by Tom Vasel
When I first opened the box of Feudo (Zugames, 2004 - Mario Papini),
I was a little surprised. It appeared to be a war game, and I was
surprised that it had been sent to me, as I am not really a big
proponent of war games. I consider them long, rule-heavy, and too
"historically" accurate for me to really have fun. But the game
only had four pages of rules and seemed to act like a Euro game,
intriguing me. Could it be that Feudo was a successful mix of Euro
game and war
game? Very few games have done this successfully.
After playing the game, I am extremely impressed. I think that Mr.
Papini has actually pulled off this war-Euro hybrid successfully.
The rules are simple, but the game play is tense and strategic.
It's a decent two-player game and a fabulous four-player game. The
game plays at just under two hours, and there is only a smattering
of luck in the game (how the plague moves) with no luck in combat.
The lack of luck in combat, however, makes the game very unforgiving,
players should be at an equal level; because once you lose ground
in Feudo, it's extremely difficult to recover. Still, take it from
a non-war gaming fan; Feudo pleased me, and I don't enjoy many war
Four square cardboard boards
are placed together randomly to form one
large board made up of many different territories. Most of
territories are hills, but there are four wood territories,
mountain territories, sixteen villages, and five towns (each
different name). A blue plague pawn is placed on the village
closest to the town of Evesham, and a Convent piece is placed
middle space of the board. Each player takes pieces and cards
color. There are ten army pieces, five coat-of-arms, and ten
one corresponding to each army piece. The army pieces have
of the unit, a name for the unit, and a red number on one side
strength), and a black number on the other (plagued). Each
also gets five trading cards: three blanks, one with two shillings
pictured on it, and one with four shillings. Players, in a
determined order, place their castles - one on each side of
(a coat-of-arms is used to determine where the castle is located).
All of the players' pieces start in the castle and are placed
their red number face up. One coat-of-arms piece is placed
scoring track for each player. Twenty plague cards are shuffled,
ten of them form a plague deck for the game with the remainder
put away. The game takes ten turns, and each round occurs the
Each round has six phases. In the first phase, the player with
current lowest victory points (ties broken randomly) decides
order for that round. (Whoever placed their castle last goes
the first turn.) In the second phase, all players choose three
their army cards and one trading card to form their hand for
turn, placing all other cards aside. The third phase, Plague,
consists of the top plague card being drawn, and it's effects
Different effects might occur.
- The plague might move according to the number of towns and
directions indicated on the card. The convent piece in the
the board shows the board's directions, and all the towns are
straight lines with the plague wrapping-around the board if
All armies in the space the plague lands, or those adjacent
plague are plagued (turned to their black side if on the red
killed if already on the black side).
- The plague might not move, but instead all pawns in the same
or adjacent spaces are plagued.
- The plague doesn't move; rather, all pieces in all spaces
edge of the board are plagued.
- The plague doesn't move; rather, all pieces in the "cross" spaces
that run up the middle of the board, forming a cross, are plagued.
- The plague doesn't move; rather, a fog hits the board, forcing
units to move a maximum of one this turn. Also, any pieces
in the convent leave the game, being converted into friars
The only way that plague pieces can heal themselves is by moving
the convent. Any number of pieces can occupy the convent for
and then are healed, where they can leave at their whim.
The fourth phase is the most important - the movement phase.
player, in turn order, plays one of their army cards, moving
amount of spaces that can be moved is equal to the number shown
piece with the following restrictions:
- Any piece that enters woods must immediately stop, and a
one piece is allowed in woods.
- The "First Knight" piece must always be alone.
- Only one piece maximum per space, unless the Baron, or Milady
is in a space, where they may be joined by one other army.
- Knights and Milady are not allowed in towns or villages.
- Pieces may pass through their own pieces but not opponent's
- No piece may ever move through a mountain.
- When a full-strength Milady lands next to an opponent's Baron,
can immediately charm him, canceling that player's moves for
remainder of the round.
- When a plagued Milady lands next to an opponent's army piece
Baron), she can spread her disease, giving that piece the plague.
- No one can ever move in or out of any castle.
After all three army cards are shown, the players, in turn
reveal their trading cards. For each coin on the card, the
may move any piece one space or move one piece several spaces,
Also, if the player has moved a mercenary piece, one coin must
allotted to "pay" the mercenary. The army cards a player used are
returned to their hands, but the trading cards are discarded
sixth turn, where the player gets back all five.
The fifth phase is the attack phase. In turn order, players
any available attacks if they want. Attacks are simple, adding
the numbers of attacking pieces and comparing them to the defender's
forces. The player with the higher number wins the battle,
losing piece is eliminated with it and its matching card being
from the game. The only exception to this is the Baron pieces,
are just relocated to their castle, and Milady pieces, which
attack or be attacked ever. The attacking player wins points
the number on the killed piece, and the losing player loses
equal to the same amount. Pieces in forests get a +5 defense
in villages get a +3 bonus, and in towns get a +7 bonus. Towns
nobody in them have to have an attacking force of at least
8 power to
Victorious attackers may advance in the last phase. For no
they may move into the territory left free by the enemy, following
movement restrictions. (i.e. Only a Baron, mercenary, or footman
capture a town). A captured town yields victory points equal
number of spaces it is away from the conqueror's castle, using
shortest route possible. If someone loses a town, they lose
victory points they accumulated. Players may have negative
There are a few special rules in the game. If a player is down
less than four fighting units, their Baron's numbers increase.
called him "Super-Baron.") When one player reaches twelve victory
points, the King appears, taking points away from players for
(minus one point for each piece still in their castle). From
point onward, the King now helps the player in last place,
their shilling cards by two. After the tenth turn, the player
the most victory points is the winner!
