Spotlight– Feudum by Odd Bird Games

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It’s been quite awhile since I have done a spotlight, and what better way to come back to it than by featuring a game, I have been eyeing for months now. Not too long ago the designer, Mark Swanson, posted on the Kickstarter Spotlight Facebook group asking for advice on his Kickstarter preview page. I remember writing a ridiculously long list of fixes for it, but what stood out more was the game that the page featured. Ever since then, I have been looking forward to this game hitting Kickstarter for real, just so I could back it. In fact, this is the last game I will back this year (gotta save money for the holidays). I’m immensely excited to finish up the year with the backing of this game, and I’m sure that whether you are backing something for the first time, or are a “super backer” like me, that this will be a game to remember.

Guilds & Power

Having been banished to this strange land, I have come to learn that the guilds hold all the power. Have them in your corner, and you will be able to do anything. However, their loyalty is ever wavering and without it, you really don’t stand much of a chance. I’ve been lucky so far, managing to maintain some sway with the merchants guild. I’ve even taken control of my own feudum. My success comes with a steep price, so I must be sure to keep the King’s favor. If I don’t– well, you can only imagine.

Perhaps during this epoch, I’ll be able to control the behemoth to do my bidding. I’ve heard of and seen the destruction that it can cause, and I’d much rather have it on my side. Luckily, I don’t deal with ships too often, so I don’t have to worry about my competitors sending that sea creature after me. 

Feudum is a 2-5 player game where players take on the roles of characters who travel to a strange land to reclaim their honor, after having been banished from their homeland. Players begin the game with little more than some apples and a few shillings. They must work towards turning those into a profitable future.

The game will take place over 5 epochs. During that time players will vie to gain status with the six guilds within the kingdom. These guilds include merchants, knights and monks, just to name a few. Having the loyalty of these guilds helps you to gain special resources that you will use to maintain your feudums. The game includes a cyclical economy with a push/ pull mechanic to keep things moving. The interaction with the different guilds is the main focus of the game, as working with them is integral to getting things done. Since the game is so complex, I figured I would include the rules summary provided by Odd Bird Games. If you are looking for something more in-depth, check out the reviews done by Man vs Meeple or Undead Viking. Also, if you’d like to get an early look at the rule book, you can check that out here.

 What’s In The Box

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Component overview. Photo Credit: Feudum Kickstarter campaign page

A copy of Feudum will include:

  • 1 Game board
  • 55 Action cards
  • 16 Royal Writ cards
  • 15 Wooden pawns
    • 3 in each player colour
  • 20 Player discs/reeves
    • 4 in each player colour
  • 24 Region/landscape tiles
  • 9 Vessels
    • Including ships, submersibles, and flying machines
  • 17 King’s Seals/Rosary Beads
  • 12 Archery Targets
  • 1 Epoch marker
  • 1 Starting player marker
  • 50 Silver and gold shillings
  • 1 Progress die
  • 110 Influence markers
  • 170 Raw goods
  • 1 Haversack
  • 2 Wooden monsters
  • 1 Box
  • 3 Rule books
    • 1 English
    • 1 German
    • 1 French
  • 15 Player reference cards
    • 5 in each language
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Close up of a few components. Photo Credit: Feudum Kickstarter campaign page

Pledge Levels

The Feudum campaign features five different pledge levels.

As usual there is a $1 pledge level. However, it is special in that even if you only pledge a dollar, you get more than just a thank you. If you go for the $1 pledge you will receive a silver epoch marker. It’s a nice little token to thank you for your support. They also have the “Make a pledge without a reward” option available.

The next pledge level will get you the game and any “free” stretch goals. If you have no interest in special pieces, and aren’t looking to spend too much, the $59 pledge level is what you are looking for. Next is the $79 pledge level. At this level you will receive, a bag of 50 custom metal coins, in addition to everything at the $59 level. It’s a slight upgrade of components, but it is not necessary one.

The $99 level is next. This comes with everything from the $79 level, as well as a foil box and deluxe King’s Seals, Rosary Beads, and Archery Targets. The next level jumps to $199 and will include everything from the $99 level, with the addition of a glass rosary. The last level is aimed towards retailers. At $250, retailers can snag 5 copies of the game. If you are a retailer interested in more than just 5 copies, choose the $1 level instead, and contact the company directly for pricing info.

