Manage a colony as an exiled feudal lord. Recruit peasants, craft resources, advance research, and choose from three win conditions to prove your birthright in First Feudal.
Format: PC via Steam
First playthrough time: 21.5 hours
Cost: 19.99 USD
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First Feudal is a colony building and management simulation where players take on the role of a small feudal lord and grow their colony. Players assign jobs to peasants, keep them happy to recruit new peasants, and manage resources, advancements, and trade for their colony. Players can also get up off their throne and help the colony with resource gathering, crafting, and combat. Being able to move around and contribute as a character is one of the more unique aspects of First Feudal. Players are still bound by their attributes, stamina, and gear like other characters, but particularly in early game combat or bringing in the harvest before the winter, the additional person makes a big difference. However, for wood or stone/metal gathering, an additional “mini-game” is introduced for the player, allowing them to hit certain locations for bonus resources. I actually found this tedious and rather annoying and would have preferred to think about other aspects of the colony while I was working.
First Feudal boasts a lot of crafting options. There are a ton of different types of armor, allowing players to make different protective vs movement tradeoffs as they advance in technology. Cooked food options are also abundant, allowing players to combine nutrition types and shelf-life benefits to fit their production chains. Peasants gain additional bonuses the more diverse their diet. Advancements are made not by researching, but by using technology already found. Gathering enough of a metal and working it on a forge leads to unlocking chainmail of that type, crafting that chainmail leads to platemail of that type, etc. This progression felt more natural and allowed for progress in multiple areas at once. After all connected research has been unlocked, continuing to work in an area gains points that can be spent on separate rewards such as reduced time sleeping, improved animal breeding change, reduced movement speed penalties from armor, etc.
First Feudal has multiple win conditions introduced to the player after surviving their first in-game year. These are Military Victory for conquering the four neighboring factions, Scientific Victory for completing three of the highest tier upgrades, and Economic Victory for building a production line and mint and producing 1 million gold currency. I originally was aiming for a scientific victory, and along the way defeated two of the four factions for fun, but ended up reaching an economic victory since it was faster. Players can keep playing after reaching a victory condition, either to reach others or just keep playing endlessly. Despite the multiple win conditions, I didn’t really feel I would have done much different in another playthrough so the replayability was somewhat limited for me. After the early game and getting a production system up and running, I found a lot of the game to be waiting so I opted not to continue playing for the other win conditions.
Despite one of the win conditions being a military victory, I didn’t find the combat to be very tactical in First Feudal. Players couldn’t control peasants to do much more than grab their weapons when enemies arrived and then tell them where to stand or who to focus. There was some ability to kite or try to pull injured peasants out of combat, but most combat seemed to be decided by who had better equipment. To that end, players can customize what kind of armor and weapon each peasant should equip, but I often found it best to let them wear whatever they wanted as high-quality light gear could often out-stat normal quality heavy gear. Similarly, it was sufficient to manage what equipment was kept in stock and try to keep a diverse range of weapons rather than microing what type of weapon was best for each peasant’s stats and making sure one was available for them. If peasants can’t get a weapon when called to arms, they will idle around the town square and not try to defend themselves, even if they currently hold tools with damage values. This is particularly problematic because event dialogs will compare the number of people and tier of equipment, without taking into account whether there is enough of that equipment for all the people. A run is automatically lost if the player’s character dies, which can make trying to participate in combat stressful. After the early game, I usually found myself only getting my character off the throne to interact with traders or occasionally to help with bottlenecked crafting.
Overall, I had a good time with First Feudal. I liked the concept of having a real character in the game and being able to contribute to the well-being of the colony. I loved all the crafting and advancement options and enjoyed chasing the three different win conditions. However, I didn’t see a lot of places I would’ve made alternate choices and thus felt the game had limited replayability for me. Combat was also a bit of just throwing units at each other and waiting for the better equipment to win instead of something more involved. I also wasn’t a fan of the resource gathering “mini-games” when the player wanted to get hands-on and the graphics and stiff top-down animations weren’t my style. I recommend First Feudal to players looking for an easier colony builder, especially if they’re interested in the mechanic of controlling a character in the colony.