Some comments on the game...
The components for this game are of the highest
quality - absolutely superb. All the tiles are extremely thick,
the numbers on them are easy to read. The coat of arms is all
the uniform of the pictures on the units, and each unit is
to distinguish from others. One thing I found interesting was
medieval artwork that saturated the entire game - something
people who enjoy this type will be pleased to see. At first
the board was fairly plain, but the war gamer types assured
this was a good idea, as it made moving pieces fairly simple.
Everything fits inside a large, extremely sturdy box with more
medieval artwork covering it. The victory point track was nice
mention of the phases and defense bonuses on it. The only two
quibbles I had with the game was that there was no movement
sheet (After a couple turns, it was easy to remember; but at
kept looking it up.), and that there is no way to tell when
becomes "Super Baron". (We stuck a coat-of-arms symbol on him.)
Still, the level of quality for this game is superb.
As I stated, the rules are four pages and easy to
understand. The only thing I couldn't figure out was if a player's
victory points could go below -13 (the lowest number on the
I emailed the designer, and he told me, "Yes." Other than that,
however, the rules were very clear. The games I played went
with players learning as they went, but most everything was
out in the first turn. A few things weren't entirely intuitive,
as the abilities of Milady, or the King's abilities, but everything
would be considered simplistic to a war gamer, yet fairly heavy
Euro gamer. This isn't a novice game, by any means, yet it
The designer told me that a two-player game was
strategic, while the four-player was more tactical; but I found
both seemed fairly similar. I haven't tried a three-player
but it appears that it may be lopsided against the player sandwiched
between the other two.
Number of Units:
At first, I couldn't believe that a game
one only had ten pieces would be deep or long, especially when
unit had only one number. But I was impressed at how the same
represented strength, movement, and victory points and at how
this worked in the game. There were reasons to use every piece,
the board got pretty crowded, especially in the four-player
player needs a good number to take over a city, but can be
one, well-placed piece on the other side.
If you make an error in judgment, you can lose
ground. In my first game, I twice thought that I had the drop
opponent, who, because of turn order, showed me that he, in
the one in charge of the situation. Losing a key unit can be
costly and can deteriorate your strategy. Fortunately, the
the intervention of the King, and "Super-Baron", allows players
who are in a weak position come back and still be involved. I suppose
that the game could be an elimination game, but one would have
extremely badly for this to occur.
Ten turns sounds like a game would end quickly, especially
when each player only has three or so moves per turn. But great
thought goes into each move; and therefore, games can last
a while -
I'm guessing between 90-120 minutes for a four-player game.
even have an optional 15 or 20 turn game, but I would not attempt
of them - ten moves is more than satisfactory. By turn 8 or
start petering down, but the game can often still be decided
She is an extremely powerful piece that can thwart
opponent's plan, and I've seen her turn the tide of the game.
course, her special abilities, charming and infecting, made
for a lot
of jokes during game play. I'm not sure if this is politically
correct, but no one I played with cared; and a lot of laughter
when I explained the rules.
8.) Fun Factor:
The game requires a bit of thought, and I would
classify it as a medium war game/heavy Euro game. I enjoyed
immensely and was involved in the games I played. It had very
downtime. Knowing how to maneuver pieces around was fun and
interesting, and everyone who played the game enjoyed it.
This may indeed be a "gateway" game, one that can get war gamers
interested in Eurogames, and vice versa. Of course, both groups
claim the game as in their group, but that's a good thing.
heavy game and not for casual players. But if your seeking
game with Euro-scoring, and simple, yet flexible rules, this
excellent one. I'm very impressed with Zugames first release
forward to their games in the future. If they have the smooth
mechanics and tremendous pieces this game has, then they should
succeed. Feudo is an excellent game, a worthy centerpiece to
"Real men play board games."
Reviewed on line:
Date of review:
27 September 2004
Type of game:Boardgame
Languages:Italian, German, English, French
Game length:2-3 hours
Difficulty: assiduous players
Expansions:not available at the moment
Mechanics:territory control , wargame, simultaneous choice
4 maps (put together randomly,
to form the map of the game, 48x48cm), 1 Victory Points Chart,
62 double face pawns, 80 play cards (40 army cards, 20 trading
cards, 20 plague cards), and the rules.
Several factions (from
2 to 4) fight for the control of the territory using their military
force. At the end of established turns (10, 15 or 20) the player
with more Victory Points will be the winner.
Victory Points are obtained with the conquest of the cities on
the map or with the elimination of the opposing pawns.
of the players become activated by playing of the army cards, but
in every turn it will be possible to use only three;moreover the
choice of what to move comes carried out simultaneously, therefore
the planning and the intuition of the movements of the adversary
Beyond to this, the trading cards allow to move extra
units, but these cards are contingentate, that is you have 5 and
you must use them all before being able to resume them in hand.
combat system is instead much simple one:every pawn has a force
value, if the sum of your forces is greater of that one of the
defender, the pawn comes killed.The combat comes however influenced
from the territory.
There are also two small things:
- the factor
fortune (limited) under shape of the plague that moves randomly
on the territory;
- the special ability of the "Miladies" in
a position to making to lose turns to the adversaries.
the mechanics have two great classics of the wargame:the system
of combat of Civilization (nothing dice and only comparison of
the armies) and the system of planning of the movement of Wallenstain,
that with the contemporaneity of the choices leaves always some
The game is very balanced and "bastard" in the
right measure. It’s a pleasant alternative to the classic
wargame and the typical one german game, that by now infests all
Graphic is excellent. It’s really a very good