sure, some people may already have that knowledge and enjoy that history, but this isn't common knowledge, and so you have to inform your players if you want them to understand these thematic connections. THAT'S WHAT IVE BEEN ARGUING! Tell me, thematically, in the rules why this rule makes sense, so it won't seem so arbitrary and easy to forget. If the rulebook had explained to me what you just did, the issue would be resolved (mostly; but there are more than just this one rule, this was just the example I used)

"And there are both strategic and tactical considerations during the game depending upon your status in the Alchemist Guild and the state of the vehicles available for sale there or not."

I never said there wasn't
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