Feudal (game)

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Feudal game.jpg
"Feudal" box cover image
Publisher(s) 3M, Avalon Hill, Schmidt International
Years active 1967-present
Players 2-6
Age range 10-up
Setup time 1-5 minutes
Playing time 90 minutes[1]
Random chance Concealed setup
Skill(s) required Strategy

Feudal is a chess-like board wargame for 2-6 players on two or four opposing sides. It was originally published by 3M Company in 1967 as part of its bookshelf game series, and was republished by Avalon Hill after they purchased 3M's game division. The object of the game is to either occupy one's opponent's castle or to capture all of one's opponent's royalty. There are six sets of plastic pieces in three shades each of blue and brown. Each set consists of thirteen mobile figures with differing methods of movement and attack, and a stationary castle piece. The play area consists of four plastic peg boards depicting empty, rough, and mountainous terrain.


Feudal was originally published by 3M in 1967 as part of its bookshelf game series and later reissued by 3M in 1969, 1973. It was reissued in 1976 and 1981 by Avalon Hill. A new German edition was issued in 1979 by Schmidt International, though the first German edition was isued by 3M in 1967.[1]


The game takes place in the Middle Ages, where two fictional feudal kingdoms — one led by Ethelred the Great, the other by Aelfric the Barbaric — vied for control of territory which lay between their borders. Each had called upon his son, the prince, and his brother, the duke, to help command his army. The feud had lasted generations but on this day both kings had come to the conclusion that the only way to settle the dispute was to conquer their rival's kingdom. To this end, both kings, each supported by their respective prince and duke, prepared to invade and conquer the enemy. It is at this point that gameplay begins.[2]


Feudal is won by either capturing your opponent's castle or slaying all of his royalty (i.e. King, Prince, and Duke). Each of the six armies contains a castlepiece, one each of the royalty, one Squire, one Archer, two Knights, two Sergeants, and four Pikemen. The castlepiece has two parts, the castle and the castle green (entrance), each of which takes up one board space. To capture the castle, a figure must first be moved onto the green and wait one turn before moving into the castle proper. A player may defend his/her castle by placing a figure (except the archer or squire) inside.[2]

Two-player game[edit]

In a two-player game, one player takes a blue army and the other takes a brown army. The players toss a coin; the winner of the toss moves first and the loser of the toss may select two adjoining quadrants of the board on which to set up his forces. A divider screen is placed across the board and both players set up their pieces in secret. Once both players are ready the screen is removed and play begins. A player may move any number of pieces during his/her turn but he/she must move at least one.[2]

Team play (3-6 players)[edit]

In team play a captain is chosen for both the blue and brown armies. The captain selects an army complete with castle and royalty; his teammate(s) select another army of the same color but do not receive a castle or royalty. Instead, the captain grants his/her teammate(s) his prince and/or duke to "lead" their forces. If there is an odd number of players, the captain of the short team gains the use of an additional army (minus castle and royalty) so that each side remains even. Gameplay otherwise resembles a two-player game.[2]

Alternate 4-player game[edit]

Rather than a team format, four players may each select their own army and take a single quadrant of the board for their own. This game plays as a free-for-all. However, unlike two-player or team play, the only way to eliminate an opponent is by capturing their castle. When a player's castle is captured, it is removed from the board along with any remaining royalty. Additionally, any of the player's remaining pieces fall under the command of the conquering player on his/her next turn.[2]


Figure Rank Number per color Move Description
Feudal 3M King.png King 1 Arrows-eight-short.png The King may move 1 or 2 spaces in any direction (horizontally, vertically, or diagonally).
Feudal 3M Prince.png Prince 1 Arrows-eight-long.png The Prince units may move any number of spaces in any direction but may not move through rough terrain.
Feudal 3M Duke.png Duke 1 Arrows-eight-long.png The Duke may move any number of spaces in any direction but may not move through rough terrain.
Feudal 3M Knight.png Knight 2 Arrows-eight-long.png Knights may move any number of spaces in any direction but may not move through rough terrain.
Feudal 3M Archer.png Archer 1 Arrows-dotted-cross.png The archer moves or shoots up to 3 spaces. If it shoots an enemy the enemy is removed but the archer need not move into the enemy's space.
Feudal 3M Sergeant.png Sergeant 2 Arrows-longsaltire-shortcross.png Sergeants may move up to 12 spaces diagonally or 1 space horizontally or vertically.
Feudal 3M Pikeman.png Pikeman 4 Arrows-longcross-shortsaltire.png Pikemen may move up to 12 spaces vertically or horizontally or 1 space diagonally.
Feudal 3M Squire.png Squire 1 Arrows-splitcross.png The squire moves 1 space horizontally or vertically followed by 1 space diagonally. It may move through either vacant or occupied spaces. This is comparable to the knight's move in chess.

Board layout[edit]

The board is made up of four square panels, each comprising 12 x 12 movement spaces. The mountains and rough terrain are scattered throughout the board space. The separability of the four panels allows a variety of board layouts, as each may be freely turned to change the landscape of the board.


Feudal has received 950 ratings with an average rating of 5.92 (on a 1-10 scale) on Board Game Geek.[1] Detractors complain that the game's complexity lends to an in-game analysis time that can potentially exceed opponents' span of interest.[3] Although, the same can be said for the game of chess.



  1. ^ a b c "Feudal". Board Game Geek. Retrieved July 7, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Feudal. St. Paul, MN: 3M Company. 1969. 
  3. ^ Maloney, Skip (May 11, 2010). "Feudal: An abstract battle in which all pieces move at once". Examiner.com. Retrieved July 7, 2013. 

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