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Feudal Estates
A Game of Medieval Strife Played with Traditional Playing Cards with Tarot Options by Jacob Johnson and James LaFond
© 2019 James LaFond
For 23 years I have been wondering how one could play a meaningful game of strategy and tactics with a deck of playing cards. I play-tested a version with my 5-year-old son way back when and finally found a likely developer in the person of Jake, my current roommate in Upper-Paleolithic Utah.
We intend to spend the next year play testing the game with others and then completing the design when we get back together in 2020. The core concept is that each suit represents the estate of medieval society as embodied in the traditional Taro deck:
-Spades or Swords represents royalty
-Heart or Cups represent nobility
-Diamonds or Pentacles represent the merchant-intellectual-alchemical class
-Clubs or Wands represent the peasantry
The 1 Deck game, KINGS, represents internal feudal power struggle
The 2 Deck game, HOUSES, represents a power struggle between two rival feudal nations
The 3 Deck game, ESTATES employs the tarot deck as an event-generating device
There are 10 spaces on the table top:
-Three fiefs, left, right and center, for each player
-The deck or castle
-The dungeon [where one puts his captives]
Each game begins with the dealing of 10 cards each.
Their are numerous victory levels available, with some specific to certain Estates, for instance the Wands player who gathers all of his clubs, 2 thru 10 and the ace, may declare a minor victory, as may the Swords player who gathers his Jack, Queen, King and Ace.
The victory point system is designed to rank players on an ongoing basis as well as interactively.
Each level of victory is awarded a point:
0 for a draw, as any player who at any time in the game has all of his cards in play or in dungeon and none remaining in his deck, or in the case of a single deck game the deck is all in play except for one card, than feudal economics take hold and cease to provide resources for the power struggle
1 for minor [achieving the minor condition for your estate]
2 for marginal [achieving the marginal condition for your estate]
4 for honorable [achieving the honorable condition for your estate or receiving the capitulation of the foe, who may fear one of the outcomes below]
8 for major [capturing and or killing the face cards of the rival house or taking his castle]
16 for total [capturing and/or killing the rival house and taking his castle]
This is an open design, with James working predominantly on game mechanics and Jake focusing on the estate nuances and tarot-based events.
Installments of tested mechanics will be posted here as an open notebook for Feudal Estates for any who would like to play along in this open game development.
Tarot Card Meanings
Jacob Johnson
Thu, Sep 26, 2:43 PM (1 day ago)
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Don Quotays     Jun 19, 2020

How is this progressing?
James     Jun 20, 2020

I have not done much with it since hitting the east, but it was simple to teach to a 9 and 11 year old boy and they liked it.
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