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Rules for Feudal Endeavor - Would appreciate some critique

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I Will Never Gr...
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Hey everyone, I have a game coming to Kickstarter in February and I'd love to get some critique of the rule book if you're so inclined;

https://iwngu.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/FE-Rule-Book-250x...

Feudal Endeavor is a 2-6 player simultaneous auction game set in 18th century Imperial Russia. You play as the head of one of 6 noble families building your fiefdom and attempting to gain the favor of the Empress, Catherine the Great while building your families wealth and influence.

Auction/Hidden bidding
Resource Management
Set collection

2-6 players
10 minutes per player
ages 13+

Designed by Andrew Zimdahl, to be published by I Will Never Grow Up Games.

ElKobold
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You might want to consult

You might want to consult with a historian specializing on the Russian history to fix your "Families of Imperial Russia" page.

I`m also confused as to why there are 12th century European "knights" in a game about 18th century imperial Russia. ;)

Jay103
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A 30-second perusal so

A 30-second perusal so far..

I really dislike the fancy Ye Olde English fonts, especially on that first page. I found the name of the game itself hard to read.

And the fact that it's a game about Russia makes me wonder further at that choice. Compare to something like the original Tetris logo, which had a backwards R..

(also, that leather texture on the first and last page gives me the impression of being very low res and/or blurred.. maybe it looks fine printed at 300dpi, but maybe not. When I zoom, it's not crisp)

ananda
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Table of Contents: "cossack"

Table of Contents: "cossack" should be capitalized

Page 1: I recommend not justifying the text, especially when the columns are so narrow. Just make it left or center aligned. It looks especially ugly in places on the Romanov and Lomanosov paragraphs.

Page 3: I like this page. At first I didn't like the redundant symbology explanations (especially the doubled white "Gain 1 Knight"), but on second thought it is simple, easy to use when looking up effects, and unambiguous.

Page 4: So the bidding area is at the top of the board, and is hidden behind the screen? This and the setup diagram suggest that the Bidding Screen is in front of their board, which means the entire board is hidden (or at least obscured) from view. Why not just say "place the bidding screen in front of your board"?

Page 6: In the diagram, you should put some arrows to make explicit which parts of the tile are being indicated; in part because of the thick tile border, it takes a moment to figure out the "Spend" refers to the stuff on the left of the black arrow (and "Gain" to the stuff on the right), and especially to figure out that "Resources that may be used to be" refers to the icons in the tiny banner. A simple arrow pointing from each descriptor to the appropriate part of the tile would help a lot.

Page 8: Ok, so it looks like the bidding screen is not always in front of the player board (as I had thought from the setup description). Since the bidding screen is only in front of the player board during bidding, I suggest removing that instruction from the setup section to make it seem less permanent (you already instruct the player to place it in front of the player board on page 6).

Page 8: The text is suddenly justified again, which is a little distracting (especially in the final paragraph). I recommend no justified text.

Page 8: The bullet points seem out of place. Maybe use numbers? Or maybe they are too large.

Page 8: "beginning with the deed in the #1 auction locations and continuing to the right" - there is only one #1 auction space (as far as I can tell), so "locations" should not be plural.

Page 9: You have an extra period after the exclamation mark ("for additional scoring opportunities!.")

Page 10: I assume that the player cannot choose to both fulfill a bidding card and place a brick (based on the "bonus Palace Tithing action rule); either way, you should clarify this.

Page 10: Bolded statement("Beginning with...Palace Renovation Tithing") is another instance of distractingly justified text. Going to stop talking about this now.

Page 12: In part 2, you are missing a space between the 1-laurels and the left parenthesis ("1 O(up to a maximum...", where 0 is the laurels) and between the 8-laurels and the per ("8 0per Political...")

Page 12: In part 5, are the bonuses cumulative? That is, can you use (e.g.) a serf in both a set of 3 serfs AND a set of serf-horse-knight? Something to clarify.

Page 12: In part 6, the minus sign (-0) is easy to miss. On a more general note, this mechanic is generally confusing because some of the spaces give stuff when you place a tile on them and others do something bad when you don't place a tile on them. I understand why you do this (to avoid having to track points during the game), but it is still not intuitive. Perhaps you could at least use a different symbol for negative points than for positive points? Alternately, if you are willing to add a victory track or point tokens, you could equivalently make the VP rewards positive (though I'm sure you have already tried that given how the negative points work).

Jay103
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I find it weird that the

I find it weird that the point of the game is to win the Empress's favor, and yet you have an "Empress's Favor" track on the board which determines turn order and is NOT how you win (except maybe to break an endgame tie).

I generally dislike it when games say things like "the player who last visited a castle goes first". This is not an exception. Especially since that's something unlikely to change much, so player C will go first every single time.

Are the land deeds punchouts, or square cards? You've got a lot of cardboard there, as you probably know. Similar to my first game, which was.. very heavy :) Make sure you're allowing enough money for postage.. I doubt that's getting shipped in the US for under $14.

I Will Never Gr...
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Thank you all

Thank you all for your insights! Some updates have already been made (not yet linked) as a result. Some other items are under consideration.

