Each month, the Indie Spotlight highlights a new game that exemplifies the creativity, cleverness, and beauty of today’s independent games market.
This month’s Indie Spotlight is:
Board games can do a number of impressive things when you get right down to it. They can make you think in complex or creative ways. They allow you to socialize and converse with either the best of friends or complete strangers, often in low-key settings. They come in such variety of styles, play times, and difficulty level that there’s pretty much a game for everyone willing to give them a chance. And pound for pound they’re some of the cheapest, most replayable forms of entertainment around.
Most of all though, in all but the purest abstracts, board games tell stories. Stories of danger and intrigue. Of excitement and frivolity. Of in-game story twists and events between those sitting around the table. Most games have a theme, and most themes are there to entice you further into its cardboard world.
Feudum is one such game. It invites you into into its seemingly sleeping and pastoral kingdom…and then promptly boots you out into the wilds of the surrounding lands.
See, thanks to a rather tempestuous queen, players in Feudum start off being stripped of nearly everything they own and banished to strange far off territory to start anew. Will you try to make your name for yourself as a famous explorer? A rich merchant? A fearsome knight? In the meaty game Feudum, all of these are possible due to an excellent blending of sandbox-level gaming opportunities and a Euro game centered approach.
Over the course of several rounds, players select four of eleven different action selection cards which stipulate what they’ll be able to do each turn. This is the primary engine that drives the game. Yet surrounding this straightforward system, Feudum has elements of nearly every other major Euro game mechanic tied into them. It has farming. It has conquest and area control. It has an economic engine. And it has strategic avenues aplenty.
All of this alone will entice many, especially alongside its rather subdued-but-intriguing art style. But Feudum has two particularly innovative additions that help elevate it further.
The first is a wonderful multicolored one-horned behemoth monster that looks like it came out of the Mirror Universe’s version of Adventure Time. And it’s awesome.
The second, and more substantive, is the integrated guild system at the heart of this ambitious and stylistic adventure. Throughout your glorious journey, you will be attempting to gain control of various towns as a means of establishing their claim within each of the game’s six guilds to obtain status within that guild. See, while you’re always able to interact with every guild to pursue their services, it’s much better to be in charge, as each guild comes with a pair of abilities that only the top two ranked players in each guild have access to. If you want access to those abilities (and you likely do), you’ll have to unseat one of the other players. Combat may be optional, but jockeying for status is inescapable.
At the end of the game, whoever has the most points will emerge as the victor. That part is expected. The roads you take in order to reach the finish line though? Those are stories just waiting to be told.
Do you have a game that we should spotlight? Let us know at: firstname.lastname@example.org!
Previous Indie Game Spotlights:
March 2018: The City of Kings | Review | Developer’s Site
January 2018: Triplock | Review | Developer’s Site
November 2017: Cytosis | Review | Q&A | Developer’s Site