Feudal is one of the 3M Bookshelf Games that were popular in the 1970's. It is a conquest game like Chess, but has more variety and interesting role-playing type pieces.
Feudal is for 2 to 6 players. The game board is a pegboard with 24 x 24 holes for the pieces. Some squares are coded as rough or mountainous terrain. The pieces are king and castle; mounted pieces are the prince, duke, and knights; archers; and foot soldiers are sergeants, pikemen, and squires. These are molded plastic and actually are little realistic warriors in three shades of blue and three of brown (for 6 player option). Each piece has set pattern in which it can move, similar to chess pieces. Play continues until one king is captured.
However, that’s about where the similarity ends. For starters, you set up your kingdom any way you want to, with a screen between players during this phase. So your army and castle location is hidden from the opponent until play begins, as is the opponent’s army from you.
The terrain affects the moves. Mounted pieces may not move over rough or mountainous terrain. No piece may move over a mountain.
If there are more than 2 players the armies will quickly come into conflict making the game move swiftly. Two people can play with multiple armies to make a fast-paced game with lots of conflict. Because of the terrain and options for personalized set-up, no two games are ever quite alike.
Of all the bookshelf games we used to own(a whole row of them) this is one of the two that we still play. This is a strategy game and requires thought to do well, but it can be a fun alternative to chess, or an interesting way to introduce an older child to the strategy and movement pattern type of game. I don’t personally like chess much, but I think this is a lot more fun.
I’d say that a sharp 8-year-old could play this by the rules. The playing pieces would lend themselves to making up games for imaginative children who are younger. Not for really small children though. It can be plenty complex enough for adults as well.
Of course the bookshelf games were made to store nicely with the board folding up and the whole game sliding into an oversized book-size sleeve.
You can still find this game on auction sites.