Ananda - Lots of great catches and suggestions there. Far too much to quote, lol. Thank you!

I Will Never Gr...
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Jay103 wrote:I find it weird

Jay103 wrote:
I find it weird that the point of the game is to win the Empress's favor, and yet you have an "Empress's Favor" track on the board which determines turn order and is NOT how you win (except maybe to break an endgame tie).

You are right, this may be a bit clunky and is something I'm looking at re-wording.

Jay103 wrote:

I generally dislike it when games say things like "the player who last visited a castle goes first". This is not an exception. Especially since that's something unlikely to change much, so player C will go first every single time.

Yet this is something that many others say the LOVE in games .. IF it's a Thematic (or semi-thematic) 'first player' option. Even with them, most people (that I know of) tend to play them that way for a few games and then just go in a random fashion.

However, in this game, being first on the Favor track at the start of the game does not mean a lot (tie breaking in the first round of auctions is the only advantage).

Jay103 wrote:
Are the land deeds punchouts, or square cards? You've got a lot of cardboard there, as you probably know. Similar to my first game, which was.. very heavy :) Make sure you're allowing enough money for postage.. I doubt that's getting shipped in the US for under $14.

The deeds are cards. If we hit the stretch goal they will be punchouts.

I'm well aware of shipping costs. My previous game was very heavy as well with a LOT of punchouts (72 square tiles, 16 player boards and standees, along with cards, dice, tokens and more).

It's definitely not getting shipped under $14 if we hit the punch out goal, however, we're subsidizing a portion of the shipping costs in the price of the game via Kickstarter and collecting closer to true shipping (minus subsidy) post-campaign. Our current plan is $10 shipping to the US/Canada, $12 to EU, $25 to Aus/NZ and $35 Rest of World, based on estimates in hand. This may change a little in the new year, of course, when rates inevitably rise.

I Will Never Gr...
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ElKobold wrote:You might want

ElKobold wrote:
You might want to consult with a historian specializing on the Russian history to fix your "Families of Imperial Russia" page.

I`m also confused as to why there are 12th century European "knights" in a game about 18th century imperial Russia. ;)

The knights icon is (currently) to be recognizable. Not a lot of people recognize a Russian knight helmet as such (from our experience anyway). I'm playing with other icon ideas for that one however.

The Families of Imperial Russia is straight up copied from historical text books, so I would hope it's not in need of fixing! To be honest, that page is a throwaway as we had an extra page to work with, so it could still use some work anyway.

Jay103
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I Will Never Grow Up Gaming

I Will Never Grow Up Gaming wrote:

The Families of Imperial Russia is straight up copied from historical text books, so I would hope it's not in need of fixing! To be honest, that page is a throwaway as we had an extra page to work with, so it could still use some work anyway.

I was wondering about that.

ElKobold
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I Will Never Grow Up Gaming

I Will Never Grow Up Gaming wrote:

The knights icon is (currently) to be recognizable. Not a lot of people recognize a Russian knight helmet as such (from our experience anyway). I'm playing with other icon ideas for that one however.

There were no knights in 18th century Russia. (Nor anywhere in the world by that point).
The entire concept is thematically out of place.

You may want to use a word "Nobles" instead.

I Will Never Grow Up Gaming wrote:

The Families of Imperial Russia is straight up copied from historical text books,

My bet is that it's all hastily copied from Wikipedia and mixed-up in the process.

I Will Never Grow Up Gaming wrote:

so I would hope it's not in need of fixing!

It does. There are mistakes. Like, big ones.

For example this:

"Catherine the Great was born to the Petrovna family as Elizabeth in 1709"

This is not just wrong, but a complete nonsense.

1. Catherine and Elizabeth are two different people.
2. Petrovna is not a family name. It's a patronymic. Elizabeth's father was Peter the Great, hence she is Elizaveta Petrovna Romanova.
3. Catherine's original name was Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst. She was a German princess. She took the name and patronymic Ekaterina Alekseevna when she converted to Eastern Orthodoxy.
4. She should belong to Romanov family name.
5. Catherine was born in 1729, not 1709. It's Elizabeth who was born in 1709.

Like I said, you need a historian to look through your stuff.
Or drop the "Imperial Russia" theme and just use generic fantasy setting.

I Will Never Grow Up Gaming wrote:

To be honest, that page is a throwaway as we had an extra page to work with, so it could still use some work anyway.

Definitely.

I Will Never Gr...
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ElKobold wrote:I Will Never

ElKobold wrote:
I Will Never Grow Up Gaming wrote:

The knights icon is (currently) to be recognizable. Not a lot of people recognize a Russian knight helmet as such (from our experience anyway). I'm playing with other icon ideas for that one however.

There were no knights in 18th century Russia. (Nor anywhere in the world by that point).
The entire concept is thematically out of place.

You may want to use a word "Nobles" instead.

Excellent call. We'll be updating it to Imperial Guard instead of Knights (and updating the iconography accordingly).

ElKobold wrote:

My bet is that it's all hastily copied from Wikipedia and mixed-up in the process.

I am betting on that myself now that I've started doing a bit of a deep dive into Russian history. I'll talk to the designer about corrections.

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