Unless you’ve been handed a perfectly functional working feudum by coming into the game after its start as someone’s vassal, you’re going to need a checklist to get your own piece of land up and running. Even if you think you can handle everything, the icon cheat sheet at the end of this article may be useful.
The first thing you’ll need to do is get your serfs building a farm. Food production in the game, as it was in real life, a matter of life and death for the people of your feudum. Depending on the season you enter the game in, you may have to wait a full year before you start to see any population growth. Population growth runs parallel to food availability. Crops are planted in the autumn for a late summer harvest and planted in the spring for a early fall harvest. If you miss the crop planting time, your population will have to get by on what they can gather, hunt in the woods, or fish in nearby lakes or swamps. (Read more about food production in the article “Growing” Your Feudum)
Immediately after you build a farm (and you should build that farm on grassland - see article Location, Location, Location), pay a visit to your tax rate change box and reduce it as low as you think you can go and still bring in some coins for your treasury. At this point, your population’s morale is more important than another handful of coins. By lowering your people’s taxes and keeping their stomachs full with normal food rations, their morale will grow eventually increasing their productivity.
It’s very easy to fall into the trap of trying to grow too fast and out racing your available food. Once that happens, food rationing must start and your population’s morale starts to drop and eventually you find your people dying off seemingly without a way to correct it. The best strategy when you start out is to take it slow.
If you’re afraid of falling victim to a more developed neighbor, you might consider approaching another player about becoming a vassal. Becoming a vassal is expected in Feudums. To read about how the vassalage system works, please check out the article Vassals: The Secret of Your Success. (Of course, becoming a vassal isn’t available yet - but it’s something to start thinking about)
Your second build depends a lot on your individual circumstances but you normally can’t go wrong with upgrading your prime settlement. As soon as you have a stable supply of food coming in from your new farm, take advantage of that increased food supply and upgrade your settlement in order to provide yourself with more workers. With a settlement increase, you’ll get more workers, which will mean more workers to bring in food, as well as, more coins from taxes.
If you want a faster population growth, either increase the food ration or lower the tax. The latter is less dangerous as it’s not dependent on something you may run out of; rather, you’ll just collect less of something.
One word of advice: always plan for winter. See article Winter is Coming! for some tips on what to expect. I wouldn’t plan on growing too large until you survive your first winter.
At a certain point, you’ll need to consider your local resources and determine what you’ll try to keep supplied from inside your feudal network and what you’ll need to trade other Lords for Trading will come later in the Diplomacy Build, so you’re on your own until then. There are several kinds of resources you’ll need over the course of the game: wood/lumber from forests, stone from quarries and gold or iron from mines. Food also falls into this category, but I caution you that you should always try to be self-sufficient in this area. Relying on others to feed your population could be a recipe for disaster.
You can always count some basic yield from your terrain - probably not enough for big building plans, but if you only need 1-2 as the upkeep cost of one building, then maybe it can cover it. Always check your total yields on the Feudum Card while planning your next building.
So what are your options once you have a suitable food base and your population centers set?
- Mine to remove either iron or wealth (gold for coins)
- Woodcutting to increase your lumber stores
- Quarry to extract stone
- Castle for defensive purposes (and slight morale boosting*)
- Ecclesiastical Manor for gaining virtue (and morale boosting*)
* = The morale boosts aren’t available in the current build due to lack of subsystems (like warfare and garrisons)
In game, you can check the build orders and the build cards for the base prices of other improvements to get and idea of what you’ll need to produce for building what.
These choices are yours depending ... Read the rest of the article here!
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