Add-Ons 

There are several different add-ons available for this campaign. Some add-ons must be unlocked with stretch goals before they become available. This includes the three expansions to the base game (these have all been unlocked). Other add-ons are pledge levels, meaning that if you want double of everything in the $79 pledge level, you just have to add another $79 to your pledge. Below are all of the available add-ons:

  • Add $1 for the Flying Epoch Marker (from the $1 pledge level)
  • Add $23 for the custom metal coins
  • Add $21 for the Deluxe King’s Seals, Rosary Beads, and Archery Targets
  • Add $59 if you would like an additional $59 pledge (Feudum the Game)
  • Add $79 if you would like an additional $79 pledge (Feudum Fan)
  • Add $99 if you would like an additional $99 pledge (Feudum Friend)
  • Add $19 for the Windmills & Catapults expansion
  • Add $14 for the Seals & Sirens expansion
  • Add $14 for the Alter Ego expansion
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The main game box combined with the expansion boxes comes together to create one giant picture. Photo credit: Feudum Kickstarter campaign page

Stretch Goals

In addition to the main funding goal, there are currently eight different stretch goals. I will list them below and any that have already been reached will get a purple diamond next to it. This campaign also does something unique in that it offers free stretch goals, which are available to everyone pledging $59 or above, but also stretch goals for its expansions, which then can be added on for an additional pledge. So, just be aware that you will only get the expansions if you have pledged their add-on cost in addition to your normal pledge.

  • $49,000: Funding goal
  • $59,000: Royal starting player marker (free)
  • $69,000: Windmills & Catapults expansion (add-on unlocked)
  • $79,000: Foil Pack 1 (free)
  • $89,000: Seals & Sirens expansion (add-on unlocked)
  • $99,000: Foil Pack 2 (free)
  • $109,000: Alter Ego expansion (add-on unlocked)
  • $124,000: Embroidered haversack (free)
  • $139,000: Foil stamped wooden vessels (free)

As you can see, they have blown through all but one stretch goal so far. There is still the possibility of new stretch goals being added to the list. Since the campaign only just recently began, I have no doubt that they will soon be reaching that $139,000 goal.

Odd Bird Games

downloadOdd Bird Games was founded in 2014, when they made their first splash debuting their Feudum prototype at GenCon. Odd Bird is made up of Mark Swanson, a professor at MU, and Justin Schultz, who is an artist and graphic designer. Mark is the designer of Feudum and Justin has provided the art to bring the game to life. In addition to Feudum, Justin also has his own design studio called The Flying Chair, so if you’d like to check out some of is other work, you can click the link to check it out.

The pair created the company to make atypical games that are designed to break the mold. They want people to be able to break free from the drudgery of everyday life and escape. The games will still have the feel of familiar mechanics, but with enough twist to make you feel like you are somewhere totally brand new. Feudum will be the first game from the company.

If you’d like to keep up with them and what they are doing next, you can find them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Final Thoughts

So far, I have been incredibly impressed with everything I have heard about Feudum. I love games that involve lots of choice and management, so this is something that will fit well into my personal collection. I also really love the idea of the push/pull economy. I don’t think it is something I have ever really seen before, so I am excited to see how it actually works in practice. This will not be a game for people who primarily enjoy light games, but for people who want to be constantly thinking and working on their strategy. I’m really hoping that this provides a good challenge, and that it is something I can play with my friends who are tired of me bringing light games to the table.

And let’s be honest, this game is literally a work of art. What Justin has done with the board and all of the art in the game is just beautiful. The fact that the boxes even create a piece of art, is even more impressive. This is going to be an incredibly hot game, and I have already seen it on a quite a few BGG lists.

The campaign is currently 257% funded and there are 30 days left in the campaign. If this is a game that sounds interesting to you, there is still more than enough time to get your pledge in.

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Was this helpful to you? What other information would you like to have seen? Have suggestions for future Spotlights? Would you like me to do a review/preview? Please leave a comment below, or head over to my contact page to send me an email, tweet, or Facebook message. Thanks for reading!:)

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